651 ARTS & The Billie Holiday Theatre Present Song Salon
651 ARTS – Brooklyn’s premier institution for the African Diasporic performing arts- in partnership with The Billie Holiday Theatre (The Billie) – one of the nation’s preeminent arts and culture organizations – will present a new innovative live performance series this Spring with the Song Salon. Although they have collaborated in the past, this new series is a major programming initiative for both 651 and The Billie and marks a deepened partnership between the two legacy institutions. Centering artists and their work in intimate conversations and providing a space for connection, growth and discovery, the Song Salon will take place every Thursday in May on The Billie’s iconic stage with each week spotlighting a different artist and focus.
Conceptually, the Song Salon draws inspiration from the historical importance of the “salon” to Black creativity and expression. Salons in the tradition of the French literary and philosophical movements of the 17th and 18th centuries were carried on through the 1920s in urban settings. Most notably, arts patron A’Lelia Walker – daughter of America’s first self-made female millionaire Madame C.J. Walker – hosted salons at her home in Harlem attended by the writers, poets, artists, musicians and activists who defined the Harlem Renaissance. Since that time, salons have served as safe spaces where Black artists, thinkers and creators gather to discuss and express themselves.
Steeped in that legacy, the Song Salon was designed to be a supportive space and community for creatives to try new things, revisit old things, or simply to talk through things and to further connect with audiences on a more intimate and personal level. Each Thursday, an artist is invited to share their performance, process (or plight) in front of a small audience. This inaugural season of the series will feature a collective of dynamic, emerging artists on-the-rise including: Jordyn Davis (5/4), Terron Austin (5/11), Candice Hoyes (5/18) and Nicholas Ryan Gant (5/25).