Blue Pickup - Short Story by Niki Lopez



Blue Pickup - by Niki Lopez



This was it.  

My stomach fluttered like the birth of a thousand seahorses.  Is this really it? My mind went through my small library of doubts, hates, longing, tears, and a few old photographs that I had preserved. My palms started to feel warm and damp.  The airport hummed with hundreds of voices.  Everyone seems to move past me as I stood still.  Time stood still.  As I peered out the terminal window, I saw a blue pickup truck drive by.  What if that’s him?  My mind immediately ran through a possible story as I chuckled to myself for thinking I was a bewitched clairvoyant.  Silly me.  As my mind drifted back to the current anxiousness and wonder, I heard him.  Niki,  I turned around.  Yes. We stood still.  Or was it time?  I don’t know but it was surreal.  I smiled as I looked back at eyes like mine.  I chuckled to myself that he didn’t look the pictures I held dear to my heart through the many storms of my life thus far.  No big afro.  The few pictures I had of him reflected the 70’s era in time.  One where he was with mom, big grin, shiny shoes and a disco ball.  Yet, here he was. This was it.  He hugged me and chuckled ‘I would notice that fucked up hairline from a mile away.  That’s my hairline.’ We laughed, smiled, took another glimpse and walked out of the terminal.   He throws my bag to the back of his old blue pickup truck and we drove away.   My heart swelled with love and amazement as we drove off into the sunny Atlanta skyline. After all these years, I’ve found him.  

This is it.


©2017 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  


A short story I wrote September 17, 2017, while working on a few exercises and revisiting my love of writing.  Dedicated to my dad, Ronnie Lopez.  I have a few pieces written and more in the works, that I will share at a later time. 


Leave a comment and let me know what you think.  

Niki Lopez at The Old Dillard Museum - Florida Emancipation Mini Fest

I've spent many years exhibiting and curating group art exhibits (having my 9th annual curated exhibition at the 1310 Gallery July 15th), so nice to be invited to have a small solo exhibit at a wonderful and historic space. Honored for an opportunity to present at the Old Dillard Art Museum.  The Old Dillard Museum provides enriching exhibitions and educational opportunities to keep Black History alive.

The Old Dillard Museum occupies a prominent place in the history of Fort Lauderdale and has, over the years, presented educational opportunities for African-Americans as the first school constructed for people of color in this area. Formerly called "the colored school," Old Dillard was erected on land purchased from Ft. Lauderdale pioneers Frank and Ivy Stranahan for one dollar. 

For the first time I will have various works (paintings, sculpture and mixed media installations) under one roof along with some pieces from an arts collective 'Artists for Black Lives Matter'. #artistsforblacklivesmatter is an art collective consisting of Allison Kotzig, Alana DaCosta, Richard Wright and myself.  (#a4blm on Facebook)

As one of the speakers for the Florida Day Emancipation Day Mini Fest, I will be speaking on the presented works and sharing some of my story and connection with the significance of this event that also gives a backstory to the What's Your Elephant movement.  WYE uses the arts to create provocative conversations around the unspoken by way of art exhibits, interactive installations, community engagements, artists talks and workshop. (Learn more here)

My intentions for #whatsyourelephant is to create a safe space where one can share and bring awareness through the arts. If sharing my elephants empowers even one person to consider their choices, its impact and speak up when they see an injustice or be a voice for the many who are still living in fear & denial- my job is done. (Learn more here)


If you are local, I do hope you will join me.  Outside of the gallery's opening hours, there will be only two reception opportunities to see this exhibit.   

Niki Lopez and Old Dillard Museum Presents:



I AM THE ELEPHANT

Old Dillard Museum
Saturday May 20th, 1-5pm

Art Exhibit and Talk

The emancipation of Niki Lopez.  Solo art exhibit at the Old Dillard Museum. Niki Lopez will be presenting some of her latest works as well as art collective projects such as Artists For Black Lives Matter and What's Your Elephant. Lopez is a featured artist and one of the speakers at the Florida Emancipation Mini Fest.



