The room is dark. Jewel-toned stage lights pulsate and swell. The walls adorned with works of art disappear and TNai Amani climbs to the floor. Microphone in hand, Amani begins to sing her song “Island Boy” to an intimate crowd of Savannah art and music lovers.
Slightly backlit, Amani weaves the play of colored light and shadow in her vocal performance. Hypnotized, the audience sways, smiling at each note.
The singer and songwriter warmed up the crowd at the Sunday Supper Art and Music Show last month. This month, she is the lead actor, supported by and working with a talented team of the best R&B and contemporary urban adult artists and visual artists from Savannah at ABZ Studio Gallery.
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The gallery, which opened in April, is the brainchild of Savannah State University graduate Xavier “Zay” Hutchins. He and his colleagues noted a lack of creative space dedicated to artists of color and set out to create such a platform where artists, musicians and performers can express themselves on a professional level. Shows at the studio change monthly and are organized by theme.
“This month’s theme is ‘For Culture’, explained Hutchins. “Cultural diversity and sensitivity are important issues right now. For this show, the idea is that the artists create works that reflect the culture in which they are anchored.
Visual artists include Ta’Mar Hamilton, Tony Burns and Maya Futch who work in acrylic, oil and mixed media. Hutchins will also exhibit his paintings.
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Phil Beach, who for the past five years has hosted the Creatively Crafted open mic Thursday night at Stafford’s Public House, is the MC for the night. Like Hutchins, he is enthusiastic about the creative potential of space to nurture and stimulate artists of color.
“We are not waiting because it is time. We have to create the spaces in which we want to perform, ”Beach said. “The Stafford’s open mic has been a talent incubator, and for many a therapeutic night of speaking people. We’ve got some killer musical talent lined up for Sunday supper, and I’m looking forward to TNai’s performance. People don’t even know what’s going to hit them.
With an undergraduate degree in music from the State of Savannah and an MA from Georgia Southern, TNai Amani is a musical powerhouse. Classical, jazz, pop and urban contemporary – she sings it. Currently, Amani teaches music with public schools in Savannah-Chatham County.
“Last month when I played I noticed the audience weren’t there to be entertained,” Amani said. “They were there to embrace the talents of the artists, to immerse themselves in and enjoy the show. It created a real sense of connection and appreciation.
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On Saturday evening, Amani is also leading a workshop at the ABZ Studio gallery, We Are Eclectic, in which speakers, performers and visual artists focus on cultural awareness and sensitivity and how to put these values into practice. in an authentic way.
“I look forward to how I can educate and inspire through my art and my performances,” Amani said. “It’s the teacher in me who forces me to find ways to teach more holistic lessons through performance.
Hutchins is also on board teaching and uplifting through creative expression. As the sole owner of the gallery, it is his job to make sure the bills are paid, which he is sure to be able to do one painting, one exhibit, one Sunday dinner at a time.
“The night is really something special – the art, the performances, our host is amazing. It’s a five hour event, and you’re going to want to be involved until the very end because there is There isn’t a dead moment in those five hours. We’re creating the space we want and need, and as long as I’m consistent, that – growth and greater opportunity – will come. “
Sunday Dinner is held every last Sunday of the month at ABZ Studio Gallery, Savannah Mall. Doors open at 3 p.m. with a show from 5 p.m.
Tickets are $ 10 in advance, $ 15 at the door. Wing-N-It Savannah is bringing wings and more to this month’s dinner.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO
WHAT: Artist show for Sunday dinner
WHEN: Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
O: ABZ Studio Gallery, Savannah Mall, 14045 Abercorn St.
COT: $ 10 in advance, $ 15 at the door