Diaspora celebrates Black History Month with art exhibit
CHICOPEE — To celebrate Black History Month, The Diaspora is hosting a reception for its Black Art Exhibit on February 26 at 6 p.m.
Co-owner of La Diaspora and member of the Chicopee Cultural Council, Johnny Miranda remains a proactive voice in the arts, formerly running the art gallery oOps! An artistic experience at the Chicopee Center before opening La Diaspora with Jeannette Rivera as a collective of local artists.
“After the pandemic hit, I realized there were a lot of artists who needed space, who needed to sell, and who needed a place to hold events. I thought of this idea of a collective of artists who pay a membership and become part of a group,” Miranda said. The collective allows members to use the location of 234 Exchange St. de La Diaspora to exhibit and sell their work, as well as to organize different artistic events that engage the public.
“[La Diáspora] maintains an artistic culture in our city,” said Miranda.
For the Black Art exhibition, Miranda expressed her interest in hosting artistic projects in correlation with current events. “Since it’s Black History Month, I thought it would be great to bring an exhibit to Chicopee that relates to the era,” Miranda said. The Diaspora owner shared that he held a similar expo in Springfield last year, with the success of that event inspiring him to pursue the idea this year in Chicopee.
The exhibit will feature artwork by Miranda as well as local artists Chaunacey Crafts, Marc Austin, Lydia Freytes, Ruby Parker, Derrick Jamison, Malcolm Wilson, Ray Rafaelle and a few other unannounced exhibitors. Miranda said he organized the group of active artists from his experiences in the local art scene.
“These are people who are currently active in the community and are very passionate about their work. I wanted to showcase people from the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) community,” Miranda said.
Miranda aspires that visitors to the exhibition appreciate the diversity of art and its representation of the current zeitgeist. “I want people to see how diverse art is and how it manifests in our present time…Art reflects the status of the people and the status of the culture, and I think looking at the work of these active artists, we’re putting a time stamp on the current state of culture in the Western mass,” Miranda said.
The owner of La Diaspora also hopes community members will see what can be accomplished through the Chicopee Cultural Council, with the exhibit partially funded by one of the council’s annual grants.
“I want people to see what they can do with and for the Cultural Council,” Miranda said.
Readers can learn more about La Diaspora, the Black Art exhibition and future projects at https://www.shopladiaspora.com/.