Florida Emancipation Day Mini Festival



Celebrate Emancipation Day in a fun-filled, family friendly event that commemorates the struggles and triumphs of the African American people of the state. Featuring an art exhibition and discussion with Niki Lopez; Tony Thompson & The Metropolitan Diversity Theater Company; A screening of the film Night John; Poet/Monologuist David Mills; Saxophone Soloist Jesse Jones, Jr and Crooner Harold Winley of the Inkspots and the Clovers.

Food and Arts and Crafts vendors will also be featured.



Old Dillard Museum
1009 Northwest 4th Street
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

FREE

RSVP at 754.322.8828


Eventbrite - Niki Lopez at The Old Dillard Museum - Florida Emancipation Mini Fest




SWAN Spoken Soul Showcase Vol. 10 - SWAN Day Miami at Adrienne Arsht Center

Niki Lopez with mixed media sculpture "Home Grown" at 'Home Grown' shown in the exhibit Girl's School: a Political Disregard of a Gender at ActivistArtistA Gallery, FL

HONORED to be one of the 2017 featured artists of #SWANDAYMIAMI - Spoken Soul Festival.  A weekend of the arts, community outreach and sisterhood! Spoken Soul Festival is one of the top five SWAN DAY celebrations in the world.  I'm a Spoken Soul Festival Alumni from 2011.  Read more here. 

SWAN Day/Support Women Artists Now Day is an international holiday designed to showcase the power and diversity of women’s creativity. Be a part of SWAN Day by creating or participating in a local event or online activity that celebrates women artists!  Read more here.

This year the three day festival will take place at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami, Florida.  I'll have a few pieces of my work as a part of the showcase. 




Join me THIS Saturday in Miami at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts (Peacock Foundation Studio).


Spoken Soul Festivals: A three day festival nurturing and fostering women artists to inspire and educate our community of the importance of the arts in our daily lives.


Meet 2017 Featured Artist Niki Lopez Niki Lopez Fine Art Niki Lopez #SWANDayMiami #Celebrating10yrs #SSF http://ow.ly/FzIp309yZeG









SWAN Day Miami Schedule of Events

SWAN COMMUNITY PROGRAM – “Speak Your Soul”
FRIDAY March 24 | 3 PM – 8 PM

This open to the public event will feature a spoken word open mic, interactive visual arts activities, DJs, and more. Engage with various local youth, arts and women’s organizations; and enjoy arts and women-based panel discussions and Q&As with local vendors. 

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd. - Peacock Foundation Studio 
Admission FREE 

SWAN SPOKEN SOUL SHOWCASE VOL 10: SWAN DAY MIAMI  
An Evening Celebrating Women Artists 
SATURDAY March 25 | 6 PM – 10 PM

Take in performances by vocalists and spoken word artists, and explore the work of photographers and visual artists—15 featured women artists in total. Hosted By Chanel Gonzalez

Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts
1300 Biscayne Blvd. - Peacock Foundation Studio 
Admission FREE  

VANESSA BAEZ MEMORIAL WOMEN'S BRUNCH
SUNDAY March 30 | 11 AM – 2 PM

The official closing event of SSF, the Women's Brunch celebrates everyday women with extraordinary courage, in memory of Vanessa Baez.  Guest Speaker: Felecia Hatcher LIVE auction, raffle prizes, and complimentary 
swag bags for attendees.  Visit spokensoulfestival.com for more info & to buy tickets (click here) 

Soyka Restaurant
5556 NE 4th Court 
Admission $45 to $60 per person 
RSVP required


1310 Bandits Filmmakers representing Miami at 2017 Filmapalooza!

1310 Bandits WINNERS of the 2016 Miami 48 Hour Film Project - Filmapalooza 2017
Onward & upward! 1310 Bandits female-led film crew will be representing Miami/Fort Lauderdale at 2017 Filmapalooza in Seattle, Washington as WINNERS of the Miami 48 Hour Film Project. SECOND YEAR IN A ROW!!! Now we compete internationally, everyone will view our winning short film Deep Within, as well as our first feature film 'Kali Mah Tina' will premiere!
I am SUPER proud to be a part of this team. As a producer, Pre-viz Artist, core team member & SMM (I even have a couple of acting cameos).

