Chandler Center for the Arts Reveals Ashli St. Armant as New Artist In Residence

Chandler Center for the Arts began working with St. Armant in 2021, when it joined three other cities nationwide to commission the creation of NORTH.

By: Feb. 28, 2024
Chandler Center for the Arts Reveals Ashli St. Armant as New Artist In Residence
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Following a successful weekend with over 2,300 students and members of the public attending performances of NORTH: The Musical, Chandler Center for the Arts General Manager Michelle Mac Lennan announced creator/composer Ashli St. Armant as the organization’s next Artist-in-Residence.

Chandler Center for the Arts began working with St. Armant in 2021, when it joined three other cities nationwide to commission the creation of NORTH. As part of the commissioning, St. Armant engaged in significant outreach programs, including workshops with area students, extensive study guides for teachers, and poignant conversations with the community.

"Ashli's singular qualities as an educator, musician, author, and storyteller are boundless and electric," says Mac Lennan. "The journey we have taken with her has been extraordinary and we are buzzing with excitement to have her work with our community during an in-depth multi-year residency in Chandler."

Beginning in fall 2024, St. Armant's multi-year residency will focus on the development of a new production she has created, entitled Ordinary Folks.

Rooted in storytelling, the concept for Ordinary Folks is to infuse jazz and soul music into the treasured stories of African American folklore, including such classics as "The Legend of John Henry,” “Brer Rabbit” and reimagined tales like “Sukey and the Mermaid.”

"I'm hoping to bring the heartbeat back to these largely forgotten tales," says St. Armant. "Music is the element that can breathe new life to these folkloric myths, and I'd like to ensure these story-songs will be remembered and shared throughout future generations."

During the residency, St. Armant will focus on the creative development of this new work, including casting, scenic design elements, composition and workshopping scenes with actors and artists. Her community engagement work will coincide with the artistic process, with particular focus on the process of personal storytelling and how to elevate one's history and cultural heritage through writing and performance. Throughout the multi-year residency, St. Armant will lead workshops, as well as engage in conversations withlocal artists, students, residents and business owners in Chandler.

"I'm so thrilled to deepen this partnership with a city that is so passionate and explicit about their commitment to arts in the community,” says St. Armant. "The support here is unmatched, and I'm eager to learn from, and work alongside, this wonderful microcosm of artists, culture bearers and community builders. Chandler has quickly become one of my favorite cities."

For more information, visit chandlercenter.org.



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