In an encore of The Business Beat, Steve Jones-D’Agostino, strategic partner of Susan Wagner PR + Best Rate of Climb, interviews Zach Combs, founder of African Arts in Education. They talk about the business of building awareness of the birthplace of civilization.
This episode aired originally on May 17, 2015. In the spirit of full disclosure, Steve does public-relations work for African Arts in Education.
African Arts in Education is a Worcester-based, non-profit program that provides an exhibit of authentic African art and produce an educational enrichment program of art, music, history and dance – all, customized for your school. By working in collaboration with professional African performers and teachers, African Arts in Education give our audiences an authentic and inspirational passport to African culture.
African Arts in Education’s mission is to educate, enrich and entertain the broadest audience by sharing the rich music, compelling art and vibrant dance that is Africa, and to give African artists living in America a singular opportunity to be successful cultural ambassadors while earning a living from their arts. The program fulfills its mission of sharing the cultures of Africa through stimulating interactive workshops, compelling performances and engaging school residencies.
African Arts in Education was founded in 2012, in Clinton, and collaboratively developed by Crocodile River Music and Clinton’s Gallery of African Art. Now located in downtown Worcester, AAiE is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization.
Zach Combs is also the founder of the for-profit Crocodile River Music, which performs African music and dance. He attended Connecticut College, majoring in Anthropology with a minor in African Studies and a focus in Elementary Education. It was there that he was first drawn to West African music and culture. He won the prestigious and highly competitive Watson Fellowship, which funds travel and research for a full year outside the United States to exceptional graduating seniors.
Inspired by the traditions of music he learned about as an undergraduate, Zach chose Mali, West Africa to live and study for his year abroad. There, he worked with master drummer Ibrahima Sarr and conducted research on Malian culture in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Since then time, Zach has been working to develop a cultural bridge between the United States and West African traditions.