BLACK, AS IS

Youth voices have always had power… the power to elevate, educate, and inspire action. We find ourselves, again, in an era in which the unique perspectives and insights of young people are leading all of us to a deeper understanding of our present and our future. This exhibition highlights the Black Arts project at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, a student-led initiative that centers the Black youth experience through on-campus performances, educational outreach, relationship building, and advocacy.

The poetry and visual art in this exhibit illustrate the courage it takes to express identity and personal truth – to be Black, As Is. Trauma and triumph. Love and loss. Belonging and separation. History and progress. Racism and reckoning. Justice and joy. Beauty and brilliance. These concepts are brought to life through images and words, often specifically created to compliment one another through direct partnering of artist and writer. Whether inspired by collaboration or individual experiences, the works speak to one another, creating a conversation that we are privileged to witness.

Black, As Is continues a long commitment by Yellow House of empowering young artists, curators, and writers through co-creating exhibitions, public programs, and community actions. This exhibition has been a beautifully collaborative process with students, faculty, and the Yellow House team sharing expertise and a joy for the art.

We are grateful to the UNF Africana Studies Baobab Black Arts Series and UNF Academic and Student Affairs, especially our good friends Dr. Tru Leverette and Dr. Elizabeth Heuer, for their support of this initiative and the important work they do in elevating opportunities for Black students on and off campus. Deep bows of gratitude to Deja Echols, faculty liaison for Black Arts at DASOTA, and the many visual art and creative writing teachers who inspire and mentor each and every day.  And we save our biggest love for the students whose works we celebrate here and always – you give us hope!

POETS
Ji’niyah Alexander • Zarria Belizaire • Niveah Glover • Nadiyah Headen • Autumn Hill • Kaysyn Jones • Ta’Nivea Kinchen • Zaneta Lockwood • Madison Moore • Phillip Simmons

VISUAL ARTISTS
Ji’niyah Alexander • Vera Baffour • Jayci Bryant • Kaliyah Chance • Solara Cotton • Kayden Davis • Kota DuPree • Babafemi Fatoki • LyNiah Felton • Ciera Frazier • Alyssa Giraud • Ava Goode • Tatyana Hardnett • Tiara Hardnett • Sephora Honore • Kierra Reese • Mia Slyney • Ari Thomas • Danyla Wise

PROGRAMS FOR BLACK, AS IS

The visual artists and poets featured in the exhibition have planned a dynamic series of programs.  Let’s show love by showing up.

Opening Night
Friday | April 29 | 5-8pm

See the art, read the poems, experience spoken word, light refreshments

Poetry in the House
Saturday | May 7 | 6pm

A night of spoken word and performance by the writers of Black Arts at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts

Family Day
Saturday | May 14 | 11am-2pm

Creative expression through hands-on art making and writing for all ages

As always, the events are free, but consider bringing food items, art supplies, hygiene products, or a book (by diverse authors or those on recent banned lists). All donations are for the Community Cart – a mutual aid space at Yellow House for giving and receiving some of the things that sustain us.

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What have we lost, who do we mourn, what needs repair?

What have we gained, where have connections deepened, who have we cared for or stood with, how are we reimagining a world beyond?

As we enter a season of transition, there is a collective desire to reflect on our losses, mourn, and express gratitude and hope.

Inspired by the beautiful traditions of the sacred trees of Buddhism, Lakota and Cherokee prayer ties, Scottish clootie wells, and the numerous places and cultures from China and Iraq to Brazil and Japan that mark mourning and healing by tying ribbons to a tree, Yellow House is co-creating a space for grief and hope; dark and light; shadow and shine.

Starting December 19, just days before the Winter Solstice, all are welcome to stop by Yellow House where we will have ribbons and the tools to use to add thoughts, words, elegies, prayers, or wishes to the Community Tree. This will be outdoors only and available, drop in style, during daylight hours for the weeks and months to come. Strands of shadow, ribbons of light will mingle in and on the tree that graces the front lawn of Yellow House. Offerings will be both held and released into this ancient symbol of life, strength, reverence, and renewal in an ever-evolving statement about this remarkable year.

Centered in the space, right on the building, is a newly created work of poetry by Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams titled “The Reckoning Line Between Shadow and Shine”.  It is a poem of this moment and created expressly for this space that our communities will build together.

For those unable to make it to our corner of the world to add to and sit beneath the tree, they are welcome to send us an email (hope@yellowhouseart.org) with the words they want to add to this community exhale.  We will add it … with care.  And, for groups or families who want to participate, we will deliver materials.

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