Milton Bowens
My mother, Mary Marshall, gave me many blessings during her lifetime:  the ability to set goals, to plan, to organize, to complete goals, to DO, to contribute in some small way to the community, to be a caring person, to be physically fit, and to love life.  So while the great Langston Hughes wrote about a "Dream Deferred" my mother taught me to wish upon a star and gave me the tools to make my dreams come true.  Last night was the realization of two of my dreams:  to have my artwork published in a book and to have my artwork featured in a show with Milton Bowens.

If you have read any of my blogs, you may realize that I am an Ultra Type A personality, constantly striving to name and accomplish goals in all aspects of my very full life.  I love to solve problems, meet challenges and succeed at whatever I put my mind to.  These are characteristics from my mother, who pulled herself up out of a small little town in Ohio where her only avenues were to have a lot of babies and become a cook or domestic, to becoming a Principal at many schools in Sacramento, an award-winning watercolor artist, a Silver master bridge player, active contributor to the AKA sorority, fiendish tennis player and golfer, fun grandmother, and ... my Hero.  Even after mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, she continued living her life to the fullest for another decade.  With an act like that to follow, how could I and my sister and brother be any different?

Every year, I set goals and dreams for the next year after reviewing my accomplishments for the current year.  One of my MANY goals that has been on my list since 1993, when I started my Kanika African Sculptures business, is to have my artwork in a book that I did not pay to publish.  So when Master Barbershop and Beauty Salon issued a Call for Artists a couple of months ago, I really tried to create a work that could be accepted into "The Night that Harlem Came to Stockton Boulevard" show.  I had been wanting to show my art there for ages but the timing never seemed to work out, so this was a great opportunity.  And lo and behold they had planned to publish a book catalog that contained all of the artworks!  So I really had to get to steppin' and refresh my memory about the Harlem Renaissance period, which was the subject of the show, to create apiece worthy of the show.  See my Spirituality Through Art blog for all the details.

Last night was the Opening Night for  "The Night that Harlem Came to Stockton Boulevard" show and it was fantastic!  Not only was there stimulating visual art by eight local artists whom I revere - Milton "510" Bowens, Gerry "GOS" Simpson, John King, Professor Allan Gordon, Daphne Burgess, Charles Curtis Blackwell, and David Alexander (and me) - but also live music by Annie Jay/___ and poetry by Malik Saunders and Lil RoRo Brown.  And the Master of Ceremonies was one of my all-time favorite people: Dr. Tchaka Muhammed, Edu-tainer, Storyteller, Poet, Motivational speaker, and keeper of the essence.  Marichal and Rodney Brown and their mom, co-owners of Master Barbershop, are true activists who are keeping hope alive and exposing the Sacramento community to Black artists of all genres.  Master Barbershop is selling the catalog for $20, so please support their business by buying a copy of the catalog for your collection.  It not only contains fine images of the artwork, but the poems spoken at last night's show, a Foreword by the eminent James Sweeney, and Publisher's Statement by Marichal Brown.  The show continues until the end of the year.
Kanika Marshall's entries in the "Night Harlem Came to Stockton Boulevard" art catalog produced and available for sale at Master Barber and Beauty Shop (916.457.8708)

My second goal was to be in a show with Milton Bowens who is a passionate and inspirational artist, educator, activist, lecturer, and powerhouse who came onto my radar about 10 years ago.  Milton Bowens' mixed-media collages about Black life are meant to "educate not just decorate" and are thought-provoking exhibitions that will help restore a level of hope in communities desperately in need of inspiration.  His artwork was the first show at the then-new 40 Acres Gallery - one of the first galleries in Sacramento that particularly featured African American artists from around the country.  40 Acres was part of an amazing redevelopment project in the Oak Park area that was spearheaded by now-mayor, Kevin Johnson.   The gallery is part of a connected-building complex near Broadway on 3rd Avenue, consisting of Underground Books, the Guild Theater, a coffee shop, and a barber shop.    I have had the opportunity to watch his ascent over the years to become an integral part of Kevin Johnson's For Art's Sake project, imparting an important historical perspective of the crucial role that Blacks have played in the building of America to kids and adults from all racial and ethnic backgrounds.  So to have a chance to be in an art show with the impressive Milton Bowens had been on my Kanika African Sculptures Goal Sheet for quite some time.


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