CHICAGOThe nonprofit African American Arts Alliance of Chicago announced Charlique C. Rolle as its new board president, effective immediately. Rolle is the first new president in the Alliance's 26-year history, following the celebrated tenure of founding president Jackie Taylor. Joining Rolle as the new vice president of the Alliance is Vershawn Sanders-Ward.
Rolle brings extensive experience to the Alliance, having worked for over a decade as an arts administrator, interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, director, producer, actor and writer. She is the current executive director of Congo Square Theatre Company and a 2023 Chicago Urban League IMPACT Fellow. For the past three years, Rolle has served as a board member of the African American Arts Alliance and developed signature events for the organization, including its Black United Theatre and Black United Dance auditions, as well as producing the Alliance's annual Black Excellence Awards.
"It truly is an incredible honor to stand upon the shoulders of the Alliance's founders, whose dream and vision was to ensure that Black artists and organizations had a place that not only reflected them, but represented them," says President Charlique C. Rolle. "As I step into this role, I express my deepest gratitude to Jackie Taylor, the Alliance's founding president for the past 25 years. Twenty-five years of Black excellence in serving our community is a legacy that I do not take lightly. I am so honored and ready to continue to carry the mantle into this next erahonoring our history, deepening our community, and elevating our future."
In 1997, founders Jackie Taylor, Joan Gray, Chuck Smith and Ron O.J. Parson saw a great need for community interaction and development, and incorporated as a new African American Arts Alliance to build upon the rich history of the original Black Theatre Alliance, expanding to serve the needs of Black performing, visual, literary, technical and design art forms.
"I am so proud to be transferring the Alliance to a new leadership team," said Taylor. "I'm proud of the fact that we were able to sustain this vital and important organization through the past twenty-five years, and I am looking forward to seeing Charlique C. Rolle and Vershawn Sanders-Ward usher in a new phase for the Alliance."
This October, the African American Arts Alliance presents its Black Arts Month programming, a series of public events highlighting Black artists from across Chicago, as well as industry-specific events for Alliance members. Registration for new individual, organizational, and affiliate memberships will open on September 1, and all new members who register by Oct. 31 will receive 15% off their Alliance membership fees. More information is available at www.aaaachicago.org .
Public programming for Black Arts Month includes the following events across the city:
- Monday, Oct. 9 at 7-9 p.m.: Black Arts Month Kick-off and North Side Convening at Black Ensemble Theater (4450 N. Clark St.)
- Monday, Oct. 16 at 7-9 p.m.: Black Arts Month South Side Convening at Retreat at Currency Exchange (305 E. Garfield Blvd.)
- Monday, Oct. 23 at 7-9 p.m.: Black Arts Month West Side Convening at Muse Coffee Studio (747 S. Western Ave.)
More details about the featured artists, companies and performances for Black Arts Month will be announced in September.