Image courtesy of Arts for Art

Arts for Art, best known as the organizers of the annual Vision Fest have been hit as hard as everyone else by the coronavirus situation and New York City’s subsequent ban on large gatherings to combat the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, the ban has forced a postponement of the annual festival of avant garde jazz, poetry, and visual art that was originally scheduled to run from May 19-25.

Instead, they’ve done as many musicians are and are turning to online platforms to stream music and other content.

This weekend they’re sponsoring a public talk with saxophonist Marshall Allen on Sunday May 24 at 6:30 PM EST accompanied by exclusive access to a video recording of the Sun Ra Arkestra‘s performance at the Town Hall on March 3 for those who register online and donate to Arts for Art. The video will be available until 11:59 PM EST on May 26, 2020.

Allen, who turns 96 on May 25, has led the Arkestra since the deaths of Ra himself and John Gilmore in the 1990s; Sun Ra arrived on Earth on May 22, 1914.

Allen and the Arkestra have been staples of both the Vision Festival and related Arts for Art events over the 25 years of Vision’s existence, so the concurrence of Allen/Ra’s birthdays makes this a logical connection.

Proceeds will be split between Arts for Art and the Arkestra, who’ve had an ambitious touring schedule curtailed by travel restrictions that also threaten the summer jazz festival circuit that’s usually a busy time of year and when a lot of jazz musicians count on making a fair amount of their yearly income.

Additionally, Arts for Art will be holding online screenings of selected video highlights from the Vision Fest archives and salons. Details at the Arts for Art site.

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Hank Williams is an associate producer for Suga’ in My Bowl on WBAI Radio and webmaster for the Suga’ and Behind the Mic sites. He is also a PhD candidate in English and Africana Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center and teaches at Lehman College. Find him on Twitter @streetgriot