I was able to welcome summer 2017 with music, dance and art at the Dear Summer Edition of The Dope Art Show. For their latest installment, I got to venture out to White Oak Music Hall.
The Dope Art Show is a multi-faceted show, launched in 2014, bringing together different artists: singers, poets, painters and dancers with the mission to "celebrate the power of art, love and purpose." They range from different genres, backgrounds and walks of life.
"We saw that there was a void in the city as it relates to a platform for different types of artistic expression that wasn't in a toxic environment," says curator Tobe Nwigwe. "We couldn’t go anywhere and find an all-inclusive artistic expression event, so rather than complain, we created one." No matter who crosses the stage, they are greeted with love, support and appreciation for their art.
I was able to go behind the scenes as they made preparations for the event. As chairs were being brought out for VIP seating, I met a painter named Meca. I immediately admired her abstract art, as the bright colors, and sometimes glitter, were splashed across the canvas. Most people would think she's been painting her whole life, but to my pleasant surprise, she took up painting just two short years ago. "I don't know what I'm doing," she laughed as she unashamedly admitted that detail. However, her work, including a textured painting of Daria Morgandorffer, prove very much otherwise.
A technician ran through the lights with Nwigwe. At times during a particular set when Nwigwe would motion with his hands the movement of the lights, of and on, softly and suddenly. The technician followed with great precision, bringing Nwigwe's vision to life and creating the dopest aesthetic possible on stage.
Once the doors opened to VIP guests, I ventured to the mezzanine, where guests had the exclusive opportunity to meet with the artists featured in the show. I had the pleasure of meeting with singer Sean Ardoine. I had heard him singing during the run-though, so I knew I was in for a treat. Ardoine is a little more seasoned in his craft, having sung since the age of 3. As a man of faith, he was at one point singing for Hope City for a year, when he then left due to creative differences. "There's got to be a balance," he says, between art reflected in faith alone, and art reflected in other life experiences. These days, he performs at various shows with his guitarist, Greg Simien.
The show itself was outstanding, bringing forth different genres of music, art, poetry and dance simultaneously in a harmonious and stellar mix. I even ran into a friend of mine from high school, which let me know that word is spreading, and a—dare I say it—dope art environment in Houston is forming.
And it doesn't stop there. The Dope Art Show is put on about four times a year, so if you want to check out the next installment, it's only a matter of time.