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The Art of Erasure (2-day workshop)

Registration is open! ***ATTN: These workshops have been moved to Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (973 Islington Street)***

Thursday, Jun, 16th, 2022
4:00 - 6:00 PM

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Event description

Registration is open! ***ATTN: These workshops have been moved to Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (973 Islington Street)***

Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, Portsmouth Music & Arts Center, and 3S Artspace present:
The Art of Erasure: Gone But Never Forgotten
street art workshop led by artist Napoleon Jones Henderson
Thursday, June 16 & Friday, June 17
Cost: $20 to participate in the 2-day workshop
Location: Portsmouth Music & Arts Center (973 Islington St.)

Drawing inspiration from the Buddhist tradition of building and destroying art, award-winning public artist Napoleon Jones-Henderson will lead a community workshop and street art project that offers commentary on the erasure of African Americans from our state’s history. Under Jones-Henderson’s guidance, participants will create a piece that the community will paint on a Portsmouth street. BHTNH will film the gradual fading away of the art as it happens.

Sand mandalas are colorful, intricate works of art that are destroyed upon completion. As a meditation on impermanence after days or weeks of creating their complex patterns, mandalas are ritualistically destroyed and brushed into an urn and spilled into a body of running water as a symbolic blessing and offering to the universe. Every intricate detail of these mandalas is fixed in the tradition and has many levels of specific symbolic meanings.

The eradication of the African Burying Ground in the 19th century serves as a literal example of the erasure of Black people from New Hampshire’s history. This history of erasure serves as a metaphor and inspiration for the creation of a short-lived public art project as a social critique. The communal construction of this work also evokes the social construction of race, and like the mandala that was built to be destroyed, we can choose to destroy the system that our society built.

Workshop day 1 – June 16 / 4-6pm
Guest artist, Napoleon Jones Henderson, will begin the workshop with an overview of the history of public art and the role Black artists have played in its development. In addition, he will use examples of his work to explain major symbolic tropes present in his work and that of other Black artists.

Participants in the workshop will then use this information as a starting point to begin creating their own sketches. Some will be incorporated into the larger design of the project, “The Art of Erasure: Gone But Never Forgotten”

Workshop day 2 – June 17 / 4-6pm
Under Napoleon’s guidance, participants will complete their sketches. Napoleon will collect the submissions, review them, and select the ones to incorporate into the final full-scale design. Three days later, the public will assist in painting that design on a yet-to-be-announced street in Portsmouth.

Street art painting event – June 20 / 8amWorkshop participants are invited to join the general public in painting the final street design. The street location has not yet been announced.


This workshop and street art project presented by Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, 3S Artspace, and Portsmouth Music & Arts Center are part of Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire’s 2022 Juneteenth Celebration.

Thank you to our year-round Lead Sponsors: Raka and PixelMedia.

3S Artspace is supported in part by a grant from the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

3S Artspace is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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