Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) Gala: What Makes A Legend event. The NBAF is dedicated to advancing the arts and the contributions of artists of African descent, and to celebrate its 30-year anniversary as the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the country, the nonprofit organized a stellar event including, great food, music, and, of course, art by distinguished local Atlanta Artists for guests to bid on.
As a leader within our People and Culture Department at Dragon Army, I felt privileged to represent our company and support an organization that is in-line with our corporate values of Celebrating Diversity and Doing Good.
Judy Hanenkrat, who oversees Special Events and Fundraising at the NBAF, said something that really resonated with me, “The NBAF isn’t just for Black people, it’s for all of us.” This nugget of truth is incredibly important because all human progress is driven by creativity, which is one of the many reasons Dragon Army is proud to support an organization that celebrates the successes that come with advancing the arts and contributions of artists of African descent. Below I’ve outlined the top reasons the NBAF is for everyone:
Solidarity and Support
Vikki Millender-Morrow, CEO of NBAF, said it best, “It’s 2018 and there is still a very small percentage of artist of African descent that are able to make a living as an artist.” In addition to this, there are still racial and socioeconomic disparities within art education and funding. To address these inequalities, the NBAF promotes diversity by supporting young artists. Its school-based education programs provide artistic and professional development for public school students to improve their academic success and open pathways to higher education. The NBAF Festival, Gala and other events celebrate champions of Black culture and provide a much-needed space for solidarity in turbulent sociopolitical times. Why is this important? It is important because unity is strength and when faced with adversity, it is necessary to realize our connectedness. This realization also allows us to understand how our actions and inactions impact those around us.
Celebration of Culture
The NBAF understands that celebrating culture and diversity isn’t ignoring differences, but truly allowing people with differing perspectives to have their voices be heard and stories told. The NBAF offers performances, commissioned works, visual arts programs and arts education, as well as, public programs to local, national and international audiences.
Transcension and Progress
Progress begins when you start asking the right questions. At the end of the What Makes a Legend event, Vikki Millender-Morrow did just that by asking, “How do we have art across sectors? How do we merge art with education? How do we use art to better health outcomes? How do we use art to really increase the economic vitality of the city of Atlanta? How do we use art to cross cultures... to cross generations?” These are the types of questions that excite and motivate our Dragons. When we are able to challenge ourselves as well as others within our community, we are able to truly use our privilege and power to create equitable communities.
Dragon Army strives to Inspire Happiness as a company, and partnering with organizations like the NBAF is one way we’re making a positive impact on our local community.
By: Khadijah Hall, Operations Coordinator at Dragon Army