Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Edited by Kyra Dawkins
As I walked toward the Arts Festival, it was hot as fire. A weather app on my phone said it was between 82 and 88 degrees. It felt hotter than that. Honestly, I started to wonder why I didn’t stay home.
After seeing all the people interested in Jeffrey St. Romain’s work, I knew that there were definitely some things worth seeing. It was too crowded to enter his tent, so I made a mental note to return.
My disclaimer: I have never taken an art appreciation class. I recognize the talent needed to produce art but my review of any artist work, especially of specific things like technique, would be pure garbage. I just know what I think looks good or interesting.
The artists that I talked to at the festival
Monde Hale (paintings)
He’s a local African American artist. It appeared that he had many pieces that represent the Columbus area. I love that. I was drawn to his painting “Change 4 No One”. It is a view of downtown Columbus which to me represents productivity, profession, the heart of where “it” happens so to speak. It’s important to be true to ourselves in all that we pursue. He describes his work much better than I can (http://mondeartstudio.com/about.html) He also does paint parties $25 per person minimum 8 people. I loved his patience and his manners.
Cody F. Miller (2D Mixed Media)
He’s local and we have the same Father. (My way of saying he’s a Christian). He was selling prints like hotcakes. After I waited my turn, I found him to be somewhat of a jokester. We took several takes of the picture before we settled in on the one that he wanted to use. The first picture was with him positioning his eyes the same as the picture. A riot! I went to his website and read his artist statement (http://www.codyfmiller.com/artists-statement/). His process is inspiring!
William Cowherd (Neo Ancient Tribal 2D Mixed Media)
He’s an African American artist from Atlanta, GA. Madame X (who did not want her name to be included) really enjoyed his art. She noted that it was affordable. Unfortunately, the piece she was most interested in was sold. He describes his work as “steel fascia clad to a wood frame.” He uses a proprietary patina process. He can be contacted by phone at 404-723-7557.
Jeffrey St. Romain (Skateboard Art)
He’s from New Orleans, Louisiana. He does pencil drawings on skateboards. He also sells prints. He has a few different collections, including Mixed Media Assemblage Mash Up, Pop Culture, New Orleans and Other, and Music Portrait Drawings (http://structurestudios.org ). His art reminded riding my skateboard in my teens. Also, I love music, especially piano and the Hammond B-3 organ, so I just had to take the Ray Charles Print home to add to my music room.
By the time we walked past all the tents, it started to cool down. There was a nice breeze. Before I arrived home, we had a good hard soaking rain.
I would attend the Arts Festival again. I didn’t realize the Arts Festival Website has an Artist Gallery. I would suggest that, unless you are planning to make a day of it, to view the gallery online prior to attending. That way, you can be sure to visit the artists whose work you are most interested in.
Category : Festivals
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Edited by Kyra Dawkins
After leaving a swim lesson at the Aquatic Center, which shares a parking lot with Thompson Recreation Center, I saw what appeared to be a man and a child boxing. Since I am nosey by nature and I needed subjects for a photography project, I went into the gym . I tried to wait for a break in the action, but it seemed like every few minutes they were starting to box again. I interrupted and said, “Excuse me, but do you think I could take some pictures for a class that I am taking at Columbus State?” Before he could answer. I said, “Hey you look a lot like Buster Douglas.”
He put a big smile on his face and said, “Yep, I should.”
Before I could catch myself, I said, “I remember when you knocked out Mike Tyson. I was at a house party. I think I threw a chicken wing across the room”
He started laughing.
I said, “So, what about the pictures? ” He said, “Sure.”
Then I started asking about the boxing program, “So is this a closed class for young men?”
He said, “No. It’s for everybody. Ages 5 to 90. Matter of fact, what about you.?”
To be honest, I had never considered it. But being the competitor that I am, I inquired , “So what is the cost?”
“$20 a quarter.”
Since I figured it would increase my chances of getting some good shots, I paid the $20.
Then he said, “So, when should I expect you back?”
I was trying to stall. “Ummm... don’t I need to buy some equipment”?
