The Fall 2023 Maryland Traditions Artist-in-Residence will be Janice Curtis Greene, also known as Janice the Griot. She will lead elementary students from Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School and UMBC Linehan Artist-Scholar students in creating and performing original plays derived from two traditional African folktales, Uncle Story Drum and The Cow Tail Switch, both of which explore the theme that a person is not dead unless they are forgotten.
The collaborative work resulting from her residency will be performed in a public presentation.
Janice Curtis Greene is an award-winning Author, Master Storyteller and Historical Reenactor, an American Griot, keeping the stories and history of the African Diaspora alive. She has been telling African, African American and Multicultural stories for over 30 years. She is Past President and Life Member of both the Griots’ Circle of Maryland, Inc. and the National Association of Black Storytellers, Inc, (NABS). In 2017, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Mrs. Greene to serve as a Commissioner on the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture, representing Baltimore County and on September 19, 2022 proclaimed Mrs. Greene the “Official Griot for the State of Maryland”. Her awards include several Maryland Gubernatorial and Mayoral Citations and Proclamations, the Harriet Tubman Lifetime Achievement Award, the Zeta Phi Beta 2015 Women of the Year in the Cultural Arts, NABS’ Zora Neale Hurston Award, Continentals Service Award, and many more.
Janice the Griot has delighted adult and student audiences at schools, colleges, libraries, hospitals, museums, churches, festivals and various gatherings nationally and internationally. She mesmerizes her audiences with folktales, song, dance, audience participation, original stories and personal stories and Bible Stories set to syncopated Rap rhythms. Her historical Underground Railroad Tales and motivational Fly with Eagles are some of her most popular programs. Janice has narrated with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and has performed with the UMBC Wind Ensemble. Mrs. Greene is also known for her portrayals of historical African American women such as Harriett Tubman, Rosa Parks, Phillis Wheatley and more. Mrs. Greene recently joined the faculty of the Faculty of the Johns Hopkins University Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, Undergraduate Program in Theater Arts & Sciences as a Guest Artist.
The Artist-in-Residence program builds on an established partnership with Tench Tilghman Elementary School elementary arts students and their teachers, and seeks to add new elementary school partners in Baltimore County. This program creates a unique opportunity for elementary school students to be acquainted with higher education and the Linehan Artist Scholar students to the possibilities of a teaching artist career.