African American Art and Music Festival: A joyous and expansive celebration lands at MLK Park

Saturday, Sept. 21, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE
Turn on the TV, visit any movie theatre, or just cue up a top ten hits Spotify music playlist and you’d be hard-pressed not to be exposed to the creative offerings of an African American artist. 

And on Saturday, September 21, local fans of the creative contributions of African American artists are encouraged to attend the Third Annual Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Celebration, presented this year in partnership with ArtPrize’s Project 1.

This day-long, free celebration in the park centers on the vast contributions of our local African American artists and includes numerous opportunities to view and purchase artwork, lay back on the grass, dance in the park to live music, and sample on delicious food reflecting the excellence available within Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Here are the performers scheduled for 2019 as well as their location.
Main Stage:
DJ- Ed Spillers - 9:00 a.m.
Gerald Perry Gospel - noon
League of Our Own Gospel and R&B - 2:00 p.m.
Al Hight & M6-WEST Jazz and R&B - 4:00 p.m.
DJ- Robert S. Womack - 5:00 p.m.
Bigg Swagg -Rapper - 6:00 p.m.
As Is - R&B - 8 p.m.
Raheem De Vaughn - 9 p.m.
Project 1 Rooftop Stage:
West Michigan Jewels of Africa - 1:00 p.m.
Love Peace Unity Grand Rapids - 3:00 p.m.
Azizi Jasper spoken word - 5:00 p.m.
Jamica Dance Group - 5:30 p.m.
Baby Esco - 7:00 p.m.

In addition, downtown Grand Rapids' SMG-managed DeVos Place (DVP) will be hosting an art exhibition Shades of Blackness, which features works by African American artists from across the U.S. 

And while DVP has traditionally showcased a thought-provoking presentation tied to ArtPrize, with the popular art contest moving to an every-other-year model, this off-year moment provided an opportunity for DVP to produce a special exhibition tied to the  Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Celebration.
Shades of Blackness opened at DeVos Place on Friday, September 6, 2019, and will run until Friday, October 4, 2019. The exhibition is open for public viewing from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. 

An opening reception for the exhibition will be held at DeVos Place on Thursday, September 19 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and provide an opportunity to meet many of the artists and learn more about their installations.
This special exhibition will present at Saturday’s African American Art and Music Festival to the top artist its Independent Art Award, which includes a $5,000 cash prize.
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