1914 Affair Celebrates Artists in its 5th Year

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Sparked by the assassinations of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife, and other previous tensions, the First World War commenced in 1914. By its end in 1917, it left millions of soldiers from both sides, the Allies and Central Powers, dead –and even more wounded.

It became known as the ‘war to end all wars,’ but it was actually the emergence of various advancements in technology and many, many ‘firsts.’

“Most importantly [1914] was the year Marcus Garvey established the Universal Negro Improvement Association to promote the spirit of race pride and create worldwide unity among blacks,” says Baltimore native, artist and curator Cheyanne Givens.

Cheyanne Givens. Pgoto: Olivia Obineme

Cheyanne Givens. Pgoto: Olivia Obineme

“Inspired by him and his movement, I wanted to create an experience that promotes unity in Baltimore’s art culture.”

The 24-year-old has been spending the last week, or so, putting final touches on an event she named after the Great War, called the 1914 Affair 

A West Baltimore resident, Givens has noticed cultural divides that she finds “unnecessary.”

“I’ve noticed a gap that needed to be bridged. Certain scenes are unaware of other scenes or just don’t associate with certain scenes for whatever reason. 1914 Affair is where the gap meets,” Givens says.

The themed evening fête, makes its return Oct. 22, this time at Area 405 in the Greenmount West neighborhood. It’s promising “a unique, thought-provoking collaborative art exhibit,” which continues to grow its list of participating artists from all parts of the creative community in the event’s 5-year run.

Megan Lewis. Photo: Olivia Obineme

Megan Lewis. Photo: Olivia Obineme

Illustrator and muralist Megan Lewis met Givens at an artist retreat hosted by The Contemporary Museum of Baltimore, in August. This year will be her first time participating in the 1914 Affair.

“I have never been, but I hope to leave with a new network of artist that are from Baltimore,” Lewis says.

This year’s theme revolves around the game of chess, challenging artists involved to create work that speaks on that game in relation of current events in Baltimore.

“I know very little about [chess],” Lewis says. “But all that came to mind was the rap verse by Lauryn Hill, “I play my enemies like a game of chess, where I rest no stress.” [So] I built my image around that.”

“I was in last year’s 1914 affair, and was asked to be in this one too,” says welding artist Keith “KC” Cooper.

Cooper is a founding member of #FixBaltimore, a for-profit grassroots organization dedicated to improving living conditions and provide economic opportunities in “urban Baltimore” through various programming, from agricultural and artistic to youth focused.

His work for the 1914 Affair is a metal chess board, which he includes the names of victims of police brutality in the black squares of the board. “Bringing awareness to the youth about welding and social issues is what inspires my work,” Cooper says.

Give & Take Art gallery owner and artist LaRease Clark, who is also participating in 1914 Affair for the first time, is going political for Saturday evening’s exhibit. “This year’s piece is a collaboration between numerous artists to express the feelings around this year’s elections and running politicians,” Clark says.

LaRease Clark. Photo: Olivia Obineme

LaRease Clark. Photo: Olivia Obineme

But as some will have their work already finished and ready to show, others will be creating work live at the 1914 Affair. Davon Carey, 24, will be live painting at the event.
Carey started drawing at an early age, “and stuck to it.” As he’s showcased works in the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum and the Eubie Blake National Jazz and Cultural Center, he’s looking forward to expanding his connections at this year’s 1914 Affair. “I hope to network and leave this 1914 Affair with some new inspiration, potential clients and new relationships,” he says.


During its 4-hour long festivities will be live musical performances, including Blaqstarr, Christen B, TT the Artist, Al Rogers Jr. and more. Even musical artist Tiffany Gouché, hailing from the West Coast, will be performing.
Strangers With Style will also be present announcing the recipients of the 1914 Affair’s annual male, female, and couple “Best Dressed” awards. Note on the Eventbrite page, the dress code for the event is strict, even stating that your admission into the event is not guaranteed if you violate the dress code.
“I have no idea [what I’m wearing] and I’m running out of time,” Lewis says.
Courtesy of Cheyanne Givens.

Courtesy of Cheyanne Givens.

“With this event, people can expect a great time, good food, positive energy, and some of the best performances you’ll experience in Baltimore,” Givens says.

“The biggest success for me has been the connection that still exists from the first event. I’ve had people tell me they met their business partner at 1914 Affair. I even had someone tell me they met their wife at one of my events before.”

And that provides Givens with more of a reason to continue curating events like the 1914 Affair, being that link to creatives throughout the city, regardless of culture differences.

Givens laughs, “I’ve always been the connect.”

Creator & managing editor of Strangers With Style. Happiest when her work allows others to shine, too. Lover of collabs, social media, blogging, fashion, food & the color blue.