A Forum for Black Artists

By Danna Beltran


The band Love N’co during their set.

Photo: Brian Slattery


People viewing the art pieces laid out for purchase

Photo: Lucy Gellman 

A craft fair held on Saturday, August 28th in New Haven, brought the arts back to its streets with a message. The event was organized by Connecticut Against Brutality and Dymin Ellis of Artspace, with the necessary social distancing and masks. To allow Black artists to engage in an art fair that focuses on young artists and creative entrepreneurs. Allowing them to have direct contact with the public in these times of uncertainty.


Black arts matters’ mission is “to create a profitable platform for Black artists, and make their artwork accessible for locals and pedestrians to be inspired and ignited by the power of art.” The organizers wanted to speak out on how the pandemic has affected the Black community, with its ongoing news of police brutality having them state, “With events cancelled and galleries closed most of us have had a hard time financially.” To battle those cancellations and subsequent hard times they attempted to “animate the Black Lives Matter movement in Connecticut by making Black art and artists accessible.” Many types of artists were eager to join from visual artists, clothing designers, and craftspeople. Not to mention the event also featured a variety of musical and poetical performances throughout the day, which lured many people to attend.        

As quarantine gave us all time to do things we’ve all wanted to try, it also gave artists time to create new art with inspiration left to spare. As the band Love N’Co proved with their set. The drummer Eli Farland and guitarists Lamar Smith and Grey with singer Lovelind Richards blessed the crowd with what they had been working on during quarantine. Each performer had a 20 minute set.       

Instead of having tables with the original art, each artist sent printable pictures of their work to the organizers. All prints were priced at $20 to make it possible for artists to be more likely paid. Where as, a small group of vendors set up tables for the more hands-on creative products. Like a pair of siblings from Westville, Sage and Farrin Paglia that were selling their customly designed Air Force 1 shoes. They were also joined by a 21 year-old student from SCSU, Sydney Bell who is a multimedia artist who does photography, videography, graphic design, and illustration. She attended the fair to sell her clothes that she started making last year. Some pieces were vintage jerseys with vinyl-printed designs on them. Others she cut and sewed herself, and created one-of-a-kind designs for them. Bell says that her inspiration for her line of clothing is to create “memorabilia for an HBCU.” But her overall aspiration in life is “to be an inspiration” herself, which at the end of the day isn’t that all we want? To inspire others to be who they want and do what they want no matter the obstacles. This event truly did show that, by creating an environment where young black artists can inspire and be inspired by the atmosphere surrounding them. Now wouldn’t it be great for the Black artist in our Bay Area community to have the same type of event for us to appreciate their art?