After delivering an exceptionally well-received overview of the African-American art market last Thursday at the Oak Bluffs Library, Clinee Hedspeth of Phillips auction house surprised the enthusiastic crowd by announcing the establishment of the Andrea E. Benard Artist Grant in honor of her mother. Ms. Benard flew in from Seattle to celebrate her daughter’s presentation to the Vineyard audience and was totally surprised at the recognition. The Bernard Grant will provide $20,000 annually in unrestricted funds directly to an artist of the family’s choice.

The 2023 inaugural artist grant recipient selected by the family is Raub Welch of Chicago, who was also in attendance. Mr. Welch is currently the owner of Afro-Opulence, an event and gift gallery in Chicago’s historic Bronzeville neighborhood. His work has been featured in Metropolitan Home, Vogue, Huffington Post and has been purchased for a range of collections including that of Oprah Winfrey.

Commenting on Mr. Welch’s selection, Ms. Hedspeth noted, “ Raub’s work is truly an example of creativity and talent within a historical context. His ability to tell a complete story visually commands the viewer to participate in the conversation of whatever he is presenting. I am proud that he is the inaugural recipient of the Andrea E. Benard Artist Grant . “

The New England division of the United Negro College Fund brought some 40 summer interns from Boston to visit Oak Bluffs and become acquainted with its history. A luncheon was hosted by L. Duane and Debbie Jackson, two proud Hampton University alums. Ms. Rochelle Ford, president of Dillard University, brought remarks of encouragement and possibilities to the students. Hope that some of these summer interns will assume full-time jobs in greater Boston and return to the Vineyard.

Congratulations to Oak Bluffs serial entrepreneur Kahina Van Dyke whose Jubilee Vintage retail store at 42 Circuit avenue opened this past Sunday. Home goods, jewelry, hand-crafted items featuring African-American designers, entrepreneurs and creators as well as vintage designer bags are available at the store. The Jubilee themed wallpaper must be seen by all.

The Charles Ogletree Forums are lining up over the next three weeks. Join CBS anchor Michelle Miller, Abby Phillips, Jelani Cobb and other media luminaries on August 9 at 4 p.m. at Union Chapel. This forum will be followed by a conversation with attorney Ben Crump who has represented many families confronting highly visible police brutality cases across the country. Come out and enjoy this double header featuring prominent participants covering the national media and legal arenas.

The Sailing Camp was packed last Sunday with family and friends celebrating the 50th birthday of Trinh Tran. The partygoers were decked out in all white, having traveled from as far away as Germany, California and Vietnam. While Trinh and husband Mark Williams held court, the birthday girl’s in-laws, Connie and Preston Williams, stole the show on the dance floor. Well into their 90s, Connie and Preston still enjoy good food, revelry, lively music and great conversation.

Trinh serves in Mayor Michelle Wu’s cabinet and was praised profusely for her focus on social justice issues.

Sandra King and Bob Tunis hosted their annual Jerk Chicken Fete at Waterview Farms last Saturday. Friends and family ranging from infants to the very senior enjoyed Carribean cuisine washed down by Red Stripe beer and Appleton Reserve rum.

The Martha’s Vineyard Book Festival will be held from August 4 through 6 at the Chilmark Community Center with a terrific line-up of authors and panel discussions. Hope you can attend.

Join Bennie and Flash Wiley in hosting Island favorite Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley this Saturday afternoon, August 5 to learn about the latest news and policies coming from the Potomac River scene.

Please plan to attend the 40th Annual MVCMA Craft and Artisans Fair at the Tabernacle this Saturday, August 5 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Poppy Milner and Gail Pettiford Willett will be displaying their Nguo fabric designs this Saturday at Cousen Rose Gallery.

Congratulations to Karen Holmes Ward and her WCVB media team that covered exclusively the national convention of the NAACP in Boston.

Prayers, condolences and support was extended by more than 800 people at Morning Star Baptist Church this past Friday as Keith and Angela Motley celebrated the life of their daughter Kayla. More than 20 Islanders attended the service supporting our beloved Oak Bluffs family.

Walter Lowe held court on Vineyard avenue for decades even as he struggled with health issues. Close friend Stephen Johnson from New York informed us that Walter transitioned a few days ago. Services are being planned for Union Chapel and Riverside Church in New York City. Stay tuned.

Paradise on earth is living the Vineyard experience! Enjoy it as time is fleeting. Randall Edward Taylor, rest in peace.