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Watch now: BCAI brings arts, music to Bloomington's Franklin Park

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Bloomington's Franklin Park was feeling the beats Saturday afternoon for a "Rhythm and Spray Paint" event.

BLOOMINGTON — Bloomington's Franklin Park was feeling the beats Saturday afternoon for a "Rhythm and Spray Paint" event.

Several community organizations met at the free event to engage with people about their mission and offer activities like yoga and spray paint art, and to highlight Latinx music and culture.

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Nada Machaka, of Beirut, Lebanon, tries her hand at spray painting art Saturday in Franklin Park at the "Rhythm and Spray Paint" event. Her husband, Meheddene Machaka, said they made an unplanned stop at the park on their way to Peoria after visiting their daughter, who studies at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.

The Step Inn Performance team showed of their dance moves, and local artist EJ Allen performed original rap tunes.

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The Step Inn Performance dance team busts a move Saturday at the "Rhythm and Spray Paint" event in Franklin Park. 

The event was hosted by BCAI Cultural Arts & Humanities, a Bloomington art school that offers a "protected space to express, explore and create."

"Sometimes, this is what social justice looks like," said BCAI's executive director, Angelique Racki. 

"If you look around, you can pinpoint a minimum of 15 different cultures represented at any given time," she said at the event.

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Racki said the big impact of Rhythm and Spray Paint was seeing all the different organizations come together, adding that "there's literally nothing but love and peace going on right now."

"Right now, there's creation going on," she continued. "That is the most powerful force in the universe: creation.

"Imagination, creation and connection, and that's what's happening."

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Carla Campbell-Jackson, middle, compliments Sol Almaraz, 4, left, and Tiahna Abbott, 7, right, on their artwork Saturday at the "Rhythm and Spray Paint" event in Franklin Park in Bloomington.

BCAI partnered with the Afro-Socialists and Socialists of Color Caucus for the event, and invited several other organizations, including the Unitarian Universalist Church, the Really Really Free Market, Conexiones Latinas de McLean County, Young Yogi Briante Zunnermon, Bloomington-Normal Parents, Redbirds en Ritmo,and Bloomington Normal Black Lives Matter.

The Bloomington-Normal chapter of the NAACP also took part in the event. Their first vice president, Carla Campbell-Jackson, said it's gratifying to see the community come together "with such dynamic leaders and residents, so that we can empower our youth and celebrate when things are going good."

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Heyworth's Logan Norsworthy spray paints art Saturday at Franklin Park for the "Rhythm and Spray Paint" event hosted by the Breaking Chains & Advancing Increase art school. 

She said the media tends to "pounce" when something goes in the wrong direction, so when things are going well and impacting children, "that needs to be celebrated."

"It matters to children, and it matters to our community," Campbell-Jackson said. "And research has shown that the arts obviously plays an important role in young people's development." 

Heyworth artist Logan Norsworthy was there to make art and show kids how to spray paint, explaining the different types of "caps," or nozzles they can use.

"They clearly have a desire to make something," he said. "Also, just helping them do that was cool."

West Bloomington Revitalization Project board member and director of the Bed Blitz program Robert Bosquez talks about the importance of children having their own bed. The 2021 Bed Blitz took place Saturday, Oct. 9, at Youthbuild of McLean County, Crossroads Center, Normal. Ninety beds were built by 175 volunteers. Besides a bed frame, families received a new mattress, sheets, pillow, blanket or quilt and books. READ MORE HERE.

Contact Brendan Denison at (309) 820-3238. Follow Brendan Denison on Twitter: @BrendanDenison

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