African-American Heritage and Culture Events

The Gadsden Cultural Arts Foundation is proud to partner with Downtown Gadsden, Inc. on several events celebrating the heritage and culture of African-Americans.

All events are FREE and open to the public and take place at the Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts in downtown Gadsden.

Thursday, February 15, 6 pm – Gallery Talk and Reception with Artist Alvin Roy

The artist from the Hardin Center’s current exhibition, “Alvin Roy Retrospective: Southern Patchwork” will lead a gallery talk discussing his work, his process, and his life on Thursday, February 15 at 6 pm in the Hardin Center’s new downstairs art gallery. A Houston native, Alvin is an accomplished artist and a dynamic individual. A reception follows the gallery talk.

Friday, February 16, 3:30 pm – Gallery Talk with Artist Alvin Roy

This is a second opportunity to hear from Houston artist Alvin Roy. This talk is geared more towards students, but all ages are welcome.

Thursday, February 22, 2024, 5pm – A Performance from Zabriel Rivers

Friday, February 23, 2024, 5 pm – A Conversation with Zabriel Rivers

Gullah-Geechie countertenor, Zabriel Rivers, hails from Saint Helena Island, South Carolina. Zabriel was the Alabama Music Education Association Study/Research Grant Recipient where he participated in the Early Music Oratorio program and conducted research in vocal science. Awarded the Presser Scholar Award, he received a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Alabama State University. The first-place winner of the European International Music Competition, Zabriel, obtained a Master's degree in Vocal Performance at the New England Conservatory of Music. Recent credits include Jim (Big River), Jimmy Early (Dreamgirls), and Frederick J. Loudin (Jubilee) [Alabama Shakespeare Festival], as well as Pane (La Calisto), and Orfeo (Orfeo ed Euridice) [New England Conservatory of Music].

An avid Opera and Musical Theater singer, Zabriel has recorded the world premiere composition of the opera, Cosmic Cowboy, commissioned by White Snake Projects. Zabriel was a featured soloist in Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and Handel’s Messiah Sing (Parish of All Saints, Ashmont).  On May 26, 2023 he will make his debut as counter-tenor soloist in the Pergolesi Stabat Mater at Carnegie Hall in NY with Mid-America Productions.

Zabriel is a classically trained singer, who was recently a district finalist at the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He was invited to perform for former President, Bill Clinton. He has toured alongside Common, Tasha Cobbs, and William Murphy. Zabriel is a member of Phi Mu Alpha Fraternity of America.  Zabriel currently serves as the District Advocate for the Atlanta Chapter of the Recording Academy, the organization that presents the GRAMMY Awards.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024, 4 pm – Love’n the Culture Lecture from Dr. Lamia Benyousseff

​Love’N The Culture​ is an event that cultivates an interest in and a celebration of Black American history, cuisines, music, and excellence. This annual event was started in February of 2022, by Ashton Gray, of Gadsden, AL; and is sponsored by the Educating For Success Foundation, whose goals are to create outreach programs for higher learning, and skills training amongst youth and young adults in the Gadsden, AL, community. Love’N The Culture creates a hub for small business owners to network with other creative minds, and showcases various programs in the surrounding areas. It is an opportunity for communities to come and learn of past experiences, and leave with stronger connections. For it’s these bonds that support and lay firm foundations for the upcoming generations. At Love’N The Culture, one will find themselves more connected to their roots and their history, as soulful music and food envelops their very being. As part of the multi-day event, Love’N the Culture brings noted Birmingham-Southern Associate Professor Dr. Lamia Benyousseff for an interesting presentation on art and culture.

Thursday, February 29, 2024, 5:30 pm – Documentary Screening Toson: The Appointed in Partnership with Gadsden Public Library

Willie Toson Coleman is an Alabama artist whose work embodies a deep connection to his spirituality. Discouraging experiences as a young artist delayed his professional pursuits in painting but his mother’s love of landscape painting and a calling from a greater source shaped the structure of the work he has created for the last 25 years. His paintings reveal a divine assignment and how he sees his role as an artist today. From Dwight Cammeron, Documentary & Creative Media Producer, Miller Heights Productions, this documentary is a portrait of the artist and this exclusive viewings will be one of the first times the film has been seen by audiences.


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