"Celebrating Black Possibility"

An event filled with innovative artists celebrating their black heritage through creative artwork.

It was an emotional experience as we viewed a moving collection of artwork created by artists representing their black communities. Through the art of photography, mixed media, visual art, architectural designs, drama, music, poetry, spoken words and dance. El Barrio Art Space created a beautiful setting where everyone explored the artwork, met the artists, asked questions, heard the artist's stories and appreciated them more for who they are. 

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Curators of Celebrating Black Possibility - Nelson M Soto & Travis Vargas
Curators of the artwork- Albert Justiniano & Annie Arroyo

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A Review By Ms. MoMac

Inspiring. Impeccable. Aesthetic. Absorbing. Dramatic. Imaginative. Cultured. These are a few adjectives that describe my experience.

I am a creative musical artist being introduced to the beauty of visual art. This new appreciation has brought a spectrum of full color to my ears.

What do I mean? When I sit down at my keyboard to work on a song, I’m not only hearing music, but I see it in color. I see in every note that I play similarities to a paint brush making its strokes. I feel as if I am painting a musical picture full of color. These experiences come from my newly found fascination with visual art, whether it is by paint strokes, papier mache, photographs, or each artist’s choice medium that allows them to create their perfect picture.

Kudos to Ron Louis Foster, Marvin Bowser, Mark Godoy Jr., Mark Hill, Jelani Prew, Steven McKenzie, Yaritza Pineiro, Tau Battice Foto, Marienne Yen Thomas, Stephen Davis, Micheal Ryan Hines, Tanya Everett, Patrice Johnson, ShaRon Hawkins, Kareem Riley, Melissa Leraye
Legions, JBS & Friends, and the youngest artist Ms. Skye Jones.

As I traversed the exhibition, I was able to witness expressions of each artist’s uniqueness —a distinctiveness that represented their heart and soul —as to what Celebrating Black Possibility meant to each one. The artistry, the skill, the passion, and the love for what each
creative brought to this exhibition I utterly prized.

Using various mediums, some turned back the hands of time with the usage black and white color choices evoking a specific era of time. Others kept you in the present with vibrant color. I honestly could go on about this collective of artists for this exhibition, but I will leave you with the opportunity to explore them further at your convenience.

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This art gallery was truly incredible. The El Barrio Artspace PS 109 is located at the south edge of Spanish Harlem on the eastside of Manhattan. Since 2015, it has been renovated into a beautiful artist living/ workspace. I personally have always loved the combination of modern and industrial architectural design layouts. You get the perfect combination of white walls, bricks and stones, and black painted metal. For moi, it’s a perfect setting for that true creative feel. This art space made looking at the artwork a jaw-dropping experience! It was really inspiring.

I must say I was truly amazed by all the beautiful pieces. I was in pure awe from the time I walked in the door.
I highly recommend you do these few tasks. I’m giving you a mission.

1. Find these artists and stay in touch with them; support them. Follow them on their social media outlets.

2. Follow CAfED, whose visionary is the ever so wonderful and so sincerely compassionate and loving, Mr. Nelson Soto.

SUPPORT, SUPPORT, SUPPORT. I can’t say it enough!

I’m pretty sure they take monetary donations. The more finances, the more top-notch art exhibitions they will be able to bring.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review! Until the next event, stay safe and God bless!

Opening Night

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Marvin Bowser

Photographer, Actor

Marvin Bowser is a Washington DC based photographer who has served 10 years of Active Duty in the Air Force, six years as a Navy Civilian and 18 years as a defense contractor. He inherited his love for photography from his father and uncle.

Marvin is primarily a natural light photographer. He loves the interplay of light, shadow, color and texture which he put to good use in travel and nature photography. When it comes to people, he is passionate about capturing candid's and people in their truth.

