Jamaica Plain, MA – OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center – pioneers of innovative and dynamic performing arts programs that motivate, challenge and inspire youth to be the best they can be, celebrated another successful event at this year’s Twist & Shout Gala on October 14, 2023.
The night included an evening of dance, spoken word and music featuring performances from the Professional Dance Division, who shared their transformative journeys at OrigiNation and how it has shaped their successful careers. Courtney Boston, WWOC Radio Co-founder, hosted the event. “Courtney B,” as she’s affectionately known on the airwaves in Boston, continues to be a woman in perpetual motion as she balances career goals and aspirations with the mission to make a difference in the lives of as many young people as possible. Additionally, OrigiNation Executive Director Musau M. Dibinga and Artistic Director Shaumba-Yandje Dibinga honored several community leaders who make it their mission to support youth in the community.
“It was important to once again showcase some of the talented young individuals at OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center to nearly four hundred people in attendance,” said Executive Director, Musau Dibinga. “It was also a great privilege to be able to honor community leaders that support these students on their journey.”
Michael J. Bobbitt was honored with the Sojourner Truth Award in recognition of the support he has shown to BIPOC artists and BIPOC-led organizations by expanding access to and deepening knowledge of the funding opportunities that are available to support their work. Since joining Mass Cultural Council as Executive Director in February 2021, Michael has led the Agency through the development and implementation of its first-ever Racial Equity Plan; worked with staff, Council Members, and cultural sector advocates to secure and distribute a historic $60.1M in state pandemic relief funding; and steered the Agency through the process of drafting and adopting its FY24-FY26 strategic plan.
OrigiNation also honored Ruthzee Louijeune, an American politician and lawyer serving as at-large member of the Boston City Council. The daughter of Haitian immigrants, born and bred in the city of Boston and its public schools, Louijeune fights for working people in particular Black and Latinx communities on issues of housing and homeownership, education access and civic participation.
As well as global footwear and apparel brand, Converse, Inc., the original brand of youth creativity, today they are on a mission to be a canvas for youth progress in Boston: building trust, collaboration and commitment not only through what they make, but also in what they do. This four-year partnership between OrigiNation and Converse has helped to transform the lives of hundreds of youth in the underserved neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan.
You can find more information about OrigiNation Cultural Arts Center here.
Founded in 1994, OrigiNation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit performance arts program that utilizes dance as a vehicle to develop leadership, confidence, and self-sufficiency among young people ages 2-18. While our programs are open to all youth, many of our students live in the Boston neighborhoods of Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan, where access to quality dance and theater programs is limited. We serve over 150 boys and girls annually through our on-site programs and an additional 1,500 youth through our Community Outreach & Education Program. We also conduct international and domestic Youth Empowerment Arts Tours. As part of this exciting program, our Professional Dance Division raises funds to perform for and teach dance classes to elementary and high school students over 5-10 days. To date, we have traveled to the South African cities of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Soweto; Dakar, Senegal; London, England; New Orleans, LA; Accra, Ghana; Trinidad & Tobago, and Kingston, Jamaica.