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Artist in Residence Michael Mwenso One of the Speakers for Youth Arts Council

Michael Mwenso, a man with long dreadlocks in a ponytail, sits in front of a red wall in a red suit


Youth Arts Council & Artist in Residence, Michael Mwenso

New this year! Students selected for the 2021-22 Youth Arts Council will have the exclusive opportunity to work with Chandler Center for the Arts’ Artist in Residence, Michael Mwenso, a brilliant musician, vocalist and dancer based in New York City.    


Throughout the year, the Youth Arts Council will participate in workshops, discussions and speaking engagements with the acclaimed artist on such topics as artistic expression, community service, arts leadership and advocacy. 


Youth Arts Council sessions with Mwenso include, “I Have a Dream,” designed to guide students through the path to become a working artist, and “Why the Arts,” which explores artists, their wide range of expressions, and the multi-faceted impact the arts has on communities. 


About Michael Mwenso

Leader of the band Mwenso and The Shakes, Michael Mwenso is an artist, activist and educator who works to boost the arts scene while focusing on Black music and artists.  Born in Freetown, Sierra Leone and raised in London, Mwenso honed his talents as a trombonist, singer and performer - playing in jump bands, reggae and Afrobeat horn sections and at hard-bop sessions in London.


Upon his arrival in NYC, his talent as a performer caught the attention of many and he soon became a collaborator with such icons as Wynton Marsalis/Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jon Batiste, Cécile McLorin Salvant, and Jamison Ross.  Through these collaborations, he bonded with several Julliard-trained musicians and created the band, Mwenso and The Shakes.  Based in Harlem, this band of global artists takes the jazz and blues stylings of such musical legends as Fats Waller, Muddy Waters and James Brown to create electrifying shows which illustrate the artistry and entertainment of African and Afro-American music.


For more information on Youth Arts Council and to apply for the 2021-22 Chandler Center for the Arts Youth Advisory Council click here.