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San Fran Celebrates Decade Of Black Arts

2010 Shrimp and Grits Taste Off
Photo Credit: Scott Chernis

SAN FRANCISCO  -- The city of San Francisco has always been recognized as a global hub for culture and creativity, yet when it comes to Black arts and expression it often falls short. Recognizing this shortfall is the multi-disciplinary arts organization sf|noir which is celebrating its 10th year anniversary. The organization recently announced plans for year-round programming to reinforce San Francisco's position as a cultural center by highlighting the contributions and excellence of African-Americans and the Diaspora.

With the continued pressure of gentrification, the population of African-Americans in San Francisco has gone from as high as 30% to less than 7%. With this continued loss of Black creative and intellectual capital, the city is in danger of losing its previously rich presentation and offering of Black arts and achievement. This has been the driving force behind sf|noir when it was founded in 2001 to preserve and showcase the achievements and innovations of African-American artists, performers and thinkers.

"The preservation and representation of Black arts and expression are critical to maintaining San Francisco's standing as a diverse, cosmopolitan center of culture. We envision a time when, like SF Opera, SF Ballet or SFJAZZ, sf|noir is recognized as an essential pillar of the city's arts landscape," notes sf|noir founder Herve Ernest.

Ernest has a long artistic history with the city of San Francisco as an arts/event producer. He was the co-founder of the North Beach Jazz Festival seeing it through its first eight years and he currently lends his leadership to Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco's oldest multi-disciplinary arts organization, as the Director of Communications and Community Relations, in addition to overseeing the vision of sf|noir.

This year sf|noir will celebrate 10 years of producing innovative shows that speak to all audiences. Its signature Black History Month Celebration continues to be a highly anticipated event due to its ability to offer a culturally rich exchange among supporters.

The celebration will begin on Thursday, February 17 from 6 - 10 pm at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco for its second presentation of the Shrimp & Grits Taste-Off. Foodies from all over the Bay Area are invited to taste local renditions of this southern classic provided by restaurants such as 1300 on Fillmore, Farmer Brown and Gussie's Chicken and Waffles among many others. First introduced in February 2010, over 300 people came out for a great evening of food, wine, and culture. This year's event will also feature wine tastings from African-American vintners as well as others from Napa and Sonoma County. The event will be sf|noir's first fundraiser in its 10 year history.

To keep the cultural exchange going, sf|noir also announced plans to offer more programs throughout the year as it collaborates with organizations like, JCCSF, the San Francisco Film Society and San Francisco Unified School District. A new monthly film screening series showcasing independent filmmakers and a 'Meet the Author' workshop series are just some of the new programming that will take place in 2011.

About sf|noir
Founded in 2001, sf|noir is a multi-disciplinary arts organization that highlights the contributions and excellence of African-Americans and the Diaspora. The organization explores the achievements and innovations of African-American artists, performers and thinkers. Together through collaborations with other arts and civic institutions, sf|noir celebrates global interpretations of uniquely Black art forms, bringing together diverse audiences and reinforcing San Francisco's position as a center for rich and universally relevant cultural exchange.

About Herve Ernest
Herve Ernest has a 16+ year track record in San Francisco as an arts/events producer. He was co-founder of the North Beach Jazz Festival (NBJF), seeing it through its first 8 years, prior to starting sf|noir. Under his leadership, the NBJF at its peak provided programming to an audience of more than 40,000 people over a 9 day event based in the North Beach district of San Francisco. Bringing artists like Pharoah Sanders, Carlos Santana, Bobby Hutcherson, Poncho Sanchez, Roy Ayers and many more, the NBJF was a cultural, as well as economic, force in North Beach and throughout the city. Herve also provides consulting services, strategic planning, marketing, development and communications expertise to a number of non-profit organizations in the Bay Area. 


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