National Black Arts Festival launches July 2015

This summer, the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF) continues its 27-year tradition of offering stellar artistic and educational programs in music, dance, film, visual arts, theater and literary arts and of attracting audiences and participants from the region and around the world to Atlanta. The season launches in mid-July with programming through mid-September that spotlights dance and the dancers, choreographers and dance companies – the luminaries and trailblazers – who shaped and defined the discipline.

“NBAF has an extraordinary cultural legacy that we continue to build on,” said executive director Grace C. Stanislaus, who assumed the helm in October 2014. “What’s new is that we’ve evolved over the 27 years from a three-day to a ten-day outdoor festival and now to a three-month season with incredible activities and programs taking place throughout the city.” The new direction and format of spotlighting one discipline and offering an extended program season was initiated in early 2014 and offers the organization more opportunities to secure resources as well as to present educational, enriching and entertaining programs for a longer period to larger audiences and to establish, deepen and extend cultural and educational partnerships within and outside of Atlanta.

“NBAF has a unique position as the oldest organization of its kind in the United States with this exclusive focus and mission of presenting, nurturing, supporting and celebrating the arts and the artists of African descent of all ages through our multi-disciplinary arts programming,” said Stanislaus.

The 2015 program season was developed in concert with dance and film historians, scholars and practitioners within and outside of the region. As in the past, partnerships, alliances and engagement with a broad base of cultural and educational organizations is key. Morehouse College, Duke University, the High Museum of Art, the Rialto Center for the Arts at Georgia State University, Center Stage Theater, the Ferst Center at Georgia Tech, Hammonds House Museum, among others, are involved as partners, collaborators and venues in the 2015 season.

NBAF-Sugacane Magazine

“We’re especially and deeply appreciative of the partnership with Professor Thomas F. DeFrantz, a scholar, artist and author on Black dance and Chair of the African and African American Studies department at Duke University, who worked closely with me in shaping the program season and has organized an incredible symposium on dance that is seminal to the field,” said Stanislaus.

Move/Dance! is the name of NBAF’s new school-based arts education initiative being launched in 2015, and it also describes the general focus of the season.

“Participation and interactivity are this season’s hallmarks, as well as talk, conversation and demonstration,” said Stanislaus. “To have a full and enriching experience of dance, you have to get up and dance. It’s just not as much fun sitting on the sidelines.” During the 2015 season and beyond, NBAF continues to draw on, showcase and nurture extraordinary artistic talent in all disciplines through programs that support artists of all ages in their creative work. Programs like the master classes and new/commissioned works offer NBAF’s diverse audiences a lens into the creative process.

“In its 27th year, NBAF continues to be an economic and cultural driver for the city of Atlanta and the region,” said Stanislaus. “As we plan forward, NBAF will continue to be a catalyst for, and a participant in, creative and strategic partnerships and alliances, to encourage and support the presentation of new work in Atlanta that can also potentially tour throughout the nation and continue to launch new programs, particularly programs that support our local schools in offering quality arts education to our children.”

For nearly three decades, NBAF has led the way in presenting and celebrating world-class artists from within and outside of Atlanta and in partnering with schools to enrich the lives of our children. This summer, NBAF continues its tradition to educate, enrich and entertain! For more information visit

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