July 12, 2024

The Celebrate! Maya Project (CMP), an Arkansas-based nonprofit providing educational programming rooted in the spirit of Maya Angelou, is celebrating eight years in 2022. The two-day celebration includes the 8th Annual FriendRaiser & Celebration, to be held at Trapnall Hall in downtown Little Rock, from 6-8 p.m. on Oct. 20. The evening of fun will include music, food, and poetry, featuring Chicago and Arkansas musician, poet and educator Damen Tolbert.

On Oct. 21, CMP, in collaboration with Philander Smith College, will sponsor a lecture and screening of the Marian Anderson story. It will feature award-winning documentarian and filmmaker Rita Coburn. The event will be held at the Henry R. Kendall Center – Nugent Conference Center, located on the Philander Smith campus.

Since its founding in 2014, CMP has worked with schools, parents, nonprofit organizations and communities to create literacy and arts programs that help youth understand Maya Angelou’s legacy, and help them discover their voices through poetry, prose, history and art. The local nonprofit has focused specifically on the Delta, as the area with the greatest need.

Academic and poetry scholarships are awarded each year to students who create original poetry in remembrance of Dr. Angelou, and students who exhibit academic excellence and community and school service.

“This celebration is an opportunity for CMP to say, “Thank You,” to our friends and supporters. It’s been a hard last 2-1/2 years for everyone. We remain hopeful and grateful that we can continue to make a difference,” said CMP Founder Janis F. Kearney. “This is an especially exciting time for us as we move to our next phase – seeking a home for the Celebrate! Maya Project, and creating even more intentional programming to address the educational, social and health gaps left by the COVID pandemic. We want to make differences for children that last a lifetime.”

CMP’s Spirit of Maya Award will also be announced and given to an Arkansan who epitomizes Angelou’s commitment to creating a better world. Suggested contributions to the anniversary celebration are $100. All donations will go toward funding the Celebrating Maya scholarships and Emerging Poetry awards.

Tickets/reservation is available at Eventbrite here: https://bit.ly/3RJlHlQ. For more information, please visit www.celebratemayaproject.org or email janis@celebratemayaproject.org.


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