Her Plays

Rekindling the Union of Art and Education
featuring Dr. Phyllis Tucker-Wicks

By Gaetscha Marcelin

Art amplifies education. 

By providing experiences that tap into a child’s sense memory, as well as their capacity to retain information, educators and parents can increase their efforts by shaping their child’s performance. It is crucial that art programs like Creative Writing, Band, and Theatre are not overlooked as useful educational tools that can redevelop a system children are accustomed to learning from. These crafts incorporate a vigorous use of motor skills, comprehension, critical thinking, production, mathematics, history, and the most appreciated in our American society, innovation.

Although after-school programs that cater to these skills have been sharply affected by fund deficits throughout the state, Hillsborough County is efficacious in the regards of student outreach.

It is quite easy to find me through the neighborhoods of Tampa Bay, lost in an extended conversation with impassioned community members; whether at the entrance of the public library, meeting a History teacher running for a directorial seat in office for the first time, or chatting with a teacher and Talent Developer about her expected attendance growth for the youth ministries at her local church. Teacher-to-peer interaction is seen in this city as often as peer-to-peer…


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Revolutionaries in the Moment

Preserving the Image of Black Hair Culture
featuring Valencia Jones and Tyra Ferrell

By Gaetscha Marcelin

My mother used to say, “you can tell the standing of a person by his or her hair.” I realized she wasn’t saying that crazy hair meant crazy person. She was defining hair as emblematic of one’s characteristics. Hair: a delicate extension of ourselves; a depiction of it’s era; an article of our being that is so sensitive to our surroundings, it can epitomize exactly what is going on in our lives at that very moment. It’s no wonder we take extensive efforts to promote the good hygiene and overall look of our favored follicles. 

Keeping these ideals at their fingertips, natural hair studio Mandisa Ngozi Art & Braiding Gallery, a few miles east of the Florida’s capitol building, has been promoting hair and health through their services for almost 20 years now. Before moving to the new address, I visited the original location of the shop to meet with Valencia Jones, owner of Mandisa Ngozi, or “Sweet Blessings,” as translated from Swahili.

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