Reflections from Our First Wakanda Celebration

Mount Vernon, New York // September 4, 2021

“We were honored to be included in the vibrant experience of African culture that was the Wakanda Celebration. It was a very festive day in Mount Vernon!” – Teresa Jankovic, Interim CEO

Earlier this month, we had the privilege – followed by a warm and generous welcome – of attending and sponsoring Mount Vernon’s fourth annual Wakanda Celebration. Created and produced by African art curator Rose Luangisa & The Luangisa Art Gallery, The Wakanda Celebration gathered African artists, dancers, chefs, small business owners, families, and local politicians. It was a beautiful day to celebrate community, culture & African pride.

From the drum line opening by Ice Cold Drumline, a social activist performance by RBG Girlz, and the Luangisa Wearable Art Experience fashion show – we learned about Tanzanian, Cameroon, Nigerian & many other African cultural expressions. We were honored to be among trade and event partners like Alexander Boyce Studios, Tribal Truths Collection, Arts Westchester & our friends at Pursuit Lending. Participants also had access to receive free COVID vaccinations through the generosity of the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Center.

“I would like to take a moment to thank Rose for creating this space, this physical space, creating the space for the community and participants, and creating the spiritual space for all of this to happen—what an incredible community and celebration. Thank you, Rose, for having us,” shared Teresa Jankovic, our Interim CEO from the main stage. “Our mission is to support women, the Black community, and Communities of Color in The Hudson Valley. We have many small business participants in Mount Vernon. Is anyone here an entrepreneur?”

Almost everyone in the crowd raised their hand and cheered. We knew we were in good company! From the day we met Rose and walked through The Luangisa Art Gallery, we realized we shared a similar mission: To support entrepreneurs and artisans, particularly women. At the closing ceremony, Rose called the community to remember the African artisans and entrepreneurs who The Luangisa African Gallery directly supports:

“We hope you continue to support our artisans and discover new products such as fine art, artifacts, jewelry, fashion, and more. We bring the finest African accents to the world, and the sale of all artifacts directly benefits the artisans, especially women who created them, helping many to provide essentials for their families and communities.”

Thank you, Rose and The Luangisa Gallery Team, for a great day! We are grateful to have been invited into the Mount Vernon community and look forward to an ongoing partnership. We invite you to learn more about The Wakanda Celebration here. Read the write-up from Black Star News. And don’t wait until next year to experience it. The Luangisa African Art Gallery is open by appointment. Get in contact here.