Portrait of an Arts Advocate: Baba Jubal Harris

Baba JubalBaba Jubal Harris
Teaching Artist

Baba Jubal Harris, BSEd. is the founder of the Ohio Heart Beat Drum Circle. He is the 2015 recipient of the Ohio Heritage Fellowship, and is a master teaching artist with the Ohio Arts Council’s Arts Learning program. Harris is a member of OAAE’s Artists in Schools roster.

Q: How did you participate in the arts as a child?

A: As a child I danced, played percussion, trumpet, French horn and flute. I enjoyed drawing, photography and woodworking. I participated in art class at the Cincinnati Museum of Art. I performed in school band and orchestra throughout grade school.

Q: Describe your favorite “a-ha moment” in arts education.

A: My favorite “a-ha moment” came when I realized that I enjoyed teaching the arts as well as performing. I discovered I had the ability to integrate the arts into academics and make learning very enjoyable.

Q: How do you practice creativity in your own life and / or what inspires you?

A: The simple joy of allowing myself to be creative inspires me to discover more. It allows me to collaborate with people who are innovative, inspiring and creative. I meet these people in all walks of life every day and each one of them inspires me. I practice creativity by sharing my creativity.

Q: Name one puzzle, or problem, you are working on in the field right now.

A: One puzzle I am working on right now is how to help parents, administrators and educators gain an appreciation for the fact that the arts are not separate from academics but are an integral part of the whole learning process.

Q: Name an arts educator who impacted you and how they influenced your younger days.

A: Dr. Chuck Davis, Baba Ishangi, Fotala Borde, and Mrs. DuPrist were arts educator who impacted me, may they rest in peace. They showed me by their example what excellence requires. They taught me how to give “peace, love and respect to everybody” through the arts.

Q: What can the average person do to advocate for more and / or stronger arts education in local schools?

A: Talk to school board members, administrators, teachers and parents about the value of the arts in your child’s life and in your community. Address issues in the arts and arts education that have an impact on people’s lives. Vote for candidates who work to provide your child with high quality arts education. Attend performances and art shows at community schools. Develop good relationships with merchants in your community who support the arts and art education. 

The Portrait of an Art Advocate is a monthly feature profiling an OAAE member active in advocating for arts education in Ohio.  If you’d like to submit your information, or to learn more about this feature email akruse@oaae.net.



About OAAE

Since our founding in 1974, by Dr. Dick Shoup and Jerry Tollifson, our mission has always been to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Working at the local, state, and federal levels through the efforts of a highly qualified and elected Board of Directors, our members, and a professional staff we have four primary areas of focus: building collaborations, professional development, advocacy, and capacity building. The OAAE is funded in part for its day-to-day operation by the Ohio Arts Council. This support makes it possible for the OAAE to operate its office in Columbus and to work statewide to ensure the arts are an integral part of the education of every Ohioan. Support for arts education projects comes from the Ohio Arts Council, Ohio Music Education Association, Ohio Art Education Association, Ohio Educational Theatre Association, VSA Ohio, and OhioDance. The Community Arts Education programs of Central Ohio are financially assisted by the Franklin County Board of Commissioners and the Greater Columbus Arts Council. We gratefully acknowledge and appreciate the financial support received from each of these outstanding agencies and organizations.
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