Art Noire celebrates black culture and expression

With the success of Noire: Celebrating Black Excellence in 2022, Dorian Hunter has worked to build a follow-up event that delivers the same inviting feelings and fulfills the same values.

Art Noire: A Declaration of Expression starts at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 9, at the Springfield Museum of Art.  

“The whole purpose of Art Noire is to develop a space where black people can celebrate black history and black excellence and celebrate in a way black people enjoy to celebrate,” says Hunter, who dubbed himself the chief vibe officer of the event.

While the free event is specifically made with black people and black culture in mind, Hunter says it is certainly not limited to black attendees. The entire community is welcome.

And, unlike many traditional Black History Month celebrations that often include sit-down meals or speeches – and can sometimes feel invite-only – Art Noire is built to feel open and available to anyone and everyone.

“One of the goals is to bring new people into new spaces and bridge new connections that might not be able to otherwise happen,” Hunter says. “This year we have that same goal, and we’re becoming more intentional about it. We want to intentionally encourage people to socialize and network and make connections.”

This year’s event will include spoken word, live music, a DJ, a variety of local food, drinks and more.

“The event is important because in Springfield, and in a lot of places in the U.S., black communities and all types of underserved and underrepresented communities don’t have enough places where they can come together and be themselves without judgement and hoops and hurdles,” Hunter says. “Looking at Springfield specifically, we don’t have nearly enough opportunities to celebrate culture.

“It’s very important because sometimes we look at culture just as historical background – we talk a lot about slavery and a lot of problematic things that we had to endure in this country. But, that’s just a small piece of the puzzle because we have a bright history prior to being in America and a bright present and a bright future.”

Hunter says that while discussing and being mindful of history – however good or bad – is important, it’s also necessary to celebrate all the positive things happening in the black community today – in Springfield, in southwest Ohio and beyond.

“We want to be thinking of the future while acknowledging how important the past was to bring us to where we are today,” he says.

Art Noire will be hosted by Tisa “Chalk de Peace” Braddy and Te’Jal Cartwright.
Live musical performances will include Springfield native Yung No, Dayton rap artist Elijah Seabrook, Cincinnati-based jazz musician Lexi Hamner, and headliner Ric Sexton, who is a Dayton native.

Ty Victoria, of Cincinnati, will also be performing spoken word.

Art Noire will also include display of local art from black artists called Black Art Takeover, curated by Dayton-based artist Jammal Durr. The pieces created by artists throughout the Miami Valley and Cincinnati will be displayed throughout the museum and available for purchase during the event, Hunter says.

Heavy hors d’oeuvres will be served by All Seasons Restaurant and Catering, Missy Stephens and Bubby’s Chicken and Waffles, and desserts will be provided by Leerah’s Vegan Treats, ICED Cupcakes & More, and Phonsie’s Bakery. Drinks will be provided by The Liquor Lab.

Hunter credits the Art Museum with some of the first event’s success and the draw to the upcoming event.

“Art is all about expression. It’s expression and how the viewer looks at that expression, and it can be different depending on who you ask,” Hunter says. “It’s similar to the concept of Art Noire. Everything about Art Noire is an expression in some way, shape or form. Every member of the audience will take that in a different way.

“But at the end of the day, art should be allowed to be expressed by all people. The Springfield Museum of Art is the ideal space for this type of event because expression is at the root of Art Noire, and we’re providing a platform for local artists.”
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Read more articles by Natalie Driscoll.