'Something's In The Water' at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Arts
On April 27th, Dorothya and Kayla took a seat at the table at the Virginia MOCA (that’s Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art), an event presented by the Urban League of Hampton Roads. Everyone knows that the 757 is the epicenter of cultural arts, especially during Something In The Water weekend. So what better way to kickoff than by celebrating with Emerges’ “MEDIALITES”: Dorothya of Divine Decisions and Kayla Simone, upcoming musician and media correspondent.
Walmart sponsoring this event reflects the emergence of hip-hop as a prominent culture that’s not only relevant, but influencing and forging business relationships as we’ve never seen before. With a platform as big as Something In The Water, you broaden the conversation to invite contemporary arts into corporate America. The Virginia MOCA provides the space for small and large businesses to collaborate, capturing the essence of what Emerge magazine is all about.
Before taking our seats at the table, we pregamed with some food for thought from local spoken word artists, along with hors d'oeuvres in the V.I.P. reception area. But as you know, the excitement never stops at the Virginia MOCA. We were then fed the dope experience with a walkthrough of Kara Walkers exhibit: Cut To The Quick. From there, we cut to the panel discussion, taking our rightful seats at the table as Emerges’ premier sources of everything business.
The panelists spoke about the unity within the arts community and the richness of interpersonal relationships, which has led to the emergence of local artists being nationally recognized. The panel featured a very diversified group of professionals, all representing various different areas of cultural arts.
Brooklyn native, Dr. Cameron Hawkins, left his career as a pharmacist after years of rigorous medical schooling and demanding workloads. He started questioning his career choice, feeling a sense of unfulfillment in his work. Having a deep desire and longing to see his dreams as a fashion designer realized; he credits his relocation to Virginia as the pivotal turning point in taking a leap of faith. Taking that leap, he left behind his former career field to become presently known as CEO and founder of “Good Garments.”
Dr. Hawkins said: “You have to give a person a place , somewhere that they can talk freely and you don’t silence what they’re saying. Being personable is my passion. And people ask me how I know it’s my passion. So I tell them , how do you know when you have to go to the bathroom? You just feel it. And that’s how I feel about my passion.”
Emmy nominated cinematographer Sergio Lorenzana stated, “being an artist in my community is like realizing you’re stuck in traffic - you’re aware it’s around you , but then you realize you’re also a part of it . And then it becomes something much bigger.”
Alongside Sergio, Asa Jackson, the Director of The Contemporary Arts Network (CAN), in Newport News, Virginia, had this to say: “When I think of Virginia, I think of the community - the Ella Fitzgeralds, the Pharrell’s, the Missy Elliots’- that came from here .. but I also think about the challenges of being an artist in Virginia.” He continued to say “In order to get stronger, right, you need resistance. And as many creatives as there are in Virginia, there are just as many obstacles. And that’s what makes us stronger. Within the arts community there’s a strong family spirit , and part of it is due to all of those obstacles.”
Wrapping up this amazing panel discussion was Gary Ryan, the Director of The Virginia Museum Of Contemporary Arts (MOCA) who stressed to all of the attendees what The MOCA symbolizes to the Arts community.
“The museum is here to provide a platform for our artists , that’s the whole reason for what we do. It’s part of our DNA. It’s hard to be seen, it’s hard to be heard and know how to navigate. We strive to provide those opportunities. It’s communities like this where it all starts. I tip my hat to artists because it takes a lot of perseverance. You fall and get up. And you do it again and again and again. I find that motivating for myself. So I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to give that motivation to others.”
We hope reading this piece motivates you to find your own seat at the table. Something is ‘In The Water’ in the 757- the smell of success . Catch more of this article in the next annual edition of Emerge magazine come this September.