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Release Date: October 19,2015

At Hampton's CAN Festival, artists showcase and connect

At Hampton's CAN Festival, artists showcase and connect


Yasmine Brown absently dripped light blue paint on her galoshes while she considered the next stroke of her collaborative mural at Mill Point Park on Saturday afternoon.

Brown, 3, was on the younger side of artists at work the Contemporary Arts and Networking Festival in Hampton, where all manner of performing and visual artists came together to celebrate new art in Hampton — and hopefully spark even more.

Artists from around the region were encouraged to mingle and share ideas — and phone numbers — during the event. The objective: to get arts-minded folks together and start to develop more.

Artist, local gallery owner and festival organizer Asa Jackson said the festival is "like a warm-up" for what could be coming down the road with Hampton's new arts district in place.

If people will rally behind events like the CAN Festival and get interested enough to get their own projects going, it could lead to some exciting things, he said.

Diversity was the order of the day at the festival, said organizer Asa Jackson. Throughout the afternoon, singers, bands, DJs and different types of dance groups all took the stage at Mill Point Park.

Several muralists created works throughout the afternoon on large boards, which Jackson plans to hang on buildings around Hampton's arts district — hopefully just until some more permanent wall murals can take their places, he said.

Kwame Brown is the father of Yasmine Brown, the tiny muralist. A spoken-word poet and Hampton University professor, he came out to the CAN Festival to talk to other artists about a project he's involved with at HU, an event coming up next year discussing the art of hip-hop.

"I remember when festivals around Mill Point used to be a lot bigger," the lifelong Hampton resident said Saturday. "I'm game for anything that can help get us talking about art. … It's a unique opportunity to show a mixture of cultures and personalities."

Brown lauded the festival for having so much — like the collaborative mural his daughter left her mark on — available to help get children involved in and thinking about art.

Murphy can be reached by phone at 757-247-4760.