By Cori Lucas,
Leadership, perseverance, growth, transformation, community, and the tenacious pursuit of your dreams. Muse 360 Arts shows Black youth that by walking with these six core principles in your heart, you can achieve absolutely anything! Seasoned dancer, writer, and educator Sharayna Christmas established Muse Arts in 2004, determined to use artistic mediums to enhance critical thinking and expression, and help youth develop leadership skills that they can use to make a positive change in their communities. Sharayna, dancer since the age of 3 and 2006 Olympic participant (Dance), proudly refers to the high quality of art education and training that her students receive from her organization.
Sharayna was raised in New York, watching her mother’s ardent involvement in community and civil rights activism. Her mother’s zealousness and tireless work instilled in her afrofuturistic values and how imperative it is “to really have autonomy over what we need to do as Black folks to really achieve liberation”. She carried these values and beliefs with her to Baltimore in 1998, and now drives towards a future where “education will no longer be colonized”. This vision of a decolonized education system is the basis of her unconventional education style which uses art to cement within her students lifelong principles, lessons and work ethic that will push them to their fullest potential in what they choose to pursue in life.
“We have talked about this question in Muse 360 Arts…We’ve talked about having this whole building where we have different departments and we have all of the resources that we need in order to practice our art and be able to do that freely and…without fear that we won’t be able to have the resources to do what we want to do.”
Given all the funding and resources Muse 360 needed to flourish to its full potential, they would create multiple institutes that could serve more students and arts, and actively employ their own students and families. One of Sharayna’s students, a third-year Muse 360 New Generation Scholar and fourteen-year Muse 360 Rayn Fall Dancer, confided eagerly, “We have talked about this question in Muse 360 Arts…We’ve talked about having this whole building where we have different departments and we have all of the resources that we need in order to practice our art and be able to do that freely and…without fear that we won’t be able to have the resources to do what we want to do.” Sharayna declares that they’d also contribute funds to helping build up Black-centered economies that support Black liberation. “Thinking about, ‘how do we serve ourselves economically and financially?’–it won’t be a burden. We won’t be in survival mode; we will be in sacrifice mode, which means that life is worth living.”
Muse 360’s dance program, Rayn Fall Dance Studio (RFDS), is a school and company that gives Black youth a place to explore themselves through seeing, understanding and experimenting with movement. Dancers come from all over Baltimore to RFDS to build self-esteem in their abilities, self-awareness of their own beauty and complexities, and the discipline to reach their goals, both physical and mental. They also offer an Afrocentric learning program, New Generation Scholars (NGS), which provide students with comprehensive knowledge of their history and culture not traditionally taught in schools. Meanwhile, their Spark of Genius: Youth Entrepreneur Project connects their students directly to professional artists, community leaders and business owners through monthly workshops! To explore these programs more and contribute to their mission, visit their page at cllctivly.org/listing/muse-360-arts/ or follow them @muse360arts.
All February, we’re honoring a few of the many Black leaders in our community making history every day with #28DaysofBlackFutures.
This is a crowdfunding and narrative power campaign that amplifies and mobilizes resources for Black-led organizations serving Greater Baltimore.
Throughout the month, we will highlight 28 dedicated Black leaders and organizations on the ground creating programs and initiatives that drive health, wealth, safety, and culture in #Baltimore.
Let’s CELEBRATE these changemakers and SUPPORT their work! Our goal is to raise $100,000 by the end of this campaign.
Head over to 28DaysofBlackfutures.org to donate today! ❤️🖤💚
Let’s show up BIG for our Black leaders and their organizations!