"Art on the Rox" brought forth an evening of diverse artistic expressions, highlighting spoken word performances, solo selections, and a glimpse into the history and future of Hibernian Hall. The event concluded with a culturally enriching performance by the Akwaaba drummers, leaving the audience inspired and engaged.
The spoken word selections featured two young artists who shared deeply personal narratives about the influential women in their lives—mothers and grandmothers who left an indelible mark. Elijah Deal's heartfelt tribute to his grandmother resonated with the audience as he spoke about her unwavering love and guidance, which had kept him on the path of righteousness. He also discussed how her love had propelled his dreams forward, serving as a source of motivation and strength.
Alicia Charles similarly paid homage to her two heroes, her mother and grandmother. She spoke passionately about how these remarkable women had been a constant presence in her life, offering support and guidance as she navigated the challenges of growing and maturing into the person she is today. Their love and unwavering support were evident in her words, underscoring the profound impact they had on her journey.
Desiree Graham's rendition of Etta James added a captivating musical dimension to the evening, showcasing her exceptional talent as a performer. Her performance was a standout moment, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.
During the event, we had the privilege of hearing from Leslie Green, the new CEO of Madison Park Development Corporation, who shared her vision for revamping Hibernian Hall as an essential art and cultural center. She highlighted the contributions of artists and activists like Lou Smith and Vinny Hayes, who played pivotal roles in shaping the arts and music jazz scene during the 1960s. Their vision was rooted in building a sense of community, and Hibernian Hall was a vital hub for this artistic and cultural movement.
Hibernian Hall's historical significance was also acknowledged during the event. In the 60s, it served as the Opportunity Industrialization Center, and the journey of its restoration has been remarkable. Assad Hardwick, hired in 2005 by then Artistic Director of Hibernian Hall, John Bond, has been instrumental in transforming the space into an Arts and Performance Center. Over the years, Hibernian Hall has evolved into a welcoming space for the community, where art and culture thrive.
As we reflect on this event, it is clear that Hibernian Hall continues to be a beacon for artistic expression and community engagement. The evening was a testament to the enduring legacy of this historic venue and the promising future it holds.
Mark your calendars for the next exciting event at Hibernian Hall, and stay connected to witness the ongoing transformation of this cultural gem.
Date: June 9, 2023