Our Mission is to improve lives through the arts by emphasizing that
a well focused mind and positive disciplined behaviors develops a foundational pattern for excellence.
Dr. J. Owens Academy Of Fine Arts, Inc. Is a center for the performing Arts. We are a 501 (c) 3 non-profit Corporation. All gifts & donations made to the Academy are tax deductible by state & federal law. Know that 100% of all funds are retained by the Academy to support its operations.
The Sankofa Chorale hails from the beautiful city of 100 lakes in Winter Haven, Florida. The chorale is an outgrowth of the Jewett Alumni Association Choir which was the only high school for African American youth from 1943 until 1968. Originally, the main objective of the alumni choir was to sing for the annual high school reunion. In 2007, the Alumni Singers decided to present concerts to raise scholarship funds for the Jewett Alumni Association. Due to the heavy workload of the director, Dr. Jessie Owens, the Singers had to stop presenting concerts, and resumed singing solely for the annual reunion.
In October of 2012, Dr. Owens opened the J. Owens Academy of Fine Arts, and the Sankofa Chorale was born. At an organizational meeting, Elizabeth Birdsong, a choral member, submitted the name Sankofa as the new name for the Chorale. From her annual sojourn to
the “Motherland” she became acquainted with the term Sankofa. The other members were impressed with the history and meaning of Sankofa and unanimously adopted it as the new name for the Chorale.
Our mission statement is derived from the Sankofa bird of the Akan language of Ghana in West Africa, from King Adinkera. The Sankofa symbol depicts a mythical bird which holds
an egg symbolizing the future in its beak. The bird moves forward while looking backwards
to the past. The symbol is expressed in the Akan language as Se wo were fi na wosan kofa
a yenki.” Literally translated, this phrase means It is not taboo to go back and fetch what
you forgot. However, modern translations usually render it as, one must return to the past in order to move forward. In either case, the message of the symbol is that we must learn from the past in order to build a better future. The Sankofa Bird encourages African Americans, who now live in a “new” homeland, to “go back to our roots”, our Motherland to learn who
we are, and gain knowledge and wisdom from our past in order to build a better future. If
you don’t understand your past, you will not be equipped to move forward into the future.
The Sankofa Choral sings various genres of music, i.e., spirituals, gospels, ballads, and hymns. We endeavor however, to support and embrace African America culture as an extension of the African Diaspora. We strive to demonstrate a universal level of excellence through seasonal concerts at various venues. Our membership continues to grow as we
reach out to the community to come and share their gifts of song, and love of music.