The Pull Up, a collaborative effort between various local artists and creatives, is making its long-awaited return Sunday after some time away due to COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions on public gatherings held around the city.
As with any other event at a public venue there will be occupancy restrictions and mask mandates, but the culture vendor market and artist showcase is back and that’s the point according to one of the event’s organizers.
"Overall the goal is to create a regulatory collaborative culture space," Local event coordinator, Dico, said. "We want something that when people say ‘The Pull Up is back on’ they know this is that thing to be a part of."
A vendor along with being one of the event’s coordinators, Dico grew up in Savannah after moving from New York with her family as an adolescent so she knows the city has a need for venues like this, especially during unprecedented times like these.
"The goal of The Pull Up is to combine different sides of Savannah together. We needed a space and we need to make this a regular thing."
Second time's the charm
This is the second time the event will be held at Island Breeze, the last time was back in February when the most recent event took place. The success of that night got the organizers thinking about doing it again and then everything changed.
"(The first event) was amazing and that’s why we decided we wanted to keep doing them," said Dico. "I was pleasantly surprised by the number of people who performed and the number of people who came."
Being creative in a time where rooms and venues full of people are being frowned upon, if not prohibited in certain cases, by greater society can be difficult to say the least. The Pull Up is scheduled to have everything from poets (such as local duo E&J) to painters, singers and rappers. Local artist King Bogus, The Monarch is set to make perform at the event.
There are also plans for a spades tournament and a voter registration booth. DJ Boom, another local artist and part of the collaborative team behind the event, is looking forward to getting back to work and believes The Pull Up doubles as an opportunity for artists like himself to get back to doing what they do best: art.
"We’re trying to share our art but it’s hard when you’re trying to do that and not be within six feet of someone else," he said.
Cyd, 25, a Savannah native, local graphic designer and also part of the team that is putting on the event, is looking forward to seeing The Pull Up successful again. She designed the digital fliers for the event and will also be a vendor selling her art. "It feels like art is going to connect us again," she said. "This particular event is just another way to connect people."
Jive English, half of the poetry and spoken word duo E&J, has high hopes for the upcoming event. As one of its co-hosts, he has a stake in the outcome but as a local artist he wants to get back to the way things once were. "I want this to be able to show the vibrance and survivability of Black business, while showing that we can still be connected again in this community.
"Everybody is paying attention to everything now, there’s so few venues, even virtually, so you have a bottleneck effect taking place."
In order to keep social-distancing in place, Island Breeze became the obvious choice of venue due to its size. Vendor booths and tables will be spaced out for better customer capacity and the venues that plan to distribute free samples — whether food, drink or soaps, and lotions — will be required to wear gloves. "We are going to only have eight vendors in order to be socially-distant, and masks will be required for entry," said Dico. "We’ll also keep track of the number of people in the venue. Hopefully people can still continue to have a good time considering the restrictions.
"I think the restrictions are going to weed out who is doing this for fun and who’s not," said DJ Boom. "I’m definitely interested in seeing how things turn out."
A sense of normalcy
The way things were are no more but that doesn’t mean they are gone all together.
The Pull Up will attempt to bring artists and creatives together for a few hours in a safe, positive environment. Or at least that’s the plan, to get back to a sense of normalcy.
"We just want to bring back some order and to encourage people with our art," said Cyd.
"If you’re a creative, you're creative and you think outside of the box," says Dico. "The whole goal is to become as collaborative as possible. We would love for this to become quarterly."