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Susquehanna Life

Legacy Arts Project Celebrates 8th Annual 'Keepers of the Flame' Awards

Nov 10, 2014 01:04PM ● By Erica Shames

On Nov. 15, 2014, the Legacy Arts Project will celebrate its 8th Annual Keepers of the Flame Awards. The culture makers of Pittsburgh’s rich African and African American heritage will be recognized for their contributions in art, social justice, education and visionary leadership. Community members from all across the city of Pittsburgh will come together for an electrifying evening of dance, music and visual art! We will explore the innovation of Black resistance through creating our own spaces for creative expression and fellowship.

The speakeasy, juke-joint, and even the river shoreline served as respite from the ugly reality of segregation and in those spaces we created beautiful and unbelievably dynamic spaces for Black people to transform the pain of oppression into blues, jazz, and even a little bit of funk! Pittsburgh powerhouses will bring the house down with powerful performances not to be missed. BeLove, Jacquea Mae and 2014 Keepers of the Flame Honorees, Dr. Johnson, Poogie Bell, and Chico Butler will create a portal for us to step into a world of celebration through their voices and song!

Keepers of the Flame honors the contributions of elder artisans from Pittsburgh for the lasting contributions they have made to the cultural landscape of Pittsburgh. Past recipients have included: Roger Humphries, Dr. Vernell Lillie, Al Dowe, George Gist, and Linda 'Imani' Barrett. We look to the work of the elders to inspire recognition and appreciation for the lineage of African art and culture such that we continuously evolve as artists and participants in the evolution of humanity. We have also been building the living legacy of local artists through the Art is Health Residency with Saihou Njie. His work with the Legacy Arts Project informed the process by which we prepared for the event, infusing the aspect of harmony in movement with self and within a community. The Legacy Arts Project and the Ujamaa Collective are partnering to inform the community about arts, artists, and upcoming events, featuring work from the Art is Health Residency on October 31, 2014 through the “Lunch and Learn” initiative. The event will take place at the Ujamaa Boutique from 12pm-3pm at 1901 Centre Ave, Suite 100 Pgh, PA 15219.

The awards ceremony is a community favorite that pays tribute to those who have made lasting contributions to Pittsburgh and the surrounding region through their expressions in the arts. Reflecting the diversity, and beauty of the African Diaspora and all of their gifts, these artists teach by way of their craft, inspiring others to recognize their own creative potential as well as their responsibility for social justice, equity and freedom, making the world a more just and beautiful place to live.

The honorees of 2014 are Chico Butler, Dr. and Mrs. Johnson, Helen Baynes, Joyce Meggerson-Moore, Poogie Bell, William 'Oba' Wells. This group reflects over 50 years of committed leadership in various Africana art forms, organization and community building, and arts education. Pittsburgh is bursting at the seams with such legendary forces and we are fortunate to be able to honor them. The Keepers of the Flame Awards will be held at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum, Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum, Pittsburgh, PA 15208 - 7:30pm on Saturday, Nov. 15, 2014.

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