Cicely Mitchell is the jazztician presiding over Durham’s, The Art of Cool, which she co-founded with Al Strong IV. In addition to providing year-round music to Durham and the surrounding area, they also run an amazing music festival, Art of Coolfest. It has an outstanding line-up that transcends easy categorization and veers toward the interesting and experimental.
Here she answers six questions for music writer, Tim Mapp.
Tim: We are sure that Clarion Content readers would like to know what originally brought you to the Triangle, can you enlighten us?
Cicely MITCHELL: I came here is 1999 to attend graduate school at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Tim: If there was one thing you could change about Durham (as it relates to The Art of Cool) what would it be and why?
Cicely MITCHELL: I’d love to have more music venues to book bands in, especially an outdoor performance amphitheater in the heart of downtown.
Tim: What would you say is you’re most beneficial partnership?
Cicely MITCHELL: The partnership we have with our Kickstarter Backers. We’ve done two successful Kickstarters and the backers believe in us, before we even produce the line-up. That kind of faith and belief is inspiring and makes the Art of Cool team want to make them proud.
Tim: What are the key factors to a successful festival?
Cicely MITCHELL: A great lineup. Great team of planners, fundraisers, production professionals and volunteers. Great venues to present. Community support from grassroots organizations, corporations and city officials. Vision. Persistence. Luck.
Tim: How hard was it to land an Anthony Hamilton booking?
Cicely MITCHELL: The booking of Anthony Hamilton was serendipitous actually. I met his manager at Full Frame in 2014 and he saw my Art of Cool Tee Shirt. He asked if I knew anyone affiliated with the festival. The rest was just many conversations about how Anthony could get involved with this festival and be a part of helping it grow into something BIG.
Tim: Can you give us an exclusive insight as to what we can expect this year?
Cicely MITCHELL: Grease. Neo-Soul. Fusion. Trip Hop. Jams. All-Star Hosts. Surprise collaborations. Ropeadope Record label showcase. The Armory as the HOTTEST spots to be both nights. Sunday Jazz Brunch with Avery*Sunshine. The launch of an innovation conference portion to the fest this year focusing on the topic of Diversity in Tech/Innovation.