Dwight Andrews appointed
Following in the footsteps of theater and television actor Avery Brooks
("Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), Emory Music Professor Dwight Andrews
has been named artistic director for the 1998 Atlanta-based National Black
Arts Festival. Andrews, who is currently in residence at Harvard University
for the spring term as the first Quincy Jones Visiting Professor of African
American Music, was joined by University President Bill Chace, National
Black Arts Festival Board Chairman Michael Lomax, Professor Wole Soyinka
and playwright August Wilson in announcing the appointment last Tuesday
at the Carlos Museum. "I see the role as part of my own public ministry,"
said the multifaceted Andrews, who is an ordained minister as well as composer,
performer and teacher.
festival artistic director
"The life of a president is one of unending joy and special moments,"
President Chace remarked to knowing laughter. "Some moments are better
than others, and this is one of those very good moments."
Andrews, who served as music curator for the National Black Arts Festival
in 1994, will provide a "seamless transition and a strong sense of
the festival's mission," said Lomax. "He's a vital force in the
African American artistic continuum."
One of Andrews first responsibilities as artistic director will be to create
ongoing creative programming during the two years leading up to the festival.
He plans to host artists-in-residence, ongoing dialogues, readings and classes
for all ages. "Arts and entertainment are not the same thing,"
said Andrews. "We need to start articulating that in a way that's useful
for all of us."
In recent years, the National Black Arts Festival has been laboring under
the weight of its own success, said Andrews. He plans to be a "facilitator
in increasing its support structure as the festival moves toward the next
A noted scholar of jazz history, popular culture and race, Andrews also
has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Anthony Braxton,
Leo Smith and Geri Allen and arranged music for saxaphonist Branford Marsalis'
1992 album, "I Heard You Twice the First Time." "My entire
career has never been one of my own making or my own planning," he
Andrews first worked with August Wilson in 1984 when he provided musical
direction for Wilson's first play, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom at Yale Reperatory
Theatre. Their collaboration has continued through the Broadway productions
of several of Wilson's plays including Ma Rainey, Joe Turner's Come and
Gone, Fences, The Piano Lesson, and, most recently, Seven Guitars.
The National Black Arts Festival showcases the work of artists in the disciplines
of music, dance, theater, film, folk arts, visual art, performance art and
literature. Founded in 1987 by the Fulton County Arts Council, the festival
now presents the work of more than 1,500 artists of African descent from
the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and South America.
The biennial festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary July 31­p;Aug.
9, 1998. Last year's event had a total attendance of 1.1 million people.
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