I'm launching this campaign on my birthday (April 29th) in hopes that your contributions can soften the expense of my summer trip to Ghana. Any gift from of $5! or larger will help. This is my first trip to Africa! It has always been a dream of mine to go there!
Ghana is calling this the Year of Return. 2019 marks 400 years since the first slaveship from Africa unloaded at the English Colony of Jamestown, VA. The original colony battled with the 50,000 Algonquins Natives (including Chief Powatan, father of Pocahantes) and expanded to become the United States of America. The Africans on that 1619 slaveship first touched down on Fort Monroe (a place about one mile from the house in which I grew up). Jamestown and Fort Monroe are part of the Hampton Roads area.
The 9th annual Chale Wote Street Art Festival happens in Jamestown, Accra in Ghana (what a circle of name connections for me) and this event is part of the festivities of Ghana's Year of Return. This festival attractions tens of thousands of artsy people of the African Diaspora.
When I found that Ghana is marketing all of this to African-Americans three months ago, I knew that THIS is the year that I would HAVE to go! I know that this pilgrimage will be one of the most important events of my life.
When I step off the plane in Accra, I am sure that I will be mounted by the spirits of hundreds of ancestors and their descendants ring-shouting through pain, joy, and awe. I will be sure to validate and promote all that I find redeeming and corrective about Africa, Africans, and therefore the descendants of enslaved People of African descent.
In Need of Patrons...
I'm traveling on a teacher's budget. So, I'm looking for patrons interested in buying or bartering my art or prints. (Contact me directly!) This is my preferred method of "fundraising" as I wish to add collectors while directly funding my trip and covering loss of pay from days taken off from my teaching job.
I fly into Accra in August. Most of my flight legs are paid and only $300 of my Airbnb remains to be paid. (See below for a more detailed budget breakdown). I may shift my dates so that I can participate in the Black Speculative Arts Symposium that happens in Accra 2 days before I'm currently scheduled to arrive.
(Me next to the Tijuana Cultural Center in Mexico, April 2019).
Also, I may extend my stay so that I can go to Togo and Benin (neighboring countries) to travel alongside an African Diaspora dance troupe that is in final planning stages for this trip. (More on this soon!)
In Accra, I plan to do lots of walking around. I've mapped places to visit and a list of people (friends of friends) to meet. The Chale Wote Street Art Festival, books, street food, dance, traditional healing and religious practices, and PanAfrican intellectuals are all on my agenda. I can't WAIT!
Budget-wise, my plans for Ghana are modest. With the help of patrons,my plans can be more ambitious and would enable me to use June and July prior to the trip (a teacher's planning season) to develop new artworks and continuing supporting research before going to Ghana. The Ghana trip interrupts many summer work situations so this would be more than ideal.
In Exchange for Your Gift...
$5 - $19
I will acknowledge your gift on social media (of your choice) and in my upcoming newsletters.
$20 - $50
I will mail a handwritten postcard from Africa, and I will acknowledge your gift on social media (of your choice) and in my upcoming newsletters.
I can offer art prints or artwork of mine of comparable value (priced up to $650), and I will acknowledge your gift on social media (of your choice) and in my upcoming newsletters.
I can offer original artworks of comparable value (priced at $651 to $5000+) or framed 8 x 10 or larger sized personal photos taken by me during my trip to Africa. I can also offer an option of hand embellishment (by me) with paint on the photos, and I will acknowledge your gift on social media (of your choice) and in my upcoming newsletters.
(Where Your Gifts Will Go)
I've reached the end of my narrative about why I'm going to Africa and what I plan to do. Please consider contributing, purchasing artwork, or sharing information and resources that may benefit me in making this journey.
Also feel free to contact me anytime for studio visits or chit-chatting. I have new work that is not yet on my website (www.zealsart.com ). I will be happy to receive guests.
Mema wo Akwaaba! ("I welcome you!" in the Akan Twi language of Ghana).
I will maintain this campaign from now until I return from Africa.
Visual Artist & Educator
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