The 21st Annual Dr. Walter J. Leonard Black Arts Festival:


How we see ourselves, how we see the world and how that impacts what we can imagine for both


Vision & Justice: A Conversation with Tyler Mitchell and Sarah Lewis
Sunday, March 3
3:30 – 5:30 PM
Barker Center, Thompson Room
12 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Black Arts Festival is honored to open this year’s festival entitled “Envision: how we see ourselves, how we see the world, and how that affects what we can imagine for both” with a dialogue between Professor Sarah Lewis and filmmaker and photographer, Tyler Mitchell. Tyler Mitchell continues crossing genres and boundaries in image making as he utilizes the tools of documentary reportage, portraiture, fashion photography, art photography, and filmmaking. In 2015 he self published his first photo book El Paquete which documented architecture and skateboarding scenes in Havana, Cuba. In 2018 he made history as the first black photographer to shoot the cover of American Vogue by shooting Beyoncé for the magazine’s September 2018 issue. Professor Lewis is an Assistant Professor of History of Art and Architecture and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. This dialogue will focus on topics such as race, justice, and social media as a tool for changing narratives. As Professor Lewis prepares to continues these conversations in her Vision & Justice Convening this April, we will be exploring the question of how have images both limited and liberated our definition of American citizenship and belonging?

Winter Tangerine Writer’s Workshop
Wednesday, March 6
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Farkas Hall 303
12 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138

This event is an open space where anyone, regardless of experience, has the opportunity to share work, receive feedback, and bond with fellow Black writers on campus. Light refreshments will be provided.


Sing it Sister! Open Mic
Wednesday, March 6
7:30 – 9:30 PM
Cambridge Queen’s Head
45 Quincy St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Join Kuumba’s Black Arts Festival for its annual, “Sing It, Sister” open mic. “Sing it, Sister” will be an engaging open mic experience celebrating the voices, stories, and experiences of Black women and femmes! Come to share your own stories and creativity, as well as to listen to and uplift the voices of members of our community. Poetry, singing, readings, story-telling, and pretty much any other medium you can think of are highly encouraged! Light refreshments will be served, with meals and alcoholic beverages (21+) available for purchase from the Queen’s Head Pub.


Drag as Black Imaginary Space
Thursday, March 7
5:30 – 7:30PM
Location TBD

Black Arts Festival invites you to join us in a discussion on drag and gendered performance. We are excited to welcome Boston-based drag queens to our campus to discuss how identity informs performance and self-aestheticization. At its deepest meaning, drag can be a space of identity construction, reimagination, a practice of making and unmaking of self/selves for play or for survival or both at different moments. At its heart, it’s about how we see ourselves, how others see us, and what we can do about it. The event will begin with a discussion with the queens facilitated by Visiting Professor of Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Omise’eke Tinsley. Following the panel, there will be a dialogue with the audience to explore the disruptive and creative potential within ourselves.