Being a part of two residencies at Pinelands Creative Workshop in Barbados through FAVACA (Florida Association for Volunteer Action in the Caribbean and the Americas) was a pivotal moment of cultural exchange experience for me as a young artist, community organizer, and teacher. It taught me that being a diplomat is much more than sharing your culture. It is also and maybe even mostly about figuring out where the co-resourcing sweet spot is through actively listening to the needs of the communities in which you enter.
I found that the Pinelands center did not need me to teach them my culture per se, they needed my skill set and their cultural values and treasures to meet somewhere in the middle. This way together we could see with clarity where that would lead us both. There was a path towards growth for all of us. I was welcomed with open arms by Rodney Grant, Sophia Greaves-Broome, Curtis Gittens, and Shelly Durant.
We made a partnering moment that I have never forgotten. It lives inside of me and I’m so happy to say congratulations on 40 years to Pinelands Creative Workshop.