What is AMPLIFY?

AMPLIFY provides a platform for the Black artist community to control the narrative, tell their stories through visual art & performance and engage in conversation about the trauma, complexity, frustration of systemic racism in our country and communities and to express the need for a different future. The original 2-week long AMPLIFY Festival was created in June 2020, in the immediate aftermath of the killing of George Floyd. It was created with the input of the Black artists and performers who have been featured at Beechwood in the past 10 years.

The Festival included 9 performances of music, live painting and spoken word. Many of the performances were done under the 400

The River of Amplified Voices

Click on a thumbnail to read the AMPLIFY stories

year old Copper Beech on Beechwood’s grounds, which many artists felt was symbolic of the 400 years since the beginning of slavery in the US and felt the tree “bore witness” to. In addition, 18 original artworks were created by 11 visual artists on black lawn signs and laid out in a river along the road, called “The River Of Amplified Voices.” The Festival ended with a community conversation, facilitated by renowned jazz singer Frederick Johnson, who is also trained as a healer who works with communities to have difficult conversations. Many important themes came out of the honest conversation including:

-The trauma of living in a country where racism is persistent and systemic

-The need for healing & humanity

-The fear in raising Black children, especially sons

-The relentless, 400 yr oppression and persecution of Black people, yet their resilience in spite of it

-The complexity and diversity of the Black experience, yet the solidarity of spirit across that diversity

-The desire for Black artists to tell their stories and speak their truth but not be burdened with the responsibility to educate others on why a Black life should matter or to have to “teach” how to be anti-racist

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Beechwood Arts & Innovation is encouraging other communities and organizations to continue AMPLIFY to expand Black voices through art, music and performance, using some of the artwork and performances of the original AMPLIFY Festival and adding more from their own communities. We also encourage community dialogue and provide a structure for that.

Here is the next opportunity to see AMPLIFY:

See the River of Amplified Voices being built and read the stories behind each of the artworks below

The 9 original performers and Frederick Johnson