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Black Arts Matter Festival

Mission: We intend to build a community around Black artistry by uplifting Black art and Black voices in white-dominated spaces.


This is the 2nd  Black Arts Matter Festival, an interdisciplinary arts festival celebrating and promoting Black art. 


If you would like more information, please contact



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Founder & Artistic Director

Shasparay Irvin founded and curated the Black Arts Matter Festival and is the current Artistic Director of the event. Shasparay is a performing artist from Austin, Texas, who was the 10th Ranked Poet in the World  (IWPS, 2018).

She holds a B.S. in Theatre and a minor in African American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While a high school student she was a speaker at the 2016 TEDxYouth Austin conference and earned a National NAACP ACT-SO Gold Medal. Shasparay has been a finalist in a myriad of slam competitions such as Women of the World Poetry Slam, Southern Fried Poetry Slam, Texas Grand Slam and is the two-time Lip Stick Wars Poetry Slam Champion. Shasparay has also been featured on Button Poetry, Youth Speaks, BuzzFeed, and Huffington Post.



Sarah Marty, a graduate of the UW-Madison Bolz Center for Arts Administration, is a Faculty Affiliate and Lecturer at the Division of the Arts and teaches Arts Entrepreneurship (MHR 365/Integrated Arts 322) for the Wisconsin School of Business.  In addition, she is the director of the undergraduate Arts Management program at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. As a producer she enjoys collaborating with campus and community partners to help make big things happen, whether working with the Director of the Marching Band for the UW Varsity Band Show or welcoming the Dalai Lama to the Overture Center for the Arts.  Producing Artistic Director for Four Seasons Theatre, other credits include Madison Early Music Festival, Wisconsin Public Radio 100th Anniversary event, and the Shannon Hall Opening Event for the Wisconsin Union Theater. @smartyfiles /

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