Academy of Funk

Photo by Marcia Kirton

Photo by Marcia Kirton


For the 2nd year in a row Funk Parade and Knowledge Commons DC have organized a series of intersession talks, discussions and interactive classes with a Funk Parade theme.  This year's Academy of Funk explores Hung Tao Choi Mei Leadership Institute, DC Public Library Music Resources, The Art of Afrofuturism, Drum Building and U Street Murals.  All of the classes are FREE but have a limited capacity so please make sure you sign up for a spot ASAP.

Behind the Scene: Hung Tao Choi Mei Leadership Institute

Saturday April 29th - 2:00pm - 3:30pm - 1351 U St NW

What do leadership skills, kung fu, drumming, traditional Chinese dancing, music, and singer/actor Paul Robeson have in common? D.C.’s Hung Tao Choy Mei Leadership Institute ties them all together, using martial arts instruction to provide character education and promote responsibility and progressive community development for students of all ages.

During this visit to the institute’s U Street studio, you’ll hear stories of Hung Tao Choy Mei’s past and future from founder Abdur-Rahim Mohammed and get an up-close look at the institute’s collection of intricate Chinese lion dance costumes.

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Future Funk Ready: DCPL Resources for Funk & Beyond

Tuesday May 2nd - 7:00pm - 8:15pm - Northwest One Neighborhood Library 155 L St NW

Think libraries aren’t funky? Think again! The DC Public Library offers patrons the opportunity to download free music, attend live performances, and learn about go-go and other aspects of D.C.’s musical heritage.

At this workshop, a librarian will help you explore these possibilities and more by demonstrating how to navigate the library’s website to find publicly available music resources within the library system. You’ll also hear about the library’s physical music collections and music-related artifacts. Please bring your library card; if you don’t have one yet, sign up for a library card before the class…

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The Art of Afrofuturism

Wednesday May 3rd - 6:30pm - 8:00pm - Thurgood Marshall Center 1816 12th St NW

George Clinton’s Afrofuturistic Mothership has landed in D.C. at the National Museum of African American History and Culture!

In this panel discussion moderated by Dr. Kendra Salois, you’ll learn what the Afrofuturism philosophy is all about from a panel of cross-disciplinary experts who will show you how African-centered, forward-looking ideas find expression across the fine arts and offer inspiration for navigating present socio political challenges.

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Build your Own Drums For Kids

Saturday May 6th 12:00pm - 2:30pm Harrison Recreation Field

It’s time for the Funk Parade, and folks of all ages are invited to come to U Street to make music together! Young, aspiring drummers can get ready at this workshop, led by percussion experts from the nonprofit 7DrumCity in conjunction with the DC Public Library’s Funk Parade programming hub: the Intergalactic Intergeneration Station.

Budding musicians will craft their own unique percussion instruments out of ordinary household items and learn basic drumming beats. Then, junior drummers are invited to return to the class site at 2:15 p.m. to learn a large-group drumming pattern and join 7DrumCity’s teachers in the parade.

Drum-making supplies will be provided, but participants are welcome to bring additional materials and/or pre-assembled instruments from home. This activity is suitable for children ages 3 and up, with parent or guardian supervision.

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U Street Mural Art Walks

Saturday May 6th - 12:00pm - 1:30 - Meet at 7th and S St NW

A growing number of murals adds color and interest to U Street’s outdoor spaces, but that’s not all these diverse public artworks do!

Join artist and author Cory Stowers on a walking tour of 12 murals throughout the Shaw and U Street neighborhoods to learn about the historical, social, and political significance of (un)commissioned public art, along with the unique styles of the local artists and cooperatives that created them.

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