Ba Girls / Zipporah Michel

ArtServe, a non-profit that supports artists committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, is presenting “Roots of the Spirit: Soulful Expressions of the African Diaspora” from Jan. 15 through Feb. 27, coinciding with Black History Month.

Under the artistic direction of Consulting Curator Ludlow E. Bailey, “Roots of the Spirit” is a multimedia exhibition and performance series exploring African customs and aesthetics – from ancient traditions to works produced exclusively for this show. A collaboration with The Miramar Cultural Trust further supplements the exhibition with “Imagine Puppets,” a national collection of handmade figures representing the post-slavery era of puppetry, created by contemporary African-American artists.

“Surviving slavery meant tapping into the sprit side of ourselves, which has allowed us to endure a whole lot of pain and emerge strong, resilient and powerful,” says Bailey, managing director of Contemporary African Diaspora Art. “My motivation behind ‘Roots of the Spirit’ revolves around educating the whole community about the history of black people in the world. We’re living in a time where there’s a big misconception about where we were up to the 14th century. That’s when we started having a different status.”

Bailey is gathering some 25 visual and performing artists from Nigeria, Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica and the U.S. – bold artists exploring themes such as ancestral memory, colonization, and climate gentrification. The group includes:

“We’ve chosen to kick off 2020’s socially conscious season with a celebration of Africa, because that’s where the human story begins,” says ArtServe Executive Director Craig W. Johnson. “We are exploring not only the continent’s spiritual roots – but all of our roots. We are celebrating our shared origins and underscoring ArtServe’s commitment to unifying communities through the arts.” 

Key Dates and Tickets:

“Roots of the Spirit” VIP Reception – Jan. 18 from 6 to 9 pm.

The experience includes: open wine bar and vegan cuisine catered by Inika Foods; an exclusive performance of African dance, spirituals and opera; and tours of ArtServe’s creative laboratory, where artists experiment with concepts tied to social impact. Attendees will also participate in conversations about the latest cultural trends with three influencers that ArtServe is recognizing through its Broward County Arts & Culture Visionary Awards: Melissa Hunter Davis, founder and editor of Sugarcane Magazine, an online journal about art of Africa and the African Diaspora; Darius Daughtry, author of “And the Walls Came Tumbling: Unapologetically Speaking Truth to Power” and executive director of Art Prevails Project; and Miguel Pilgram, CEO of Pilgram Group, a development company revitalizing the Sistrunk area through jazz and art. For tickets, visit

“Roots of the Spirit” Community Reception – Feb. 1 from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Celebrate the first day of Black History Month at ArtServe with the community reception for “Roots of the Spirit: Soulful Expressions of the African Diaspora.” Tickets are $20 each and include pizza, punch and art activities. Admission is free for members and children 12 and under. For tickets, visit