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Black History Month - Celebrating Spartanburg County Teaching Artists

February 21, 2019 | Features

Chapman Cultural Center is dedicated to supporting the Arts in Spartanburg and promoting artists who help impact our community. In honor of Black History Month, we’re excited to highlight some of the Black Artists who’ve participated with Chapman Cultural Center through our educational programming in Spartanburg County Schools.

Chapman Cultural Center's educational programming encompasses the Muse Machine and Artist-in-Residence programs. 

Through the Muse Machine program, schools receive three professional performances onsite during the year — one each of music, theatre, and dance. These informal performances acquaint students with a particular genre or art form by professional artists who also discuss not only the art form and presentation but what it is like to be a practicing professional artist.

Additionally, with partial support from the South Carolina Arts Commission and Duke Energy, Chapman Cultural Center sponsors one-week professional artist residencies that provide in-depth student learning opportunities directly tied to South Carolina state learning standards in either arts or academic subjects.

Learn more about the Black Artists making a difference in Spartanburg County Schools!


Moody Black | Literature & Poetry Residencies

Moody Black has been a performing artist since the age of twelve and has become a prominent force on a multi-regional poetry scene through his enthusiastic live shows and strong work ethic. Moody Black has a created a buzz in the following impressive achievements:

  • The host of the longest running open mic in South Carolina and National Poetry Awards 2015 Best Open Mic Venue in the Nation (The Say What?! Open Mic in Greenville SC)
  • National Poetry Awards 2015 Best Host of an Open Mic Venue Award
  • Poetry Slam Coach and Slam Master
  • Smart Arts Teaching Artist
  • Beard and sock model
  • Motivational Speaker and Comedian
  • 2017 GANSPA Best Poet in the Nation Award
  • Opened up for Trey Songz at The Carolina First Center in Greenville, S.C.

Learn more about Moody Black.


Natalie Daise | Gullah Storyteller

Natalie believes the most powerful thing in the world is an idea. And the most magical thing in the world is when that idea manifests into something we can engage with. That’s creativity. We can create almost anything: A pound cake. A garden. A community. Understanding. Books and art and music and…  Natalie is a storyteller and an artist, a singer and an actor, and a lover of community. She is a committed optimist (it’s like her religion). She believes we are all creative and sometimes just need a little help manifesting it. And she's good at that. In addition to years of participating in the creative process and facilitating educational, creative and community building experiences, she also holds an M.A. in Creativity Studies. Natalie uses creative process, storytelling, and art-making to support and stimulate active problem solving, build community, make connections embrace diversity, improve business and enhance the quality of life.

Learn more about Natalie Daise.


Orisirisi - Don & Tutu Harrell | African and American History through song and music

Orisirisi African Folklore is co-produced, directed, and performed by a husband and wife team comprised of Nigerian born Adetutu “Tutu” Harrell and music scholar Don Harrell. Tutu, a graduate of Crown College, London, England is an extraordinarily talented musician, dancer, singer, and storyteller who shares the rich cultural heritage of her ancestry with love that knows no boundaries. Don, who holds a Master of Arts degree in African Studies from UCLA, and has completed additional studies, at the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon, believes in the usefulness of the arts as tools in positive social change.

Orisirisi African Folklore is a performing arts company that uses folktales, legends, myths, music, dance, children's games, and other African rooted folklore to teach, entertain, and illuminate the beauty and poignancy of African life and culture. Their mission is to to use African rooted folklore in an effort to create a better world in the here and now and for future generations as well.

Learn more about Orisirisi.


Mike Wiley | Playwright & Actor

Mike Wiley has spent the last decade fulfilling his mission to bring educational theatre to young audiences and communities across the country. In the early days of his career, Wiley found few theatrical resources to shine a light on key events and figures in African-American history. To bring these stories to life, he started his own production company. Through his performances, Wiley has introduced countless students and communities to the legacies of Emmett Till, Henry “Box” Brown and more. His recent works include a one-man play based on Tim Tyson’s memoir Blood Done Sign My Name and The Parchman Hour, an ensemble production celebrating the bravery and determination of the Freedom Riders who risked their lives to desegregate Southern interstate bus travel in 1961.

Mike Wiley has a Masters of Fine Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the 2010 and 2014 Lehman Brady Visiting Joint Chair Professor in Documentary Studies and American Studies at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to his numerous school and community performances, he has also appeared on Discovery Channel, The Learning Channel, and National Geographic Channel and has been featured in Our State magazine and on PBS’ North Carolina Now and WUNC’s The State of Things.

Learn more about Mike Wiley.

Learn more about Chapman Cultural Center's Educational Programming in Spartanburg County Schools!

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