“B.Y.O.J.” Bring Your Own Joy! Series Of Events By Artist Nikki Williams In Harlem

November 12, 2022

“I Wouldn’t have Seen it If I Hadn’t Believed it! a ”B.Y.O.J.” – Bring Your Own Joy! solo art show by artist Nikki Williams in Harlem, NY.

Is presented by Spirit in Sunset Productions in association with Ryan Health Frederick Douglass.

Solo Art Exhibit Celebrating the Joy of Imagination, Creativity, and Dreamed Vision by Harlem Artist and Writer Nikki Williams. The exhibit will be on view from October 4, 2022, through November 28, 2022, in all four windows of Ryan Health Frederick Douglass located at 2381 Frederick Douglass Blvd and 128 the Street in Harlem.

An Artist Talk will take place on Monday, October 24, 2022, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. The Artist Talk will be a “Wondrous Walk Observing the Everyday Creativity of Harlem and its Citizens” starting from Ryan Health Frederick Douglass and concluding at Ryan Health Adair located at 565 Manhattan Avenue at 124th Street in Harlem. Along with the Artist, Nikki Williams, Mr. Charles Shorter, Executive Director of Ryan Health Adair, and Ryan Health Frederick Douglass will be on hand to help guide the Walk and speak about Ryan Health, the Arts, and the Harlem Community that Ryan

Health serves. Mr. Aboubakar Diaby, Special Projects Coordinator and Curator of the exhibit and Mr. Charles Ruiz, Administrative Coordinator, Assistant Curator will also be present to speak about the process of curating the exhibit.

Invited Guests are Ms. Laurie Cumbo, Commissioner for from the Department of Cultural Affairs, Ms. Nina Norwood, Deputy District Director Office of Congressman Adriano Espaillat NY-13, and Mr. Manny Belliard,

Deputy Director of Constituent Affairs, Office of Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine Northern Manhattan Office. Staff Members and Healthcare Providers from both Ryan Health Frederick Douglas and Ryan Health Adair when the Artist Talk concludes to speak of the importance of creativity and imagination as it pertains to health and well-being.

For more information contact Spirit in Sunset Productions at (212) 368-3571, spiritalkin@yahoo.com or Mr. Aboubakar Diaby, Special Events Coordinator at Ryan Health Frederick Douglass at (212) 222.5221 ext. 7826 or www.ryanhealth.org.

“I Wouldn’t have Seen it, If I Hadn’t Believed it! is the artwork by the creator and producer, Nikki Williams, Artistic Director of Spirit in Sunset Productions, and the creative force behind “B,Y.O.J.” – Bring Your Own Joy! a campaign that she spearheaded in 2021. The theme for the art display centers on daring you to see what you joyfully believe. This, it also pays tribute to the Magical Energy of the Dreams and Creativity of Children, in particular, Children of Color whose genius in not always reflected in the resources that they are provided. “Children have a way,” Williams attests, “of reminding us of all the importance of recognizing and celebrating our innate Blessing ofJoy – our Seventh Sense.”

Williams describes the images in “I Wouldn’t have Seen it If I Hadn’t Believed it! as a series of Art in Photo/Collage images that dare you, as children are so able to do, “See What You Believe,” rather than relying on believing what you see. Williams contends that “Creativity is a Heavenly Space within our Inner Be/ing.” Williams

interprets the Biblical passage found in Matthew 18: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven,” to mean that Artists go beyond what their five senses perceive.

Artists must first believe that a thing exists before they can see/create it and pull it into being. It takes Faith, the kind that children have, to know that All Things Are Possible to One who believes. Children are fearless in their imaginations – in the way that they image Nations.” Williams taps on that same innate power of childlike wonder and imagination to create artwork that brings Visioned Dreams into the physical realm daring the viewer to look twice at artwork that as the song “Pure Imagination,” written by Gene Wilder tells the spectator: “What you’ll find will defy explanation.”

“I Wouldn’t have Seen it, If I Hadn’t Believed it! also pays special tribute to those Artists working in the field of Arts and Education – the often-unspoken Heroes who are the key shapers in how children see the possibilities and beauty in the world. Williams knows first-hand the value of the Arts when it comes to educating children. She understands that most children respond and learn when lessons are presented through the lens of creativity. Williams worked as an Independent Contractor for over twenty=five years with several Arts Organizations as an Arts in

Education Specialist. Williams speaks of her colleagues when she states “The work that professional Artists who bring their Gifts and Expertise into classrooms, libraries, cultural centers, hospitals, community centers, etc., is often unrewarded. Artists have a unique and lasting way of educating children and adults. Their impact, especially on children is long-lasting. These artists open up worlds to children through books, music, poetry, dance, and especially the visual arts.” Williams included a tribute to Artists who bring the Arts to children and adults in the inaugural exhibit at Blick Arts Material over the summer. Arts in Education multidisciplinary Artist Khuumba Ama and Dancer, Choreographer, and Poet, Myna Majors served as guest speakers at the Artist Talk last August.

