Sarah Massey, (202) 445 1169, email@example.com
Wednesday June 1, 2011
Local Leaders Join Danny Glover on ROOTS Fest National Honorary Committee
Press Release for Immediate Release
Contact: Sarah Massey, 202 445-1169, firstname.lastname@example.org
Local Leaders Join Danny Glover on ROOTS Fest National Honorary Committee
New Arts and Culture Festival Seeks to Heal Baltimore’s Communities
BALTIMORE, MD - The organizing team for ROOTS Fest 2011: Many Communities, One Voice is proud to announce that actor, director and activist Danny Glover and eight new Baltimore-based arts and civic engagement leaders have joined the ROOTS Fest 2011 National Honorary Committee, which is comprised of nationally renowned artists, arts leaders and visionaries for ROOTS Fest 2011. The nine local committee members are: Paul Booth, Sr., co-founder of Bon Secours Family Support Center and board member at Operation Reach Out Southwest and CultureWorks; Will Backstrom, PNC BANK, Vice President-Community Development Banking Market Manager; Buck Jabaily, Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, Executive Director; Joseph T. Jones, Jr., Center for Urban Families, Founder, President and CEO; Fred Lazarus IV, Maryland Institute College of Art, President; Jon Spelman, Master Storyteller; Marc Steiner, The Marc Steiner Show, WEAA, Host; and William “Pete” Welch, Baltimore City, 9th District City Councilperson. Two members from outside of Baltimore have also been added to the Committee: James Early, Director of Cultural Heritage Policy at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Washington, DC; and Mark Valdez, National Coordinator for the Network of Ensemble Theaters in Los Angeles, CA.
ROOTS Fest 2011 is a bold and ambitious national arts celebration that will take place in Baltimore June 22-26, organized by Alternate ROOTS and CultureWorks.
Danny Glover, actor, producer and humanitarian, has gained respect for his wide-reaching community activism and philanthropic efforts, with a particular emphasis on advocacy for economic justice, and access to health care and education programs in the United States and Africa. For these efforts, Glover received a 2006 DGA Honor. Internationally, Glover has served as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Program from 1998-2004, focusing on issues of poverty, disease, and economic development in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, and currently serves as UNICEF Ambassador.
In 2005, Glover co-founded Louverture Films dedicated to the development and production of films of historical relevance, social purpose, commercial value and artistic integrity. The New York based company has a slate of progressive features and documentaries including “Trouble the Water,” which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, Africa Unite, award winning feature “Bamako,” and most recent projects “Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives,” and “The Disappearance of McKinley Nolan.” His career and commitment to activism are a larger-scale model for community-based artists everywhere who also work at the intersection of art and activism.
Glover joins local and national leaders showing their commitment to community development in Baltimore. “This is a great opportunity to get involved in making our communities a better place to live,” says William Backstrom, territory manager for PNC Bank’s Community Development Banking group. “Supporting the arts and cultural initiatives are ways PNC reinforces its commitment to diversity, revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing the quality of life for area residents.”
“Powerhouses within the worlds of arts, entertainment, business and community development, that’s what this Honorary Committee is,” said Keryl McCord of Alternate ROOTS. “As a group, they make a powerful statement about what ROOTS Fest is about – artists working in community and a commitment to making work by and for, about and with their communities. Art empowers, heals and unites communities.”
ROOTS Fest 2011 is a bold and ambitious national arts celebration that will take place June 22-26 at Bluford Drew Jemison S.T.E.M. Academy (also known as Civitas), the LOF/T in the Station North area, and on the 52 acres of green space atop the “Highway to Nowhere” (Route 40 at Franklin and N. Gilmor) in West Baltimore. (Schedule available at www.rootsfest2011.org.) Activities will include concerts and performances, a three-day dialogue on community development through art and culture and a colorful outdoor festival featuring nationally-renowned artists and performers. The collaboration of artists, activists and community members is intended to drive community development and revitalization through the lens of arts and culture. The outdoor festival will provide opportunities for attendees to experience changes hands-on by engaging in activities that allow for artistic expression, encourage health awareness, connect people to community services and more.
Critically-acclaimed emcee Talib Kweli, Grammy-nominated R&B artist Anthony David and the legendary “Godfather of Go-Go” Chuck Brown and more than 40 local and regional artists will be among the highlighted performers at ROOTS Fest. The city of Baltimore and the community of West Baltimore will serve as hosts of the free outdoor festival Saturday and Sunday, June 25-26. ROOTS Fest will show the world how communities can rewire themselves through the arts and culture.
Honorary Committee members serve as supporters and advisers to ROOTS Fest and were invited to support the festival after consideration of their life’s work and the powerful impact they have made on the arts world and in communities all over the world that have been transformed through artistic expression.
“Art and culture are the base upon which communities heal, unite and become strong. Art and culture connect people to their past, their present and their souls, and give communities something that can never be taken away,” says Carlton Turner, Executive Director of Alternate ROOTS. “You can destroy a community but not its culture. Just listen to their music, you'll understand."
Forty years ago, the center of the once vibrant West Baltimore neighborhood was bulldozed to create the “Highway to Nowhere.” The 1.4 mile-long highway failed to connect to main traffic arteries, came to a dead end at a wall and is therefore barely used today. This exemplifies the worst type of urban planning. But despite all that has happened over the decades, the spirit of West Baltimore remains undaunted, as demonstrated by their lively cultural expression. The community’s staunch spirit of resiliency, exemplified through their art, will be on display during ROOTS Fest.
“The nature of celebration is freedom, and freedom is a powerful medicine. When a community is empowered through celebrating together, it creates dreams and visions that will exist into the future,” says Ashley Milburn, Co-Director of CultureWorks in Baltimore. “Through ROOTS Fest, West Baltimore will show other urban communities that culture, art and music leads to healing.”
A coalition of national and local West Baltimore organizations, such as Alternate ROOTS and CultureWorks, have been working together for more than a year to realize the dream of a national community arts festival.
For more information on the festival, please visit www.rootsfest2011.org Full bios for the National Honorary Committee are available here: http://rootsfest2011.org/about/national-honorary-committee/
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Alternate ROOTS is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year through ROOTS Fest, an empowering national arts celebration in West Baltimore. It is an organization based in the Southern USA whose mission is to support the creation and presentation of original art, in all its forms, which is rooted in a particular community of place, tradition or spirit. As a coalition of cultural workers we strive to be allies in the elimination of all forms of oppression. ROOTS is committed to social and economic justice and the protection of the natural world and addresses these concerns through its programs and services.
Organizers: Alternate ROOTS, Atlanta, GA; Culture Works, Baltimore, MD
Sponsors: Bon Secours Baltimore Health System; Forward Thinking Museum; PNC Bank; Verizon; WEAA 88.9 FM; WYPR 88.1 FM
Funders: Fund for Southern Communities, Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, The Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Open Society Foundations, New England Foundation for the Arts
Partners: Baltimore Heritage, Bon Secours of Maryland Foundation, Coppin State University, Morgan State University, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture (NALAC), Visit Baltimore, Parks and People Foundation, Baltimore Green Works, Fusion Partnership, Inc.
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