Now in its eighth year, the event features a cocktail reception, an awards program, a fashion show and an after party, with the festivities from 6 to 9 p.m.
“It’s a fast-paced, entertaining evening,” said Judy Hanenkrat, the festival’s director of special events. “We’re very fortunate to have Neiman Marcus’ style guru — their director of fashion and vice president — Ken Downing, who will be back to produce the [fashion] show. The show he did last year was just breathtaking.”
Noted jewelry designer Victor Velyan will be the show’s “designer extraordinaire,” she said. Among this year’s honorees is Deborah Willis, the chair of the department of photography and imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
“She was named one of the 100 most important people in photography, and she is one of the nation’s leading historians of African-American photography and curators of African-American culture,” Hanenkrat said.
Three fashion students out of 26 applicants from Brenau University, Clark Atlanta University and the Savannah College of Art and Design will be selected as recipients of the Emerging Talent Awards.
Hanenkrat said one of the greatest aspects of the event is the diversity of people who participate and come out to support the festival.
“The mission of the festival is to present the finest artists from throughout the African diaspora, both Americans and international artists, and the way that it does that is through partnerships with local cultural organizations and national cultural organizations presenting a three-month festival in Atlanta every year that runs from July to September,” said Brett Egan, a consultant who has been assisting in the administrative and programming planning for the festival while the organization searches for an executive director.
He said the event and the gala, which will take place in July, are the primary fundraisers for the organization.
“The revenue that comes through those two events underwrites about three-quarters of the total programmatic activity each year,” Egan said.
“So they’re very, very important ways for the organization to build enthusiasm among the community for the programming and the services to children that it offers later on in the season.”
He said this year the festival is expanding its outreach to youth locally and nationwide.
If you go:
o What: Fine Art + Fashion
o When: March 20 from 6 to 9 p.m.
o Where: Neiman Marcus, 3393 Peachtree Road, Atlanta
o Cost: starts at $500 for an individual patron ticket
o Information: www.nbaf.org