1310 Bandits mission is creating stories that advocate consciousness and social responsibility.
Right up my alley.
If you would like to see our first feature film and support a 'Made in Broward' film 'Kali Mah Tina' I hope you will join us when we get back March 18th at Artserve. For tickets click below:
Niki Lopez 1310 Bandits feature film Kali Mah Tina
(Click the image to get a ticket)
Please support us, prayer warriors - I need those positive vibes & keep your fingers crossed as we compete INTERNATIONALLY against all other 48 Hour Film Project winners! Looking forward to the experience, not looking forward to the Seattle weather (heat warriors - send in the sun!) Either way, we come home with an award, an experience and amazement that we made it this far, again!

#darkcomedy #filmchallenge #48dayfilm #reelrepsect #womeninfilm #nikilopez #nikilopezcreative #filmcrew #browardarts #qpoc #filmedinbroward #kalimahtina #artactivists #artwithapurpose #creativeplay #tabathamudra #filmproducer #previz #graphicdesign #48hfp #1310gallery #artistsof1310gallery #artcommunity #indiefilm #tribe #movieswithmessages #filmawards #madeinmiami #howmanyhashtags #proud #48hfp #madeinbroward #filmapalooza2017 #seattle #ohnoitscoldoutthere
Trailer to our winning short film: Deep Within:


Artists for Black Lives Matter art exhibit at The Projects Window Gallery in FAT Village during #artwalk


Artists for Black Lives Matter art exhibit at The Projects Window Gallery in FAT Village during #artwalk

Artists for Black Lives Matter will show our Community Sourced Panel Wall Installation as well as the art of Chire Regans and John English. We are also planning a workshop and panel discussion (TBA). This exhibit is a part of the FAT Village Artwalk. Special performance by Sonia Baez-Hernandez.

The Projects Window Gallery in FAT Village
519 NW 1st Ave
Ft. lauderdale Fl

Mission: Artists for Black Lives Matter #a4blm is a space to express yourself creatively around issues pertaining to Black Lives Matter. A4BLM combines exhibits, workshops, social engagement & peaceful awareness campaigns surrounding Black Lives Matter issues including police brutality and the loss of life due to racial injustice.
Connect with us!

Close up of panels within Artists For Black Lives Matter community sourced art exhibit.

Contributing artists include:
  • Alana DaCosta
  • Alecia Deon
  • Allison Kotzig
  • Andrew Martineau
  • Anita Wexler
  • Anthony Bacchus
  • Benedicte Blanc- Fontenille
  • Blanche Williams
  • Bryan Cunnningham
  • Carol-Anne McFarlane
  • Chire Regans
  • Christopher Christoboulou
  • Dana E. Fitchett
  • Danielle Calibird Fernandez
  • Deborah Phillips
  • Emperes Holley
  • Evan Snow
  • Gilbert Chevry Chrispin
  • Jan Husar
  • Janelle Fulford
  • JaQuale Boss Bostick
  • John English
  • John McElhatton
  • K S Pratt
  • Kelvin Bernard
  • Kendra Williams
  • Kianga Jinaki
  • KS Pratt
  • Laura Sue Wilansky
  • Laurel Oh Car Angel
  • Leonor Anthony
  • Leslie Mah
  • Markeven Williams
  • Marlet Lopez
  • Mary Buhler
  • Maya Amina Harrison
  • Micheal Anthony Clark
  • Micheal Kupillas
  • Nafis White
  • Nancy Caramello
  • Nazbah Tom
  • Niki Lopez
  • Renda Writer
  • Rich Wright
  • Robert Liu-Trujillo
  • Rolando Chang Barrero
  • SafetyFirst & Deadeyes
  • SeBiArt i•ma•gine | e•volve
  • Sonia Baez-Hernandez
  • Tara Chadwick
  • Teepop
  • The Milagro Center of Delray Beach
  • Thomas McAvoy
  • Zenon Duda


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From the opening night of #artistsforblacklivesmatter in Wynwood, Miami, March 2016.  Gallery owner Jumaane N'Namdi on the left with the#a4blm collective: Allison Kotzig, Niki Lopez, Alana DaCosta & Richard Wright and some of the contributing artists!! Over 116 panels & 43 local & national contributing Artists for Black Lives Matter photo by David iPhoto

Resurrecting Venus: The Cycle Continues art exhibit at The Amadlozi Gallery

Happy New Year!  For those still patient enough & still reading my blog, THANK YOU!!! I have a lot in store to share with you for 2017 along with many highlights of things I didn't get to post as yet from 2016.  For now, my latest is as follows:


Honored to share that I've been invited to curate an art exhibit for The Amadlozi Gallery - located at African Heritage Cultural Center.  


