As many Austinites celebrate Juneteenth this year with parades as well as reminiscing about the past accomplishments of African-American in Texas, I spent Saturday evening in awe of some of the accomplishments of Austin's growing number of African-American artists.
Art is Cool series, developed, filmed, and curated by local indie director, Funmi Ogunro, showcased impressive works of art from African-American artists. From bold sparkling abstract pieces to pop-culture art to digital collages on emotional topics. Nothing was left unsaid. It's a good thing I ran out of wall space for framed art, because that was the only thing keeping me from buying more of the stunning pieces I came across from Ethan Parker, Dawn Okoro, Hakeem Adewumi, Cindy Elizabeth, Beth Consetta Rubel, and Timika Mitchell.
To compliment the artwork, there was a constant stream of jazz and blues in the courtyard from Kristin Trotty and Friends, as well the familiar smell of Franklin's BBQ, that generated the legendary lines we have come to love (or vex). Kelene Blake-Fallon, a well-known poet in Austin, captivated the rest of us with spoken word poetry; and at several points during the evening, the raffles draw for donated artwork made some people incredibly happy!
The atmosphere was supportive and jovial, akin to a family reunion. I bumped into so many familiar faces, those I knew well and others I would come to know even better. Art is Cool also created a space to meet aspiring creatives, to have great conversations with other attendees, and to plan future collaborations. Funmi's event has definitely moved beyond being a web series and an art show to be something that the community needs: a place to see art, build connections, and thrive together.