 This talent serves him extremely well when doing portraits and behind the scenes (BTS) photography, which is also called set photography or production photography. Marvin has accomplished fascinating work done BTS photography for both theater and major film projects.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Also at: https://www.instagram.com/firstbrodc/

Yaritza Pineiro

Artist

Yaritza Pineiro is a Dominican visual artist based in New York. Her compositions explore cultural identity and postcolonial effects in the Dominican Republic. As an artist, Pineiro strives to honor the Afro-Latino experience by creating works that highlight the complexity of Afro-Latino lives. She researches Dominican history as a means to understand her culture and the corruption within it. This research is implemented in her art processes. It allows her to celebrate her culture while simultaneously analyzing and critiquing certain aspects that are unsettling.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Also at: https://www.instagram.com/yaritz.art/

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Stephen Davis

Illustrator

Stephen Davis is a Jamaican American Illustrator that strives to captivate the imagination through dynamic compositions and simple storytelling. More often than not, Stephen uses people of color as the subject in order to put black and brown people at the forefront of recognition and conversation. Stephen has been a freelance illustrator for over 10 years and works mostly in the publishing arena designing book covers. Outside of the Art World, Stephen enjoys cooking, boxing and taking long walks with his Boston Terrier, Bruno.

Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Jelanie Prew

Photographer

Jelani is a professional photographer based in New York City, with a focus on product photography for Beauty, Wellness & Lifestyle Brands. She started her photography journey after attending SCAD in Savannah, GA. Pre pandemic at the time her interest was travel/landscape photography. Jelani made the shift to e-commerce & product photography when she realized that there was a need for digital content and e-commerce products during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Today, Jelani has stepped out trusting the universe with confidence working as a full-time freelance product photographer.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Also at : https://www.instagram.com/jelaniprew/

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Michael Hines

Graphic Artist

Michael Hines grew up in Lithonia, Georgia where he learned how to draw and paint. He earned his Fine Arts degree from the Savannah College of Art & Design.
While working in New York as a graphic artist in broadcast television, Michael designed and created animation for shows such as Sunday Night Football, Super Bowl LII, Premier League Soccer, Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, the Nightly News, and the TODAY Show.

Through digital painting and traditional painting, Michael's strength in his artwork is to capture the beauty of his culture.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Also at: https://www.instagram.com/michaelhinesart/

Mark Hill

Architectural Design

Mark Hill has been practicing Architecture for over 35 years and has had a private practice for 18 of those years. In late 2015 he co-founded the multi-disciplined Design firm “SHAPE”– an acronym for STUDIO H Architecture Planning Environments, offering Architectural, Interior, Master Planning and Urban Design Services.
Mr. Hill has studied under several Master Architects prior to forming SHAPE. He was part of the Senior Management for the design of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) in Washington DC. and worked closely with two of the most prominent Black Architects of our time; Sir David Adjaye and Phil Freelon. Mr. Hill was responsible for the management and oversight of all 33 design, engineering, exhibit, and specialty consultant firms for the museum design including the 4-Architectural Firm group formed for the museum project as Freelon Adjaye Bond/SmithGroup.

Mr. Hill later joined the prominent NYC firm Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects where he was promoted to Associate-in-Charge and had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel, collaborating on several award-winning projects including the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, The Science Industry and Business Library /NY Public Library and the Saint Vincent's Comprehensive Cancer Center in NYC.
In addition to his passion for Architecture, Mr. Hill is also passionate about giving back to the youth of his profession and the children of his community. He is a member of the Cornell University AAP Dean's Advisory Council as well as the Alumni Committee on Diversity which strives to recruit talent and remove barriers for underrepresented minorities to attend and thrive at Cornell. This committee is proud to have created the “Cornell Future Architect Award'' providing full scholarships for talented H.S. youth to attend the Cornell AAP Summer Architecture Program. He has one son, seven God daughters and lives between Georgia and New York with his wife, Georgina, of 31 years.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

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Jefte Valle

Visual Artist

Jefte Valle has lived in Brooklyn all his life. He is a graduate of New York City Technical College, earning an associate and a graduate of Long Island University, receiving a bachelor for his studies in Science medical laboratory technology. He has worked in the medical field for a little over 40 years. He enjoys quality time with his loving wife and family and spends many devoted hours creating artwork that reflects his surroundings and the beauty of his Afro-Caribbean culture.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

 

Also at: https://www.instagram.com/valleson/

Ron Louis Foster

Photographer

I am a graduate from New York’s Saint Francis College with a degree in Aviation Business Studies and a Minor in History. I worked a little over a decade in the Financial Sector and more than that in Retail as a Visual Merchandiser. With all the success coming my way, I started to feel that my career had become a dead-end. I wanted to do more with my life. I wanted to make an impact on the world. I felt a calling to be the change I sought. I no longer could just live life routinely. 

