A Helping Hand for Mitchie's
An old-school rent party for an old-school community treasure
By Robert Faires,
6:00PM, Thu. Feb. 2, 2012
Back in the day, when the landlord was comin' round and you didn't have the scratch to pay him, you'd pull together the cash by throwing a rent party. A little music, a little dancing, and a little liquid refreshment, and your friends would chip in a little something for the honor of attending. Now, that tradition is being revived to help Mitchie's cover rent.
Mitchie’s Gallery is, as the name suggests, a business that showcases art which you may purchase. But that just scratches the surface of what it is and what it means to the African American community and Austin as a whole. Established in 1989, the gallery was a means for Mrs. Joyce Adejumo to help pay for the care her son Fred Leon Mitchell, aka "Mitchie," needed following a car accident in which he was paralyzed from the waist down. But her business soon became more than a way to sell and promote work by African African artists. Mitchie's became a bona fide community center that hosted community meetings, fundraisers, poetry readings, sign language classes, Christmas programs, you name it. It's had a number of different locations, but it survives because it needs to. Even after Mitchie himself died in 2007, his namesake goes on.
But it hasn't been easy. Now, the gallery needs $15,000 to relieve urgent financial pressures, and it's throwing a ticketed rent party this Saturday, Feb. 4, 1-8pm, to raise that cash. The afternoon will feature spoken word, dance, a dramatic reading, and speeches from Hannah Hooks, Rep. Dawnna Dukes, Judge Yvonne Williams, and Judge Cliff Brown. And from 5-8pm, you can hear a wealth of musical talent, including jazz empress Pamela Hart, funk/jazz band All U Need, neo-soul songstress Courtney Sanchez, youth music group Soul Tree Collective, and jazz trumpeter Kyle Turner. So get yourself on down to 7801 North Lamar Boulevard, Building B Suite 148, and “put back in what has been taken out of the till.”
Tickets are $25 for adults, $40 for a family of four, $15 for seniors and $12 for students with ID. For more information, visit www.mitchie.com.