Our Arts Journey this Saturday began at a quaint boutique NVIME nestled on 34th Street right across from the Adinkra Cultural Arts Studios in Mount Rainier where our Sankofa Homeschool Collective meets on Fridays from 9am to 2:45pm. Brother Glandus Thorne one part of the family owned business proudly shares his family's humble beginnings "I remember when we weren't able to afford to purchase this property" where they now successfully retail couture art, custom, hand-made unique accessories and clothing. Bro. Glandus recounts how he built the boutique with his own hands "This space was too small so, I had to knock out the bathroom and reconfigure it to make room for our vision." The chic and elegant showroom features refurbished vintage furniture pieces which serve as displays. Bro. Glandus does more than just provide a new shopping gem on 34th Street in Mount Rainier, he inspires others to be confident and push past seemingly impenetrable walls.
Next we ventured across the road to the Gateway Open Studios Artist Incubator building where artist lofts serve as residences and working studios. I made a new acquaintance and community neighbor, Mount Rainier Artist Lofts resident and artist Nicole Moore. Ms. Moore's versatile creations include one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces and handbags as well as two-dimensional artwork. But what I most remember about Sis. Nicole was how important her grandmother was in shaping the artist and woman she is today and, her grandmother's love and wisdom weaves through every one of her art pieces. Affectionately known as Moe Moe, she utilizes sterling silver, fine silver, semi-precious stones, wood, leather, crystals and shells in her art pieces. These semi-precious stones are not only appealing to the eye; they are used for their healing properties as well.
|Moe Moe, Nani and I building community.|
|One of my favorite pieces.|
|Laughter is healing.|
|Learning about each other's life stories|
Walking down the corridor of Gateway, I felt a stronger sense of familiarity not just with the streets I've been traveling to and fro' (WDC) for almost two months now, but with the people and families who live, work, play and create in Mount Rainier. On my way to the Adinkra Cultural Arts Studios' 4:30 drumming performance I was greeted by Anne L'Ecuyer, Founder and Phase 3 Project Director at Art Lives Here. Before I realized it, Anne was sharing information about summer arts camps for Nani who is a budding visual artist and fashion designer. Notwithstanding Anne's extensive arts management portfolio which, includes everything from published research scholarship on funding and development in the arts to teaching at American University and her work with Americans for the Arts, Anne's demeanor was personable and warm. I parted knowing I would be returning to Gateway City Open Studios to learn how I can contribute to the work resurrecting desolate spaces in our new home - The DMV.
The Adinkra Cultural Arts Studios (ACAS) located at 3804 34th Street, Mount Rainier, MD is The hub for African-centered mind-body-soul well-being and living. Because of ACAS the Sankofa Homeschool Collective and Little Genius African-centered STEM program have a place they call home. At ACAS Little Genius and Sankofa home school families from all over the DMV area come together on a weekly basis to cooperatively empower our children through co-op classes in math, STEM, pan-African history, journalism, sewing and drumming. If you are an African-centered homeschooler come check us out! Here are some pics of Djembe players ranging from 8 to 11 years old accompanied by dancers. More info to come on the beautiful vibrant culture happening on 34th street, stay tuned.
|Farafina Kan May 14, 2016 Gateway OST Performance|
I'll let these images speak for themselves...
I believe Love n Vision = Art
And, Art is the Heart of the Community