Amplifying Black Voices: Enriching Lives through Song, Art, and Craft

We are honored to welcome three award-winning fiber artists to Brasstown from July 21-27, 2024. They’ll spend time making in our Quilting Studio, share their work via presentations and panel discussions, and engage students, visitors, and our local community in a greater conversation around African American craft traditions. The week will culminate in a community gospel sing led by visiting choirs and a shared meal on Saturday, July 27.

Meet the Artists

Julee Dickerson Thompson

Doll Making & Mixed Media

Julee Dickerson Thompson is an award-winning artist known for her distinctive pen and ink works, airbrush paintings, and public art installations. Born in Washington, D.C., she studied at Simmons University, Massachusetts College of Art, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Corcoran College of Art. Julee’s work is featured in exhibits and collections at galleries, museums, and “alternative spaces” nationally and internationally.

Seeking to integrate influences from her experiences in West Africa, the Caribbean, and France, Julee experiments with mixed-media, soft sculpture, quilts, and doll-making. Often moving between fine art, illustrations, and literature, Julee is also an illustrator/author. Her most recognized book is The Dance of the Rain Gods, published by Africa World Press. Regardless of medium, her work incorporates themes of Womanism, peace, progressive concerns, deep spiritual symbolism, and intergenerational relationships.

Camila Bryce LaPorte

Doll Making & Folklore

Camila Bryce LaPorte is a doll artist, an independent folklorist and community scholar. Her academic journey in the fine arts arts and humanities, with a specialization in folklore from Sarah Lawrence College and George Washington University, has spanned over 40 years. During this time, she has dedicated herself to researching and developing cultural programming as a folklife specialist and community scholar for esteemed institutions such as the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress.

Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye

Needlework: Mending Blinds

Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye is a multidisciplinary artist, designer, curator, writer, scholar, and cultural activist. Recently retired from her position as senior curator at the Smithsonian Institution’s Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, she is the founder of the African American Craft Initiative (now the African American Craft Alliance) and was recently named to the American Craft Council’s College of Fellows. She is also a Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a recipient of the Smithsonian Secretary’s Research Award. She currently leads the team curating the American pavilion of the 2024 DakART Biennale in Senegal West.

Artist Presentation Schedule

Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye

Needlework: Mending Blinds

Monday, July 22 | 7 p.m.

Join Diana Baird N’Diaye in the Keith House Community Room at 7. pm. as she demonstrates her Mending Blinds project, which is a sewn structure based on a hunting blind.

Julee Dickerson Thompson

Doll Making & Mixed Media

Wednesday, July 24 | 7 p.m.

Join Julee Dickerson Thompson in the Keith House Community Room at 7 p.m. as she demonstrates African American doll making and mixed media.

Camila Bryce LaPorte

Doll Making & Folklore

Tuesday, July 23 | 4:45 p.m.

Join Camila Bryce Laporte in the Keith House Community Room at 4:45 she demonstrates the transformative power of spirituality in the doll and puppet making processes.

Campus & Community Schedule

Open Studio

Louise Pitman Fiber Arts Building

Monday- Friday, July 22-26 | 2-4 p.m.

Come visit the open studio with artists Camila Bryce LaPorte, Julee Dickerson Thompson, and Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye in the Louise Pitman Fiber Arts Building – Quilting Studio, Monday through Friday, July 22-26, from 2-4 p.m.

Photo by Harrison Keely

Panel Discussion

Texana Community Development Center

Friday, July 26 | 6 p.m.

Join Julee Dickerson-Thompson, Dr. Diana Baird N’Diaye, Camila Bryce Laporte, and Ann Miller Woodford for a Panel Discussion on African American Craft and Heritage at 6 p.m. at the Texana Community Development Center

Gospel Singing & Dinner on the Grounds

John C. Campbell Folk School

Saturday, July 27 | 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Gospel Singing

11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Celebrate a week of learning and sharing with a community gospel sing!

Dinner on the Grounds at the Olive Dame Campbell Dining Hall

1– 3 p.m.

Join us for a complimentary community lunch provided by Auntie’s Soul Food Restaurant.

The Folk Education Association and African American Craft Alliance at the Folk School in 2023.

Photo credit: David Blake Willis

More photos from the FEAA and AACA visit to the Folk School

Photo credit: David Blake Willis

Sponsors & Partnerships

This program is made possible due to generous support from AmeriCorps, the African American Caft Alliance, the Folk Education Association of America, Cherokee County Arts Council, and Clay County Historical and Arts Council.

“This project is funded by the Office of Research and Evaluation at AmeriCorps under Grant No. 22REACA001 through the
National Service and Civic Engagement research grant competition. Opinions or points of view expressed in this document are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of, or a position that is endorsed by, AmeriCorps.”

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