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Mavuno festival in Sewickley celebrates Black and Indigenous artists

SEWICKLEY ― Black and Indigenous artists from the region will share the spotlight at Mavuno, the annual festival and exhibition Sept. 15-16 hosted by Sweetwater Center for The Arts.

Beaver County ties this year include exhibited artist Marlon Gist from Aliquippa; an appearance by Day Bracey, founder of the Barrel & Flow beer festival named thenation’s best by USA Today readers; and a poetry tribute to the late Elizabeth Asche “Betty” Douglas, a Beaver Falls native and co-founder of Mavuno, launched 27 years ago.

One of the regional artworks to be featured at the Mavuno festival and exhibition in Sewickley.

Mavuno’s opening reception takes place 5-8 p.m. Sept. 15 in the community room at Sweetwater. Titled “In Life…,” the free exhibition showcases co-curators Deavron Dailey and Janet Watkins, and fellow Pittsburgh artists Alecia Dawn Young, Douglas J. Webster, Ernest Bey, Janet Watkins, Marce Nixon, Norman Brown and Gist, the Aliquippa artist whose work was highlighted recently at Pittsburgh International Airport.

A self-portrait by Marlon Gist whose work will be featured at the Pittsburgh International Airport.

The Friday evening event also will include a special recognition in remembrance of Mavuno founding member Douglas who died this past July at the age of 92. Several pieces of her artwork will be on display, along with a remembrance speech courtesy of the Women of Visions Collective.

Elizabeth "Betty" Asche Douglas at her art studio in Rochester Township.

The evening also will include a lineup of live poetry readings organized by Sweetwater board member Bonita L. Penn. Poets include Veronica Corpuz, Gwendolyn A. Mitchell, Doralee Brooks and Bonita L. Penn.

On Sept. 16, Mavuno moves to Riverfront Park in Sewickley, and will include a beer garden with a separate $20 ticketed entry to attendees 21 years of age and up ($25 at the door.)

Festivalgoers can purchase items from a diverse group of Black/Indigenous/People of Color artisans featuring a wide range of culinary delights, unique gifts and handmade crafts from Auberle, Cobblerworld, 2CPremium Coffee, ChefNABox, Bobbie Bonita Art, Babysitting Logistics LLC, Affordable Elegance International,Darnella Darling Delights, PGH Dumplingz, Nan’s Touch, and more.

Entertainers include Day Bracey, coordinator-curator of Mavuno, and live music from popular Pittsburgh rock band NASH.V.ILL. and dance music DJ Icy Pisces.

Day Bracey appears at the annual Mavuno Festival at Sweetwater Center for The Arts.

Mavuno takes place each September, launched as a program displaying Black art and culture from western Pennsylvania.

NASH.V.ILL will entertain at Mavuno.

Scott Tady is entertainment editor at The Times and easy to reach at

Published on September 14, 2023
Written by Scott Tady
Published by The Times
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