BAY STREET THEATER CELEBRATES
BLACK HISTORY MONTH
WITH AFROFUTURISM EXHIBITION
The exhibition will open with a reception on Saturday, February 10th, from 2-5 pm and run through Sunday, March 24th during Bay Street Theater Lobby hours Tuesdays – Saturdays, 11 am – 5 pm, and during Bay Street performances.
The exhibition explores the ever-expansive aesthetic practice and the multidisciplinary world of Afrofuturism. Afrofuturism reimagines an alternate reality, reinterprets a distressed past, reclaims the resiliency of people from the African Diaspora, and presents a future of liberated expressions through art, music, literature, film, fashion, and space.
This exhibition features noted artists Michael A. Butler, Judith Henriques-Adams, James P. Ward, and Dr. Nichelle Rivers. Works of art will also be on loan from the private collections of Michael A. Butler, Dr. Martin A. Butler, and the Eastville Community Historical Society.
This exhibition seeks to introduce visitors to the concept of Afrofuturism and hopes to broaden the understanding of Black intellectual history. The influences of Afrofuturist thought can be seen in American pop culture and is a driving phenomenon in African American Culture.
“Shadow of a Self Portrait” by Michael A. Butler
“The Conversation” by Judith Henriques-Adams
Dr. Georgette Lovette Grier-Key
Michael A. Butler
Michael A. Butler is an artist, historian, and humanitarian who continues to leave his mark on Sag Harbor.
“I believe in being active in the community,” said Mr. Butler. “People need to step up some time and have an impact on the environment they’re part of. It’s part of the legacy you leave behind.”
Mr. Butler has been on the board of the Eastville Community Historical Society for over 20 years, serving as president, vice president, and recording secretary. He is also the chairperson of the St. David AME Zion Church Cemetery, is on the board of The Long Island Museum in Stony Brook, a former member of East Hampton’s Anti-Bias Task Force, a lifetime member of the NAACP, as well a former board member of the East End AIDS Wellness Project, and a former member of the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreation Center.
Born on Staten Island and raised in Queens, Mr. Butler’s family has been visiting Sag Harbor for many years. His great, great, great grandfather is recorded to have lived in Oyster Bay in 1785. His father, Charles Butler came to Sag Harbor sometime between 1922 and 1923, and his mother Margaret Burwell’s family started summering here in the 1930’s.
“My great uncle Jimmy Harris came here first. My family would stay on his boat, and then he bought property on Division Street and later, Eastville where he built and bought eight cottages,” said Mr. Butler. “Seven generations of my family have summered here.”
Born in NYC, Judy was raised in Teaneck NJ, and attended Howard University’s School of Fine Arts in Washington, DC. She completed her Bachelor in Art Education at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and went directly to work for Pan Am to see the world. Later she moved to Den Haag Holland in 1990, where she taught art at The American School of The Hague. She returned to NY and Judith began a 25-year career as an Art teacher in Teaneck, she continued her Art education at Parsons, and Bank Street College in Manhattan, receiving a Masters in Supervision & Administration with a focus in Visual Arts. Additionally, she attended Truro College in NY. Along the way she met and married Robert Adams and they now reside at their home in Sag Harbor, NY where she enjoys their retirement & painting.
Her paintings can be seen on her website: WWW.HENRIQUESGALLERY.com
James P. Ward
James Ward, or Jimmy as he is frequently known, lived and worked in Southampton for several decades. While on the East End, he was best known as a metal sculptor working in milled steel, iron, and brass. These sculptures were then further enhanced with pieces of fabric and acrylic paint. A top coat of polyurethane might be applied not only for protection but also to add a sheen to the final creation.
In 2005 Ward relocated to North Carolina where he continues his artistic endeavors creating small pieces of furniture, wooden sculptures, and paintings.
Dr. Nichelle Rivers
Dr. Nichelle L. Rivers is a multimedia artist and educator hailing from Memphis, Tennessee. Her artistic journey has been influenced by her culturally rich upbringing, as well as the inspiration she draws from renowned figures in the art world like Faith Ringgold, Frida Kahlo, Romare Bearden, and Jacob Lawrence. Driven by her love for music and a passion for bringing spatial relationships and patterns to life, she creates bold and vibrant depictions that resonate with viewers.For Dr. Rivers, art is an essential part of her existence, comparable to the act of breathing itself. Through her various artistic forms, she explores texture, bold colors, and abstract expressionism, reflecting the depths of her soul. Color holds particular significance to her, as she captures its essence with every brushstroke. As a social justice activist, she utilizes her artistic voice to shed light on the pain, turmoil, anger, and lack of acceptance prevalent in our society.
One of Dr. Rivers’ notable endeavors is the Stolen Lives Project, an initiative that raises awareness of fatal violence inflicted upon the transgender community. Through her powerful portraits and spoken word poems, she confronts the absence of protective legislation and the pervasive violence affecting transgender individuals. The diversity of her work continually challenges her, fueling her preparation for an explosion of creative passion on canvas.
With a Bachelor of Science in Art Education, a Master of Education in Educational Administration from Tennessee State University, and a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling from Long Island University Post, as well as a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis, Dr. Rivers combines her artistic talent with her commitment to education. Her accomplishments have been featured in Memphis Magazine, and she illustrated her first children’s book, “Heavenly Daddy Why Do I Talk this Way,” by author Jennifer Carter.
Dr. Rivers has exhibited her work across Nassau and Suffolk Counties, as well as in Tennessee, Minnesota, and Illinois. As a proud member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc. for thirty years, she currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources for Eastern Suffolk BOCES. Additionally, she is the founding President of the P.O.W.E.R Foundation, an organization dedicated to advocacy and empowerment among LGBTQIA youth, at-risk student populations, and local faith and community-based organizations in Nassau and Suffolk County.
Driven by her passion for educating children, Dr. Rivers lives by the powerful mantra of Audre Lorde, one of her personal heroes: “When you dare to be powerful, to use your strengths in the service of your vision, then it becomes less and less important whether you are afraid.” Alongside her family, she resides in the Long Island area, where she continues to inspire and make a difference through her art and advocacy.
Bay Street Theater is a year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center, that endeavors to innovate, educate, and entertain a diverse community through the practice of the performing arts. It serves as a social and cultural gathering place, an educational resource, and a home for a community of artists.