Black History Month might have ended officially on Feb. 28, but its spirit lives in Syracuse’s Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) year-round. This culture-rich establishment, home to artistic exhibitions, film screenings, gallery talks, and studio and performing arts courses, turns 40 next year. The CFAC staff invites the community to share in an evening of jazz and wine in a benefit on Friday, March 25, at 6:30 p.m.
Renowned jazz vocalist Nancy Kelly will headline the event. Born in Rochester, Kelly began her musical life at age 4. She now regularly performs in New York City at prestigious jazz clubs like the Blue Note, Birdland, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.
Kelly will sing in front of four local jazz performers, whom she calls the young giants of jazz. Together, they will perform for about an hour in the Community Black Box Theater from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Josh Condon from Corning, a freshman at Ithaca College, will play piano. His cousin, Gabe Condon from Penfield, a sophomore at the Eastman School of Music, will play guitar. Greg Evans from Syracuse, a second-year teaching assistant at Ithaca College, will play drums, and Joey Arcuri from Manlius, who graduated from Ithaca College, will play bass.
Wine tastings from local vineyards like Lakeland Winery, T. Edwards Wines and Fox Run Vineyards will be provided. There will also be a raffle for three luxury gift baskets with donated items by local Syracuse businesses including a gift certificate for an overnight stay at the Genesee Grande Hotel and tickets to Syracuse Stage.
CFAC was founded in 1972 by the late Herbert T. Williams, a professor in the African-American Studies department at Syracuse University, in collaboration with the school’s faculty and students, local artists and community members. It was set up to provide a highquality showcase for African Diasporan artists.
“No matter who you are, food, drink and music are three things that bring people together and start conversation,” noted CFAC marketing specialist Kevin Leonardi. “By hosting this social event in our space, we are looking to meet with our extended community family and prepare to celebrate our 40th anniversary with these same great people.”
Tickets may be purchased online for $25 at www.communityfolkartcanter.org.
Front and center: The Community Folk Art Center will be a happening place this weekend, with a benefit performance by jazz singer Nancy Kelly (above) and the ongoing exhibition of works by Amos Kennedy (below).