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SU festival celebrates the Obama presidency through music and art

The election of Barack Obama is the focus of a music and arts festival presented by the Department of African American Studies in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences, beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at the Community Folk Art Center (CFAC) and the Paul Robeson Performing Arts Center (PRPAC), 805 East Genesee Street, Syracuse.

"The Artists' Response to the Symbolism of the Election of Barack Obama" festival is free and open to the public and will include music, dance, art, artists' discussions, and refreshments. Afternoon activities will feature sculptor Mel Edwards and painter Napoleon Jones-Henderson, who will discuss their work and create art from 2 to 4 p.m. A free concert with celebrated jazz musicians, including renowned jazz violinist Billy Bang, will begin at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:45 p.m.

"Barack Obama's presidency carries considerable weight," says William Cole, professor and chair of the Department of African American Studies. "It is not simply that he is the first African American to be elected to the most powerful position in the country, he as president is a tremendously positive symbol for African American people. His journey to the presidency is inspirational to me as both a scholar and a musician."

Cole's "Untempered Ensemble," featuring jazz violinist Billy Bang, is one of several groups that will perform during the evening concert. Other performances include:

Jayne Cortez and the Firespitters, a band combining jazz, blues, and spoken word; and

The Syracuse University West African Drumming Ensemble, directed by Biboti Ouikahilo.

Event co-sponsors include the iLEARN program in the College of Arts and Sciences, The University Lectures, the Chancellor's Office, and the John Coltrane Contemporary Jazz Series.

For more information, call the Department of African American Studies at 443-4302.

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