People's Music Network

for Songs of Freedom and Struggle

Artist-in-Residence: Jane Sapp

Jane Sapp

During the 2017 PMN Summer Gathering, Jane Sapp will perform in the Friday night concert, present two workshops, and give a plenary session on the role of musicians in social justice movements. She will also give a number of one-on-one mentorship sessions.

Jane Sapp is a cultural worker for social justice whose main tools and approach are music, song and stories. Most recently, she worked as a cultural facilitator with the newly forming foundation, the Southern Partners Fund, and also undertook documentation of activists in the rural south who were grantees of the Bert and Mary Meyer Foundation.

She engages with disenfranchised urban and rural communities in the United States. She is a powerful, highly-regarded performer, song-writer, recording artist, and educator. Her music reflects the blues and gospel sounds of her Georgia youth and is deeply rooted in the spiritual, religious and historical experiences of the African-American world.

She has recorded four albums, and her performances have been featured in concert halls (including Carnegie Hall with Pete Seeger), colleges, and community centers throughout the U.S. and in Sweden, Canada, Senegal, and Mali, West Africa. She was a Senior Fellow at MIT’s Center for Reflective Community Practice. As an educator, Jane Sapp has developed techniques to help the silenced find their voices through the arts. Her community-based cultural development programs have been the subject of an hour-long documentary “Someone Sang for Me” by Julie Akeret (Filmmakers Library 2002) and three scholarly studies (View the full film here). She has lectured and performed extensively at colleges, conferences, and community gatherings.

Jane Sapp has a long history of working with grassroots communities and innovating community programs, events, and cultural centers. She founded and developed the Black Folk Roots Festival in 1975 in Greene County, Alabama, and the festival of Low Country Life, South Carolina in 1972, both of which continue today. In the educational realm, she founded the Green County Community-Based Cultural Education Program and a youth creative and leadership development group in Springfield, Massachusetts (1994-2005). Jane Sapp led further innovations in founding the York W. Bailey Museum at Penn Center on St. Helena’s Island, South Carolina in 1972, which also continues to grow and develop today.