He said, “Nope, just wear some workout clothes and tennis shoes. ”
First Day of Training
Coach Douglas assumes that new trainees are not already in shape, which is good thing for most people. I, on the other hand, thought it was an insult (remember I’m highly competitive) when he put me on the treadmill on level 1 with no incline with instructions to walk for a half and hour if I could. I said, “Ummm... sure, ” and politely bumped it up to incline level 3 and speed 3.5.
Next he told me to jump rope for 3 rounds. Ummm, ladies, can I suggest that this is not the time nor the place for a regular sports bra and especially not any other type of bra. If you plan to jump rope, please do yourself a favor and wear an extra support sports bra. After only jumping rope for the 3 rounds, I thought my heart was going to jump out my chest and they were going to have to pry me off the ground to get me in the ambulance.
After that , Coach wrapped my hands with the community hand wraps. Coach Douglas will tell you that he washes the wraps on a regular basis. From a female who is considered “nice nasty,” I will admit that this was the only time I ever used the community wraps. In my opinion, it is well worth the few dollars to buy your own pair. I caught a sale at the local Title boxing club for $5 a pair. Learning how to properly wrap your own hands not only helps to avoid injury but will also save time in the gym since you will avoid waiting for Coach to stop training someone else to wrap your hands.
I envisioned myself doing the bicycle and floating like a butterfly and sting like a bee, just like Muhammad Ali, after one session. Actually, when Coach Douglas showed me the correct stance and way to throw the different punches, I didn’t last half a round. I stumbled out the ring and I knew I did just enough to bring my camera to take pictures never to return to train again. When I started gathering my stuff Coach asked , “So when should I expect to see you again to train?”
That was almost two years ago.
Other gym regulars who contribute to the family/team atmosphere
The boxing program at Thompson Rec Center has become an integral component of my life. Past the physical benefits (reduced stress, lower blood pressure, feeling better, dropping a few pounds, etc.), the family atmosphere produces a sense of belonging. The other gym regulars who contribute to the family/team atmosphere are:
Bryan, a mentor/father figure, who spends time in the gym and outside activities with the young men.
Ahmed, the encourager, who makes it a point to meet everyone in the gym, give boxing pointers, and will hold the mitts when coach Douglas is not available.
* Darnel, the honest and painfully blunt one, who will tell a boxer to their face that they are sorry, pitiful, and would get beat up by a female. This may not be popular, but in a time where children are given equal playing time and trophies regardless of skill level, I find Darnel refreshing.
* Me, the mature lady trash talker. That is, if I have built up a rapport, if not I will make a face and keep moving.
* The cameo appearances from retired professional boxers (Jerry Page, Bill Douglas, etc.).
In my opinion, many are looking for a place that they can have a workout, have good time and be accepted. The boxing program at Thompson Rec Center is one of those places.
Here’s my mature lady opinion of the boxing experience at Thompson Rec
No matter your fitness/boxing goals, it is the best overall workout experience for any amount of money (let alone $20 per quarter)! I’m telling you Thompson Rec is the place to be!
For booking inquiries (James Douglas) contact John Russell 330-701-3379.
Second Annual 2018 African American Cultural Festival 2018 in Columbus, Ohio’s King-Lincoln District: Oh the Memories
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
Edited by Kyra Dawkins
As I approached Long Street I was thankful for ample free parking and a nice overcast day in the low 80s with a slight breeze. The melodic music of the one man band playing the drums, trombone, and at times the keyboard filled the air as I took a few minutes to observe the vender booths, and watch Marc Thomas paint an original piece on canvas. I watched Darrean Brown put the final touches on the his pavement art piece ”Langston Hughes Still Here”. The approximate dimensions of just the portrait is 6’ x7’ (not including the poem on the side). I watched the artists for a few minutes, amazed at their talent.
Heading towards the main stage, I spotted Michael B. Coleman, the former Mayor of Columbus, Ohio. If you have lived in Columbus, Ohio for any length of time, especially if you are an African American, you recognize Michael B. Coleman (nuff said).
I didn’t realize that my time at the festival would be a trip down memory lane.
