The UMOJA African Arts in the Park Festival will take place Aug. 11-12 in Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days. Admission is free.
African Arts in the Park Festival is dedicated to the demonstration and promotion of African and African Diaspora Arts in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas. This year’s theme, “Bridging African Rhythms and Jazz," appeals to people of all backgrounds recognizing that African music is a strong contributor to the genre of jazz music.
Umoja’s mission "to raise awareness and increase appreciation for the rich cultures of Africa and their influence on the world,” utilizes the African Arts in the Park as a wonderful event for such an exposition.
The Main Stage will be filled with West African music, dance, and jazz.
Attendees can bring their chairs and blankets and hear live bands. They will be entertained by various West African dance and drum troops including Sankofa Village, Dreme Drum Dance, Legacy Arts Project, and Tam Tam Magic.
Jazz musicians include Afro-American Music Institute, Jessica Lee Quartet, Elevations, Roger Humphries and RH Factor, AfroJazz, Chelsea Baratz Band, Ray Ryan and the Riverside Band, Tim Stevens and the Leonard Johnson Project, Kevin Howard Band, Dwayne Dolphin Band, and Spirit Filled Ministries.
The Culture Hut will offer interactive demonstrations such as West Africa’s influence on Jazz by Kuumba Inc., African storytelling by Temujin the Storyteller and Jackie Jonas, and drum workshops by Assane M’Baye.
New this year are cooking and tasting demos which connect West African food and food from New Orleans by Phat Girlz Cookin’ and Culinary Artists.
At the Children’s Hut there will be Spanish & French Arts & Crafts, Reading Is Fundamental, Carnegie Library activities, African storytelling & mask making, jewelry making, face painting, henna artists, petting zoo, Debo the Clown, a stiltwalker, and a bounce house.
Food vendors will serve a variety of American and international food. The retail vendors will have several crafts, art, and clothing. Admission to this event is free.
UMOJA African Arts Company is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is celebrating its 23rd season of bridging and unifying diverse cultures through educational and artistic presentations of African art, culture and heritage. Sponsors include City of Pittsburgh, Heinz Endowments, Pittsburgh Foundation, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, Poise Foundation, The Soul Pitt, Residence Inn- Marriott, and Wyndham Hotel.