Friday, September 15, 2017


while dancing with my comrades a couple weekends ago at a music festival celebrating black culture and punk/alternative music (the aptly named afropunk fest), we took a moment to stop by the booth the met museum had set up.  i confess i wasn't sure their participation was a good fit.  turns out it was pretty spectacular: prints of works in their collection for making collages and turning into buttons; metal supplies for making jewelry (the majority of which ended up as crowns and tiaras); and printed papers and sewing supplies for paper jewelry.  they also had prints of interesting jewelry from their collection on display for inspiration.  the best thing they contributed to the spirit of the event, though, was an unassuming chalkboard on which were written two simple questions; "how can art make a difference?" and "why does art matter?"  that, plus a bucket of chalk, was all the people needed.

kim at afropunk brooklyn
these are some of the responses that festival participants wrote, in no particular order:

Art puts words to the unspoken
Art is honest
Art makes us feel more ALIVE
It allows me to be free!
Art creates love
Art allows us to ask questions that can change the world!!
It is how I am heard
It opens the mind to different consciousness
Art is the key to expressing the soul. --PD
"It is an artist's job to reflect the times" -- Nina Simone
Art provides purpose
Because it lets me be the best & worst part of myself while healing
It makes us whole!
Because when we make art there's no war!
Speaking truth!
Art is a universal language
THROUGH ACTIVISM (think music -> sam cooke OR gordon parks)
Connects us to 1 another*
We all we got. But we're all we need
Art brings light to darkness
It can make the world more GAY!
Art is all we are

if you read my post after charlottesville, you know these questions have been on my mind.  the most comforting thing about the collective answer, for me right now, is that it doesn't speak only to "protest" art.  all art heals.  and maybe art where black folks express our joy, even more so.  ❤


*my own modest entry.


  1. First Corinthians Baptist Church put a huge blackboard outside the church and it too was filled. Sorry to say I cannot remember the theme. However it makes me think of the art hanging outside St. Mary’s the theme being live, live, live, peace, peace, peace and last and definitely not least “let’s love one another”. I think it is what we all want and don’t know how to express it and not feel clumped. For those that can are the real “CHAMPS”.🌻

  2. Replies
    1. love the connection you make between this festival chalkboard and the "reflective" art outside st. mary's church in harlem! Yes, so hard to be vulnerable...