Afeni Shakur-Davis, the mother of slain rapper Tupac Shakur, officially opened the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts on Saturday June 11. Representatives of platinum selling artist Ludacris were present as well as Shock-G from Digital Underground and a bevy of friends, fans and relatives.
During the event, Sekyiwa Shakur, Tupacs sister, offered a tearful and emotional speech of appreciation to all who supported creation of the center. This was Tupacs dream. He lives on within all of this. His life and legacy did not end that fateful night, she said to the group of onlookers.
The grand opening ceremony kicked off with reflections of the slain rapper and the foundation by family members and local community leaders. The message was that of hope, prosperity, and communal support.
Arguably, the grandest part of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts is 6-acre peace garden. Beautifully landscaped with flowers, wooden benches, and a huge pond in the image of the the well recognized gothic cross Tupac had tattooed on his back. In September, the foundation will erect a 7-foot bronze statue of the rapper in the middle of the pond as a memoriam. Afeni Shakur, the president of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, said This has been a long journey, but the important thing about the journey is that this portion of the journey has been a success and were open and prayerfully well be able to expand this and make this an institution that will go on and on in our community.
Complete with ribbon cutting and a butterfly release ceremony, the grand opening ended with a tour of the facility. Inside the center, the walls were covered with fan-inspired photos and pictures of Tupac. The inside of the studio also contains a dance studio with mirrored walls and hardwood floors.
Additionally, the center is complete with dance studio, classrooms, display gallery and has been coined as the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Hip Hop. Organizers hope the outlet will serve as a tool for the children of the community to hone their artistic skills.
Located 15 minutes from the city of Atlanta in Stone Mountain, GA, the center has been a goal of the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation (TASF) since 1999. Before the building of the center, the foundation participants, or Pacs Kids, participated in camps at different colleges and centers in the Atlanta area. The foundation will offer quality arts training for students ages 12-18 in a 4-week training under the direction of top-tier theatrical teachers and performers.
To make a donation to the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation, please visit www.tasf.org.