Events downtown

Jun 15

The Welcome Table
Location: 60 Cove Street, Portland, Maine 04101, US
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Event website

To commemorate Juneteenth, Indigo Arts Alliance (IAA) is bringing back one of its founding programs, The Welcome Table, an intergenerational symposium celebrating the cultural and culinary traditions of worldwide historical social justice movements. It will take place Saturday, June 15th, from 10am to 5pm at Indigo Arts Alliance, 60 Cove Street, Portland, Maine 04101. This FREE gathering will feature art workshops, movement and meditation, cross-cultural history, community-building, and cooking led by local and national activists and cultural workers.

“The welcome table” is a phrase originating in southern African-American culture that describes a foundational spiritual value: an ethic of hospitality and a space where no one is turned away and the abundance of life is shared and enjoyed by all. The concept embodies a resistance to the persistent realities that have delimited the range of possibilities for Black and Brown lives.

As IAA honors its fifth anniversary–a half decade marked by programs that support Black and Brown artists, as well as foster cultural exchange and promote social justice through the transformative power of the arts–it felt appropriate to bring back The Welcome Table, a gathering that Indigo first sponsored in 2019. Then, as now, participants are invited to eat, talk, enjoy, give thanks, and just BE–all in a healthy, healing multiracial setting that creates space for everyone, and for the personal narratives that have informed, and continue to inform, our lives across continents and cultures.
This intergenerational symposium celebrates the cultural and culinary traditions drawn from worldwide social justice movements.

“Indigo Arts Alliance’s The Welcome Table 2019 was our inaugural symposium, which solidified a key point of difference for us as an artist-run arts residency. We activate the artist’s role as a social justice activist in collaboration with scholars, cultural workers, and everyday citizens. This gathering will continue to be a signature event for us because it embodies our commitment to community, locally and globally. The Welcome Table demonstrates that we take seriously our responsibility to help build a “multi-racial democracy,” (in the words of Dr. King), no matter how long it takes.”

— Marcia Minter
Indigo Arts Alliance Co-founder
Chief Officer of Strategic Growth and Innovation

Indigo Arts Alliance hopes that not only will this program serve as a moment to reflect and review our impact but also present an opportunity for us to envision what the future of our community will be through an Afro + Indigenous multicultural and multigenerational lens. We will be bringing together scholars, activists, religious leaders, artists, culinary specialists and members of the public to explore the links among food, culture and spirituality with a view to greater international social justice. A full schedule of events is available on request. Confirmed panelists, scholars, speakers, and workshop leaders include:

Diedra Harris-Kelley, artist and co-director of the Romare Bearden Foundation
Founder of Transparent & Black, African and Native American journalist and wellness expert, Yasmine Jameelah
Yoga instructor Victoria Rutledge of the Portland Yoga Project
Valnízia Bianchi (Mãe Val), author, community organizer, and religious leader in the Afro-Indigenous Brazilian tradition, Candomblé
Author and associate professor/chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at University of Colorado (Denver) Dr. Rachel Elizabeth Harding
Spoken word poet and advocate/consultant in the mental health field Nyamuon (Moon) Nguany Machar (IAA AiR Alum ‘20)
Sculpture/installation artist Abigail DeVille
Iranian multidisciplinary artist Minoo Emami (IAA AiR ‘24)
Chef and culinary educator Dr. Scott Barton
The Haus of Glitter, Providence, RI based dance activist company