Welcome to Sankofa Village for the Arts preserving the art for the future
The Sankofa Village for the Arts (SVA) is a community-based, cultural arts organization in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that serves predominantly African Americans.
The organization's brief history and youth program results from its first two-years of programming are promising. An analysis of available data from its percussion (drumming), martial arts, and leadership programs reveal that an innovative, community arts organization can successfully deliver Afriran-centered arts education and leadership training to African American youth. The findings conclusively indicate that participants are developing basic knowledge and skills in the SVA drumming and martial arts programs. In addition, a core group of participants are demonstrating positive racial (African) identity, self-concept, and social belonging attributes and behaviors in the pilot leadership program.
This article presents early findings for the SVA cultural arts programs and discusses the merits of using the Afrocentric philosophy and an African-centered curriculum to educate African American youth. Finally it also highlights the positioning of SVA as an emerging resource and locale for performing arts organizations, creative and performing artists, and community members in the Pittsburgh region. In essence, the SVA presents a promising Afrocentric model for building a healthy 21st Century African Village for future generations!
Founded in 2011 by three African American men.
Moses (Shabaka) Perkins, Darrell D. Baldwin, and Arnell (Abdul) Glover, the SVA has rapidly emerged as a regional center for African-centered cultural programming in the African Arts, specifically African drum and dance and martial arts.
In recent decades, African and African American scholars and social scientists have advanced the belief that all humans have their physical, social, and intellectual origins in Africa (Diop, 1991; Hiliard, 1978; Akbar, 1984; Nobles, 1996). Philosophically and culturally, the SVA is an "Afrocentric" or African-centered organization. The concept or perspective of "Afrocentricity" is generally defined as the process of locating and placing the experiences of African people at the center of the human process (African-centered). It is a way of viewing and interpreting universal phenomena from African historical and cultural perspectives (Asante, 1980, 1987, 1996).
In the African American experience, the African background remains significant and influential in the bio-genetic, psychosocial, and cognitive-personality development of African Americans (Woodson, 1933; Nobles, 1985; Kambon, 1992). Despite scores of critics in academia , including some African American scholars, the Afrocentric idea or philosophy generally aims to address the worldview and identity development of African Americans by building ethnic pride, knowledge of African history, and transmission of "liberational" cultural values and expression. At the SVA, the Afrocentric philosphy guides the organizational vision, mission, programming, and curriculum pedagogy.