MANCHESTER, NH –ART NABE (think “neighborhood”) is being hosted July 15-17 by BLKSHE, a multidisciplinary art haus constructing narratives of creative freedom with no bounds. Manchester’s YWCA will be the site for a pop-up arts market featuring Asian, Black, Hispanic, Latino and other locally underrepresented small business owners and creatives.
M, a woman of color and a media and communications major from Temple University, is the driving force behind BLKSHE. She said, “ART NABE is for everyone in the community to experience and enjoy. Its intended purpose is to highlight, showcase and uplift local small businesses and creatives with an emphasis on the underrepresented communities who would not ordinarily have the means or opportunities to broadly exhibit their talents in Manchester.”
Visual artists, performing artists, artisans and food vendors will all be represented at the pop-up arts market on the first floor of the YWCA. ART NABE kicks off Friday night July 15 with a meet-and-greet with the vendors in partnership with Boards & Brews at the Y space, and concludes Sunday with self-care activities. Saturday is for shopping and meeting the artists and vendors, which will span across different mediums of creativity, says M. Saturday night will have live entertainment. Tickets are $5 for the pop-up markets or $35 for all of the weekend’s activities and tickets are available at Eventbrite.com. There are 11 performing artists lined up, including Hip Hop and R&B.
At this time Lobster Proper, Mammar’s Place and Sleazy Vegan are aboard as food vendors.
“Our team has been planning this event for the past year, and started doing the groundwork, outreach to partners, grant applications, marketing prep, etc. ten months ago,” M said.
ART NABE was awarded a $10,000 Community Plan and Activation Grant by the City. The monies come from the Federal American Plan Act. The complete list of partners is the City of Manchester, New Hampshire State Council on the Arts, YWCA New Hampshire, Boards & Brews, The Collective Studios, SCORE of Merrimack Valley, Cross Insurance, the NAACP-Manchester Branch, Granite State Credit Union, and The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire.
“I’ve been very appreciative of our partners,” M said. “It’s nice to know that there are people in the community that believe in my project and believe in this Manchester event. I have a lot of love for them.”
M sees a smaller event for next year but in 2024 upscaling to a larger event again. She’s encouraging other area businesspeople to attend the Friday night gathering in hope they will think about partnering or displaying a pop-up in the future.
“When I envisioned this project – I’m a very ambitious person,” M continued, “I think about things on a larger scale, always. I do know how to scale back when the time comes but it’s always grand. I don’t think that’s ever going to change. Because of how hard my team has been working and all the time they’ve put in –everyone has had to make sacrifices – I want to give them time to recoup, to think of some other things we can possibly do, and to get more people involved that we had initially reached out to.”
In short, a labor of love works best when it can continue to be loved.
BLKSHE has also been putting together a public art exhibition in New York City, likely at Staten Island at one of the waterfront parks. The event is titled “Orientation: The Voice of the Youth.” M connected with an elementary teacher of 5th and 6th graders on Staten Island while she was an undergraduate. She also plans on having youth of color elsewhere display artwork through the 603 Project, part of her Kamara Foundation.
According to Thebump.com, “Kamara” is a gender-neutral name of African origin meaning “chameleon.” Babynamer.com tags it as generally a girl’s name that means “like the moon.”
Both meanings imply continuous change and represent M’s high-energy level precisely. ART NABE promises to be both ambitious and entertaining for all.