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NBAF (National Black Arts Festival), a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of the arts and culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, announced its selection of Dr. Michael Simanga as Executive Director of NBAF. As the new Executive Director, Dr. Simanga will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of NBAF’s operation. He will also guide the administrative, fiscal, programmatic and community relationships for the organization.
Atlanta, GA (February 24, 2012) – NBAF (National Black Arts Festival), a non-profit organization dedicated to the celebration of the arts and culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora, announced its selection of Dr. Michael Simanga as Executive Director of NBAF. As the new Executive Director, Dr. Simanga will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of NBAF’s operation. He will also guide the administrative, fiscal, programmatic and community relationships for the organization.
“After careful consideration, NBAF’s Board of Directors has selected Dr. Michael Simanga as Executive Director of NBAF,” said Evern Cooper Epps, NBAF Board Chair. “Michael is mindful of the changing times and conditions that arts organizations face, and will work to complete the transition and develop a new business model for NBAF.”
While the original emphasis of NBAF was the summer festival, the organization is intensely focused on building its sustainability and creating a new model that provides artistic, educational and cultural programming throughout the year that is national in scope. Simanga was brought on to address the issues of relevancy and sustainability within the current organization’s structure and programming. His charge is to create a new strategic direction, based upon a new business model, in an effort to usher in NBAF’s 25th Anniversary celebration in 2013.
“NBAF is a major cultural institution recognized by the U.S. Congress in 2008 for its importance to the cultural fabric of greater Atlanta and all of America,” said Dr. Simanga. “Our job now is to extend and expand its contribution and ensure it will continue to positively impact the conversation art forces us to have with each other. I look forward to working with the amazing staff and dedicated board to accomplish our goals.”
Simanga brings a rich history and passion for the arts. A native of Detroit, Simanga has lived in Atlanta for the past 32 years. As the former Director of Fulton County Arts and Culture, he was instrumental in driving first-class programming and contributing to the economic impact of the arts in metro Atlanta. An accomplished artist, arts administrator and scholar, Simanga is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel In the Shadow of the Son and co-editor of the newly published 44 on 44: forty four African American writers on the election of the forty-fourth President, Barack Obama. His writings appear in several anthologies.
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NBAF is an Atlanta-based, non-profit arts and cultural organization founded in 1987. The mission of NBAF is to engage, cultivate and educate diverse audiences about the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for artistic and creative expression. NBAF presents the art and culture of the African Diaspora in all arts disciplines and presentation formats including music, dance, theater, film, literary arts and visual arts. In addition, NBAF offers comprehensive educational and humanities programs year-round with the intent of providing a unique opportunity to promote understanding between diverse communities utilizing art and culture. NBAF showcases artists of African descent while exploring their impact on world cultures.
NBAF is a cultural leader renowned worldwide for showcasing the very best of the culture of the African Diaspora for more than two decades. Certified by the Georgia Department of Education to provide continuing education courses to teachers and educators, NBAF’s education program models are utilized and emulated internationally in London, Ghana and Senegal.
The United States Congress recognized NBAF’s highly-acclaimed National Black Arts Festival as “…the premier festival of its kind in the United States” (H. Res. 1286, July 23, 2008). NBAF partnered with The Consulate General of Brazil to present Brazil Fest at the National Black Arts Festival in 2010 and 2011. Over the years, NBAF has presented thousands of internationally acclaimed artists across all disciplines such as Maya Angelou, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Alfre Woodard, Avery Brooks, Hugh Masekela, Wynton Marsalis, Pearl Cleage, Alice Walker, Sonia Sanchez, Varnette Honeywood, Radcliffe Bailey, Fahamu Pecou, Spike Lee, Melvin and Mario Van Peebles, Alvin Ailey, Katherine Dunham, Bill T. Jones, Phylicia Rashad, August Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Gladys Knight, The O’Jays, Ron K. Brown/Evidence, jessica care moore, Chuck D, Joi, Russell Gunn, Omar Sosa, Tito Puente, Ousamane Sembene, National Ballet de Guinea, and many others.
On the occasion of its 20th Anniversary, the U.S. Congress honored NBAF for its importance to the “…cultural fabric of greater Atlanta and all of America…” (H. Res. 1286, July 2008). Hundreds volunteer each year to support NBAF. Financial support is provided by foundations, corporations, governmental agencies and individuals in the form of partnerships, sponsorships and donations. NBAF hosts more than 300,000 patrons each year and serves more than 20,000 children through the Children’s Education Village, the Coretta Scott King Awards Book Fair and many other school-based programs. Each year NBAF generates major sources of economic impact to the areas served including Atlanta, Fulton County and the State of Georgia.