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New Art Symposium Series Explores Bed-Stuy's Cultural Legacy

The series kicked off with a panel discussion featuring legendary street artist Al Diaz who was honored for his contributions to NYC culture.
Destination Bed-Stuy, BK Reader
Brooklyn Borough Director Jamila Pringle-Fynes and son (right) presents Al Diaz (center) with a letter of acknowledgment from Mayor De Blasio as curator Atim Oton congratulates. Photo courtesy Keith L. Forrest.

Destination Bed-Stuy: Art, Hip-Hop & Murals, a new quarterly art symposium that celebrates the neighborhood's contribution to hip-hop culture through the lens of art, launched on Saturday at BKLYN Commons in Bedford Stuyvesant. 

The day-long event, curated and hosted by Brooklyn designer and entrepreneur Atim Annette Oton, featured panel discussions, an art exhibition, an on-site mural creation, music and live performances.

Illustrator Ashshahid Muhammad, Street Artist Al Diaz and Poet Paricia Spears. Photo courtesy of Keith L. Forrest

Renown graffiti artists Al Diaz, author and illustrator Ashshahid Muhammad and poet Patricia Spears joined Oton for The Streets: Hip-Hop, Graffiti and Murals, a talk on the history of graffiti art and its acceptance into the world of mural painting. A second panel, The Gallery: Curating Hip-Hop and Graffiti featured Bishop Gallery owner Stevenson Dunn and creative curator Christina Artwell.

Bronx Rapper Eye Pound (right) rips the mic as WBLS DJ Dorey Giles (left) spins.

DJ Corey Giles of WBLS-FM provided the sounds that kept the guests moving and grooving, while rappers Eye Pound and Os heated up the crowd with their lyricism.

The evening concluded with a special honor for Al Diaz, the graffiti legend who is probably best known for his collaboration with Jean Michel Basquiat on SAMO, a graffiti that appeared in lower Manhattan from 1977 to 1979. The Office of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and Brooklyn Borough Director Jamila Pringle-Fynes of the Mayor's Office presented Diaz with citations to honor his outstanding contribution to NYC's art culture. 

The next symposium, Destination Bed-Stuy: Art, Health and Wellness, will return to BKLYN Commons on Saturday, May 4, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.


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