North End community to hold Urban Expressions Art Festival
By Steve Furay
Special to the Michigan Citizen
The North End Urban Expressions Art Festival: The Healing II is scheduled for the weekend of August 21-24, highlighted by an all day event on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. that will bring art, poetry and music to the Oakland Avenue Community Garden & Greenhouse, located on 9354 Oakland Avenue in Detroit.
“It began as an event to encourage youth to positive self expression through the visual and performing arts,” said Jamii Tata of the Oakland Avenue Artist’s Coalition at last year’s inaugural festival. “We got the community behind us and we turned it out to have an event that ended up having eight murals done by community artists, four by youth of the North End, and then four by adult artists in Detroit, and we also had many many artists come to rock on the stage.”
The festival is intended to be another step closer toward the revitalization of the North End district, an area that like much of the city has been ravaged by crime and blight, however remains a viable, close-knit community determined to see the area uplifted despite years of struggle.
The Oakland Avenue Farmers’ Market will be open on Saturday for festival attendees, which will begin with the Illuminate Poetry Slam on Thursday from 6-9 p.m. at the Bureau of Emergent Urbanity, located 8326 Oakland Avenue. On Friday evening there will be a film screening at the Oakland Avenue Community Garden, and on Sunday will be the North End Soup at 4 p.m., an opportunity for small community based projects to be funded through proceeds of the sale a meal of soup and salad.
“A lot of people are interested in seeing this space be reclaimed and transformed,” said Tata, “one of big things about this event, through the process, has been how do we sustain this movement? We don’t want to just have a one day event, that’s great for the community. We actually wanted it to be more.”