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History of the Foluké Cultural Arts Center

The Lane Institute for Family Enrichment (LIFE) Cultural Arts Center was a concept that was developed by Dava Cansler in 2002 as a result of a neighborhood survey conducted by the Board of Christian Education of Lane Metropolitan CME Church.   The Center was renamed Foluké Cultural Arts Center in May of 2002.  The word Foluké (Foh LOO' kay) originates from the West African Region of Nigeria, meaning 'Placed in god's care'.  The African symbol, Gye Nyame (Jeh, N YAH' mae) originated from Ghana and it represents the omnipotence, omnipresence, and immortality of god:  "Except god or only god".

The mission of this inner-city community based cultural arts center is to provide training in the discipline of the performing arts, regardless of religious affiliation or economic background.  The programs at Foluké are family oriented with focus placed on at-risk youth.  The goal is provide an alternative to negative behaviors by instilling self-pride and boosting self-confidence through self-expression, self-discovery, and discipline.

The dance component of the Foluké Cultural Arts Center is underway, with plans to add theater arts such as: drama, stage production and design, instrumental and vocal music.  The planning phase is pending the procurement of additional funding, and the recruitment of arts professionals to provide training.  The goal is to combine all the disciplines, to present end-of-semester performances that are presented and produced by the Foluké participants.  

In 2002 the Foluké Cultural Arts Center in its first two shows, at Cuyahoga Community College's Metropolitan Campus Main Stage Theater, with The Cleveland School of the Arts, Urban Dance Collective as their special guests.  Also in 2002 the Foluké Cultural Arts Center Youth Ensemble performed at the Cleveland Rock Hall of Dame during a Kwanzaa holiday performance.  In May 2003 Foluké performed two shows in honor of Mother's Day, also at Cuyahoga Community College's Main Stage Theater.  June of last year the Foluké Cultural Arts Center embarked on it's first performance tour to Jacksonville Florida, where they performed at the Times Union Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Jacksonville.  October 2003 Foluké Cultural Arts Center hosted a Breast Cancer Awareness Benefit Luncheon entitled "In the Company of My Sisters" in which the ballet "Journey Through" was debuted.  December 2003 Foluké premiered "The Coming of the King" at Cuyahoga Community College, Eastern Campus, and in 2004 premiered "Miracles" in 2004 at Cuyahoga Community College's Metro Campus.  In 2005 "The Coming of the King" was presented at Cuyahoga Community College incorporating the Cleveland School of the Arts (both campuses), Foluke Cultural Arts Center and the Great Lakes Academy of Dance.  All of the aforementioned performances were under the Artistic Directorship of Mr. Terence Greene.

In 2006 The Foluke Cultural Arts Center added Drama and Visual Arts to it curriculum.  This year also marked the departure of Mr. Terence Greene as Artistic Director to start his new company. 

In 2006 FCAC shifted its focus to at-risk youth, particularly the youth in Cleveland's Central neighborhood, a high poverty community, adding Visual Arts and Drama. In 2006 the ArtsLinc Program, an in-school integrated theater program, was created and piloted at George Washington Carver School March 2007, servicing over 100 1st and 2nd graders twice wkly for four weeks. In September 2007 FCAC returned to GWC to implement ArtsLinc to over 100 2nd and 3rd graders introducing them to theater through interactive story telling that led to a group presentation at the school's holiday program. 2008 outreach was extended to other school districts via cultural theater presentations by the character George Washington Carver. Also in 2008 FCAC formed a partnership with Friendly Inn Settlement, became a member of the Central Coordinating Council of Youth Development, the Family to Family Collaborative (Agencies that service the families of Central), and the My Commitment, My Community (MYCOM) Strategic Planning Committee. 

Until recently, Foluké Cultural Arts Center has been an organization operating solely out of Cleveland, OH. Foluké has blessed to be able to further their mission in another city where there is a need for family oriented alternatives to negative behaviors, through training in the discipline of the performing arts. Foluké now encompasses a Detroit based dance company, Jeffrey & The Artists (JATA). It was founded in 2011 by the late Scott Jeffrey Bartell; a Detroit, Michigan native and graduate of Renaissance High School (2004) and University of the Arts (2008). JATA is an Urban-Contemporary company under the Artistic Direction of Lauren Taylor, a Lakewood, Ohio native. Jeffrey & The Artists Dance Company was restructured in March 2014, after the untimely death of its founder Scott Jeffrey Bartell in December 2012. It is comprised of six company members and two apprentice dancers. JATA has already performed across the Detroit Metropolitan area, and will continue to expand to other performance venues in various cities.

The goal of Foluké, Jeffrey & The Artists (JATA) is to: • Offer quality dance instruction through classes, workshops, and repertory programs taught by master teachers and world renowned performers and • Create professional performance opportunities so that students/participants may actively participate in the world of performing arts and showcase their artistic talents.  In addition, Foluké JATA had the extreme privilege of presenting dance works to world renown dance conferences such as IABD (International Association of Blacks in Dance) in January 2015, and local venues in the Detroit Metropolitan area.  Captivating audiences of all social economic backgrounds, through portrayal of real life changing scenarios, this organization put forth the goal of taking children, youth and adults through the art form of dance, and offering an outlet for creativity, expression and discovery of one's self.  

Currently Foluke Cultural Arts in Cleveland is providing after school arts activities at Friendly Inn Settlement House, and a SaturdayARTS program at its facility at 2234 East 55th Street.

The Foluké Cultural Arts Center is not a church affiliated organization, and does not conform to any church doctrine.  It is open and available to all seek it regardless of race, or religious affiliation.  There is however, a spiritual base that underlies it's operation.  That spirituality is governed by respect for one's beliefs, and respect for one's own individuality.

The Foluké Cultural Arts Center was incorporated in February, 2003 and received its' 501c3  non-profit status, May 2003.  Contributions to this organization are tax deductible and may be made payable to Foluké Cultural Arts Center, Inc., and mailed to P.O. Box 93046, Cleveland, OH  44101-5046, or made online thru PayPal.