I had a conversation with Marcus Salter of Community Mediation Services of Central Ohio. As a former landlord, I probably jumped the gun with a few comments when he told me they offer counseling services for tenants going through eviction. By the end of the discussion, I had a better understanding and appreciation of the services his employer offers. Providing information and teaching others to fish is priceless.
I bumped into a couple of ladies (Ciera Dawkins Flemister and Madam X (who didn’t want her name included) who looked familiar. It took us a few minutes to determine we attended Trinity Baptist Church together when E.A. Parham served as the Pastor. That was some 30+ years ago. I attend Trinity until I was about 14. There are a few things that I remember about Trinity Baptist church back in the day:
1. The pews were hard.
2. The only choir that could “sang” was the gospel choir who only ministered on the fifth Sunday.
3. Church was over by 1:00 pm EVERY Sunday. Except one Sunday during the NBA finals the guest minister didn’t get the memo and held church until about 1:30. EVERYONE in the section where I was seated looked at their watches, the clock and whispered. My dad was livid and so was I. Let’s just say God didn’t get no glory in the language in my head.
4. Pastor E.A. Parham was personable. He would talk wherever he saw you. At the grocery store, “filling” station (gas station), anywhere.
5. I loved Sunday School because for about 3 months we didn’t have a teacher. Instead of learning the valuable principles of the Bible, pre-teens were clowning and cracking. It came to an end the week when Richard pulled off Nancy’s wig. They started fighting and made so much noise the teacher from the next room came over. That was the end of that. My grandmother, Mildred Kelley (who lived to be 100 and served as the Sunday School Superintendent, and later Deaconess) was not thrilled.
After our trip down memory lane, we found a place to sit down. Madam X came to the festival with Mariam Tania Phillipose. Tania jumped up when they played the Cupid Shuffle and didn’t miss a beat. After the song, we all sat around people watching and talking. This reminded me of going over my grandparents’ house and sitting on the front porch. When my great grandparents were living and sitting on the porch, children weren’t supposed to be seen or heard. In other words, you needed to take yourself somewhere and play in the yard. As I got older, I was permitted to stand around on the porch and even take a seat. But I had sense enough to know that my behind in the seat was temporary if an older person came along.
Madam X and I walked over to the Rosa Parks exhibit. Getting on the COTA (Central Ohio Transit Authority) bus reminded me of when I was put in charge of my younger brother in the summer. We would “catch” the COTA on Cassady Ave. to Fifth Ave. Then, we’d transfer to a bus that went down Mt. Vernon Ave. to the West side (where my grandparents lived). The most memorable bus ride was when a small stature male rider didn’t have money nor his transfer slip and refused to get off the bus. A large female bus driver threatened to throw him off the bus. He ran up and down the aisle and he eventually got off the bus. I thought we were going to see something off of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment).
I heard the wonderful music. Someone told me it was Bobby Floyd. I don’t know how I have lived in Columbus all my life and never heard him play. As I looked around, I saw one white man. My lead in, “Now I gotta take a picture of the only white guy at the African American Festival.” He laughed and said sure. He said he really liked Bobby Floyd so that is why he came to the festival. We started discussing which high schools we attended, which part of town, and settled on the Boys High School basketball games back in the day at the Coliseum. Man let me tell you those were good times! From the mid ’70s to the early ‘80s I remember seeing East High School, Linden McKinley, and Mifflin battling in the tournament games.
After that conversation, I took a few steps to rejoin the sisterhood. At some point, Laura Gentry of LAG Productions, LLC sat down next to us. She eased into the conversation. We discussed everything from personal heat (hot flashes), hair, self-defense, etc. In discussing the present, I was reminded of the past.
By this time, Tenny Tucker was performing.
This festival reminds me of all that is great about our culture. We can dance together, we can have strong times of intense fellowship (almost arguing our points), remember the old times, celebrate our differences, learn from each other, meet new friends, etc.
As I age gracefully I tend to cherish the times that I make genuine connections. Memories in a way allow us to live that moment in time all over again. Today was a day that is forever logged in my memory.
The slideshow of the highlights of the Second Annual 2018 African American Festival can be viewed on our 614whats2love Youtube channel at https://youtu.be/awDwtaReYt8,
This is definitely something to put on your calendar!