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NextGen Artist program is a new signature program in partnership with American Family Insurance with an aim of nurturing the dreams, creativity and artist talents of high school juniors and seniors who are emerging artists of African descent which is a core value of NBAF’s mission. The program provides a structured artistic curriculum with workshops, classes, lectures, mentoring, business and professional development, apprenticeships and opportunities for competitive scholarships. This transformational experience will merge industry partnerships and leaders in film/media, visual arts, and fashion as the first year disciplines for the students engaged in the program. The program goals include increased presentation skills (written and verbal), creating academic success, higher graduation rates, and pathways to higher education. Additionally, “Rising Stars” students will engage in the 2018 Summer Immersion program with a local partner. The inaugural year 2017-2018 students for NextGen Artist will hail from Booker T. Washington and Benjamin E. Mays High Schools.


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More about the National Black Arts Festival 

The National Black Arts Festival is a nonprofit organization with a legacy of providing stellar artistic and educational programs in music, dance, film, visual arts, theater and the literary arts. Celebrated within and outside of Atlanta, NBAF is recognized as the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the United States focused exclusively on the arts and on artists of African descent. Through its annual festival, world-class performances, commissioned works, visual arts programs and its arts education and public programs NBAF offers local, national and international audiences experiences that are extraordinary and enriching. 

NBAF was founded by the Fulton County Arts Council under the guidance of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners in Atlanta, Georgia. The organization has built a proud reputation as the oldest multidisciplinary arts organization in the United States focused exclusively on the arts and artists of African descent. NBAF was established with the first festival in 1988 after a study commissioned two years earlier by Michael Lomax, then Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. 

With strong leadership and support from the community, the festival, which is the centerpiece of NBAF’s mission, has evolved into an annual showcase of artists of African descent who are creating, innovating and producing extraordinary work in the disciplines of dance, film, literature, music, theater and visual art. Over its three-decade long history, NBAF has attracted millions of audiences from within the region, across the country and around the world who are entertained, educated and enriched by its annual summer festival, world-class performances, visual arts presentations and commissioned works and by its year-round education and public programs. By featuring artists from the African Diaspora, from the United States, Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and Latin America, NBAF promotes art and culture as vehicles for bringing diverse communities together. 

Blackman, The Manzari Brothers, Pearl Cleage, Harolyn Blackwell, Varnette Honeywood, Spike Lee, Katherine Dunham, Harry Belafonte, Maurice Hines, Maxi Priest, Sonia Sanchez, Radcliffe Bailey, Bill T. Jones, Youssou N’Dour, Giwayen Mata, Carrie Mae Weems, Julie Dash, Amiri Baraka, Tito Puente, Ousmane Sembene, National Ballet de Guinea, Gladys Knight, Les Nubians, Philadanco, The Heath Brothers, Cicely Tyson, August Wilson, Chakaia Booker, Trenton Doyle Hancock, Louis DelSarte, Alfre Woodard, Angie Stone, Omar Sosa, Jessica Care Moore, Nikki Giovanni, Russell Gunn, Gregory Porter, among many others. 

NBAF is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization that is governed by its Board of Directors and supported by the City of Atlanta, the Fulton County Arts Council and by local and national government funders, corporations, foundations, businesses, and individuals. 





Angelica Pugh – NextGen Artist Program Director

Angelica Pugh, Program Director of the National Black Arts Festival NextGen Artist Program graduated from Georgia State University with a degree in Theater and Dance. Angelica would not only perform as an actress and a lead/background dancer for Atlanta theatrical, screen and dance productions with companies such as ARCH Productions, Steel City Pictures, Black Voices of Clark Atlanta University, and TrebleMakers Dance Project. She would soon become a leader in the Atlanta artistic community by choreographing, teaching and directing for Cobb County Schools, Fulton County Schools, Atlanta Public Schools, Future Foundation, Tinseltown Performing Arts Studio, Oasis Family Life Church and Word of Faith Family Cathedral's Camp 212. In addition to Angelica's role at the National Black Arts Festival she is the Artistic Director & Choreographer of Angel Le Choreography Company, motivational speaker, a writer, an actress and the proud mother of two sons ages 12 and 6.


Sumiyyah Rasheed – Fashion Teaching Artist

Sumiyyah Rasheed, author of “No Money Startup: How To Build An Apparel Manufacturing Company, is no stranger to the fashion industry. Co-owner of the Atlanta-based production house, SWH Apparel (her family owned company managed alongside her mother), Rasheed has been producing high quality private label apparel since 1992. In 2013, she stepped out from the shadows to showcase her design talents during New York Fashion Week with her own brand Ann-Nahari collection catering to the curvy woman.  “Made in the USA,” Ann Nahari marries high quality fabrication and amazing fit with classic style to create a brand that has successfully created a global presence with showings in distinguished markets including Dubai and Istanbul.  Answering the need for designer activewear, Ms. Rasheed launched a new collection of exquisite workout gear and tantalizing plus size lingerie under the label Alexis Simone.

Though known for her designs, Sumiyyah Rasheed first made a name for herself as a much sought-after business consultant. An expert in the Information Technology (IT) field, Sumiyyah (through her Georgia-based firm, Crescent Consulting Group, Inc) has a roster of Fortune 500 clients that span the apparel and footwear manufacturing and distribution industries for whom she creates and implements complex software that easily fits into their current systems and streamlines as well as enhances workflow. 


Christopher Jones – Visual Arts Teaching Artist

Christopher Jones discovered a love for art and the written word at an early age. Growing up drawing and writing stories, small town spelling bee trophies and art festival ribbons soon made way for bigger victories like being accepted to the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts. There, he was inspired by the power of graphic design to evoke an emotion, solicit a call to action, or raise awareness through visual communication. Christopher founded SeeJones Creative, LLC with an aim to combine his passion for storytelling with his artistic gifts through designing empowering, inspiring, and impactful visual communications for mission-driven organizations and individuals seeking to effect positive change. Christopher earned his BFA in graphic design from The University of Tennessee and an MBA in marketing from Lincoln Memorial University. Christopher’s primary art media include charcoal and pastels, and he has worked on murals in Atlanta’s Castleberry Hill neighborhood and Morehouse College. His artwork has been exhibited in Atlanta, Washington DC, Brooklyn, Nashville, and Miami. Recognitions include: being listed in 2017 Who’s Who in Black Atlanta, completing the HATCH, IGNITE, and AIM arts entrepreneurship courses through C4-Atlanta and League of Art Entrepreneurs accelerator programs; and being a featured visual artist at the A3C Hip-hop Festival.He resides in Atlanta, GA.


Reggie Hill – Film/Media Teaching Artist

Reggie graduated with a B.A. in film and video from Georgia State University in 2015, and was on the Undergraduate Advisory Board for the college of the arts and sciences in 2015. He is currently seeking his Masters in film with a concentration in editing at Georgia State University.


Ikeriah Mayner

Ikeriah, better known as Ike, is an Atlanta native. She graduated with honors from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Film/Video; Bachelor of Arts in Psychology; and a Masters in Communication. She's a jack of all trades. Writer, Director, Photographer, Producer, and Editor are just a few of the hats she wears. Some of her film and photography work can be found on IG under ike.creations



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