#ArtforJustice discusses current events through creativity

Artists will have the space to express themselves about current events and tragedies on Saturday evening at Brilliance in Black's first-ever #ArtforJustice arts benefit showcase at the Garrison Forrest School.

Brilliance in Black was formed by six Howard University alumni last year after the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddie Gray in Baltimore. Their website describes their mission "to highlight and support all positivity done by African Americans in our communities." According to Kiana Ebone, co-founder and chief brand officer with the group, the organization was born out of discussions of what to do next.


"We came together in the heat of the moment," Ebone said. "We were discussing all of the things going on in the world, and knew we wanted to push out a positive image. Brilliance in Black was formed to highlight the positive actions going on in the black community."

The #ArtforJustice showcase will feature artists including poets, singers, rap artists, dancers, authors, and painters coming together to express their feelings and takes on the world around us. Ebone is a dancer who teaches throughout Baltimore City Public Schools and dance studios around the area. She said an artist's view on the world can be a vital tool for justice.

"What I love most about dancing is that it's my way of speaking," Ebone said. "It's my voice in any situation. There are so many ways to express yourself and still convey a message or still convey a story."

Ebone said that although not everyone is meant to lead a march or protest, artists can help advocate for justice through their work. She said they hope to have a dialogue with visitors at the end of the program, because it can be easy to tune out what is going on in the world, though it's important to stay engaged.

"I think that art always sparks a conversation," Ebone said. "Art causes people to talk. Art sparks new art. A conversation was the first step to how we got started. It's always the first piece to a movement until you get to the next."

This is the largest event Brilliance for Black has put together yet. In the past, they've organized a holiday giveback, a 1-year anniversary and several scholarships. Ebone said it's exciting to watch the group expand, with many of the artists involved in the #ArtforJustice showcase new to the group. She said it's a sign the organization's horizons are broadening.

"We all have a piece that we can put to this puzzle," Ebone said. "No matter what you do; no matter what your calling is, everyone has a place in the movement."

In the future, Ebone said they hope to put together larger galas to afford to increase their scholarships and give more back to communities. The goal for the group is to expand their network into cities across the country to get their message out to as many people as possible.

"We need to push these positive stories," Ebone said. "There's so much negativity out there, and with social media these messages are getting pushed out so quickly. We want to get our message out there just as much. There are beautiful things happening in our communities."


If You Go

What: #ArtforJustice


When: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15

Where: Garland Theater, 300 Garrison Forest Road, Owings Mills

Cost: $15

For more information: Visit