Andrea DiPalma Yansane's blog

Oregon Black Artist Spotlight

Thursday, October 15 until the end of November WACAI will be engaging in a small series of interviews, blogs, and social media posts designed to put a spotlight on seven Black cultural artists throughout the state of Oregon to elevate their work and discuss how racism affects their lives.

Willamalane Drive-Thru Children's Celebration

This past Saturday, August 8 WACAI participated for the first time in the Willamalane Children’s Celebration. This annual event is traditionally held in person every August at Day Island Park in downtown Springfield, but due to the physical distancing regulations this year’s event was done in a drive through format at Dorris Ranch.

Galaxy Dance Festival Virtual Event

Polaris Dance Theatre held its 10th Annual Galaxy Dance Festival this weekend and in response to the social distancing regulations that are in place, went VIRTUAL! The festival which was aired on Facebook Live was filled with a diverse schedule of dance companies that included genres such as West African, Bollywood, Bharatanatyam and Odissi, Kathak and Afro-Brazilian, Contemporary, and more.

State Compliant Protocols for Dance Classes

All-Levels African Dance Class with Alseny YansaneAfter months of being shut up in the house under quarantine and as the summer season rolls out full steam, it is a thrill to be able to return to some of our favorite activities! For us at WACAI that means dance class! Alseny Yansane’s All-Levels African Dance class will return to Xcape Dance Academy’s studio A (1645 Oak St) on Wednesdays, 6-7 pm from July 8th to August 19th.

Homage to "Mother Hawa"

Alseny with "Mother Hawa"N'Gawa whose name means "Mother Hawa" in the Susu language is, Alseny Yansane, our Co-founder and Artistic Director's Mom. After 3-4 years of hyper-tension and a series of strokes which left her physically depleted and in tenuous health, she passed away on Wednesday, June 17th at 1 pm Conakry time.

More Than a Hashtag

Throughout Oregon, the United States, and all over the world there have been massive protests, rallies, and demonstrations sparked by the insidious murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and a myriad of other unarmed African Americans by law enforcement and for the centuries of violence and oppression perpetrated against Black people in this country. 

Impact of Traditional Arts on Virtual Platform

Emily Hartlerode from the Oregon Folklife Network recently contacted WACAI to ask about how “traditional artists are adapting to virtual transmission during the shutdowns of the COVID-19 Pandemic?” WACAI had an excellent response to their very first Zoom 5 week drum course, but weighed in on some of the unseen challenges this transition to a virtual platform can bring to traditional artists.

All-Levels African Drum 5 Week Course on Zoom

Once again, we here at West African Cultural Arts Institute are sending warm wishes for you and your loved ones, hoping you are weathering this COVID-19 storm without any hardship and are experiencing great physical and mental health during this unsettling time! On a positive note, these “lock downs” have created the opportunity for WACAI to build an online platform for classes and potentially allow us to engage with even more people from all over!

On-Line Options Amidst COVID-19 & Social Distancing

On behalf of everyone here at West African Cultural Arts Institute wanted to reach out and let you know how the recent outbreak of Covid-19 and subsequent recommendations for social distancing will be affecting our non-profit organization. First of all, we want to convey that we understand how difficult it is to be faced with so many uncertainties on top of the threat of or actual loss of income and employment.