People's Music Network

for Songs of Freedom and Struggle

Artist-in-Residence: Jane Sapp

Jane Sapp

Building Community through Music and Cultural Work

Saturday, June 3, 2017,

3:50 PM-4:50 PM

Paul Robeson Theatre,  Camp Kinderland,  Tolland, MA

For five decades, Jane Sapp has used music to engage people of all ages to engage with social justice issues. She’s lived in eight different states – always with an open heart and a hunger for community, knowledge, joy, inspiration, awareness, understanding, direction, spirituality, happiness, struggle and power – and always with music as a source of energy to persevere.

Drawing on her life experience as a musician and cultural worker, Jane Sapp will offer the PMN Community a chance to reflect on our work as musicians and cultural workers. She’ll consider some specific questions and ask how our music serves to build community wherever we work:

  • How does an elementary school chorus become a controversy and source of discomfort?
  • How does a middle school singing group upset the administration of a school?
  • How does a college choir and vocal ensemble threaten the school’s trustees?
  • What does it mean to look at the world, your work, a community through the lens of an artist/ cultural worker?
  • How will this impact how you approach your work?
  • Have you created an environment where someone like a Fannie Lou Hamer would feel nourished with an opportunity to grow?

In addition to the above plenary, during the 2017 PMN Summer Gathering, Jane Sapp will perform in the Friday night concert, present two workshops, and give a number of one-on-one mentorship sessions.

Image result for “Someone Sang for Me”Recommended Documentary: Jane Sapp’s community-based cultural development programs have been the subject of an hour-long documentary “Someone Sang for Me” by Julie Akeret (Filmmakers Library 2002) (View the full film here).

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. 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.