The West Virginia Division of Culture and History will present the African American Arts and Heritage Academy Showcase on Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m., in the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater in the Cultural Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston. The free program is part of the Division’s celebration of Black History Month.
The showcase will feature faculty and student presentations in the areas of vocal and instrumental music, theater arts, literature and creative writing, dance, culture and history, visual arts and a video/studio recording with highlights of last summer’s academy.
The African American Arts and Heritage Academy (AAAHA) offers students 13 to 18 years of age one week of concentrated study each year in the discipline of their choice at the West Virginia University campus in Morgantown. Classes focus on history/culture, literature/creative writing, dance, museum studies, audio/video technology, vocal and instrumental music, theater arts and visual arts.
In addition, students also are treated to field trips including African American historical and cultural sites in Morgantown and Pittsburgh. Approximately 40 - 50 students attend the Academy each year. At the end of the week, the students perform in a showcase for faculty and invited guests.
The AAAHA was founded in 1993. Norman Jordan of Ansted serves as president and chief financial officer. He also is one of the leading African-American poets of West Virginia. Jordan’s son, Eric, will direct the showcase while another son, Lionel, also known as 6’6” 240, will present a rap performance. Lionel also is known for providing the WVU football team a fight anthem with his song “Gold ‘N Blue,” which is played before all the games. Other performances include vocal and instrumental music; liturgical dance presentations; violin, guitar and operatic solos; steel drum, hip hop and theater arts performances; creative writing selections; a visual arts display; and more.
The primary goal of AAAHA is to provide youth with a positive summer experience and higher artistic endeavors. Many former students go on to attend college. Program participants have toured Europe with a music ensemble, studied at Rhode Island School of Fashion Design and the Shenandoah Music Conservatory.
The program also includes the AAAHA recognizing “Friends of the Academy Awards” to eight individuals who have given generous support to the Academy.
For more information about the African American Arts and Heritage Academy, contact Norman Jordan at (731) 660-5304 or by e-mail at [email protected] For more information about the AAAHA Showcase at the Cultural Center, contact Jacqueline Proctor, deputy commissioner for the Division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 120.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. Its administrative offices are located at the Cultural Center in the State Capitol Complex in Charleston, which also houses the state archives and state museum. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. The agency also operates a network of museums and historic sites across the state. For more information about the Division’s programs, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
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