For many years I lived simply to travel the world but at first, my world was no bigger than America. I have traveled 40 out of the 50 states and totally enjoyed the hobby of photographing my destinations. But in 2008 I began to travel internationally and never looked back. 

Now after visiting almost 20 countries and counting, I have fallen in love with the diversity of humanity and experienced its multitudes of cultures. I have become more aware of our effect on climate change, ecosystems, and wildlife. I then realized that I could turn my hobby into a profession to bring awareness to causes that are committed to improving our environmental protections, humanity (equality and justice), and wildlife conservation.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

 

Also at: https://www.instagram.com/ronlouisphotos/

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Marienne Yen Thomas

Visual Artist & Portraitist

Marienne “Yen” Thomas is a Brooklyn born, Haitian descent, self-taught visual artist and
portraitist. Her love for art and her artistic abilities were discovered from a young age. As a child Marienne believed that she was born to be creative. Whether it was drawing, crafting, writing and now presently painting; she has always felt that art has always been a part of her living being.

Yen’s art entails portraits, with a mixture of colorful geometric and abstract patterns. One of Yen’s favorite techniques is the art of collaging with the use of mixed media for added texture.

 Yen is inspired by images of beauty, feelings of love and freedom. She is driven by purpose, strength and faith. Yen is inspired by the upside results of life experiences. Her vision is to pull all that is good when we face life's unfortunate circumstances and transform it artistically on canvas.
Marienne Yen Thomas' moving artwork and her amazing therapeutic space she created for her business entitled Yen’s Art corner is a sure sign that she is on an amazing inspirational journey of nothing but pure creativity.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Tau Battice Foto

Artist/ Photographer

Tau Battice was born in Basseterre, St. Kitts-Nevis, and is based in New York City. He is a lifelong lover of the photograph and its power to preserve the moment, proclaim nuance, and propel humanity to positive action. He teaches at the City University of New York and lives in Harlem. Specializing in portraiture, with a primary interest in creating visual ethnographies of the underrepresented African diaspora, Tau engages in long-term personal projects from the Bronx to Brazil and is currently working on his first monograph, “Harlem in the Time of Corona.”

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

 

Also available at: https://www.instagram.com/taubattice/

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Mark Godoy Jr.

Fine Artist, Muralist, Motion Designer

Mark Godoy Jr. is a NYC-based fine artist, muralist, and motion designer. Mark’s work is primarily abstract figurative using mixed mediums, including collage, acrylic, and spray paint. Mark’s painting technique can almost be described as sculptural; blending shape and color to construct his portraits.

Over the past 7 years, Mark has been working on a body of mixed media paintings entitled “The Tribute Series”. The series highlights the issues of police violence and racial discrimination that marginalized communities face here in the United States.

Mark is intrigued by stories of triumph and suffering which he translates into beautiful homages to honor his subjects. He graduated from The Savannah College of Art and Design with an M.F.A. in Animation and a B.F.A. from UCONN in Illustration & Printmaking.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Also at: https://www.markgodoyjr.com

Skye Jones

High School Visual Arts Student

Skye Jones, is presently a high school visual arts student. She is the youngest artist in our art show “Celebrating Black Possibility”. Skye is smart, bold, creative, confident and speaks her mind with a clear point of view through her artwork. Color, light and value are some of her favorite tools. She enjoys the way her artwork moves when she moves and moves others in ways that she may not have imagined. Presently, Skye, still a student and quickly discovering that her contribution as an artist in the world today can be a lifetime adventure. The best part about it is that we all really feel that she is ready!

