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Minority Coalition to host festival in Cassopolis

Published 6:38pm Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Minority Coalition’s Tenth Annual International Festival is Sunday, Sept. 12 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Ross Beatty High School, 22721 Diamond Cove Rd., Cassopolis.

Featured artists include Kareemah El Amin of Benton Harbor, J Arthur Sanders of Muskegon and Jake Webster of South Bend.

Awards will be presented at 1:15 p.m. to Karl Crisler (posthumous award) and Cass County Commissioner Minnie Warren for their many contributions to increasing racial harmony in Cass County.

Sanders boxed professionally before turning to art. Beginning at 1:30 p.m. and throughout the festival, J Arthur will place loaded paint brushes between the fingers of both hands, and punch and jab his way to creating a large, abstract painting.

Sisters of the Nile Belly Dance Troupe will perform at 1:45p.m. Volunteers from the Institute for International Cooperation and Development (IICD) will perform at 2:30 p.m.

A poetry slam, hosted by Kareemah El Amin and Jake Webster, will begin at 3 p.m.

El Amin is an acclaimed filmmaker, playwright, director, producer, poet and singer. She hosts the monthly Expression Session at The Livery in Benton Harbor on first Thursdays.

Webster is a well-known area sculptor and spoken word artist, originally from Cassopolis. Webster and his wife, photographer Kay Westhues, own and operate Artpost Gallery in South Bend. Webster describes his art as very symbolic; it deals with the humanistic quality of every man.

El Amin and Webster hosted workshops prior to the festival that were attended by local poets. The Minority Coalition will offer handmade poetry chapbooks that came out of these workshops.

In addition to performing artists, the festival will offer a prevention fair, featuring five or more booths with hands-on activities and games.

Ten to 15 vendors will sell ethnic food, hand-crafted clothing, jewelry and other items. The festival is free thanks to generous underwriting by the Greater Kalamazoo Arts Council, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Cass County Youth Council.

For more information contact festival director Ruth Andrews at (269) 445-0269 or vendor coordinator Diane Bailey at (269) 476-1472.

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