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International Festival of Arts & Ideas and The Autorino Center Join The Kennedy Center's ARTS ACROSS AMERICA Series

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Tune in on September 28 at 4PM.

International Festival of Arts & Ideas and The Autorino Center Join The Kennedy Center's ARTS ACROSS AMERICA Series

The International Festival of Arts & Ideas and The Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Saint Joseph have joined forces to curate performances by New Haven and Hartford artists to be presented as part of The Kennedy Center's Arts Across America series on Monday, September 28 at 4PM.

Arts Across America is a 20-week series of free online programming featuring more than 200 diverse, visionary artists who play leadership roles in their communities, exemplify unique regional artistic styles, and are using their medium as a tool for advocacy and social justice. The Kennedy Center, in partnership with Facebook, presents Arts Across America on Facebook Live, YouTube, and its website, Monday through Friday at 4PM EST.

The September 28 program curated by the Festival and the Autorino Center will include Celebrating New Haven, featuring New Haven musicians Chris "Big Dog" Davis, Aleecya Foreman, Manny James, Rahsaan Langley, and Rohn Lawrence; excerpts from Human Be-In, created by Hartford hip-hop company 860 MVMNT; and Fatherhood Manologues, an initiative of The Manhood Tree.

"We are thrilled that our vibrant New Haven and Hartford artistic communities will be represented in the Arts Across America series," said Shelley Quiala, Executive Director of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas and Steven Raider-Ginsburg, Director of the Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities. "We are grateful to The Kennedy Center and Facebook for providing the platform to amplify the urgent work of these truly remarkable artists."


Celebrating New Haven

Chris "Big Dog" Davis began studying piano at age four, studied classical composition at Yale University, and by age 16 had recorded 45 Gospel records with his church youth choir, and he has appeared on The Arsenio Hall Show, The Tonight Show, and The Rosie O'Donnell Show.

Professional guitarist Rohn Lawrence began building guitars before he turned nine and built his reputation playing in New Haven funk bands. He is the go-to guitarist for many active contemporary musicians and has contributed to more than 50 albums.

For more than 20 years, Rahsaan Langley has helped craft, create, and produce some of the most influential songs and artists in the music industry. He has collaborated with artists including R. Kelly, Lauryn Hill, Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston, The Fugees, and LL Cool J.

Manny James has brought his unique, soulful performances to many of the Tri-State's top venues as a headliner and opening act. In 2020, he formed the record label Church Street South Entertainment and released the single, "Never Let Go."

Named "Best Female R&B Artist" of 2018 by the New York Independent Radio Station Awards, Aleecya Foreman has opened for Dionne Warwick and Carolyn Malachi, headlined the Springfield Indie Soul Festival, and performed at the Boston Music & Arts Festival. In 2020, she released the single "Vegas."

Human Be-In

860 MVMNT, performing an excerpt from Human Be-In, was formed in 2017 as a celebration of the underground dance community and the next generation of hip-hop dancers from the surrounding region. 860 MVMNT displays the raw, intense energy of hip hop through choreography, improvisation, and a unique approach to storytelling.

Jolet "Flo Jo" Creary, Artistic Director of 860 MVMNT, is a dancer, choreographer, and educator. She has been involved in the Hartford hip hop dance community for over 15 years. In 2012, Jolet started Studio 860 in Hartford as a creative space for hip hop dance training, networking, and underground street dance battles. She is an artist-in-residence at the Autorino Center for the Arts to develop new work and is part of the Center's 2020-21 Season.

Fatherhood Manologues

Fatherhood Manologues is a part of a greater initiative of The Manhood Tree to highlight the importance, value and contributions of fathers through their involvement and presence in their children's lives. The development of the Fatherhood Manologues allows men to come together behind the common goal of fatherhood. Each participant in the Manologues identifies a story from his experience as a father or being fathered.

Skilled speaker, spoken word artist, and trainer, Abdul-Rahmaan I. Muhammad, created the Manhood Tree, which is comprised of eight initiatives that focus on boyhood, young adulthood, brotherhood, fatherhood, and manhood. He is the Executive Director and Founder of the multidimensional social service agency, My People Clinical Services. Muhammad is an artist-in-residence at the Autorino Center for the Arts to develop new work and is part of the Center's 2020-21 Season.

Photo Credit: Ray D. Shaw

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