sealPurdue News

November 25, 2002

Cultural Arts Festival set for Dec. 6

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – To wrap up its Cultural Arts Series featuring the Harlem Renaissance, Purdue University's Black Cultural Center is sponsoring the Cultural Arts Festival.

The event will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in Stewart Center's Loeb Playhouse. The BCC Performing Arts Ensembles, including the Black Voices of Inspiration, the New Directional Players, the Jahari Dance Troupe and the Haraka Writers, will collaborate in song, dance and drama to create an evening of theater entitled "Draped Down and Uptown in Harlem."

Bill Caise, BCC artist-in-residence, says "Draped Down and Uptown in Harlem" is based upon the Langston Hughes story "Who's passing for Who?"

"As in the original story, Langston and his friends are taking a white couple from Iowa out for an evening of recreation in Harlem," Caise says. "Not only does the couple get a personal tour of Harlem from Langston Hughes, they also get to hear Ethel Waters sing and meet, up close and personal, Zora Neale Hurston as well as the Jamaican poet Claude McKay and the physician/poet Rudolph Fisher.

"The goal is to highlight the beacons of the period and also to shed some light on some of the lesser known artists, such as Fisher and Nella Larson."

Black Cultural Center director Renee Thomas says the festival is a fitting way to conclude their semester-long spotlight on the creative and intellectual energy of the Harlem Renaissance.

Admission is $5 for Purdue students and $7 for the general public.

Immediately following the festival, attendees are invited to attend a BCC "rent party" in Stewart Center, Room 306. The party will be modeled after the informal gatherings of the 1930s in which parties were thrown by tenants in Harlem who needed rent money. Admission is $5 for music, dancing and card playing. Proceeds will be donated to the Hanna Community Center.

CONTACT: Renee Thomas, (765) 494-3091,; Bill Caise, (765) 494-4630,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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