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Speakers slated for Savannah Urban Arts Festival
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SAVANNAH—The Savannah Urban Arts Festival is a six-day series of live performances, forums, workshops and film screenings presented as a celebration of the diverse styles of art, music, writing and self-expression that have developed in urban culture.

The goal is to foster dialogue between area youth, citizens, and civic leaders about ways to utilize these art forms to create positive change in communities by engaging people, particularly youth, in activities that offer creative outlets, teach job and life skills, and create new entrepreneurial opportunities.

One of the keynote events of the SUAF will be talks by two nationally renowned speakers, Bill Strickland, CEO of the Manchester Bidwell Corporation, who grew a small community arts program into a Grammy-winning multi-million dollar educational facility; and Jeff Chang, blogger for Vibe Magazine and award winning author of “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,” a cultural history of hip hop.

The events are open to the public, and will be part of a full day of events including GreenFest ‘09 (vendors and educational opportunities highlighting eco-friendly business and lifestyles in the Southeast), live music performances from regional artists, the Re-Threaded Fashion Show (featuring clothing made from recycled materials), and much more.

“Embracing Art for Community and Youth Development” is a series of lectures and panel discussion William (Bill) Strickland has grown a nearly bankrupt community training center into an innovative and successful organization, creating a model for education, training, arts and, most importantly, hope. In the process, he has reshaped the business of social change in America. Strickland has won a MacArthur Genius grant, lectured at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, served on the board of the National Endowment for the Arts and received the “Coming Up Taller” Award, presented to him at the White House by former first lady Hillary Clinton.

Chang also edited a compilation of essays discussing the aesthetic of hip hop titled Total Chaos, and is the political blogger for Vibe magazine.
The Urban Arts Festival will be at the Charles H. Morris Center, 10 East Broad St., Savannah on May 9. Chang will speak at 1 p.m. and Strickland will speak at 3 p.m.