“I Wouldn’t have Seen it, If I Hadn’t Believed it! kicked off what will be a touring exhibit at Blick Art Materials located at 261 West 125 the Street next door to the World-Famous Apollo Theater in Harlem. The exhibit is part of the “B.Y.O.J.”

TM – Bring Your Own Joy series of events that started as a creative writing workshop facilitated by Williams’ third solo exhibit in the Spring of 2022. The exhibit opened on July 13, 2022, and was extended to September 7, 2022, Williams is honored and thrilled to have three solo exhibits hosted by Blick Art Materials in Harlem. Her first exhibit celebrated the 50 the year of the African American Day Parade in Harlem with select photographs that Williams took of the Parade over a span of twenty-five years. The second exhibit was part of Blick Art Materials’ 12 Art Beats series. A series where twelve Artists were selected to display their artwork each month of the year. Williams’ artwork celebrated the achievements of Women Artists of Color during the month of August. “Blick Arts Material,” Williams states is “my Creative Home. I feel a sense of family whenever I walk inside the store. One is transformed by the power of creativity as soon as you open the glass doors and a feeling of what can be taken over one’s Spirit.” Williams admits, after decades of shopping at Pearl Paint, an art supply store formally located on Canal Street, which closed its doors in 2014, she would never feel a personal connection again with the staff of an Arts Store.

Williams also feels extraordinarily Blessed to have her artwork displayed for a second time in the windows of Ryan Health Frederick Douglass. She is grateful that the Executive Director, Mr. Charles Shorter, saw worth in her idea to celebrate the endless Dreams and Creativity inherent in Communities of Color. Last year, Ryan Health and the Executive Director of both Ryan Health Harlem locations, Charles Shorter, spoke of seeing last year’s exhibit, “As a way of providing the community with an opportunity to celebrate, observe and witness an example of Black Excellence displayed through powerful imagery and poetry.” Williams is prayerful that the exhibit and the poetry that accompanies the artwork, will inspire those living in the neighborhood, as well as the patients that Ryan Health serves, and all children who see the display to tap into the endless well of their own Imaginations. Williams is a multi-gifted Artist who has always added literature and theater to her visual art.

Nikki Williams who has been called a “Renaissance Woman,” is an award-winning photographer and poet.

She is also an accomplished painter, playwright, and performance artist who has been producing cultural arts programs for over thirty years. “B.Y.O.J.” – Bring Your Own Joy! was inspired by a poem Williams wrote last year when she produced an “Herstoric” photo shoot centering on Woman Artists of Color aged 50 years and older.

The poem of the same title is found in her book “Mama Movers/Sistah Shakers” – A Celebration of World Dreaming Wimmin.” On August 7, 2022, Williams conceived and directed what she calls, a “Joyathon.” For over two hours, professional Artists of Color presented a non-stop, marathon, two-hour presentation of the poetry and prose of Mr. Langston Hughes and Dr. Maya Angelou. The performance was held inside the Robert F. Smith Performing Arts Center held inside the Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park. The efforts and the work of the participating Artists, as well as Spirit in Sunset Productions, were rewarded with Proclamations presented by Ms. Nina Norwood, Deputy District Director, Office of Congressman Adriano Espaillat NY-13. State Senator Cordell Cleare was also present that day and made a personal appearance presenting the Artists with a Proclamation. Ms. Minah Whyte, Community Liaison from Borough President Mark Levine personally delivered Certificates of Achievement earlier in the week.

“B.Y.O.J.” – Bring Your Own Joy! is now the title of a Coffee Table book published in June 2022. More “B.Y.O.J.” events will be presented this year. One of which, will occur on Thursday, August 25, 2022. Williams will hold an Artist Talk in front of Blick Art Materials at 4:00 p.m. Vocalist Lil Phillips, Visual Artist Sara Diallo, and Artist Rasheeda Shabazz will engage the public with song and stories their lives as Artists and the creative process.

Williams is looking forward to producing a “B.Y.O.J.” – Bring Your Own Joy! podcast by the end of the year. The public is encouraged to contact Spirit in Sunset Productions via their email address – byoj7@aol.com, to stay updated on upcoming “B.Y.O.J.” events.

Both Ryan Health Frederick Douglass and Blick Art Materials are accessible by public transportation by taking the A, D, C, B, and/or #2 and #3 trains to 125 the Street.

For more information contact Spirit in Sunset Productions at (212) 368-3571, byoj7@aol.com or Ryan Health at (212) 222-5221 |ext.7826, www.ryanhealth.org

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