Art NueVo: A New Way of Approaching Community Art

Artists came together Saturday to put on an event celebrating local art. Credit: Neriah Santiago

Artists came together Saturday to put on an event celebrating local art. Credit: Neriah Santiago

Rochester artists are incredibly creative and Saturday night’s event at the French Quarter Cafe is proof. Art NueVo brought together a number of community creators to share and bask in each other’s talents, putting on a show for the community.

“Art NueVo is an art exhibition with a party feel to it. There’s live music and poetry but most importantly it is a space welcoming art culture and unity, which is the overall mission,” said the coordinator of the event, an artist who goes by the name Nahjay Halo.

The concept of Art NueVo was created by Halo and event coordinators July Ent. Their goal was to give local artists an opportunity to share their craft and connect with the community:

“The name Art NueVo derives from the artistic movement Art Nouveau. Art Nouveau arose in 1890 and gave way to Art Deco in 1905. It was focused on modernizing architectural and decorative design, and graphic art. Many art forms were included in the movement, therefore Art NueVo aims to expose artists of all different styles.”

The first hour gave guests time to mingle and look at the paintings on display. Artists Halo, Jahlil Whitehead, Quinno, Declan Farley, and J vars Bien all featured their paintings, which had cultural/historical inspiration.

“I love that it was a space where black people could just be free and experience all that art could offer,” said Ariana Highsmith, an artist in attendance. “Every piece spoke to me that night, and not just the visual art. So many different levels of music were represented that night. And winning a painting was the perfect ending. I definitely left feeling full, artistically. I hope that this space can be created again sometime in the near future.”

19398659_809026115939764_1415221545_nLocal DJ Kai Gorilla was on the turntables, giving us all the feels and having the whole crowd singing along with Childish Gambino’s “Redbone.” Later,  the music portion of the event, during which local singers performed was hosted by Roc Bottom’s  Shaq A.O.R Payne who opened the night with a poem about starving artists. Payne and Anderson Allen that touched on topics involving racism, classism and police brutality.

There were some debut artists in the house as well. David Bernard, for example, shared two original pieces so comfortably on stage no one could have ever guessed he was a first timer.Following David Bernard were, David Hall and Jhavone Walker, a handsome acoustic duo. It was their second time performing. These two also shared two original pieces and were absolutely incredible. With love songs giving a male perspective, catchy melodies and hooks, the crowd was singing along in no time. Both Hall and Walker had very soulful voices, captivating the audience with their smooth runs, the boys received a standing ovation.

KZA K’Lee closed out the show with his live beat making. If there was anyone there that didn’t know who he was, they were in awe during his performance. Giving us all the 90s vibes with some futuristic twists and chops, cutting, mixing, and producing right on stage, the crowd was fixated.

Ishmael Raps, Daughters of ArT, Rae Chung, Bryan Sampson Jr, Frederick Douglass, Joseph Mangano and Afi Be were some veteran art appreciators that were in the crowd. The French Quarter was packed with about 80 people on the second floor for this event. The lack of seating and the heat did not phase anyone that came for the peach cobbler and art and they definitely were not disappointed.

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