‘Escape reality’ at new pop-up concert series ‘When Art Happens,’ Saturday

From the creators of the Long Beach Black Dance Festival, the CRay Project, comes a new pop-up concert series, “When Art Happens,” which once a month for the next three months will present performances and art, from dancers to spoken word artists and musicians, at various locations throughout the city.

The first pop-up performance will take place at Rose Park on Saturday, featuring a selection of artists, including some returning performers from the festival. Attendees can expect to see works from Long Beach dancer and choreographer James MahKween and the Jamie Burton Dance Collective.

“A Black Girl Chorus line” 1st Ladies of Long Beach Hi-Steppers. Photos by BSide Photography, courtesy CRay Project

“We hope to give the community time to have discussions, escape reality and enjoy the creativity of the artist during times when art is therapy to some and livelihood to others,” said LaRonica Southerland, the CRay Project’s assistant creative director.

The title of the series was inspired by the group’s recent event, the Long Beach Black Dance Festival earlier in August which garnered an “overwhelmingly amazing” response from the community, said organizers.

‘For us, by us’: The Long Beach Black Dance Festival aims to empower

“To see so many people come out from various backgrounds and walks of life, and really feel impacted by the works that were presented, we thought to ourselves, ‘Wow, the work that art can do!’ It heals, it creates conversations, it moves, it influences and inspires. That’s what happens, when art happens,” said Southerland.

The first “When Art Happens” will take place Saturday, Oct. 10, with a pre-show at 5 p.m. and the main show at 6 p.m. at Rose Park at Eighth Street and Orizaba Avenue. For those wanting to join in via Zoom, register for $5 at the Eventbrite link here. Those who attend the concert are required to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

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Asia Morris has been with the Long Beach Post for five years, specializing in coverage of the arts. Her parents gave her the name because they wanted her to be a world traveler and they got their wish. She has obliged by pursuing art, journalism and a second career as a competitive cyclist.
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