To commemorate , Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Senator Shelley B. Mayer will host “Black Art As Resistance.” The event will be held via Zoom on Feb. 22 at 6:00 pm., and will feature performances by local artists, and a discussion on the ways art can be used as a form of resistance and healing.
The Senators will be joined by The Little Blue Room Theatre Company; Shanequa Benitez, artist, activist and entrepreneur; Katori Walker, multimedia artist and educator; Ray Wilcox, Executive Director of Yonkers Arts; Evan Bishop, Artist; and Dr. Silvia M. Lloyd, educator and author.
S Stewart-Cousins said, “I can’t think of a more fitting theme for this year’s Black History Month than “Resistance.” This month is an opportunity to acknowledge the past, work towards a more equal future, and celebrate the contributions and progress of the Black community. In keeping with the 2023 national theme, our program will highlight local Black artists who use their art as resistance. I look forward to the event and thank my co-host Senator Mayer and the excellent guests who will be joining us.”
Mayer said, “I am proud to join Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins in co-hosting a celebration for Black History Month. This year’s theme, ‘Black Art as Resistance,’ recognizes the importance and power of art to transform and build a more just society. Tomorrow’s event provides an opportunity for local artists to express their contributions to this effort through their performances. I know this will be an important celebration, and I hope it will inspire New Yorkers to identify the importance of art as healing and resistance in our communities. Thank you to Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins and to all the exceptional participants in this event.”
The event will also be streamed on Facebook: Facebook.com/Andrea.StewartCousins.
About the guests:
The Little Blue Room Theatre Company of the Theodore D. Young Community Center of The Town of Greenburgh is a premier Black and multicultural theater company in Westchester County. The company will present “The Poetry Suite,” which is a recitation of the “The Negro Mother” by Langston Hughes and “Rise” and “Phenominal Woman” by Maya Angelou. It will be performed by Tee Sudderth, Tanisha Downey and Olivoa Hunter, and directed by Paul Kwame Johnson.
Ray Wilcox is the Director of Yonkers Arts, a premier, all encompassing, minority-led art non-profit organization that features a fine art gallery and performing arts space located within Yonkers’ Carpet Mills Arts District while offering programs and resources. The Yonkers Arts Project Space spans approximately 4000 square feet and features six exhibitions annually.
Shanequa Benitez is a Yonkers-born and based Black LGBTQ artist, activist and entrepreneur. Her art reflects the pain and beauty of the struggle to not just survive, but to thrive. Ms. Benitez was Yonkers Arts’ first Artist in Residence. She debuted her solo exhibition “But It’s Ours: The Redline Between Poverty & Wealth” at the Yonkers Arts Project Space and Gallery. Across the work in the exhibition, she explores redlining and its effects in Yonkers, which was one of the last cities in the United States to battle desegregation lawsuits up until the early nineties.
Evan Bishop is a Yonkers-based artist whose portfolio includes being a board member of Yonkers Arts, curating art exhibits, beautifying communities with interior and exterior murals, painting family and individual portraits, designing digital art for business branding, facilitating art classes for all ages as well as producing fun and engaging community art projects. Mr. Bishop is a three-time ArtsWestchester grant award recipient. He is making significant contributions to the current art scene in Yonkers.
Katori Walker is a self-taught multimedia artist, spoken word performer, muralist, and educator. She specializes in children’s illustrations and mixed media. Ms. Walker is the co-creator of the 100 Words Of Wisdom Exhibit which involved the body art and photography of 141 seniors. She also co-curated the YES YONKERS! Community Project which involved over 1,200 children and adults. In addition to commissioned art pieces, Ms. Walker has murals in Yonkers and her Katori Kids can be seen on community garden sheds in the Bronx.
Dr. Silvia M. Lloyd is an educator of 20 years, born and bred in Buffalo, NY. Dr. Lloyd earned her doctorate degree in executive leadership from St. John Fisher College in Rochester. During her more than 20 years in education, Dr. Lloyd worked in three of the “Big 5” school districts in New York State—Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City—as well as in school districts in Westchester County. Most recently, Dr. Lloyd authored “The Buffalo 10 Massacre: Spoken Word Poetry for Healing and Understanding.”