Despite umbrellas being the accessory du jour at the Arboretum this morning, guests were not deterred from attending the welcome of two special programs — the return of ZimSculpt and the inaugural Black Heritage Celebration — that will officially begin Saturday.
Because of the rainy weather, the event had been moved indoors to Rosine Hall with VIPs attending like Black Heritage Celebration Committee Member Janet Jack, Texas State Senator Royce West, speakers Dallas Arboretum Board Chair Jim Ryan, Board member Ben Leal and Black Heritage Celebration Chair/Dallas Arboretum Board Member Linda Todd.
As Linda explained, Black Heritage Day was created to not only celebrate the Arboretum’s Summer of Sculpture featuring the ZimSculpt exhibition but to also serve as a platform for Black designers, artists, entertainers, and vendors as they proudly display, engage and educate the community on the beauty and inspiration of black culture.”
On hand for the day’s program were ZimSculpt Founder Vivienne Croisette and Zimbabwean artists Passmore Mupindiko and Brighton Layson, who will be creating new works of art during ZimSculpt’s run through Sunday, August 8. Passmore is making a return trip to the Arboretum. having been one of the featured artists at the 2017 ZimSculpt.
The handmade, contemporary pieces created by the Shona people of Zimbabwe are made from a variety of materials ranging from serpentine to semi-precious stone and in some cases weigh tons and stand seven feet tall.
To highlight the artwork, three pieces were positioned beneath and around the sides of the podium with artists’ chisels, hammers and files placed in front. It was the tools that caused some off-script moments when Mayor Eric Johnson addressed the audience. Not knowing what was causing the occasional thuds, and concerned that he might have damaged one of the sculptures, he commented, “It sounds expensive.” No need to worry. It was the tools being jostled and, luckily, no tool was the worse for wear.
Saturday’s Black Heritage Day will include a Black Owned Businesses Vendor Fair, a variety of performances by locals groups, a concert by Don Diego Bank playing jazz and R&B in the Martin Rutchik Concert Stage and Lawn and a Crown Jewel Fashion Experience by Black designers under the direction of Anita Hawkins and hosted by LeTitia Owens and Willie Johnson.
Besides all the activities and a variety of vendors, food stations ranging from African beignets to Cajun Japanese fusion fare will be available to enjoy.
Emcee Celia Walker concluded the morning’s program by pointing to her rain hat and saying that she was ready for Saturday’s festivities to go on come rain or shine. As for her stilettos, she laughed saying that she had brought along her galoshes.
Following the morning’s presentation, guests had the opportunity to take tours of the sculptures and to enjoy more of Taste by Chef Kevin’s trays of food.