Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Black Magic 2: Live Art Museum

May 19th, 2018 marked the 2nd annual Black Magic Live Art Museum Event.  This event was created and put together by the Tiffney Funches and Chelsey Pough of Isupportdreams Inc. group—an organization that creates an atmosphere for creative expression for the youth and young adults in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Tiffany Funches spends the bulk of her day working with the city of Jacksonville youth at the Leadership Academy formally Eugene Butler Middle school.  During this time she is instructing her students on the importance of peer to peer learning and teaching valuable skills such as using context clues, how to define words, how to look up words.  She also instills in them cell skills such as personal accountability, self-management, and attendance.  She works with students that are just out of high school on up to 25 years of age. 

Children live in a world ran by adults who often forget that they were once children.  I step into their lives as a mentor or advocate when needed.  I try to empower them by teaching them how to advocate for themselves as well as leading by example.  I don’t hide my imperfections from the kids that I work with.  They see me make mistakes, come back and apologize.  This is important because they need to know that in life you mess up, but it’s all about how you recover from what you’ve done.”

Business partner and best friend Chelsey Pough also plays a significant role in the isupportdreams
inc. organization.  They're both two phenomenal young women brought together by their passion for their communities, their crafts and the youth.

Isupportdreams inc. was birthed about five years ago in a small room in a Moncrief apartments called Palm Terrace.  Pough and Funchess along with two others wondered how far they would be in life if they'd had positive reinforcements pushing them towards greatness in their creative lives. At the time the adults in their lives wanted them to do the regular-- finish high school, go to college, and start a career--there's nothing wrong with those goals but they all realized that their passions were not being molded as they should've been.

It was a conversation that would birth an organization that created a space for them to explore their creativity and empower the youth of Jacksonville, Florida to do the same.  It was also how the Black Magic Live Art Museum came into fruition.  The BMLAM is an event held each year in Jacksonville to showcase and show support to local black artists.

Black Magic 2 Live Art Museum Event 2018

This year’s event took place in Jacksonville’s very own somewhat hidden treasure WonderlandJax—an establishment that was specifically created for the artists in Jacksonville, Florida.  Attendees of the Black Magic 2 Live Art Museum gave positive remarks about this year’s location, stating that the experience began when you first arrive. 

Driving up to the location the first thing you see is a warehouse with different compartments. You climb a few steps strategically placed along a long wooded platform.  Guests have the choice of climbing steps or taking the lift which is an experience not all Jacksonville natives are used to but definitely adds to the whole artistic experience.

Music could be heard from outside building, and if the HoneyDripper House and Hazelnut Grill food trucks didn’t keep you outside the vibrations from the beat lulled you inside.  High Fashion models from Jacksonville’s very own Ione Fashion ModelAgency greeted every guest upon arrival and gracefully collected tickets.

From there guests were free to explore an open space filled to the brim with black expression. 

Immediately to the left were hanging works from photographer AlfonsoJarrod.  His collection included “lady in Red” series-- a tribute to strong black women that he feels magnifies their beauty-- and a fan favorite “Infinity Waters” a moment he captured while at the beach during sunrise.  Jarrod admits that he loves sharing his perspective of the world through his camera lens and hopes to start conversations with his works.

Dominic Haynes better known as Rex-D, a designer who provided the audience with some live art using only trash bags and duct tape.  He was inspired by episodes of project Runway and various YouTube videos.  Rex-D admits that he was nervous but definitely up for the challenge.  Last year’s event he presented a full collection of his designs but stated he wanted to do something a little different this year.  He really wowed the crowd with how quickly he was able to construct a two piece gown together.  He’s looking forward to the day when he can see his brand everywhere and dress his
favorite muse Rihanna for one of her many glamorous events.

Alexis Harley debuted her collection of paintings named “TheMind of A”.  She admits that all of her paintings are inspired by her imagination.  Her series of paintings are filled with vibrant colors but are layered with so much meaning.  Some of her paintings speak about fear and control.  Harley’s been in the art world for 4 years.  She started her journey after taking an art class during her freshman year in college.  Since then she has developed a great love for artistic expression.  She stated that she doesn’t really have a style just yet but rather, just paints whatever makes her happy.  She admits that she is still developing as an artist.  Harley is an artist to keep up with because in a few years she will be more developed and will have a lot to say with her art.

Jacksonville native, Aset is a self-taught artist who showcases her artistry through painting.  She has works that are now featured and can be purchased at Zsa Zsa Lapree Art Gallery in Jacksonville, Florida.  Aset admits that she’s only been painting for two years.  Her first works were debuted at last year’s event but since then she’s created a whole new collection that was featured at this year’s show.  Aset has a unique artistic voice that speaks volumes about the beauty, sensuality and complexity of the Black woman. 

Attendees of the BMLAM constantly admired the works of Kiations “Adam and Eve” three-piece set.  Kiations admits that what she ended up with was not her initial vision but the end results speak volumes about her skills. 

Other artists that featured their works included photographer Larry Key, Sonye Locksmith, Dante Jennings, FOXX, and Tavian Teage .

The “House of Xhaos Dance & Co.” presented art in the form of dance, Share and Seed Academy blessed the audience with their artistic expression through song and Ebonie, Keisha and Johnakesha presented a fashion runway show like you’ve never seen before.  Most runways shows send their models down the catwalk while blasting house or techno music, these ladies sent their fashions down with their voices.  It was a great experience that allowed you to enjoy fashion with a message.

The hosts of the evening were none other than iOne Fashion model Takerra and Taryn “LoveReigns” Wharwood.  LoveReigns is a poet that has been performing for over 10 years and is the cofounder of “The Cypher” and open mic poetry event. 

Along with the art and entertainment were vendors that offered a taste of Jacksonville’s hidden treasures.  Unapologetically Single is definitely one of those treasures that celebrate the single black woman.  This organization brought an array of items that included buttons with clever slogans, journals, natural soaps, apparel, and beauty products that are very affordable. 

The Elite Group which is a company that specializes in event management, marketing and promotions for small business clients came to show support as well.

Many attendees had nothing but positive remarks about the event.  First time attendee Sharletta Stephens stated that the BMLAM2 “was the best event she’s attended in a very long time” and she was happy to have been invited. 

Writer, Producer and Rap artist RIZM attended and thought that it was awesome that black artists got together to support each other.  “It was good to see that black people were able to get together and showcase their artistry in a positive environment.  This doesn’t happen enough here in Jacksonville. The artwork was phenomenal.” 

Photo: Edward Denson

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