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Street Soul Urban Art Fest ignites a creative culture in downtown Lynn

Jazzmyn Red performs during the Street Soul Music Series at Ironbound on Saturday. (Spenser R. Hasak)

LYNN — Lynners were immersed in the art culture at IronBound Saturday.

Breakdancers, live music, and live art installations … the Street Soul Urban Art Fest had it all. While the heat wave kept large crowds away, the residents who were there lauded the event while enjoying a beer garden with Salem’s Notch Brewing, local apparel vendors, and a breakdance performance from Brian Pistols and Entering ShaoLynn.

“This is all so great,” said Mayra Ortiz, a Lynn resident of eight years. “It’s really entertaining and fun. “Our world is not in the best place right now, so we need reasons like this one to come together as a community and stick together.”

The purpose of the event was to launch the Street Soul Public Music Series, organized by IronBound Marketplace’s administrative coordinator Justin Morley, and raise money to get closer to the $25,000 needed to make it happen. Morley’s vision for the series, which he debuted last September, is to partner with Lynn businesses to create music hub spots and get quality street performers to play outside their front doors.

Given the need for more fundraising efforts, Morley said rolling out the music series in 2020 is more realistic.

“It’s been a slow fundraising rollout,” Morley said. “Today was just to raise more awareness of the program. I think it was a good example that we can include other elements of art in one place, even in the heat.”

Deja ‘Ja’rae the Creator’ Albee, 22, is a Lynn native who was selling her artwork during the art fest. She said she never thought she would have the opportunity to sell her pieces in the downtown of the city she grew up in.

“With all the murals up and around the city, this makes me feel like I am a part of them,” she said. “And being able to have creative conversations with people today has been the best part of it.”

To combat the high temperatures, Morley said he made sure there were water coolers throughout Mount Vernon Street so attendees could stay hydrated. With hopes to keep the art fest an annual fundraising event, the idea to host it next year during the fall months might be a better option, he said. 

“I always put an emphasis on the fact that even when we have events where we don’t have the amount of people we were hoping for, it’s still all about the quality of the people who come,” said Morley. “As long as the vibe is right, even on a small scale, then I know it’s headed in the right direction.”

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