“I don’t want my art to be quiet; I want my art to scream. The art that I create, seen through my teenage eyes is loud and luminous in a way that I hope causes the viewer’s pupils to constrict. That reaction motivates me. Acrylic, graphite, gouache, charcoal, digital, printmaking, sculpting-- I work in many different mediums and techniques as I am still exploring who I am as an artist and my place in the world”. Skye Jones

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

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Steven McKenzie

Illustrator and Painter

 Steven Mckenzie is a Bronx native and graduate of Clark Atlanta University with a BA in Fashion design and merchandising currently freelancing in New York City. Growing up, Steven was consumed by Japanese anime, and Hip-Hop culture, which have always been present throughout all of his work ranging from women, and their beauty, to short comics about everyday life.

Working with pencil, ink, paper, acrylic paint and wood, he seeks to honor and highlight the beauty of people and culture, as well as the process of his own mind through the execution of crisp, bold, shapely, even, orderly lines and contrasting colors. Steven has always been an artist and studied art throughout various fields like charcoal, watercolor, and airbrushing from his youth, and continues to be a student of art, taking commissions as well as personal and corporate jobs, from illustrations and graphic design to wall murals. 

Over the years, he has gained experience and knowledge in production such as visual display and vinyl installation, in addition to working with heat press machines, screen printing, and tattooing. He has worked with companies such as Uniqlo and Imani Caribbean Restaurant as well as participated in RAW Artist, BX Art Factory, and Greenpoint Gallery Showcases. When he's not making art you can find Steven roller skating, eating, or hanging out with friends soaking up inspiration for new pieces.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Also https://www.instagram.com/iconikes/

The Art of Drama, Spoken Word & Music

Melissa Leraye Legions

Singer, Musical Theatrics

Melissa Leraye Legions is a native Brooklynite.
Melissa is extremely passionate about musical theater and the performing arts. She graduated from LaGuardia High School, "The Fame School", with an academic diploma endorsed in vocal music. She has also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music from Nyack College. Vocal music has afforded Melissa the opportunity to sing on some of New York City's famous stages: The Metropolitan Opera House, Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and The Brooklyn Academy of Music. 

After graduating from college Melissa began training in classical ballet at Dance for Joy Ministries. She’s currently still training and also teaches the creative dance class. Melissa is the proud single mom to the smart and talented Kayla Joie, "Joy". She currently works as an educational associate, "paraprofessional", for the Department of Education but is also the founder of Mel’s Moves, LLC, a dance and fitness company created to add movement to your lifestyle or various types of events.

 

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

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Tanya Everett

Playwright/Director/Actress
Tanya Everett hails from Mass, but grew to adulthood in Brooklyn. Her plays have been performed all over NY: including the Public, Cherry Lane, and HERE Arts Center.
Her work has seen many rounds of competitions, and most recently she was a 2019-20 Playwrights' Realm Fellow. “And The Gods Walk Among Us” was named Semi-Finalist for the Princess Grace Award and Finalist for the Lark Development Week. “A Dead Black Man,” was a Finalist for the Dramatist Guild Fellowship in 2019. She graduated in 2019 from Brooklyn College, under Mac Wellman and Erin Courtney. She won the AAUW Career Development Grant, the Truman Capote Scholarship, and the 2018 MFA in Playwriting Awards to support her academic pursuits. . She was named an Alternate for the Djerassi Resident Artist Program in California.

