Explore a life at the intersection of art, technology, education and social action

For many people, the word pioneer conjures images of those who created communities in new lands or developed novel ways of doing things. Creatives can be pioneers in their own right, using art and imagination to enrich our world. Pulling from a diverse history of personal and professional experiences, this talk explores a life at the intersection of art, technology, education and social action. Along the way, Sekou will share insight that can inform those who find themselves navigating unfamiliar territory.

About the speaker

Born to activist parents and raised in Washington D.C. in the 1980s, Sekou Coleman is a child of the movement. After obtaining a degree in music from the University of Pittsburgh, he founded a program to teach music theory and business to at-risk youth. His work with the program attracted the attention of a national nonprofit devoted to improving opportunities for black men and boys, and he worked there from 1998 until it ceased operations.

Coleman moved to Asheville in 2011 and quickly involved himself in the local community, supporting numerous organizations and advocacy groups. A deep believer in the restorative power of the arts, Coleman currently serves as the Executive Director for Asheville Writers in the Schools, a nonprofit igniting social change through culture and self-expression. Asheville Writers in the Schools is the parent organization for Word on the Street/Voz de les Jóvenes, a program uplifting the stories and voices of marginalized teens. As a volunteer, Coleman also devotes considerable time to CoThinkk, an organization that combats systemic racism in Western North Carolina; Bountiful Cities, which promotes urban agriculture; and Journeymen, a community of men nurturing adolescent boys on their paths to adulthood.

Favorite quotes from this talk See all

Everything that happened in my life came about through people asking the question and exploring 'what if.' We're in a world right now where we can focus a lot on what is. But I want to challenge you in home, in work, in your communities to really explore 'what if'—what if you took the time to leverage your experience, your opportunity, to make communities in this world healthier and better for all. — Sekou Coleman

If you look at culture as the root for a new framework that provides an opportunity for communities to build an impact policy in ways that create social, educational, economic and environmental impacts that open up opportunities for communities, you're looking at healthier, more robust communities. And artists can play an integral role in that as being catalysts using social capital to leverage and bring folks together. — Sekou Coleman

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