GOSH!About: Harlem Arts Festival Gala 2016

HAF Gala 2016- 5th Anniversary Celebration


Editor in Chief: Najaam Lee

Contributing Location Writer: Mitchell Acks

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Absolutely thrilled to be visiting the Alhambra Ballroom in Harlem, NY to cover the 5th Anniversary of the Harlem Arts Festival Gala 2016 on March 18, 2016, hosted by Justin Jorrell.
A diverse gathering of attendees from various industries first enjoyed the fine Hors D’oeuvres by Little Bamboo Sushi who have restaurants in Harlem and the Dutch West Indies. They have an extensive menu including sushi, signature rolls, desserts and others.
We were entertained with a live performance of hair painting by Jarret Key, HAF2016 Artist. He is currently the assistant to the Associate Producer at the Public Theater and the producing director of Codify Art, a multidisciplinary collective of queer artists of colour.

The Lynnette Velasco Community Impact honoured the late Lynnette Velasco, a writer,
journalist, poet and avid supporter of the arts. She was a former President of Black Americans in Publishing, served as special assistant and Chief of Staff to New York City Council member Inez Dickins, was a teaching artist at the Center for Black Literature at Medgar Evers College, and helped to build the center’s Children’s Literature Program.
Each year, twelve (12) individuals or organizations are awarded with this honour and receives a commissioned art piece created by a former Harlem Arts Festival artist.
The Lynnette Velasco Community Impact Award was given to Nikoa Evans-Hendricks, a
founding board member and Executive Director of Harlem Park to Park (HP2P), a
neighborhood development organization of 130+ entrepreneurs in Central Harlem.This organization  produces local events such as Harlem Restaurant and Retail Week, the Harlem Harvest Festival, Harlem Days Harlem Nights and more since 2009. Selected charity for Marcus Samuelson’s Harlem Eat Up! and Festival in Morningsider Park.
The next award was presented to Zipcar, a 2015 and 2016 sponsor, is a world leader in
providing wheels with a revolutionary mobility service. They commission an annual
Harlem Art Car, (#harlemartcar)  a specially decorated vehicle by a HAF Artist!
The various performances really had the crowd moving!

We were treated to the sounds of upcoming Jazz artist, Braxton Cook, a Harlem
resident and recent Julliard graduate. He is a 2009 National ACTSO
Gold Medalist, 2010 NFAA Young Arts Finalist, and a 2014 Thelonious Monk Competition semifinalist.He currently tours with two time Edison Award winning,Grammy nominated
American trumpeter, Christian Scoot and band, the Christian Scott Quartet.
Another fabulous musical performance by Brianna Thomas who has a
strong powerful voice, has performed with many jazz great like Wynton Marsalis, The
Legendary Count Basie Orchestra. She was Jazz Mobile vocalist winner in 2009. She
currently teaches with JALC’s Jazz For Young People Program. Both brilliantly performed together.



Harlem Arts Festival is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization co founded in 2010 by three young arts entrepreneurs living in Harlem. HAF provides multidisciplinary
performances in venues throughout Harlem, culminating in an annual festival that takes place in Marcus Garvey park at the Richard Rodgers amphitheater. The festival aims to promote arts education and literacy by providing arts related discussion forums, educational workshops, performance opportunities and activities for youth and family.
The Harlem Arts Festival has showcased more than 150 artists who perform in dance,
music, theater/spoken word, visual arts and multidisciplinary areas.
An artist joining this organization receives various benefits, including:
 Performing at the Harlem Arts Festival, which is attended by more than 6,000 people
each year
 Showcasing their work regularly in venues around Harlem and New York City
 Conducting workshops, classes and residencies in local schools (paid)
 Discounted and free rehearsal space
 Discounted and free recording studio time
 Establishing relationships with mentors and professional artists to provide guidance for
their artist careers.
 Being seen by individuals that program some of Harlem, and New York’s leading
performing institutions, including The Apollo, Harlem Stage, the Hip Hop Theater
Festival, Alvin Ailey, Casa Frela Gallery, The Studio Museum, and more.
The 5th Annual Harlem Arts Festival will be June 24-26,2016.
More information about the organization can be found at http://www.harlemartsfestival.com.



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