Her short play "Thousand Miles," was nominated for a 2019 Drama League Award with the AFO Shorts Festival. Presently, She is working on several projects in development for film and TV. Some of her teachers and mentors include: Stephen Adley Guirgis, Ellen McLaughlin, Maggie Flanigan, and Julia Jordan. She is represented by Tim Phillips and Jamie Kaye-Phillips of UTA, and Dan Halstead of Manage-ment.
She is grateful to her family, earth and chosen, for their dedication and love. A sweet rest to Linda, John, Ken, Nikki and Thelma.
When she is neither acting nor writing, Tanya enjoys homemade food, live performances, working with youth, cuddling and communing with artistic spirits.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

Patrice Johnson Chevannes

Filmmaker, Actress, Writer, Educator, Director, Executive Producer

Patrice Johnson Chevannes is an award-winning, Brooklyn-based filmmaker, actress, writer, educator, director and the executive producer of God-and-all-o-wee Productions. She was born in Jamaica, West Indies and grew up in New York City. She studied acting at The City College of New York (CUNY), graduating Phi Beta Kappa, with a BFA. Her credits include 'Racing Demon' and 'The Crucible' on Broadway with Sir Richard Eyre, where she worked with Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. Patrice also performed with Sir Patrick Stewart, opposite whom she played Desdemona, in Othello.

. Her credits include 'Pericles' with Sir Trevor Nunn (TFANA); 'Tamburlaine' with Sir Michael Boyd (TFANA); 'Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven' with Stephen Adly Guirgis with John Ortiz, (Atlantic Theater Company); 'runboyrun/In Old Age', with Awoye Timpo and Loretta Greco, (NYTW). In 2020, Patrice garnered Drama Desk and Drama League nominations for her work in 'runboyrun/In Old Age', and an Audelco nomination for her role in 'Halfway Bitches Go Straight To Heaven'. Her television credits include: Chambers (Netflix), POSE (S2), SHRILL, EVIL (Paramount+). Upcoming: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel (Amazon) and The First Ladies (Showtime). Patrice is on the faculty of The New School, where she teaches acting in The School Of Drama.

 

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

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ShaRon Hawkins

Communicator and Wordsmith

ShaRon Hawkins was chosen by CAfED to be the mistress of ceremony for our Poetry/Spoken Words Presentation. ShaRon is a retired educator who has been acclaimed as a gifted communicator and wordsmith.
She enjoys sharing her craft in a genre she has created for her works in poetry, prose and photos.

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

THE INCREDIBLE INEVITABLE JOURNEY—BLOG—https://sharonsdiary.blog

Kareem Riley

Executive Music Producer

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY; an only child in a single-parent household. At the age of 10, I purchased my own musical instrument – a toy organ. We attended a musical church and I taught myself to play, by ear.
My mom, a musician herself, realized my raw talent as I tinkered on the keys then bought me an old used baby grand piano to play.

In the Spring of 1984, I auditioned and was accepted to the Brooklyn Boys Chorus Academy, as one of the lead soloists. We preferred concert halls and made several television appearances. The following year I auditioned and was accepted, as a vocal major, at Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and the Arts. It was in high school that I developed an even deeper appreciation for all genres of music.

For the past 30 years I have been traveling the world, using my talents as a pianist, accompanying an award-winning choir and other Gospel artists. As a choral director, composer, and arranger I produced the CD “Lift Him High” with the Church of Redeemer Choir. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with other churches in developing their music curriculums.

Favorite quote-
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

 

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JBS & Company

Jazz/Funk Musicians

JBS & COMPANY is a group made up of young musical artists working collectively in the hottest clubs and venues of Brooklyn, Manhattan, Los Angeles, Miami and Europe. Their vibrant energy on the saxophone, drums, guitar combined with soothing vocals and rap is the reason why they have created such a strong global underground following in a short span of time. Their music portfolio takes you into progressive jazz, funk, smashing ballads and hip hop. Artist JBS (Julian B Soto) debuted in 2014 recording his first solo EP entitled “Julian Soto Then” filled with inspiring original songs. 

He is a lead singer/songwriter that has successfully collaborated and performed with group JIL, Japanese singer AAAMYYY in “Over My Dead Body”, producer Jimmy Lit, rapper Solomon Faye, alternative artists Richie Quake, Anna Shoemaker in “Window”  and consistently with musician Isaiah Barr and his amazing Onyx Collective. You can find their music on Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, SoundCloud, Shazam, Bandcamp, etc.

 

Please Note: Once you select the button, you are leaving CAfED website to go to the artist's private site. CAfED does not profit from any activity you take on the site.

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