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Inaugural Black art and music event highlights local creatives

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — An inaugural event at Garfield Park Arts Center on Wednesday celebrated Black art and music while also recognizing Kwanzaa.

For many Black and minority artists around Indianapolis, getting exposure is vital. This Black music and art event is one way to do just that, but it also a chance to educate the public.

The space provides a glimpse of the varying artistic styles that help make up Indianapolis’ Black art scene. Blayne McCrary specializes in Afro futurism mixed with traditional Japanese work.

“I really wanted to push the narrative on it and figure out how to mix my Blackness in different things like that into it, and so I came up with this style,” McCrary said.

He says this offers him a chance to show off his talents to people who may have never seen his work. It also gives him the opportunity to mingle with other creatives.

“Really just see different facets of what we can do and what we can create. Just because we call it Black art, it doesn’t mean that it has to be African women, sons in Egypt and all that. We are more than that,” McCrary said.

That’s part of what the organizer Jarrod Dortch had in mind when he put all this together for Indy’s Black visual, spoken word and musical artists.

“It’s really just an opportunity for this neighborhood, this community and all of our community as a whole to get to know more about Kwanzaa,” Dortch said. “To get to know about the Black artists that are here in our town and support the community.”

Dortch is also an artist, one of the 18 who helped create the Black Lives Matter mural on Indiana Avenue. He says the exposure and opportunity that’s come from that continues to grow, and this is a way to help other area artists expand their reach.

“We have some great artists in our town. A lot of times, unless we do something major, like I was involved with the Black Lives Matter mural, unless it’s something major like that, a lot of times we don’t get recognized,” Dortch said.

Dortch says Indiana is more than corn and basketball. There’s a deep rich art culture in the state.