Students present village design for
upcoming Bryan African art festival


Planning for this fall’s Brazos Valley Festival of African Art took another step forward June 27 when festival founder Thabiti Ngozi received a model of an African village created by students at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture.

The model will be used to build an African village at the festival site on Lake Bryan at 8200 Sandy Point Road during its Oct. 25-26 run.

“It will be one of the festival’s feature attractions,” said Ngozi after he looked at the students’ design. “So many people here will never go to Africa,” he said, adding that the design will help “bring Africa here.”

“The village (will offer) the unique opportunity for the community to gain a deeper perspective and appreciation for humanity’s oneness through the African cultural tradition,” said Ngozi.

The Brazos Valley Festival of African Art, begun in 2002, is a free, family-oriented event that celebrates local artistic talent and provides an education and increased awareness of the arts, culture, history, heritage and vitality of Brazos County citizens of African descent.

At the festival this fall, the village will be the site of traditional drumming, dance, storytelling, workshops, lectures, demonstrations and reenactments of various traditional African ceremonial activities.

Students in Robin Abrams’ Design Foundations I class made the model during the Summer I session after researching the characteristics of African villages.

“We had a lot of fun with this project,” said Katie Smither. “It was very interesting,
a great learning experience. The more we researched and learned about the cultures of the Akan people, the more we learned about ourselves."

The Akan people of West Africa can trace their origins to the 15th century and developed a strong artistic tradition.

It was the final class at Texas A&M for Abrams, associate professor of architecture and associate department head for professional studies. Abrams, who joined the College of Architecture faculty in 1994, is going on to head the School of Architecture at North Carolina State University.

A video of the presentation is available at the College of Architecture’s Facebook page.

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Detail from the design of an African village created by architecture students for the October Brazos Valley Festival of African Art.

Students made the design after researching characteristics of typical African villages.

It was professor Robin Abrams’ final class at Texas A&M after 18 years. She’s standing next to Thabiti Ngozi, who accepted the model on behalf of the festival.

Please click on images for slideshow

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