Youth Art Program Addresses Racism & Uplifts BIPOC Artists

August 26, 2021 | Art & Music

A youth program at Albany Public Library aims to address systemic racism and uplift BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) artists through art and performance. “Branching Out: Amplified Voices” is a partnership program with APL, Youth FX, Albany Barn, and the Albany Center Gallery, and is led by local artist collective Amplified Voices.

Teens in Albany, Troy, and Schenectady worked with mentors and educators from Amplified Voices, including Jammella Anderson, D. Colin, Raé Frasier, Chloe Harrison, Jade Warrick, and Eugene O’Neill, in a series of summertime workshops with lessons in mindfulness, personal expression, project planning, and art techniques. The teens worked together to create a portable mural that will travel to library branches in the Albany Public Library, Troy Public Library, and Schenectady County Public Library districts so people in those communities can enjoy the collaborative artwork.

The exhibitions will be augmented by live performances at three of the APL branches. The shows will include music and spoken word performances, and will be open to the public as well as livestreamed on YouTube.

The first performance and mural unveiling is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 31 (Tues), from 5:30 pm to 8 pm in the front courtyard of the Delaware Branch of APL (331 Delaware Ave., Albany). The event includes music and spoken word performances by Amani O+ and Anneice Cousin. The show is curated by DJ Trumastr.

Subsequent performances and mural exhibitions are scheduled for Sept. 21 at the Bach Branch, featuring D. Colin and Mike Larry Draw, and Oct. 6 at the Pine Hills Branch, featuring The Age and Victory Soul Orchestra.

“Branching Out: Amplified Voices” was awarded $2,000 from the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant. Funding also came from the Friends and Foundation of Albany Public Library, and a Stephen J. McKee Foundation grant administered by the Center for Law and Justice. Other support in the form of donated services and resources was received from Young Futures, Albany 518 SNUG, Create Community Studios, Team HERO, Tech Valley Shuttle, Honest Weight Food Co-op, and Blick Art Materials.

Stephanie Simon

Stephanie Simon is manager of APL's Communication and Creative Services Department, which provides content and information for the library's website, social media, publications, videos, podcasts, and other outlets. Stephanie also manages APL's public relations and marketing efforts.