Members of the Broward Gospel Announcers Guild took a moment to pose after the event.



Special to South Florida Times

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Beautiful music blared throughout Sistrunk Boulevard last Wednesday night, as a room of about 130 people danced and sang along with South Florida artists: Otis Flowers and Kenny Robinson at the Midtown Commerce Center.

The attendees celebrated the art of Gospel music at the Motown Gospel Cafe, sponsored by The Broward Gospel Announcers Guild (GAG) in partnership with the Broward Cultural Division.

The cafe was one of many that the GAG will host in partnership with the Broward Cultural Division. The Guild is one among approximately 17 groups and individuals selected as artists in residence to take part in Destination Sistrunk – the new cultural tourism initiative presented by the Broward Cultural Division, The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention, the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, The Visitors Bureau and Old Dillard Museum.

The initiative encourages residents and visitors to discover Fort Lauderdale’s African American history through various arts-related events, public art and design, history and way-finding markers, a Black heritage trolley and walking tour, an interactive website and a cultural marketplace.

“There are a lot of arts and cultural assets in the neighborhood, and cultural tourism is one of the ways that communities of color have been able to gain some additional economic traction and preserve and celebrate the most important aspects of their neighborhoods,”

said Grace Kewl-Durfey, arts administrator of Broward Cultural Division.

The Broward GAG’s cafe was the first event held by one of their artists in residence. Other artists include: a Hip Hop dancer, a chef, a sculptor, a video game digital artist team, a filmmaking team, a writing team, a coder and many others. The artists who were selected have been provided workspaces and event spaces to interact with the Sistrunk community.

“Not all the artists’ work is the same, so that’s what’s really exciting. We have different facets of how people want to build what they do,” Kewl-Durfey said. “They’re all going to be doing things in the Sistrunk area.”

Lynn Brown, the president of the Broward GAG, said by partnering on the Destination Sistrunk initiative more people will know about the activities that the GAG has available for the community, such as the monthly Gospel Café events.

“It will greatly impact the community by bringing the awareness that they don’t have to wait until the next Gospel concert that comes to town,” Brown said. “Instead of just listening to Gospel music on the radio, they have it live in-person, in front of them, once a month on a Wednesday night.”

Scott Strawbridge, the director of Development and Facilities at the Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, said the Motown Gospel Café event was amazing.

“It was so fun to see so much joy on everybody’s face,” he said. “The music brings everybody together, no matter what version your faith is, music doesn’t lie and it doesn’t divide, it unites, and I think music is a really powerful tool to help create neighborhood unity and good times.”