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Fulton Art Fair: A little bit of history repeating

MAITEFA ANGAZA Special to the AmNews | 6/13/2012, 6:10 p.m.
Fulton Art Fair: A little bit of history repeating

The Fulton Art Fair (FAF), Brooklyn's oldest Black visual arts event, will delight and entertain when it returns to Bedford-Stuyvesant's picturesque Robert Fulton Park June 16-17, 23-24 and June 30-July 1. Visitors to the 54th annual FAF will view the work of established and emerging painters, sketchers, stained glass artists, print-makers, sculptors, collagists, photographers, quilters and others and enjoy a variety of free entertainment.

This year's fair honors iconic Brooklyn artists, supporters and arts organizations, among them painter/sketch artist Emmett Wigglesworth and copper sculptor Miriam Francis, Councilman Albert Vann, Grace Ingleton of the Dedicators, Valerie Bell-Bey, Danny Simmons, MoCADA, Dorsey Gallery, the Weusi Artist Collective, Where We At Black Women Artists, National Conference of Artists and others.

FAF Executive Director and President Sadikisha Collier said, "We're excited to carry this great legacy and to support community artists. As a native Brooklynite, it will be an honor to celebrate this year's awardees, who have contributed so much to the rich landscape of the arts in Brooklyn."

This year's entertainment lineup has something for everyone. The roster includes jazz from the Jeff King Band and sublime vocalist Tulivu Donna Cumberbatch and her trio. The Sea Side Band will perform R&B and more, the Jamaica Gospel Singers will lift spirits and a DJ will spin each day.

Audiences will also enjoy poet and artist Simmons, rising star comedian Maeshay Lewis and Aisha Cousins' Obama textile fashion show. Tributes to Harriet Tubman will be performed by actress Beareather Reddy and the exquisite Johari Mayfield, dancing Dyane Harvey-Salaam's "Arimenta," a work in progress. Other as-yet-unannounced acts are sure to please as well.

The FAF closes with an award ceremony, the Gowanus Marching Band and more on July 1. But the celebrating doesn't stop there: On July 7, the FAF and Soul of Brooklyn host a Best in Show exhibition, auction and artist talk with live entertainment and a short film on the history of the FAF. It takes place at the Kalahari Gallery, 1103 Fulton St., near Claver Place in Bedford-Stuyvesant. All are invited and admission is free.

The FAF was founded in 1958 by Shirley Hawkins with inaugural co-chairs Jacob Lawrence and Ernest Crichlow. Over the years, many well-known supporters of the arts came out to admire the work of groundbreaking visual artists of their time.

The FAF was particularly popular among Black entertainment luminaries such Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee and Abbey Lincoln. Musicians such as Max Roach, Randy Weston and Cecil Payne performed at the fair, and each year held great surprises. The FAF committee aims to uphold that legacy at a time when many community institutions are being displaced.

Fulton Park is located on Harriet Ross Tubman Boulevard (Fulton Street) between Stuyvesant and Lewis avenues. It can be reached via the A train to Utica Avenue. All events are free and family-friendly. For information, visit fultonartfair.com or contact Collier at sadikisha@gmail.com. To respond to the last call for artists, contact Scharalet Kee at (347) 645-4383.