NJPAC Announces Kwanzaa Family Festival Events for Dec. 17

December 17 as the venue’s annual Kwanzaa Family Festival returns as an in-person celebration.
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Photo: NJPAC

(Newark N.J. – 2022) Thousands are expected to gather on the campus of the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) on December 17 as the venue’s annual Kwanzaa Family Festival returns as an in-person celebration. The festival has been held at NJPAC for more than a decade, and activates the Arts Center’s entire campus during one of its busiest holiday weekends.
 
“We are so excited to welcome our whole community back to this so-much-loved celebration, one of the longest-running Arts Center traditions,” said Eyesha Marable, NJPAC’s Assistant Vice President of Community Engagement. “It’s something we’ve been looking forward to over the past two years. Virtual events are great, but there’s nothing like seeing this whole building filled with families, children and elders enjoying the season.”
 
Free performances will be held every hour in the Arts Center’s Prudential Hall Lobby from 10AM to 10PM. Free family activities including dance and drumming classes, face painting, storytelling, child-friendly arts and crafts workshops, plus a coat and toy give-away for the children of the community, will be held throughout NJPAC’s indoor campus from 10AM to 2PM. Each event and activity embodies one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, a holiday dedicated to celebrating African-American culture and community.
 
A Kwanaa candle-lighting ceremony and a Vibunzi — a tradition of honoring young people with an ear of corn (or in this case, a slice of cornbread) to represent the hope for the future they bring — will be a highlight of the day's celebration.
 
In addition, the Arts Center’s annual Kwanzaa Artisan Marketplace featuring local crafters, artists and merchants, will fill both the Prudential Lobby and the hallways outside Prudential Hall’s First and Second tier entrances all weekend. 
 
The Marketplace will be open throughout the festival and during Saturday’s two performances of NJPAC’s own genre-blending holiday production, The Hip Hop Nutcracker. The Marketplace will also be open on Friday, December 16, from 7 to 11PM, before and after a performance by Cuban salsa stars Willy Chirino and Leoni Torres, and on Sunday, December 18 from 2 to 6PM, before and after The State Ballet Theatre of Ukraine’s performance of the traditional holiday ballet, The Nutcracker. 
 
The Festival is made possible by a generous  endowment gift from Lee and Toby Cooperman. The Festival is also sponsored by ADP and Whole Foods. Whole Foods will also provide water, cornbread, and fruits and vegetables for the Vibunzi.
 
For the first time, the Kwanzaa Festival is presented in collaboration with a collective of the city’s other anchor cultural institutions including the Newark Museum of Art, Newark Arts, Newark Symphony Hall, and the Newark Public Library, as well as in partnership with the City of Newark. 
 
Registration for the Family Festival opens at 9AM in person, and activities continue from 10AM to 2PM; see below for the full schedule. Families can also register in advance on NJPAC’s website or through this registration form.
 
About Kwanzaa
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by activist and author Maulana Karenga to offer people of African heritage a holiday that would celebrate their culture. Kwanzaa encompasses seven days dedicated to seven principles, also known as the Nguzo Saba. The Kwanzaa principles are Umoja (Unity),Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Each activity or event at NJPAC’s Kwanzaa Festival embodies one of the seven principles.

FREE KWANZAA FESTIVAL EVENTS
 
DANCE CLASSES 
SOUL STEPS WITH MAXINE LYLE
Sat. Dec 17, 10 AM – 10:45 AM
Experience the dynamic rhythms of the rich African-American cultural tradition known as step in this beginner workshop. Participants will use their bodies to create hip-hop-infused rhythms through call-and-response patterns. 
 
CAPOEIRA WITH CONTRAMESTRA AMAZONAS
SAT. DEC 17, 10AM-10:45AM
Learn the elegant Afro-Brazilian art form called capoeira — a blend of dance, music, and martial arts. 
 
JERSEY CLUB WITH ANTHONY "SOLO" HARRIS
Sat. Dec 17, 11 AM – 11:45 AM
Master the modern dance known as Jersey Club, a raw, energetic dance style that evolved in the clubs of Newark. 
 
SALSA WITH SMILING DAVID’s DANCE SCHOOL
Sat. Dec 17, 11 AM – 11:45 AM
Learn graceful moves of salsa, the beloved Afro-Caribbean dance form that emerged from Cuba.
 
