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Bloomington's Black y Brown Arts Festival is this Saturday

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KAYTE YOUNG: The Black y Brown Arts Festival is coming up this Saturday at the Switchyard Park Pavilion and amphitheater in Bloomington. I spoke with the coordinators for the festival, Shatoyia Moss and Josefa Madrigal, to hear about this year's festivities. Here's Josefa.

JOSEFA MADRIGAL: The city of Bloomington Black y Browns Arts festival, It's a family friendly event.

There's going to be different local artists, which includes visual arts and performing arts, and families will also have the opportunity to actually purchase whatever art the artist is selling. So it will be fun for the families to come and enjoy. There will be food trucks and just a lot of different types of performances, whether if it's poetry, dance, performance.

SHATOYIA MOSS: We have Sofia...

JOSEFA MADRIGAL: Crespo? Sofia Crespo.

SHATOYIA MOSS: Yes, and she does Flamingo dancing. She's a talented and extraordinary person. And to see her as just one of these amazing events, we not only try to highlight artists that have been, you know, artists for a long time, but kind of new and upcoming artists. So we also take amateur artists and it's really great for all ages as well. So even our youngest artists, ages six and seven. So, if they want to come show off some art? They are more than welcome. With Black y Brown Festival, we're looking really at the people. So we want to say, you know, here's Native American art, here's Hispanic and Latinx art here is black and African American art. And these people are right here in our own community, so we want to make sure we give them the space and platform to thrive and to grow, and so that way you can actually experience them.

Our purpose is to give artists that typically don't have a platform or space to express themselves, a space to show off their work to show their creativity. Again, we're talking drawings, photography, jewelry making. And they may not have a brick and mortar, or they may have an unknown web shop, and this is a way for them to really elevate themselves and also, like I said, engage with our community members to introduce them to this part of our community.

We hope that the Community sees this as an opportunity of learning and cultural expression, and everyone is invited. It isn't just primarily for Black and Brown community members to attend.

We want all our community members to attend, although the artists that we are lifting up are black and brown on all spectrums.

KAYTE YOUNG: Community organizations will be tabling, and the culinary arts will also be on display at the festival.

SHATOYIA MOSS: We're very intentional about the food trucks and vendors that we select. We want again representation of the black and brown spectrum. So we do ask food trucks who are culturally diverse, as well as the food that they bring in to also be diverse. So that way our community members who again who may have never tried Filipino food or tamales that are fresh.

We want them to have that experience here at this festival, so that way you're getting a little something in Bloomington that you probably never expected before, but also making sure that these businesses are getting kind of a new audience that they may have never tapped before.

KAYTE YOUNG: The Black y Brown Festival has gone through a few iterations since it first began in 2018. It's gone from a four hour event at the Banneker Center, to a three day festival in Block party downtown in 2019. This year they hoped to hit the sweet spot with an afternoon of performance, artwork, information, and food in an easy to access location on the Beeline Trail with ample parking available. Shatoyia shared one of her favorite memories from a past festival.

SHATOYIA MOSS: It was the 2019 Block party, and a band went up and they were jamming and we were feeling it, and all of a sudden myself and like a few other just random community members, we all started doing the electric slide. Now, I don't know about you, but I grew up learning the Electric slide, and after we were done, you know we're like high fiving and like, yeah, that looks great. And I walk over and someone talks to me and it was like, that was cool. Did you all rehearse that? Like, was that a flash dance? and it's like, no, but I'm happy to teach you the electric slide. And it's, it’s just one of those things I would have never known that someone didn't know it. But because they came to the festival, they learned about the electric slide.

KAYTE YOUNG: We've been talking with Shatoyia Moss and Josefa Madrigal, coordinators of the Black E Brown Arts Festival, supported by the city of Bloomington’s Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs and Safe and Civil City program. The festival takes place this Saturday, September 10th from 1:00 to 6:00 PM, at the Switchyard Park Pavillion and amphitheater. More information is listed on our website, If you're just hearing about this and you have art that you want to showcase at the festival this Saturday, it might not be too late to sign up. Contact Shatoyia Moss at the city of Bloomington.

For Wi-Fi arts, I'm Kate young.

Around twenty or so black folks gathered for a group photo indoors, music stands in the background

The Black y Brown Arts Festival brings together artists, performers, food vendors and ogranizations for a celebration of black and brown creative culture. (Courtesy City of Bloomington)

The Black y Brown Arts Festival is coming up–Saturday, September 10 from 1-6pm at the Switchyard Park Pavillion and Amphitheater in Bloomington. Kayte Young spoke with the co-coordinators for the Festival, Shatoyia Moss and Josefa Madrigal to hear about this year’s festivities. 

The festival includes live music and performance on the outdoor stage, arts and information booths inside the pavilion, and food trucks on the plaza. The purpose of the event is to bring the community together for a family-friendly event showcasing Black and Brown arts, culture and food in our community. 

For more information–including the performance line up, and a list of vendors and food trucks–visit the festival website. For questions about the festival contact Shatoyia Moss.

Black y Brown Arts Festival  supported by the City of Bloomington’s Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs and Safe and Civil City Program along with the Bloomington Arts Commission and City departments of Economic and Sustainable Development and Parks and Recreation. Find a complete list of sponsors on the festival website

Shatoyia Moss is the Safe and Civil City Director with Community and Family Resources at the City of Bloomington

Josefa Madrigal is the Latino Outreach Coordinator with Community and Family Resources at the City of Bloomington.

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