FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Viola T. Johnson
African-American Artists Organize Fourth Annual Douglas Redd Cultural Summit
(Summit named in honor of artist and cofounder of Ashé Cultural Arts Center)
(New Orleans, LA) Inspired by the legacy of iconic visual artist Douglas Redd, who died in 2007, local cultural workers have sent out a call to African-American artists in all disciplines to gather for a The Douglas Redd Cultural Summit on Saturday, March 17, 2012 from 10 AM to 3 PM at Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. This year's focus is on health and entrepreneurship.
Under the summit's theme, Banding Together, musicians, museum workers, visual artists, actors, Mardi Gras Indians, art gallery heads, writers, poets, social aid and pleasure clubs, night club owners, digital media developers, photographers, cultural center directors, and community activists are invited to attend an all-day session of panel discussions, performances, networking, and organizing designed to provide cultural workers with the tools and direction to become more involved in rebuilding and sustaining the New Orleans community.
This year's summit includes a health fair which opens with a yoga ritual led by Swami Jendra. Discussions on wellness, housing, insurance, creative entrepreneurship and a creative partnership exercise will fill the day. The finale-a drum and dance circle-will be presented by Congo Square Preservation Society. Other organizational and individual presenters involved are the Fatherhood Consortium, LaCare Health Services, Neighborhood Housing Development Foundation, Rhodes Life Insurance Company, Carol Bebelle, Barbara Lacen-Keller, Arthur Pfister, Goodwork Network, Hope Community Credit Union, the Idea Village, and Side by Side.
The Douglas Redd Cultural Summit is the brainchild of Congo Square Foundation head, Luther Gray. Gray, a consummate African drummer and leader of the percussion and dance group Bamboula 2000, started the Summit as a step toward engaging the local arts community in social action efforts to rebuild New Orleans with a sense of the signature cultural heritage which makes New Orleans unique in the world. "In Douglas Redd's memory, many of us decided to come together to make sure New Orleans was rebuilt with a sense of retaining its cultural heritage. We will organize and sustain an effort to continue rebuilding New Orleans with a sense of its soul; to work on getting more displaced New Orleanians and cultural workers back home, and to become a force for equitable and just rebuilding and sustaining of the City we love," said Luther Gray.
Redd was an artist and native New Orleanian. He died on July 18, 2007 after battling cancer. Redd was accomplished in graphic arts, sculpture, wood cuts and jewelry making. The self-proclaimed guardian of cultural symbols established Redd House in 1993, and produced a wide range of creative, customized graphic art and design work. From 1977 to 2001 Redd was the design artist for the Congo Square Area of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and in 1995 he was commissioned to design the logo for the Essence Music Festival. Perhaps Redd's most important work was a series of five installations known as "Efforts of Grace." Celebrating the indomitable spirit of Africans and African Americans, the works were given a Cultural Olympiad Recognition Award and made part of the 1996 Olympics. In 1998, along with community activist Carol Bebelle, Redd founded and established the Ashé Cultural Arts Center in New Orleans. Redd served as associate and artistic director for the center until his death.
The Douglas Redd Cultural Summit is sponsored by Ashé Cultural Arts Center, LaCare, International House of Blues Foundation and the New Orleans Musicians Clinic. For more information and to join the movement call Luther Gray at (504) 495-0463. The Summit is free and open to the public.