The Waitsfield Village Meeting House is planning a month of programming around the artwork of Janet McKenzie and her show “Courage, Justice and Hope: The Inclusive Paintings of Janet McKenzie.” Along with McKenzie’s exhibit, Toussaint St. Negritude, poet and musician, will perform, and the Global Community Festival will celebrate with music, food and art.
Karen Nevin, co-chair of the arts committee for the Meeting House, said that Janet McKenzie’s paintings remind people that everyone is created equally, and in God’s likeness. Her art honors diversity and inclusion, Nevin noted. Along with her most famous painting “Jesus of the People,” McKenzie will be showing new artwork. Her last show, in New York City, closed in January 2020. The exhibit opened Saturday, August 13, and is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4 p.m. through Sunday, September 4.
Toussaint St. Negritude’s improvisational performance of poetry and music will be performed within the art exhibit space on Saturday, August 20, at 6:30 p.m. Former Poet Laureate of Belfast, Maine, poet, bass clarinetist, and composer St. Negritude conjures whole liberations in full tempo. Originally from San Francisco, he has lived across the African Diaspora, from the sacred mountains of Haiti to the Coltrane District of North Philadelphia. He, along with bassist Gahlord Dewald, is the leader of the band Jaguar Stereo!, an ensemble of his own poetry and improvisational jazz, and his works have been widely published and recorded for over 40 years.
“Spend an afternoon celebrating what makes us universally human through music, food, and art at the Global Community Festival on Saturday, August 27, from noon to 4 p.m. Enjoy musical performances under the tent including The Art of DonnCherie and Ezra Oklan Jazz Trio. Join us for lunch and visit the McKenzie art show. People of all ages are encouraged to share their experiences by painting a prayer flag as part of a community wide art project. The flags will be hung in front of the Waitsfield Village Meeting House as well as at the Mad River Valley libraries after the festival,” Nevin encouraged.
“Janet challenged us to create programming that will address issues of social and racial justice to complement her art show. We are excited to bring such extraordinary musicians and performers to The Valley this August as we consider our role in the wider global community,” Nevin added.
The Waitsfield Village Meeting House received a Spark Connecting Communities grant from the Vermont Community Foundation to create the summer programming around the artwork of Janet McKenzie. Additional support has been received by Lawson’s Finest, The Alchemist, Mehuron’s Supermarket, Village Grocery, and Property Management, Inc.