The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority (DDA) will honor Black Americans’ contributions to downtown West Palm Beach this Black History Month with a series of virtual events and offerings. The centerpiece of their 2021 celebration is the series “Black Art Matters (B.A.M.),” which will highlight the talents of young Black artists in the community every Wednesday at 7 p.m. this month.
Jupiter resident and artist Arielle Charis Yebba kicked off the series on February 3. Through her paintings, Yebba aims to heal, inspire, provoke, challenge, and offer hope through her use of vibrant color and provocative composition. Palm Beach-born Vocalist and Hamilton actress Meecah and pianist Travis Dunkley joined the series on February 10 for a powerful performance.
“With so many theaters and other performing art spaces closed for almost a year now, an opportunity to perform for my hometown was a welcomed change of pace,” said Meecah. “COVID-19 has been hard for all artists, but it’s been an especially difficult year for Black artists, many of whom have deep connections to the Black Live Matters movement.”
Artist Tracy Guiteau will lend her talents to the series on February 17 as viewers watch her creative process unfold. Inspired by her Haitian heritage and independent spirit, Guiteau’s work reflects the beauty of the world around her through the use of rich color, vivid emotion, and timeless perspective. Lance Desrouleaux (a.k.a. DJ INlighten) and alto saxophonist Rashad Ian Reckley will close out the series on February 24 with a riveting performance of Afro House and Tribal Dance Music employing the musicians’ unique skills.
“According to U.S. Census data, more than one-third of West Palm Beach’s current population identifies as Black, so it’s important that we support, promote and amplify our talented Black artists during Black History Month” said Tiffany Faublas, DDA Marketing Director. “This year we retooled our focus to virtual events in order to provide programming as we continue to keep safe during the pandemic. Having the artists perform in Downtown West Palm Beach allows viewers to have a more in-person approach we hope they would enjoy.”
In addition to “B.A.M.” the DDA is also highlighting historical contributions by the Black community to Downtown, as well as existing Black-Owned Businesses. The Mandel Public Library is also hosting a series of virtual and on-site activities ranging from an African Drumming class to author discussions. All of this information can be found on the DDA’s website.