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It’s a season of expansion at ARTE NOIR. Not only have we further solidified our commitment to our physical community, fulfilling our mission to create a permanent space for the celebration of Black art and culture, by completing our purchase of the space, but we are also fulfilling our commitment to spotlight the talents of Black writers.


Thanks to The Gathering Collaborative Grant to Address Racism as a Public Health Crisis, we are now able to hire contributing writers to these pages. This is a huge milestone for us, and the fulfillment of a desire to seed revenue to Black artists across the creative spectrum. Our first guest writer Georgia McDade was featured last month, and this month we are excited to hear from South African dancer/choreographer/author Gregory Maqoma. I had the privilege of meeting Maqoma almost 18 years ago as he led a dance festival in Johannesburg and twice had the honor of working with organizations to present his work in Seattle. The reverence Gregory has for his ancestors and his lineage, have consistently been at the center of his work, while also inspiring for the future. We are so excited to introduce this great artist and thinker to our readers as a way to expand our relationships with people on the African continent. We can't forget that as Africans in America, we stood firm against apartheid rule, and as we strive to eliminate the harmful effects of racism in America, we draw closer to our ancestry and learn from their struggles for freedom.


In addition to expanding the base of writers, this grant is also supporting our strategic planning process, and a Black artist roster project that you’ll hear more about in the coming months.


What an honor to be entrusted with funds that are targeted for our wellbeing. For our non-Black readers, we hope that you will find information shared here to be of benefit toward enhancing your understanding of the ways in which Black people continue to use creativity as a means for achieving greater health and wholeness.


Black History is prevalent in our world every day of the year, but February always gives us the opportunity to reflect, envision our future, and learn from the past. The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma is currently hosting a traveling exhibit focused on the 1968 Poor People’s Campaign. Solidarity Now from the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture illuminates an often-overlooked history of a multicultural movement to confront poverty that redefined justice and activism in America. A reminder that rights movements in America for all people, have always included the voices and actions of African Americans.


Make February a time to intentionally learn more history, honor history, and make history! In the spirit of Sankofa, take time to look back while making a way forward.

Vivian Phillips, Founder + Board President

5 stylish Black men and women laugh and pose for a camera
Celebrating our ownership and Aramis Hamer's exhibit opening last month


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