exploring American music
Exploring America’s Music Past and Present
AMERI’KANA is a collaborative project between Art as Mentorship and Making Movies that explores America’s music – both past and present. This event highlights the contributions of Black, Indigenous, and people of color and how interwoven these individuals are in all of America’s stories through this musical festival in Kansas City.
This is an evolution of work that began six years ago when Enrique Chi, of the worldwide band Making Movies, used a benefit concert called Making Movies Carnaval to establish Art as Mentorship and raise resources to impact young artists in the KC community.
The event was free to the public and featured a show from local and youth talent as well as a line-up of all-star international musicians. Party-goers experienced performances from acts such as Mexican Folk-Dance company El Grupo Atotonilco, Beau & Aidan Bledsoe, Malek Azrael, students from Art as Mentorship’s flagship program, the Rebel Song Academy, and the AMERI’KANA All-Stars; a supergroup of local and international musicians performing an off-the-cuff set of classic hits.
This “Celebration of Makers, Music & Art” included fierce Black-owned, in-line skating collective Skate Club plus the indie craft fair, Strawberry Swing, which curated artisans and shops who their goods during the Block Party.
NPR explains the Making Movies album gave birth to the AMERI’KANA project and the pilot of the documentary aired on PBS. This project has taken a giant step in preserving the history of historically excluded people, whose practices and music have been overlooked and ignored.
Passing On the Gifts of Our Ancestors
AMERI’KANA has helped to pass on the gifts of our ancestors to the next generation through education, live performances and multimedia production.
In 2021, this project produced a one hour PBS Special, radio show, and live streams, signifying proof that Art as Mentorship is moving in the right direction.
Art as Mentorship is a not-for-profit business 501(c)(3) dedicated to empowering young people, through music, to write their own success stories. The AMERI’KANA Block Party is made possible thanks to support from: The Kauffman Foundation, Hallmark, Mildred’s Coffee, Seen Merch, Alt Cap, NTDF of Kansas City, and Chicken N’ Pickle.
Make Your Mark Through a Donation
It is through the support of the community that makes it possible for us to deliver the best possible curriculum to our students. Your contribution will have a lasting impact on the lives of those we are mentoring. We thank you for your support of the next generation of creative artists.