Artists Shed New Light on History of African-American Communities

National Museum of African American History and Culture illuminated at night.
Photo credit: Alan Karchmer/NMAAHC

Artists Building Capacity as World Citizens hosted “Black Towns in 19th-century America,” a program about the experience of African-American life in the US, presented by Brad Randolph and Kevin Wade Mitchell at the Women’s City Club in Portsmouth, NH, Nov. 26, 2017.

The artists were the recipients of ABC-WC scholarships that funded their visit to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. last August. ABC-WC awarded the scholarships as part of its collaboration with the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, in honor of the UN Decade for People of African Descent.

Brad Randolph

Both men have long been active in the evolution and growth of the Portsmouth Black Heritage Trail. This organization, established in 1995, works to preserve, celebrate and honor the history and culture of the African-American community in Portsmouth and the New Hampshire region, from its colonial-era African Burying Ground to the modern Civil Rights Movement. The Trail, which serves as a model across the country for raising public awareness and appreciation of local Black history, recently evolved into a larger statewide organization, the Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire.
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Student Art Creates Local Awareness of Global Goals

The streets in Dover, New Hampshire, were a flurry of activity April 7 at the city’s first-Friday Artwalk, held at its historic Washington Street Mills.

Included in the event’s unique gallery were 12 selected works from students in grades 5 and 6 of the Seacoast Charter School. Each, accompanied by the student’s artist statement, was focused on one of the 17 themes of the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development.

The exhibit, coordinated by the school’s art teacher, Hannah Pasquale, was part of The Art of Serving Global Goals, an ongoing collaboration between ABC World Citizens and the Seacoast Charter School that began last fall. The project aims to increase students’ awareness of and engagement with the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development while enhancing their sense of world citizenship. It is also designed to demonstrate the highly effective role that the arts have to play in promoting unity, understanding, and the appreciation for sustainability that the Global Goals embody.

As a continuous flow of parents, fellow students, grandparents and other visitors viewed the works on exhibit, the students’ artistic efforts inspired thoughtful questions and meaningful conversation. The young artists’ creative expression was already increasing awareness about the Global Goals and building connections in the community around them.

“Art has the power to transform, to illuminate, to educate, inspire and motivate change for the betterment of the world,” notes ABC-WC board member Inger Gregory. Inger previously worked as an art educator in New Hampshire.

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