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Celebrating Culture and Community

September 10, 2019

Now in its 11th year, Waterloo's North End Arts and Music Festival has truly hit its stride. Syncing with the KBBG Parade and Marching Against the Darkness drill team competition brings a new energy, adding to the already senses-engaging event. Over the years, CFNEIA has granted over $15,000 to the festival allowing organizers to expand their vision for what the event can be for the community.

The North End Cultural Center is a nonprofit and event organizer. It's mission is twofold: To restore pride in the diverse cultures of Waterloo's northeast end by showcasing the artistic gifts and talents of its residents, including those of all ages and backgrounds, and to promote literacy and educational achievement among the youth of this community.

"What a time to dream in Waterloo," said Felicia Smith-Nalls, one of the organizers. "We have people from different backgrounds and age ranges getting the chance to show what's in their heart, their passion, and what they live for. Thank you to the Community Foundation for allowing us to grow."

Waterloo's northeast side has traditionally been an area where new immigrants could settle. African Americans were forced by segregation to live in a restricted area, but they created a rich cultural and community life within that area. When the festival was established in 2009, it was a restoration of a long tradition of artistic celebration.

The North End Festival provides a celebration that exhibits pride and confidence by the diverse members of the Waterloo community. It is a way to remember the past, look to an inclusive future, and connect as humans through art and music.