Special to Frost Illustrated
Courtesy of TRIAAC
FORT WAYNE—Fall has arrived! It’s harvest time and the Three Rivers Institute of Afrikan Art & Culture (TRIAAC) is inviting the community to celebrate the ingathering of the year’s harvest with us from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Oct. 18, at the beautiful Botanical Conservatory. There’ll be music, dance, song, appetizers, a cash bar and a silent auction featuring the work of this city’s premier artists.
Kassa—A Season of Harvest community celebration is a TRIAAC capital campaign fundraiser featuring the very danceable music of Chicago’s reggae legends the RootsRockSociety. Proceeds from the evening will go toward TRIAAC’s annual operating expenses and building purchase.
“We’re closing out the final year of our lease at 501,” (501 E. Brackenridge Street, around the corner from the African African-American Historical Society Museum and across Brackenridge from the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority) said Artistic Director Ketu Oladuwa. “Over the past 13 years, we’ve had a good run with our historic and new programs, and now it’s time for TRIAAC to grow up and settle into this space as our own.
“We thought what better time than the traditional harvest to launch our campaign to gather the community and raise funds toward our becoming a permanent asset downtown in the East Central corridor of our community.”
TRIAAC’s vision is to increase the pro-file of traditional Afrikan and Diaspora artists’ music and art throughout North-east Indi-ana, and provide Fort Wayne with a cultural focus present in no other city in the tri-state region. And, in doing so, to ensure that the cultural and economic development ben-e-fits accrue to the community that pro-duces the work.
TRIAAC’s Season of Harvest will place a heavy emphasis on working artists with Fort Wayne’s own Atlas Aura opening the musical fare for the RootsRockSociety.
Kassa means granary in the Malinké language of Guinea, and is a rhythm that is played for the farmers while they work the fields and also during the harvest. The actual harvest celebration is called Kassaladon. Calhoun Street Soups, Salads, & Spirits will cater TRIAAC’s Kassaladon, offering appetizers, dessert, and a cash bar.
While music will be prominent, the evening’s highlight will be a Silent Auction with work by award-winning local, Midwest and East Coast artists. Among the talent’s gifts are hand-etched and signed Champagne Flutes by Jane Meredith of Meredith Glass Specialties; Diane Groenert’s 11” x 17” reproduction of “Coney Island;” handcrafted earrings by artisan Lisa Vetter, and Poughkeepsie, New York artist Maryam Ali’s quilted, stoneware clay, wall tile. “To me, the tile represents a community,” said Ali. “It’s like a cloth quilt, made of different patterns that work well together within a frame.”
And, that community theme is also represented in the contributions of other artists who have appeared at TRIAAC’s Acoustic SpokenWord Café, or through its Visiting Artist Forum. There are books of poetry by Pushcart Prize Nominee Curtis L. Crisler and a private viola lesson from Arts United’s Artist of the Year Derek Reeves, principal violist of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic.
Linocut prints from the collection of Dr. Margaret Burroughs also will be auctioned. Dr. Burroughs donated these prints to TRIAAC during her 2006 visit to the city. A founder of Chicago’s famed DuSable Museum of African American History, and a world-renowned poet and printmaker, Dr. Burroughs passed away Nov. 21, 2010.
Other artists contributing to the TRIAAC silent auction include Kitty Konrad, Layli Magers, Kip Bailey, Robin Robinson and Sue Sells.
And the Fort Wayne Civic Theatre, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, and Heartland Chorale also have donated tickets for future concerts. But, perhaps art is not your thing. Maybe you’re looking for a venue to hold an upcoming event. Then you’ll want to get your bid in for the Wunderkammer Company Art Gallery, where Dan Swartz has donated a six-hour reception rental worth $500.
If exercise is your art form, you’ll certainly want to put in your bid for a one-year family membership at the new Renaissance Pointe YMCA, worth upwards of $800.
Canterbury School has donated admission to one of their summer Soccer Camps, and a summer program for children two-to-12-years old.
More silent auction items will be featured, and items that organizations, businesses and individuals would like to donate will be accepted until Oct. 4.
Asked about the relevance of this fundraiser to TRIAAC, Director Leticia Paige said, “This fundraiser will help TRIAAC become a more relevant community institute by allowing us to focus on our community impact. TRIAAC has always been and will continue to be a place where artistic expression is encouraged, practiced and performed.
“Whether it is through learning to play the Afrikan drums, writing and performing poetry and song, or creating pieces of art, TRIAAC aspires to be a place in the community where people can truly discover who they are artistically and culturally. We provide the opportunity for both youth and adults to strengthen their cultural identity and draw from it pride in who they are and where they come from,” she said. “When we as individuals grow stronger the community as a whole grows stronger.”
Paige was asked for examples of TRIAAC’s impact on the lives of children or adults that would warrant community support.
“I have seen it in my own family with me and my children,” she said. “I have seen my children grow to ask questions about who they are culturally and to ask the bigger questions as to how their culture should and does affect them in their daily lives and in the future. I have seen my children freely express themselves in new ways both musically and artistically.
“The people at TRIAAC have successfully facilitated sessions between individual youth and their families with the goal of identifying the root cause of the problems going on in the home and finding viable solutions,” she said. “TRIAAC is an asset to the community, in that the people who have been involved with TRIAAC know themselves better and can, therefore, contribute to the community more effectively.”
For more information, call TRIAAC at (260) 969-9442.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 2 print edition.