Event Type: community

Fri Feb 17 6-8pm



Creative Alliance in partnership with SHAN present: What does it mean to be Black?
Local artists and activists discuss WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE BLACK with SHAN, Bilphena Yahwon, Leila Rghioui and Aurelio Martinez. All are welcome to join the conversation, see live performances, and meet the participants.

5:30pm Reception | 6pm Panel | FREE!


Shan Wallace

SHAN is an award-winning photographer, writer, and freedom fighter from East Baltimore. Merging her journalism degree from Bowie State University with her love for photography, SHAN work focuses on the experience, identities and struggles of black life. 

Aurelio Martinez

Aurelio Martinez, singer-songwriter, guitarist and percussionist, is a cultural warrior for the Garifuna people of the Caribbean Coast of Central America. He take the stage later that night for Garifuna Soul night. Tix & Info

Leila Rghioui

Leila was born and raised in Baltimore before moving to Baltimore County. She grew up in a small Muslim school before attending an girls catholic school. Currently, Leila is a student at CCBC studying the humanities and social sciences. She comes from an Afro Caribbean & North African Background and is currently and primarily involved with the Muslim youth at her Mosque. She hopes to use her experience and future degree to help her local communities. 

Bilphena Yahwon

Bilphena Yahwon is a Baltimore based writer and social justice advocate born in liberia, west africa and raised in danané, côte d'Ivoire. yahwon is the owner + curator of goldwomyn.com, the author of ‘teaching gold-mah how to heal herself.’and the creative director at broken english co. she writes of the immigrant experience, of blackness, of healing, of african women made from flowers breathing fragility. when she is not writing or in the classroom, bilphena enjoys wandering through spaces of foods, people(s), colors + lessons.

HOSTS: Linnea Poole & Gerald Leavell

Gerald L. Leavell II

Gerald L. Leavell II is an educator and multi-visionary art practitioner who thinks of his educational and artistic practices as a double helix. “My educational and artistic practices are, essentially, consequences of one another and each is certainly a fundamental component in achieving an objective or outcome from the other. In other terms, art and education are the cause and effect of my genetic and lived experiences.”

Gerald engages intergenerational/intercultural audiences in dialogue through collective art-making and unique art-viewing experiences. His practice includes cross-cultural exchange initiatives in the U.S., West Africa, East Africa and the Caribbean; designing arts-based curricula for and with a variety of communities; presenting rare, classic, & avant garde films and new media works; and a multi-disciplinary art practice with an emphasis on assemblage. Leavell spent six years as the Expanding the Walls and Youth Programs Coordinator at The Studio Museum in Harlem, and in 2016 he was the Artist in Residence for the Institute of Contemporary Art | Boston Teen Convening, and an Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellow with the Caribbean Cultural Center African Diaspora Institute in New York City. 

Gerald L. Leavell II holds a B.A. in International Studies from Morehouse College and is 2018 MFA in Community Arts candidate at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

Linnea Poole

Linnea Poole is a Community Activist and Performance Artist from Baltimore. She received her Bachelors of Science in Urban Arts with a concentration in Theater from Coppin State University. She is currently a graduate student at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in the Masters of Fine Arts Community Art program.

Music performances by: DJ Pierre & Shalanda Hansboro

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