Founded in 1979, Idris Ackamoor and Cultural Odyssey (CO) produces original work rooted in African American music, dance, and theatrical traditions. The organization’s original programming consists three to four annual productions performed before 4,000 locals and a further 15,000 who see their work on national and international tours. Mr. Ackamoor achieved notoriety in the 1970s with his fusion jazz band The Pyramids, collaborated with the Art Ensemble of Chicago and currently produces jazz-based performances in San Francisco and curates the National Black Theater Festival in North Carolina. Ms. Jones is an actress and singer who has pioneered artistic processes to transform the lives of incarcerated women through her Medea Project. Having performed at Lincoln Center and in San Quentin Prison, Ms. Jones was named a 2008 United States Artist Fellow. Renewed support of CO will facilitate the development of a new work in collaboration with African-American patients in treatment at the UC Medical Center's Women's HIV Program at UCSF. CO runs on a $300,000 annual budget and, though it has run operating deficits in the recent grant period, has a healthy cash reserve and is on secure financial footing. Ongoing general operating support will allow the two senior artists to design a comprehensive retirement package –and to share this model with other small arts organizations who, typically, have little to no mechanism for supporting life-long artists after they retire.
About the Grantee
Post Office Box 156620, San Francisco, CA, 94115-6680, United States
Grants to this Grantee
for general operating support
Idris Ackamoor and Cultural Odyssey produces original work rooted in African American music, dance, and theatrical traditions. The organization’s programming consists of five annual productions performed before 5,000 locals; thousands more see its work on national and international tours. In addition, Cultural Odyssey runs The Medea Project, a pioneering artistic process that transforms the lives of incarcerated women through storytelling and performance.
for general operating support
Cultural Odyssey is the creative collaboration between its two founders, musician Idris Ackamoor and theater artist Rhodessa Jones, who together create, produce, and present work that reflects the contemporary African American experience. In addition to touring locally, nationally and internationally, Cultural Odyssey’s programming includes long-term theatrical work with incarcerated women. As spokespersons for late-career artists, Ackamoor and Jones have co-written resource books and articles about retirement planning for artists. New releases of previously recorded music honor the continued relevance of the artists’ careers. A renewal grant will support the continued development of Cultural Odyssey’s legacy and the development of an archive, as it expands its marketing capacity, and maintains its seasonal offerings.