(CHICAGO) -- Attendees experienced the sights, sounds and tastes of the Diaspora at a press conference to kick off the 26th Annual African Festival of the Arts (AFA) on Wednesday, June 17 at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts on the campus of the University of Chicago. The press conference was a precursor to the Festival, which will be held Labor Day Weekend in Washington Park. The AFA, a production of African International House (AIH), is the largest event of its kind held in the U.S. with a focus on African arts and culture. Serving as Grand BaBa for this year is Congressman Danny Davis and Grand YeYe is Veranda Dickens, President of Seaway Bank. K’Jon will perform on Friday, September 5.
Emmy-award winning jazz/R&B vocalist Joan Collaso, Percussionist Taylor Moore, Olu Shakoor, Drummer from the Drum Village and mesmerizing instrumentalist Sax Preacher performed at the press conference; Artist Dana Todd Pope brought her signature artwork; Artifacts and art from African Treasures; Wearable Art by Dana Easter and Akese StyleLines Designs showcased their clothing; and food was provided by vendors participating in this years Fest including the Senegalese themed Yassa African Restaurant, West Indies Bakery and Qt’s Sweets. Past Grand BaBa Richard Steele and YeYe Carol Adams were in attendance.
The AFA is a destination event, drawing individuals and families from across the country to the Festival grounds in Chicago’s Washington Park, one of the finalist for locating the Obama Presidential Library. Attendees are transported across the Diaspora with the AFA’s authentic Drum & African-folk Village, Children and Family Pavilion, Wellness Village and Books and Authors, Fine Art, Film and Video Pavilions in conjunction with the Gene Siskel Center. Visitors can sample the tastes of the Diaspora in the Bank of the Nile Food Court, and get hands on with activities including quilting, Black Doll making and collecting in the African Marketplace. Available for your shopping pleasure are museum quality, collectible artifacts, colorful and richly hand-woven fabric and textiles.
Confirmed sponsors for this year’s event are the University of Chicago, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Comcast, Urban Partners, American Family Insurance, Cup-Cake Wine, PNC Bank, Nunatt and the AC Green Show. Media sponsors include NBC 5 Chicago, Ice Theaters and WVON Radio, The Talk of Chicago.
For information visit www.aihusa.org.
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