Knight Foundation Awards Grant for Sankofa Celebration

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Knight Foundation Awards Grant for Sankofa Celebration

(Miami, December 2, 2014)   To commemorate its fortieth anniversary, African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (AHCAC) is presenting “Sankofa: Looking Back, Going Forward.” Sankofa is a year-long series of events, performances, and educational workshops, recognizing and celebrating the talented performers, instructors and community leaders who have grown up in and contributed so importantly to the development and creativity of young people in the inner city.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, has awarded AHCAC a generous grant in support of Sankofa (from the Akan language of Ghana meaning “Looking Back, Going Foward”) to honor the past and celebrate the present by reconnecting established artists with the AHCAC that fueled and fomented their training and careers. These artists include Willerm Delisfort (International Pianist), Shareef Clayton (Duke Ellington Orchestra), Tyrell Rolle (Cirque De Soleil), Marshall Davis, Jr. (Broadway Hoofer), and Chello (BET Comic). “The Center has produced a wealth of phenomenal talent and we’re excited to have our alumni engage and inspire the next generation,” stated Marshall Davis, Managing Director of AHCAC.

The Knight Foundation’s Knight Arts Challenge aims to bring South Florida together through the arts. “The cities that are the most vibrant are those where every person considers themselves a creative being. With Sankofa, some of our community’s most accomplished artists will help show the way for our youth,” said Dennis Scholl, vice president of arts for Knight Foundation.

According to Michael Spring, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, “For four decades, the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center has served as a nucleus of arts learning, training and access for children in Liberty City; now, thanks to the Knight Arts Challenge award, our renowned alumni are returning to encourage those following in their footsteps to become the brilliant artists of tomorrow.”

Upcoming Sankofa event highlights include:

  • The Sankofa Gala, April 25, 2015: the opening celebration of the 40th anniversary year, coordinated in conjunction with Black History Month, celebrating 40 years of artistic service to the community and recognizing outstanding leaders who have been integral to the AHCAC’s success.
  • The Amadlozi Gallery Exhibitions, (January 23 – March 2015): a guest-curated series of exhibitions and scholarly presentations featuring local, national, and alumni artists.
  • Jazz Spring Fest, May 9, 2015: a live music event featuring luminary teachers and alumni Melton Mustafa, Shareef Clayton, and Willerm Delisfort, among others, including pre-Jam workshops with the artists for local musicians and community.

To learn more about Sankofa, please contact Marshall Davis at 305-638-6771/ or visit

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The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, part of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, was founded in 1975 to serve as the nesting ground for emerging talent in the performing and visual arts in the heart of Liberty City. The Center provides quality instruction, inspiration and encouragement to young people within the community, and creates a means through which youth can discover their artistic talents. For more information about the program, upcoming events, or the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, call (305) 638-6771 or email: You can also visit our website at

 John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit

 It is policy of Miami-Dade County to comply with all of the requirements of the Americans with Disability Act. The facility is accessible. To request materials in accessible format and or/accommodation to attend an event at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, please contact Gloria Wilkins at 305-638-6771 or, at least five days in advance to initiate your request. TTY users may also call 711 (Florida Relay Service)

 The Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council develop cultural excellence, diversity and participation throughout Miami-Dade County by strategically creating and promoting opportunities for artists and cultural organizations, and our residents and visitors who are their audiences.  The Department directs the Art in Public Places program and serves its board, the Art in Public Places Trust, commissioning, curating, maintaining and promoting the County’s art collection.  The Department also manages, programs and operates the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, a campus of state-of-the-art cultural facilities in Cutler Bay, as well as Miami-Dade County Auditorium, Joseph Caleb Auditorium and the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, all dedicated to presenting and supporting excellence in the arts for the entire community. Through staff, board and programmatic resources, the Department, the Council and the Trust promote, coordinate and support Miami-Dade County’s more than 1,000 not-for-profit cultural organizations as well as thousands of resident artists through grants, technical assistance, public information and interactive community planning.  The Department receives funding through the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners, The Children’s Trust, the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida through the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.  Other support and services are provided by TicketWeb for the Culture Shock Miami program, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, the South Florida Cultural Consortium and the Tourist Development Council.

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