CD Forum’s Curator Dani Tirrell hosts weekly one on one conversations over Instagram Live with members of the Seattle community.
Intimate Conversations aims to center the voices of Black artists in the wake of the Coronavirus. “We understand that this has impacted the arts and food service communities at an alarming rate. We also understand the huge impact this has on Black and Brown people globally.
One way we are approaching this is by speaking with Black and Brown community folks directly on how this has moved their lives in a direction none of us could have ever expected."
Conversation 32 - Eve Sanford
"Black love is complex, nuanced. Black love is- in some moments- the process of undoing many layers of harm, hate, and pain. It is also rooted in the comfort of the familiar, the movement of bodies. It is gestural. It is the thickness of our language, you can hear it. It is tastable, touchable, and loud yet it can also feel delicate and ephemeral."
Eve Sanford is a multidisciplinary artist, educator, and arts leader. Evelyn is a Chicago native whose connection to the city and memory drives much of the voice behind her work. She worked nearly 20 years teaching visual and performing arts for Chicago public and charter schools and various community centers, museums, and programs. Eve’s educational philosophy moves her to facilitate creative experiences that engage multi-generational students and viewers in the exploration of self, community, and purpose. As an artist, her work often takes the form of jewelry, photographs, paintings, curated experiences, events, set and costume design, and installations. She explores identity, vacancy, community, and healing through all its intersections with a primarily autobiographical lens. Eve is an alumna of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (BFAAE) and Seattle University (MFA). She currently serves as the Director of Programs for Pratt Fine Arts Center, Vice President of the Board of Directors for Shunpike. Eve is currently an artist in residence at the James and Janie Washington Foundation.
Conversation 31 - Elisheba Johnson
"Black love looks like that photo of James Baldwin and Maya Angelou dancing; euphoric, delightful and free."
Elisheba Johnson is a curator, public artist and administrator. Johnson, who has a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts, was the owner of Faire Gallery Café, a multi-use art space that held art exhibitions, music shows, poetry readings and creative gatherings. For six years Johnson worked at the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture on capacity building initiatives and racial equity in public art. Johnson is currently a member of the Americans for the Arts Emerging Leaders Network advisory council and has won four Americans for the Arts Public Art Year in Review Awards for her work. She currently co-manages Wa Na Wari, a Black art center in Seattle’s Central Area that uses the arts to build community and resist displacement.
Cash App: $WaNaWari
Conversation 30 - Arif Gursel
"Black Love looks like radical inclusivity and radical non-judgmental."
Arif Gursel is a serial and social entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience gained from a unique blend of professional experience. Gursel specializes in product development, technology strategy, and business model development equipped to lead initiatives & people toward common goals. He's most passionate about consumer behavior in the digital space and empowering resource poor communities through S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Arts and Media) education.
His company VIBEHEAVY continues to serve as a startup lab where they create and spin out new brands, products, and services across multiple industry verticals with a specialty in entertainment, fashion, and hospitality. Similarly, his nonprofit Pan African Center for Empowerment, PACE follows an agile technology startup model focusing on improving the lives of people of African heritage across the globe.
Conversation 29 - Brian J. Evans
Black love looks like: "Hope in the eyes of those who have been told they will never know love, yet experience it despite the world’s efforts."
Brian J. Evans is a Citizen Artist, defined by the Aspen Institute Arts Program as:
Individuals who reimagine the traditional notions of art-making, and who contribute to society either through the transformative power of their artistic abilities, or through proactive social engagement with the arts in realms including education, community building, diplomacy and healthcare.
Mixing disciplines, mixing professions, and of mixed race, Brian J. Evans unpacks the “moments of suspension” that reside in the spaces between spaces. Convinced that connections exist between us all and it is the responsibility of the Arts to remind us to be holistically human, lest we forget. Courageous vulnerability and intentional equity keeps him aloft as he finds ways to give back and add to the communities, mentors, and ancestors who blazed trails and continue to do so! Evans is a recipient of a 2015 McKnight Dance Fellowship, administered by The Cowles Center and funded by The McKnight Foundation. A former decade long principal dancer and musical director for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater, Evans believes it is the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover existing connections within humanity. He has a MFA from the University of Washington (UW) Seattle Campus and was awarded the Howard P. Dallas Endowed Fellowship for his service on the UW dance department’s newly founded diversity community and serves as a liaison on the Divisional Arts Diversity Committee. His next adventure includes a tenure-track professorship in the Theater and Dance department at Bates College in Lewiston, ME. www.brianjevans.org
Watch Brian's latest work, LOPsided, on CD Forum TV.
Conversation 28 - Shaunyce Omar
"Black Love looks like loving yourself first. Loving your spirit, your voice, your talents, your skin, your discernment, your strength, your vulnerability. Black Love is seeing yourself as valuable and loveable."
Shaunyce Omar is a film and stage actor based in Seattle, Wa. In addition to performing, Omar is a teaching artist and has taught in both public and private schools, arts organizations and overseas as a Master Sensei of Gospel Music in Japan. She holds a B.A degree in Theatre from Southern University and A&M College.
Conversation 27 - Adra Boo
"Black love looks like Sunday dinner at mom's! Black love is the tightest hugs from your thicker older Black grandparents, parents, aunties and elder cousins! It looks and feels like family reunions with the old folx doin a little bit too much, and frankly, I'm them old folx now! It's smooth and buttery, is well seasoned, and doesn't ask me to make myself small for no one else to feel good. Black love looks like what it felt like to watch the Black aunties on the Verzuz battle- histories and togetherness and dancin when the jam comes on, and remembering what it was like to (fill in the blank) and somebody else gets it, sees it and feels it! And Black love is bigger and better than everything. Yeah, I said that!"
Seattle soul singer, emcee, teacher, Rain City Rock Camp Adult Program Director, “Westminster Daddy” and Black auntie, Adra Boo, walks through walls. While some in the age look to construct boxes for others, Boo flouts these efforts, working to inspire through interconnectivity, sacrifice and, of course, a touch of sweetness. Adra performs as part of new wave noir band Hotels, Simone Pin Productions and Dark Diamonds Burlesque, indie-soul duo Fly Moon Royalty, and as a solo artist, sharing stages with internationally known musicians and burlesque performers across the country. A veteran performer on myriad stages, Boo has been compared to timeless musicians like Aretha Franklin and Tina Turner, unafraid to ruffle feathers or rouse would-be audiences. And while all of these efforts cause her to stand out in the city, it’s her work as an artistic liaison that has made her a local legend. The real question is what hasn't Adra Boo done?!
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