2nd International Celebration of Peace: Africa
May 1, 2014
Artists for World Peace Celebration: “Magical Night Filled with Love”
By Cynthia E. Rockwell
“A magical night filled with love in support of the projects! Wendy Black-Nasta, you are a genius!” wrote Middletown author Liz Petry on Artists for World Peace FaceBook page. The night she’s describing is the Second Annual Celebration of Peace, this year with Africa as its theme.
Held at the Wadsworth Mansion on May 1, the celebration featured African food, music and dance, as well as an art auction, all to benefit the group’s trip to the village of Kibosho-Umbwe, in Tanzania, to visit the orphanage they help support. This year, a team of six eye specialists will travel with founder and executive director Wendy Black-Nasta, to provide eye care for the village. Additionally, the organization is shipping a cargo container, to be filled with equipment that will help furnish the clinic they helped build—as well as bicycles donated by the Connecticut organization Bikes for Kids. Black-Nasta’s hope was that this celebration would provide the funds needed for shipping.
Music rocked the house—Jocelyn Pleasant and The Mending Troubadours, as well as Abraham Adzenyah and the Wesleyan University West African Ensemble set a festive beat for the guests dinning on African delicacies.
Middletown Mayor Dan Drew, the International Peace Belt draped over his shoulder, offered a proclamation: May 1st was to be “Artists for World Peace Day” in the city of Middletown. Black-Nasta shared a video of the group’s previous trip and introduced this years travel team. Auctioneer Bill Barrows urged on bidders for each of the donated photographs, sculptures, jewelry, and textiles that had lined the walls for this celebration.
The Sankofa Kuumba Dance Ensemble closed the night, beginning their performance with griot and elder Sistah Nandi, summoning the elders (all present who were 65 and over) to come forward to grant permission for the troupe to perform. Later, Petry spoke to Sistah Nandi, who observed, “Yes, the spirits were here.”
The next day, a tally of the funds revealed that Black-Nasta’s wish had been granted: proceeds from the celebration were, in fact, enough to send the cargo container across the ocean to meet them in Tanzania. Additionally, David (bikes for kids) boosted her joy further: “After meeting us all and watching our video he doubled his donation. We are bringing 60 bikes! It’s going to be Christmas, Chanukah, and the kid’s birthdays all rolled up into one amazing day!’ say Black-Nasta.
Wendy Black-Nasta and Artists for World Peace would like to thank:
The gracious volunteers from Liberty Bank, the McPhee family, The Manding Troubadours, Abraham Adzenyah and all of the student performers, Snakofa Kuumba Dance Ensemble,www.sankofakuumba.com; Paul Horton, neuestudios.com; Steve Wytas, audio911.com; Ursel’s Web, urselsweb.com; Bill Barrows; Lucy Guiliano, lucyguiliano.com; Mayor Dan Drew; and those who donated art for the auction: Claudia Hehr/Photography, www.claudiahehrphoto.com; Steven Loitz, Shona Gallery, www.shonagallery.com; Lonzo Lowery, www.zophotos.com; Antoon Taghon, Uptown Fine Art Printing Studio Inc.; and all of our supporters.