The annual Arts in Black Festival will be held this year from March 28-30. The weekend kicks off with a talent show March 28 at 7 p.m. at the Tift Theatre. Talent exhibitions will vary and participants from the county are encouraged to show off their talents during the festival. Tickets are $8 and will be available at the door. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m for the general public. Talent show winners will receive prizes and will perform at the festival that Saturday.
James Rodney "J Rain" Rainey will be the featured artist during intermission. Rainey, from Tifton, has opened up for EightBall & MJG, Jagged Edge, After Seven, R&B Group Intrigue and others while a member of the group, Too Deep. Now pursuing his solo career, Rainey is currently in artist development training with Domonique Mitchell and managed by CML Entertainment.
Opening ceremonies for the festival begin at 11 a.m on Saturday at Fulwood Park, with a focus on the past 28 years the festival has been in Tift County. The Guerilla Dance Project, one of the featured artists at this year’s festival, will be featured during the opening ceremonies. Their repertoire is the first of its kind, and some of their specialties include drama, dance, fitness, music, engineering, journalism, education, visual and textile Art. GDP provides workshops, choreography and classes for the community.
Performances will be held on the Syd Blackmarr stage, as well as the second stage located near the rocket. Local talent and the main attractions will entertain the crowds throughout the day. This year’s children's area will feature entertainment including clowns, dancing, music, balloons and face painting, as well as the barrel train ride.
Food and arts and crafts vendors will be available to complete the festival atmosphere to be found in Fulwood Park. Additionally, health care vendors will be stationed throughout the park.
The art exhibit this year will also have a new format. There will be an extension of the Tift County Black History display that was used during the celebration of the Tifton Centennial. This exhibit is nothing like you’ve seen before! Come and see the display and learn how the black community was involved in this city becoming what it is today.
On March 30, a poetry competition will be held at the Tifton Welcome Station at 3 p.m., culminating the Arts in Black festivities. Poetic Magic will be the special guests at this year’s poetry recitation. These poets share their experiences, insights and discoveries through spoken-word poetry.
Stand-up comedian Michael Prince will emcee the weekend festivities. He is a Tifton native and has appeared on the nationally acclaimed BET's Comicview, and has toured with HBO's Def Comedy Jam. His talent has also gained him parts in the Oliver Stone film, “Any Given Sunday” on the big screen. Prince has a production and entertainment company, "Big Nose Entertainment" for up-and-coming comedians who may need help with booking agents, contracts and other pertinent aspects of the business.
The main attraction will be the Live Five Band, which has been together playing rhythm and blues, old school, Motown and gospel music for real music lovers across the Southeast. Updated frequently, the band’s song list covers everything from the old school soul of James Brown, Eddie Floyd and Duke Ellington to modern hits from Black Eyed Peas, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé, VIC and Alicia Keys – with some 80s and classic rock added for good measure.
For more information, contact Dr. Tamisha Blackshear, Arts in Black chairperson, at 229-821-0126 or visit the website at www.artsinblack.net. Talent show, poetry and vendor applications may be downloaded from the website.