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Our Founder

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Talise A. Campbell

Talise is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of Djapo Cultural Arts Institute

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Founder's Story

Talise A. Campbell is a prolific Black female dancer, choreographer and educator who strives to connect audiences to the beauty of diasporic music, history, art and folklore. Campbell creates multi-disciplinary and socially engaging experiences for theater, screen, stage and the public space to preserve the cultural narratives of Africa and the Diaspora while reclaiming the stories of African-American identity. Her bold work is continuously focused around research, musicality, authenticity and deeply rooted African-American experiences. Ms. Campbell has received numerous awards and honors including a Creative Workforce Fellowship, Frank C. Adams Cultural Award, Silver B. Award for Edutainment, Room in the House Residency and an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for choreography.


She comes from a family of artisans having acclaimed actress, Minnie Gentry as a Great-Grandmother alongside her Cousin, Actor and Producer, Terrence Howard. Her choreographic works have been featured receiving rave reviews in notable plays such as Ruined, God’s Trombones, Black Nativity, Julius Caesar Set in Africa and her annual highly anticipated self-produced production of Juneteenth, which was recently featured at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the historic Ohio Theater at Playhouse Square. Campbell is a graduate of Cleveland School of Arts receiving both a Bachelor of Science in Education and a Master of Arts in Educational Administration from Cleveland State University.


She has worked in academia and the arts arena for decades sharing her knowledge of culture through dance and the performing arts. She is continuing her education in the arts obtaining her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts. Currently Ms. Campbell is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Dance at Oberlin College. She is also the Executive Founding Artistic Director and Choreographer of Djapo Cultural Arts Institute where she has created an extensive repertoire that has touched thousands through stage performances, residencies, lectures and workshops. Her work has been achieved through her ongoing diasporic research, community arts engagement and her annual international travels. Her work has been featured in West Africa, South America, The United Kingdom, Cuba, Dubai and the Caribbean Islands to name a few. Ms. Campbell is active in the community as a current Board Member for Ohio Dance and the Assembly for the Arts.  

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