November 2-3, 2007
Janet Hall & Friends
January 18-20, 2008
Priscilla Hancock Cooper’s
Call Me Black Woman
April 4-5, 2008
Belinda George Peoples
May 30-31, 2008
Friday-Saturday, 7:30 PM
RMTC Cabaret Theatre
301 19th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Meet Priscilla Hancock Cooper
A writer, dramatist and arts educator, Ms. Hancock Cooper believes in the power of the written and spoken word to inform, empower, enrich and transform lives.
She received her first artist fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts to adapt her book of poetry, Call Me Black Woman, to create a one-woman stage performance that toured to college campuses throughout the country.
She was awarded a 2005 Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature by the Alabama State Council for the Arts to support creation of a new volume of poetry, "Too Many Windows Watched." Since 1998, she has been the teaching writer for the "Writing Our Stories" Anti-Violence Creative Writing Program sponsored by the Alabama Department of Youth Services (DYS) and the Alabama Writers Forum at the DYS Chalkville campus.
Priscilla Hancock Cooper is currently Vice-President of Institutional Programs at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Recently, she accepted a 2006 Coming Up Taller Award for outstanding youth programs presented by the President's Committee in the Arts and Humanities in a White House Ceremony hosted by First Lady Laura Bush. The award was in recognition of the Birmingham Cultural Alliance Partnership (BCAP) after-school program, sponsored by the Institute and coordinated by Ms. Cooper from its inception in 2000 until her new appointment in 2006. Ms. Hancock Cooper's involvement with the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute began in 1992 as copywriter for the BCRI's permanent exhibition and continued as the BCRI education consultant in 1994.
Ms. Cooper has worked with hundreds of students as an artist-in-residence including writing and directing student productions. She created the BCRI Juneteenth Arts Camp and wrote and directed "Juneteenth to Justice" and "Living History," performed by a student ensemble for hundreds of day camp participants throughout the city.
In 1996, she was the only Alabama artist to receive a Regional Artist Project grant funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. Thousands of students, teachers and parents have been reached by both her live and televised performance of "Ebony Legacy: The Oral Tradition in African-American Literature," which aired on Alabama Public Television. In 1997, she and her performance partner co-starred in two 30-minute specials produced by Kentucky Educational Television.
In 2001, she wrote and performed a poem which was used as a commercial for the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce's "Live the Dream" promotion. In 1999, she was the only writer invited to participate in the artist project and exhibition "UpSouth," sponsored by Space One Eleven with a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation. Her work has appeared in the anthologies "The Dark Woods I Cross," "Black Alabama," "The Storytellers" and the textbook "Teaching Zora Neale Hurston."
Ms. Hancock Cooper has more than 20 years experience as a program development consultant for arts and educational organizations. For the past five years, Ms. Cooper has been a program consultant to the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. From 1994-2002, she was an education and outreach consultant to the Birmingham Museum of Art developing arts education programs, curriculum and activities for teachers and families.
Ms. Cooper is co-founder and director of the Nia Institute, Inc., a regional, non-profit organization that develops and sponsors programs designed to involve people in the exploration of African and African-American history and culture utilizing the disciplines of the arts and humanities. Organized in Louisville, Kentucky in 1983, the Nia Institute has touched thousands of children, parents, and teachers in Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia in creative day camps, workshops, teacher training, and conferences. Most recently, the Speed Art Museum in Louisville has contracted with the Nia Institute to offer day camps and training, and community outreach programs.
She began writing for the Louisville Defender newspaper in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky when she was in the ninth grade. Journalism scholarships took her to Lincoln University of Missouri and she received a graduate degree in international communications from The American University in Washington, D.C. Early in her career, she was a university administrator and communications faculty member at the University of Louisville and the University of Montevallo (AL).