Student Newsroom

C-U Black and African Arts Festival brings artists, community together

Performer at C-U Black and African arts fest

The C-U Black and African Arts Festival was held at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, Ill. on Sept. 18. Attendees and artists said it was an opportunity to bring the Black community together in celebration. Vivian La

The Champaign-Urbana Black and African Arts Festival took place this weekend and drew more than 50 local businesses and organizations to Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana.

It was an opportunity for local residents to interact with the diverse Black and African community, organizers said.

Susan Ogwal, festival co-founder, said the event was a celebration of life and the Black community in Champaign-Urbana after a year of violence.

“This is a moment to just pause,” Ogwal said, “And to find a space to breathe, come and have fun, network and just enjoy being alive and enjoying life in itself.”

Ogwal said this year’s festival, held in-person for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic, was the largest in its three-year history.

Alayt Issak, an attendee at the event, said she enjoyed mingling with the community.

“It’s nice to have African and Black arts and culture in one area,” Issak said.

Olivia Vamos is a student journalist with the Illinois student newsroom at Illinois Public Media.