Black Table Arts Empowers Artists, Community

Black Table Arts hosts events and writing workshops. Over the last couple of months it has served as a community hub, handing out gas masks to protestors and holding healing space during the Derek Chauvin trial. This Friday it’s hosting “Embracing Our Roots,” a speaker series about the history of Black literary arts in Minnesota. 

Samantha HoangLong reports: 

 

There was a packed room at Black Table Arts last Friday night for “Chai and Chill,” an open mic event for Black artists to share their poetry and connect with one another. 

 

“It’s very simple. It’s fun. Black folks checking in with one another. It’s a function of joy,” says Program Director Donte Collins.  

 

Black Table Arts has been empowering Black artists in the Twin Cities community since 2016, but didn’t open a physical space until February. The co-operative is located just blocks from where the third precinct of the Minneapolis Police Department burned down. Executive Director Keno Evol says the space grew out of a flood of financial support the non-profit received in the wake of George Floyd’s murder.

 

“We had a conversation with the community at the time called Imagine Black Space Together; how should we respond to the support that we’re getting?” Evol said. “Let’s have a home base for black artists; that’s literally how the co-operative came about.”

 

Black Table Arts hosts events and writing workshops, and over the last couple of months, has served as a community hub, handing out gas masks to protestors and holding healing space during the Derek Chauvin trial.

 

Evol says the goal is “to have a space that is unapologetically black where folks can just be themselves and breathe a little bit easier.”

 

Collins says the space allows people to really see each other in their communities, especially in times of resistance.

 

“I believe that this space allows folks to look at each other and to ask each other what we need and not to ask those who wish to harm us and wish us gone,” Collins says.

 

This Friday Black Table Arts is hosting “Embracing Our Roots,” a speaker series about the history of Black literary arts in Minnesota. 

Photo from Black Table Arts Co-op

 

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