Cultural Exchange

Art, dance, and music derived from Ghana’s culture are very dear to Ghanaians. Sharing art, dance, and music is central to all we do in Project OKURASE. 

The Concern

People in Okurase have many challenges in life. They have learned to cope through art, dance, and music that are the core of their culture. In today’s world with so many challenges, other people need an opportunity to bring Ghanaian art, dance and music into their lives.

Art, Dance, and Music Exchanges

A key principal of Project OKURASE is the spirit of Nkabom, bringing people together in unity. For Project OKURASE, the spirit of Nkabom is carried out primarily through cultural exchange. Importantly, Okurase village has a professional dance company called The Nkabom Children’s Cultural Troupe. The Nkabom Children are taught by top drumming and dance teachers in Ghana who are also performing artists. The children welcome guests to the village on a regular basis and work to train them in dance and drumming.Cultural exchange occurs through every interaction we have with you by phone, email, website, social media, and of course in person. But we have specific programs that allow participants to explore and learn at a deeper level and share what they know.

The structure of our cultural exchange and exploration through local arts takes various forms:

  • Participating in workshops on offer during the course of a group village-based trip to complete community-based projects. Typically groups that come to Okurase to engage in projects are from high schools from around the world or colleges and universities.
  • Tailored group trips specifically designed to focus on the area of arts and culture that the group would like to learn. Tailored trips can also include visits to sites outside of Okurase that highlight specific art forms such as Kente weaving in bon wire and the Koforidua bead market. Many of our tailored trip participants are from music and dance departments of colleges and universities. Others may be professional artists who want to sharpen their skills or have a time of awakening or fun.
  • Individual intensive study to learn a specific instrument, dance, or art form
  • Individual village based volunteering to teach a specific art form to any group of village residents (e.g., in the primary and jr. high schools, Nkabom Centre Vocational School)

The areas we offer instruction by qualified professional artists include:

Music

  • Drumming – individual or group instruction, opportunity to play with Nkabom Children’s Cultural Troupe (the village’s professional dance and drumming company)
  • Instrument making
  • Flute
  • Xylophone
  • Other Ghanaian instruments

Dance

  • Work one-on-one with a teacher
  • Learn with the Nkabom Children’s Cultural Troupe

Art

  • Work with adinkra symbols
  • Painting
  • Textile design and batiking
  • Clay bead making
  • Recycled glass bead making
  • Jewelry making and design

In addition to new skills, the take aways from our workshops may include a drum, a flute, a piece of handcrafted jewelry, a piece of batiked fabric or clothing, or other artistic expression as so inspired.

Benefits

The benefits of art, dance, and music cultural exchange are bi-directional. Those who teach and share will experience the pride and self-esteem from sharing the essence of their people. Those who learn go away richer for the experience. Some who come to Okurase will be professional artists, dancers, and musicians who we hope will take a piece of our culture home with them as an influence on the art, dance, and music they produce. 

Way Forward

Since its inception, Project OKURASE has been providing workshops in art, dance, and music as an adjunct to the work of groups who come to Okurase to participate in community-based projects. With the opening of the Nkabom Centre Vocational School, we are now ready to expand the offerings and accept groups whose primary interest is learning art, dance, or music. We are also ready to further expand our teaching to professional artists.
 

How You Can Help

You can help by coming as an individual or by bringing a group to visit us to take classes and workshops to learn. In return, you can share what you know.