The Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy Returns for 2023 Summer Youth Program at West Virginia State University

43 Years Of Black Excellence!

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The Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy (NJAAA&HA) is an annual summer arts program that offers teenagers between the ages of 12-18 concentrated study in their chosen artistic discipline. The program provides classes in instrumental and vocal music, theater, dance, visual arts, creative writing (including hip-hop and basic songwriting), and arts technology. The workshops are supplemented with historical and cultural knowledge associated with the students’ chosen art form, resulting in a well-rounded artistic experience.

Established in the 1980s, the NJAAA&HA consists of a statewide group of artists and educators whose mission is to aid the artistic and cultural development of youth by identifying and cultivating their artistic talents and interests. All of the academy’s workshop instructors have been committed professional artists with many years of experience as artisans and teachers. Norman Jordan emerged as the primary motivator for sustaining the organization, and to honor his diligent service and dedication, his name was added to the organization’s title after he passed away in 2015.

Norman Jordan of Ansted, WV was the president and chief financial officer of the NJAAA&HA until his passing in 2015. Jordan was one of the leading African-American poets of West Virginia and the Black Arts Movement. He returned to Ansted in 1977 and enrolled at West Virginia University, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre and later earned a Master of Arts in African American Studies at Ohio State University. A published poet and playwright, his poetry has been anthologized in 38 books of poetry. Norman Jordan’s contributions to West Virginia’s artistic and cultural communities are immeasurable.

Norman Jordan was an exceptional man whose passion for the arts and dedication to youth development made him a beloved figure in West Virginia. Born in Ansted, WV, Jordan discovered his love for poetry at a young age while recovering from a serious illness. He continued to write throughout his life, becoming West Virginia’s most widely published African-American poet and a leading figure in the black arts movement. But Jordan’s influence extended far beyond his writing. He was also a committed educator and advocate for young people, serving as the president and chief financial officer of the Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy until his passing in 2015.

Jordan’s impact on the community was particularly evident through his work with the Camp Washington Carver youth camp. For years, he directed the camp’s youth program, helping to cultivate the artistic talents and interests of countless young people. His vision and leadership led to the creation of the Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy, which offers teenagers the opportunity to study vocal and instrumental music, theater, dance, creative writing, visual arts, and arts technology. Through workshops, guest performers, and field trips, students are also exposed to the historical, social, and cultural heritage associated with their chosen art forms.

Despite his many achievements, Jordan was known for his gentle demeanor and sense of humor. His legacy continues to inspire those who knew him and those who have benefitted from the programs he helped create. As the Norman Jordan African American Arts & Heritage Academy prepares for its 2023 Summer Youth Arts & Heritage Academy, it does so with a deep sense of gratitude for the man who gave so much to his community.

Applications are open. Visit:

Upcoming Event, April 4, 2023 7PM

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