WEST AFRICAN WITH KAREN LOVE
Sat. Dec 17, 12 PM – 12:45 PM 
Explore the rhythms of West African dance with Karen Love, founder and artistic director of the Umoja Dance Company, the Usaama Dance Company and the Umoja Dance Studio.
 
AFROBEATS WITH ADEOLA FASHINA
SAT. DEC 17, 12PM-12:45PM
Dive into Afrobeat — a dance form with steps infused with traditional West African, hip hop, jazz, funk and dancehall moves.
 
SHOW AND SHARE
Sat. Dec 17, 1 PM – 2 PM 
At the Kwanzaa Festival Show and Share, all dance class participants can demonstrate their newly-learned skills alongside performers from the Umoja Dance Company, Jersey Club Performers, Brooklyn United Marching Band and Our Girls of Hope Step Team.
 
MARKETPLACE 
ARTISAN MARKETPLACE
SAT. DEC 17, 12PM-10PM
More than 20 merchants and crafters will offer a variety of one-of-a-kind items including custom and cultural clothing, handmade jewelry, unique hats, bath and body products, candles, books, art, and more.
  
PERFORMANCES IN THE PRUDENTIAL LOBBY
SAT. DEC 17, 10AM-6:30PM 
Local musicians, dancers, and artists will share live performances in the Prudential Hall Lobby.Performers will include: SMILING DAVID'S DANCE SCHOOL; COLUMBIA HIGH SCHOOL STEP TEAM; NEW JERSEY KIDS FASHION WEEK; BROOKLYN UNITED MARCHING BAND; NAJAH RIKER, NEWARK SYMPHONY HALL; DEW MINISTRIES; DR. AKIL KHALFANI; WEST ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL STEP TEAM.
 
ARTS AND CRAFT ACTIVITIES 
FACE PAINTING WITH BERT PINNOCK, DEBBIE KIRKLAND AND MORE
SAT. DEC 17, 9:30AM-12:45PM
 
KWANZAA STORY & CREATIVE ACTIVITY WITH ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY, INC. 
SAT. DEC 17, 9:30AM-10:45AM
The members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Beta Alpha Omega Chapter will present an enactment of the story Seven Spools of Thread by Angela Shelf Medearis and lead participants in crafting a woven belt.
 
ARTS & CRAFTS WITH DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY, INC.
Sat. Dec 17, 10am-12:45pm
The members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., North Jersey Alumnae Chapter will offer a variety of arts and crafts activities suitable for families. 
 
ADINKRA STAMPING WITH THE NEWARK MUSEUM OF ART
SAT. DEC 17, 10AM-12:45PM
Children and families can learn about the history of traditional Adinkra cloth. Newark Museum of Art representatives will help participants use block prints to make their own patterned cloth.
 
MORE ARTS & CRAFTS PRESENTED BY GLASSROOTS, KASSANDRA PANTOJA, M8E ART STUDIO, EYES LIKE MINE, CASSANDRA GEORGE, CITY OF NEWARK, NEW JERSEY KIDS FASHION WEEK, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY-NEWARK, LA CASA DE DON PEDRO, CLINTON HILL COMMUNITY ACTION, WEEQUAHIC RECREATION, ESSEX COUNTY TURTLE BACK ZOO AND MORE.
SAT. DEC 17, 10AM-12:45PM
Our engaged partners will facilitate a range of arts and crafts activities including mask-making with local artist Cassandra George; a community mosaic art project facilitated by Glassroots; and a textile art project with Kassandra Pantoja, in which fabrics will be used to create a whimsical depiction of a woman’s face.
 
STORYTELLING WITH NEWARK PUBLIC LIBRARY 
SAT. DEC 17, 11AM-12:45PM
 
DRUMMING WITH STEPHAN LITZEY
SAT. DEC 17, 11AM-12:45PM
Learn how to play different drumming patterns using techniques that produce rich and uplifting rhythms.
 
EDUCATIONAL ACTIVITIES  
FAMILY PANEL DISCUSSION: NEIGHBORHOOD VS. COMMUNITY WITH SHANELL DUNNS
SAT. DEC 17, 10:15AM-12:45PM, 12:15PM-12:45PM
Shanell Dunns, founder and CEO of Roots and Bridges, will have two 45-minute sessions of empowering conversations on education, politics and health and how socioeconomic factors impact all these topics.

                                                                                                                                 
NJPAC
One Center Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
www.njpac.org or 888.GO.NJPAC (888.466.572

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