Art Sanctuary goes from 13 to 31 days with 29th Celebration of Black Writing
ABOVE PHOTO: Erinn Cosby, daughter of comedian Bill Cosby, reads to kindergartners at Sylvania Heights Elementary School in Miami during a visit to deliver a portion of the 20,000 free reading books being given to 200 classrooms in Miami-Dade county from the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation in 2008. Ms. Cosby will be one of the featured artists during the 29th Celebration of Black Writing.
(AP Photo/Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation, David Adame)
One of the nation’s oldest African-American festivals celebrating the very best in literary, visual and performing arts.
Noted journalists, writers and performance artists from across the U.S. will join Art Sanctuary, Philadelphia’s leading African-American arts and letters organization devoted to presenting outstanding regional and national talent in the literary, visual and performing arts, as the annual Celebration of Black Writing goes from 13 to 31 days during the month of May.
The Celebration of Black Writing is one of the oldest African-American literary events in the nation with this year marking its 29th anniversary. Originally founded by Larry Robins of the iconic Robins Bookstore, Art Sanctuary began producing the festival in 2004. It has since grown from a one-day gathering of authors and literary intellectuals to a weeklong event reaching more than 5,000 participants over the course of one week. This year, Art Sanctuary puts the ‘celebration’ back in Celebration of Black Writing by making it a month-long event, filled with citywide programming, from Germantown to South Philadelphia.
During this year’s Celebration of Black Writing, Art Sanctuary will host a month-long photo exhibit, community literary events, and author readings and workshops for emerging writers. In keeping with the yearlong theme, “Launching Beyond Legacy: Celebrating the Literary Achievements of Black Women”, Art Sanctuary will showcase the amazing exhibit, “Beauty,” which highlights photography of women and children from around the world, from Erinn Cosby, noted photographer and daughter of comedian actor Bill Cosby.
What’s more, the annual Lifetime Achievement award will honor poet, playwright, and author Ntozake Shange and veteran journalist Annette John-Hall, two women whose body of work has continuously elevated our community. The Lifetime Achievement Awards will feature entertainment by world-renowned jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon, backed by Philly’s own Urban Guerilla Orchestra. Art Sanctuary will also feature a special musical tribute to often-unsung Black women songwriters during a program that promises not to disappoint.
Check out the full lineup of events for this year’s 29th Celebration of Black Writing:
May 1-31: Beauty, Photography by Erinn Cosby
With travel to most of the world’s continents under her belt, photographer Erinn Cosby has curated this exhibit, which she simply calls Beauty, to capture the magnificence that she discovered in the everyday lives of the women and children of the diaspora. Two tremendous pieces will be up for auction, while the others will be available for private sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Art Sanctuary. Location: Art Sanctuary, 628 South 16th Street, 19146; Time: Mondays - Fridays, 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM.
May 11: Celebration of Black Writing Reading, Discussion, and Performance: For Women: In Tribute to Nina Simone
Join Art Sanctuary as they celebrate the life and work of the incomparable Nina Simone and the collection of short stories and poems created by performance poet and author, Debra Powell-Wright. Featuring readings from collection contributors, performances, and a panel discussion. Location: Scribe Video Center, 4212 Chestnut St, 19104; Time: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.; Cost: Free, pre-registration required
May 17: Celebration of Black Writing Workshop - Writing Your Truth Through Fiction: A Workshop for Emerging Writers. Featuring noted author Asali Solomon
This workshop will help participants find the story they want to tell by giving them a bit of time, space and guidance in the form of prompts, exercises and feedback. Come prepared to think, dream, write and share. Location: Historic Germantown at Germantown Historical Society, 5501 Germantown Ave, 19144; Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Cost: Free, pre-registration required (donations welcome)
May 30: Beauty, Photography by Erinn Cosby (Closing Reception)
Art Sanctuary will celebrate the triumphant exhibit with a closing reception during the Celebration of Black Writing Festival. Two (2) tremendous pieces will be up for auction, while the others will be available for private sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Art Sanctuary. Location: Art Sanctuary, 628 South 16th Street, 19146; Time: 6:00 p.m.; Cost: Free, pre-registration required (donations welcome)
May 31: 29th Annual Celebration of Black Writing Festival: Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony
This year’s Lifetime Achievement Awards, Beautiful Without Permission, is the culmination of Art Sanctuary’s yearlong celebration of the literary achievements of Black women. This year Art Sanctuary will honor two dynamic women whose bodies of work have elevated our community through playwriting, poetry and journalism. Join us as Art Sanctuary pays tribute to inimitable author, poet and playwright Ntozake Shange and veteran journalist Annette John-Hall. This spectacular event will be capped off by a special musical tribute to often-unsung Black women songwriters and a performance from legendary jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon backed by Philly’s own Urban Guerilla Orchestra. Location: Temple University Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street, 19121; Time: 6:00 p.m.; Cost: $28 - $128
For more information and to get a full listing of the 29th Celebration of Black Writing lineup, visit www.artsanctuary.org or call 215-232-4485.
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