The African American Arts Experience at CalArts Next Week

Ed. note: February is Black History Month, and we’ve asked a few members of the CalArts community to reflect on what it means to them. Today’s guest columnist is Erinn Horton, an MFA candidate in voice at the The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts. She has has worked for nearly a year coordinating a three-day conference, The African American Arts Experience: An Exploration of Identity, which is being held at CalArts next week.

Black History Month. A time for me to reflect, honor and ask questions. I am Black but I am also a woman, musician, Christian, sister, intellectual, writer, politician and more. These few identifiers connect me to a much larger world.

Through their art, artists explore these relationships and how to connect or disconnect with others. How to relate to one another or perceive those around us.  Trying to follow our various paths of exploring our identity within and outside of social constructs, I have created a festival of events, The African American Arts Experience: An Exploration of Identity, which will highlight specifically how African Americans have tread these paths.

Taking a glimpse at one community’s response can help us garner an understanding of how the world is in constant battle with terms of identity. We are artists. Poets and painters. Musicians and Thespians. Readers and Rhymers. Movers and Shakers. World Changers… no matter what your history is.

I invite the CalArts community–and the interested public–to watch, listen and participate in next week’s festival. There will be panel discussions and lectures, art, music and poetry performances, and a film screening of Bamboozled. One of the festival highlights is “A Celebration of Today’s Black Composers” in the Wild Beast on Wednesday at 8 pm that will feature music by composer-flutist James Newton, among others. (See video posted above.) He’ll be honored for his music contributions at the concert.

Come join us!

The African American Arts Experience: An Exploration of Identity
Feb. 23-25
at CalArts
The events are free and open to the public.

Read other blog posts on Black History Month:
Matthew Shenoda
Sarah B. Burghauser

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