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Blackout Arts Collective

Award Recipients - 2002

Bryonn Bain, George Martinez, Taij Moteelall & Reisha Phills, Co-Founders

www.blackoutartscollective.com

The BLACKOUT Arts Collective (BAC) is a nonprofit organization working to “empower communities of color through the arts, education and activism.”  BAC brings together artists and activists to “utilize the arts as a tool to address social, political and economic issues and to develop solutions for critical concerns facing communities of color.  Their work educates, inspires and brings to the forefront topics such as the expanding prison industrial complex, police brutality, domestic violence, lack of art programs in public schools, and voter registration.”  Started in New York City in 1997, BAC supports artists of color and creates a dynamic area for dialogue.  Its creative approach to political education has influenced artists in other cities who have created Blackout chapters in Boston, Philadelphia, New Haven and Houston.

The BLACKOUT Arts Collective organizes monthly showcases featuring artists of color who perform music, dance, poetry/spoken word, drama, hip-hop, and display visual art within an integrated even focused on a specific theme.  By the end, distinctions among artists, activist and audience blur in an exchange of information and dialogue around common social justice concerns. BAC organizes youth programs at community spaces and schools, using performing arts to engage in dialogue about contemporary issues.  “Lyrics on Lockdown:  Slamming the Prison Industrial Complex” is an annual national tour to youth detention facilities, prisons, and schools.  BAC’s listserve keeps members informed about activities where they can perform to support community-organizing efforts.


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