The last Saturday of every month is always a big day for Negative Space Gallery. Every month on that night, the gallery hosts an open-mic night, where musicians, poets and others can show up and perform. In addition, it is frequently the night that new exhibits of artwork are unveiled. The last Saturday of August, the 27th, celebrated both of these events. It was open-mic night, and a huge number of people turned out to perform music and read poetry. And it was also the opening of a new exhibit.
The new exhibit features the work of Nunu Kolawole. She spoke to the crowd at the gallery before the open-mic event began, and she came back and talked again after two musicians and a poet had performed. Her show is called Emotions: Pieces of Me, and, as she said, the art in her exhibit “shows all the various emotions I experienced through this year, from my beliefs to my appreciation for black women, domestic violence, the Cleveland Cavaliers winning and music, to name just a few.” She added that she had not done much artwork prior to this year. “Before this year, I hadn’t been creating much art at all. Perhaps one piece a year, and they were all drawings. But this is my first year of solid painting,” she said.
The first artist to perform at the open mic was Constant Battle, a rapper from Buffalo, New York. He was followed by LB, or Lyrical Beast, another hip-hop artist. Then Larry Gardner, a poet, took the stage. It was his birthday, and he read a poem called “Swear.” He asked for the audience to shout the word “swear” several times throughout his reading.
When Nunu Kolawole took the stage again, she talked about her artwork and read a poem called “Body, Mind and Soul.” She then sang a Nina Simone song called “Feeling Good.”
Many of the people taking part in the night’s open mic were newcomers or had only been to the gallery’s open-mic sessions a couple of times. But the fifth artist who performed on Saturday was a regular. Gary Lee is a guitarist, singer and songwriter, and he is frequently at the gallery’s events. The second song he performed was a cover of the Paul McCartney song “Every Night.” After he performed six songs, he was joined onstage by Sean Seibert, a member of the gallery’s board who is also in charge of all of the performance activities at the gallery. Seibert and Lee performed “Don’t Pass Me By,” a Beatles’ song.
Many more people took the stage throughout the night. One was Timothy Cox, a guitarist and singer who has taken part in many NSG events. A woman named Fatima took the stage after Cox and sang along with some recorded backing tracks. And a couple more poets came onstage, including Nadia and D.L. Woure. Seibert also took the stage again, this time with NSG employee Ari Warner on drums. They performed the Buffalo Springfield song “For What It’s Worth.”
More than a dozen other artists also performed over the course of the evening. There were several more poets, including Shelly Ann, Tasha Hale, Kyle Tatum and Anwar Stanton. There were also other musicians. It was another great night at Negative Space, and as I have written many times before, this gallery is not just about paintings. It’s about all forms of artwork, and it’s fabulous!