In 1999, a group of artists, teachers, and activists, organized a community based collective called SpiritHouse. Our purpose was to create and develop grassroots programs that aimed to eliminate the negative impact of illiteracy, poverty, and racism as it impacts the Black community. Inspired by the Black Liberation Movement of the 60’s and 70’s era, our initial activities generated continuous dialogue where Black issues, challenges, and concerns played a significant part. Cultural enrichment, education, social change, and self-determination were the ultimate intentions of the organization. Through these initiatives, the organization soon created community projects, provided arts activities, training, and education programs where little or none had previously existed.
SpiritHouse draws on and is continually made possible by the interconnected and sometimes contradicting legacies of the Black Arts Movement and Black Feminism in the United States. We see SpiritHouse as a manifestation of those legacies AND as a way the structural, gendered and political tensions in those movements become creative energy for ongoing transformation in our communities.
Locally - Durham NC, home of Duke University, North Carolina Central University and Research Triangle Park is also a city where one in three Black families live below the poverty level. Like much of the rest of the country, Durham’s disparities fall along racial and socio-economic lines.
We work primarily in communities of low-income households, and inner-city neighborhoods, to bring about meaningful and positive change, through innovative projects, that involve people at all levels of life.
Nationally - Our grassroots media outreach and community partnerships with schools, churches, and other community organizations allow us to participate in national dialogs and provide workshops and performances that reach over 2000 people annually.