by Susan Fried
The fourth annual Artists of Color Expo and Symposium (ACES) took place over the weekend of April 2–3, both virtually and in person at LANGSTON (formerly Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute). The BIPOC-led and community-curated event featured the work of over 100 BIPOC artists, live performances, film screenings, artist talks, as well as workshops and opportunity tables.
Presented by Shunpike, an organization that provides programs, resources, and funding for the arts in Washington State, the free event celebrated BIPOC artists and facilitated networking and knowledge sharing among attendees and community groups. Representatives from organizations like The Vera Project, Artist Trust, 4Culture, Pratt Fine Arts Center, Totem Star, and more were available at opportunity tables to chat about upcoming grants and artist opportunities. Pro Bono ASL, a group of BIPOC Deaf and hearing professional interpreters provided ASL interpretation for both in-person and virtual programming. Some of the artists featured were multimedia artist Jia Jia; painter, filmmaker, and sculptor barry johnson; artist and storyteller Sindhu Surapaneni; social circus performance group Celestial Circus; rapper Huey the Artist; and many more.
Speakers included artist and youth mentor Scott Méxcal, who gave a lecture on decolonizing art history; artist Jasmine Iona Brown who talked about her work sculpting a bronze memorial statue of Billy Ray Shirley III in Tacoma; and musician Eduardo Mendonça who presented a workshop titled “The Art of Inclusion While Having Fun.”
For a full listing of all artists and presenters, as well as highlights from previous years, visit Shunpike’s ACES official website.
Susan Fried is a 40-year veteran photographer. Her early career included weddings, portraits, and commercial work — plus, she’s been The Skanner News’ Seattle photographer for 25 years. Her images have appeared in the University of Washington’s The Daily, The Seattle Globalist, Crosscut, and many more. She’s been an Emerald contributor since 2015. Follow her on Instagram @fried.susan.
📸 Featured Image: After being introduced by artist Esther Ervin (left), artist Stephanie Morales (right) gave a talk at ACES about how her Afro-Latina and Filipino background — as well as interest in travel, social justice, and multiculturalism — influences her work. (Photo: Susan Fried)
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