Open Collective
Open Collective
Summer Growth from Coast to Coast!
Published on July 16, 2022 by hannah mayree

Thank you all so much for tuning in for this latest update on the workings of the Black Banjo Reclamation Project!

This is the most active Summer we have had so far! 

As we entered Summer at the end of June, a group of banjo players and multi-media artists gathered in the Pacific Northwest with a deep intention of learning the craft of banjo building.

Not only was this the first program like this of it's kind that we've hosted and created, it was the first time many of us had met together in person.

During the Winter, one of the ways we stayed active and connected to our intention of expanding our knowledge base and expression through the banjo, was by participating in an in-person and online cohort program led by myself, Hannah Mayree. Providing educational resources as well as the vulnerable space in which to explore new things is something the BBRP has facilitated since it's inception. This program allowed for a group of banjo players from around the world to meet virtually for three months.

We moved forward by creating the space in Washington to hold 5 of us while we embarked on a new journey together of woodworking and fibercrafting to create instruments from earthen materials.

The Port Townsend School of Woodworking located at Fort Worden State Park was our base of action for the week.

Being in this space held many dimensions of inspiration for us to aspire to build our networks, institutions and festivals that center the Black experience in every way.

The Banjo Crafter Fellowship brought together individuals from across the country, all of whom were already and now even more so, culture-bearers of this art and the historic and cultural meaning behind the banjo in African Diasporic folk practice. 

The best part about it is the knowledge and peace that lives inside of those who fulfill cultural reclamation. 

We held space for our own learning with the support of the local community, which included local woodworkers and teachers, Joanne Pontrello and Paul Dennison. The Port Townsend School of Woodworking contributed space for our use the whole week. Board Member Tom Armitage from a local musical non-profit called Centrum, the Bubbaville Organization in Portland Oregon, and the grant we received from the International Bluegrass Music Assiciation with Pisgah Banjos, generously funded most of this project along with our monthly and one-time donors from Open Collective! This would not have been able to take place in this way without each of you contributing to this project.

There are so many aspirations and intentions that are present within the BBRP at this time. As time moves forward and interest in the banjo increases, we are poised to grow our capacity to match the growing need and desire of musicians young and old who are drawn to this work.

The Washington build was the 4th banjo building project that we have produced in the last three years. 

Weeks later, here we are in Chicago, continuing to pass on this knowledge in a youth centered program happening for the next 4 weeks on the west side of Chicago. This Summer-camp style program is a collaboration between the BBRP, the Old Town School, Music Moves Chicago, the Kherein Center for the Arts and Castle Rock Charter School.

We will have many more update on our Summer projects!

The Summer started out amazingly and we now have 5 amazing banjo's to show for it as well as 5 banjo artists who will be with us in the future as we carry on our folk traditions and continue creating opportunities to learn all the aspects necessary for Black Banjo Reclamation.
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