Art From Around the Diaspora in ATL

Summer Festival Road Trip: The events are amazing, but the affordable marketplace is a real draw.

NBAF 2006 (Moses Robinson/WireImage)
NBAF 2006 (Moses Robinson/WireImage)

Her friends from Birmingham, Ala., who are black-art lovers make the two-hour trek annually to shop for art at the summer festival. 

“Overall I think it’s a great event and has established a name for itself,” she says.

The NBAF Art Festival will take place July 12 to July 15 at Centennial Olympic Park, with the NBAF Gala — its black-tie fundraising event — taking place on July 20 at the InterContinental Buckhead. This year’s gala is a tribute to Broadway with the theme “A Gathering of Colors.” Last year, the NBAF honored screen gem Ruby Dee during its gala celebration. 

In between attending NBAF-sponsored events is an opportune time to visit one of Atlanta’s greatest offerings: the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site. Visitors worldwide have descended on this Southern city to get a better understanding of the peace leader. You could visit King’s boyhood Auburn Avenue neighborhood, including his birth home, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Change Inc. (King Center) and the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where King, his father and grandfather preached. Admission is free.

Situated in midtown, the Woodruff Arts Center — home to the Alliance Theatre, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, High Museum of Art, Young Audiences and Table 1280 restaurant and lounge — is also worth a visit. You could check out the “Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks” and “Symmetry/Asymmetry: African Textiles, Dress, and Adornment” exhibits at the High Museum and then grab a bite to eat at Table 1280.

The Fernbank Museum of Natural History is also another option. Yeah, it’s cool to explore the various exhibits like Fernbank NatureQuest or “Conveyed in Clay: Stories From St. Catherine’s Island” alone or with the family during the day. But at night, when you want to unwind, Fernbank also hosts the popular “Martinis & IMAX” — a change from the traditional bar scene offering cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a movie — from 6:30 to 11 p.m. on Fridays.

Click here for The Root’s ultimate summer festival guide, and find out where to eat, sleep and party while you’re attending some of the season’s hottest events. 

Aisha I. Jefferson is a frequent contributor to The Root. You can follow her on Twitter or visit her at

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