Foluké Cultural Arts Center was Organized as a faith-based initiative in 2002 at Lane Metropolitan CME Church in Cleveland, Ohio. Which later became a community based non-profit organization in Feb 2003. The word Foluke ( Foh- LOO- Keh) originated from the West African Region of Nigeria, meaning “Under God’s Protection”.
In 1996 a dance ministry at Lane Metropolitan CME Church, in Cleveland Ohio’s Cedar/Central Area was created, which evolved into the community-based Foluké Cultural Arts Center, a haven for at-risk youth and their families. Youth who have never participated in the performing arts have suddenly experienced the thrill, excitement, and sense of accomplishment. For many, it has become a turning point in their lives. Art as a weapon against poverty, racism and discrimination is the concept that the Foluké Cultural Arts Center is based upon. Foluké Cultural Arts Center, founded in 2002, is an inner-city community based cultural arts center located in the Central neighborhood. The mission is to provide arts and culture programming that is family-oriented and community responsive, with focus placed on at-risk youth. Foluké achieves their mission by offering high-quality, educational arts activities that instill self-pride and boost self- confidence through self-expression, self-discovery, and commitment to the craft.
For nearly 20 years, Foluké has provided arts education and programming at multiple sites throughout the Central neighborhood, in collaboration with multiple community partners. Founder and Executive Director Dava Cansler continues to lead this growing and developing organization. Through the years, she has remained committed to her vision of supporting this divided community by forging deep and authentic relationships with students and families, while simultaneously remaining adaptable and open to responding to the community’s needs. Since inception, a long partnership with Lane Metropolitan Church has been a cornerstone of volunteers and resources.
Other collaborations have included CMHA housing facilities (Arbor Park, Outhwaite, Carver Park), the Sisters of Charity Building Healthy Communities initiative, Cleveland Metropolitan School District, Starting Point, UH’s Rainbow Babies And Children’s Hospital Anti-Fragility, and the Governor’s Office of Faith-Based And Community Initiatives, just to name a few. The organization remains committed to working in partnership as it develops new models for service in response to the COVID pandemic and beyond.
The Impact of ARTS Education
— ARTS Programming Helps Children Develop
ARTS impact on communities has a tri-fold effect: Economic, Social and Cultural. Creative tools for community engagement include innovative visual arts techniques, story-telling, social networking technology, exhibits, music, performances, festivals, and community gatherings.