"Ms Meekins' Future Band" is the name of a new art quilt I created for the official poster of the 33rd 2nd Street Festival in Richmond, Virginia. I have always enjoyed the festival as a visitor but this year as the featured artist, I got a booth space at the 2-day festival where I displayed my art and crafts. Despite the pandemic, many came out to enjoy the warm weather, food, entertainment, and fellowship. It was a wonderful and exciting experience.
With a theme of preserving the past and making way for the future, the art quilt incorporates the portraits of Marsha Meekins' and her grand niece and nephew, Amirrah Coleman and Mark Coleman. As a musician who has performed with her band at the festival from 2017-2019, Ms. Meekins represents both the past and present. She taught music for Richmond Public Schools for many years; and, in fact, she was the artist's band teacher, 4th through 8th grades. The children represent the future as they are taking music lessons on the flute and trumpet, respectively, from their great-aunt. They also symbolize all aspirations of our youth who want to be future musicians and carry on the legacy that makes the 2nd Street Festival so special.
I also incorporated the Adinkra symbols Nkonsonkonson and Sankofa, which represent unity and community; and learning from our past, respectively. The use of these symbols in African-American culture gives us a connection to West Africa where our ancestors originated. Our community is built on strong traditions like crafts, dance, music, food, and fellowship something the 2nd Street Festival represents. These symbols also connects to my artistry of art quilts as Adinkra symbols were traditionally used in fabric design.
Something else that drew my attention is the symbolism of three - heaven, earth, and water; body, mind, and spirit; or beginning, middle, and end - as a way of coming full circle. What once was shall begin again. Jackson Ward was a thriving black community interrupted by ill-intent and has since been slowly rebuilding itself towards a prosperous and community-led future.
I'd like to thank Venture Richmond and the 2nd Street Festival staff, especially Sharon Bassard and Renee Gaines, for this amazing opportunity for the 2nd year in a row (and the first physically). I'd like to thank my mom and son for helping me at my booth as well as friends LaTika, Jowarnise, and Kyle. And I'd like to thank Virginia for making me a QRC plaque to make it easier for customers to pay me and find me on social media. Lastly, I'd like to thank all who visited the festival and my booth and brought a smile to my face. You made all the difference in the world.