ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Pearl Side Community Arts Festival is coming to the Capital Repertory Theatre from September 8 to 12. The free five-day event is open to the public and is a celebration of Capital Region arts and community service.

Pearl Side will open on September 8 at 5 p.m. with an opening ceremony featuring remarks by prominent community members. The opening ceremony will be followed by a performance by Metropolitan Baptist Church’s Gospel Choir.

The festival includes storytelling, mural painting, art exhibits, plays, music, and dancing. Activities will take place inside and outside the theatre. Complimentary food and beverages, as well as music from the Boys and Girls Club of the Capital Region’s Music Van, will be available at 10 a.m. on September 10.

“Pearl Side acts as a bridge between the community at large and the arts organizations within it, while simultaneously allowing community partners to collaborate with one another while encouraging the community to support and engage with artists,” said officials for the Capital Repertory Theatre.

An art gallery will be available featuring works created by local artists and curated by the African American Cultural Center. The event features music by local artists and bands such as Jermain Wells and the Ill Funk Ensemble, Carmen Lookshire, Justin Friello, and Morris & Rivers.

Featured artists

  • Storyteller Barbara Howard
  • Drag queen storyteller Jizabell Lee
  • African drummer Howard Underwood
  • Dance troupe H.I.P.H.O.P. (How Important People Helps Our People) & Community Praise
  • Spoken word artist D. Colin to host a slam contest
  • Music by Carla Page
  • Poetry by Valerie Temple

The public is also invited to participate in creating a community mural. Albany Center Gallery is working with local artist Shae on a mural design with the help of the community. The three-panel mural will live at several different organizations around Albany over several years.

Three new plays, each 10 to 15 minutes in length, have been commissioned and written specifically for Pearl Side. Plays include:

  • “UP. On the Hill” by Arron Moore, directed by Jean-Remy Monnay (by Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York )
  • “She’s Still Breathing: An Architecture of Resilience” by Morgan Heyward, directed by Angelique Powell (by Troy Foundry Theatre)
  • “Take Me With You” by Rachel Lynett, directed by Susan Spain (by the Capital Repertory Theatre)

Many organizations are part of this event including the Capital Repertory Theatre, Proctors Collaborative, Black Theatre Troupe of Upstate New York, Troy Foundry Theatre, The African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Albany Center Galleries, MVP Health Care, M&T Bank, Albany Housing Program, Metropolitan Baptist Church, and the Schenectady Community College Culinary Program.

To see the full schedule of festival events, you can visit the Capital Repertory Theatre website.