Resurrecting Venus: The Cycle Continues 

Curated by Niki Lopez


Eventbrite - Resurrecting Venus art exhibit curated by Niki Lopez

The Amadlozi Gallery
6161 NW 22nd Ave, Miami, Florida 33142
Wednesday, January 11th – 6pm - 7:15pm
Admission - Free & Open to the Public

The Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center and The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs proudly presents Resurrecting Venus: The Cycle Continues curated by Niki Lopez.

The group art exhibition 'Resurrecting Venus: The Cycle Continues' addresses the oppression and exploitation of women throughout history & in modern times. This exhibition is being produced in collaboration with the play "Venus" by Suzan-Lori Parks, an avant garde telling of the story of Saartjie Baartman, which opens at 7:30 the same night in the Wendell A. Narcisse Performing Arts Theatre adjacent to the gallery.

Visual artists: Sonia Baez-Hernandez, Niki Lopez, Allison Kotzig, Cat Del Buono, Morel Doucet, Carol-Anne McFarlane, Chire Oliver, Shiobann Amisial, Richard Wright and Nadine Anderson Cheng.

Performance: Alana DaCosta and (members of) Venus Rising: Women's Drum & Dance Ensemble.

About the Curator: Niki Lopez is an interdisciplinary artist, curator & activist. She is also the Founder of What’s Your Elephant  a movement using the arts to create provocative conversations around the unspoken.

The Amadlozi Gallery is in The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, the nucleus of arts learning, training and access for Miami-Dade County’s African-American community.  The gallery is open by appointment in addition to the Opening & Closing receptions.

Meditation for Creatives

Something I've been working towards: incorporating meditation when ever possible. My goals is to make it a daily ritual for myself and my son.  This morning,  I need to take 10... Came across this really wonderful #Youtube "10 Minute Guided Meditation On Unblocking and Expanding Creativity | Epic - Uplifting - Healing". It was exactly what I was looking for! It was a guided mediation and a journey into the desert to play in this magical box.   Got so inspired, I had to take 10 more minutes for some creative play with a line I got from the meditation: "This is our box to decorate as if we never grew up."

 Digital art doodle by Niki Lopez - Original desert image appropriated from messynessychic.com
I wanted to find a desert image on the web to mediate to and came across this one.  I enjoyed taking a few moments for some creative play of my own to set the tone for the day.  Feel free to use, share & re-post.  Whether you are looking for a general 10 minute meditation, having a creative block, or having a moment where creative play would be a great impact to your day, I highly recommend checking out this video and adding it to your mediation play list.  (I have).


It just keeps getting better. Logging on to my Facebook today, an Artist & DJ - dj ffloodi posted a 'Happy Birthday Grace Jones - Love You to Life' redub tribute he made in honor of Grace Jones turning 67. Jones also shares her born day with Malcolm & Yuri Kochiyama.



Some updates with me & this personal art blog: I've been experiencing a wonderful metamorphosis of sorts over the past year.  It's great to feel that so many around me are also on this path of awakening, realizations, creative growth & progress in what ever journeys they are up to in life.

As a Mom, Creative & Social Media manager - I'm juggling may things, but love it.  I'm prepping for my annual month long exhibit, and assisting in a few passion project including poetry, art, design & social media.  Co-working with creative co-conspirator & artist Alana DaCosta on a couple of community engagement & public art project that I will be sharing later on in the year.  We are still in incubation mode with "What's Your Elephant", so much in store, I can't wait to share!  As for this blog, check back next week as I have a few new "Creative Circle Tuesday's" scheduled to post.

So stay tuned family!


- Niki Lopez
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