As Baobab Tree Drum Dance Community closes its doors, a new door opens at Carleton University. Kathy Armstrong—Baobab’s Artistic and Executive Director, and Instructor in Carleton’s Music Program— along with Baobab’s Board of Directors and supporters have established a legacy fund for Baobab to support projects that expand the experiential study of cultural disciplines from the continent of Africa and the African diaspora.

For 25 years, Baobab Tree Drum Dance Community was a non-profit arts education and presentation organization located in the vibrant Wellington West neighbourhood of Ottawa.

A catalyst for creating intercultural learning opportunities, Baobab was an early leader in Community Music, using multi-age groupings to foster healthy relationships and connections among children, adolescents, adults and seniors in the Ottawa area. Through participatory music-making, Baobab provided powerful opportunities that engaged people of all ages on a local and international level.

This fund will enhance experiential learning opportunities for music students and students in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, by offering a unique way to study cultural disciplines from the continent of Africa and the African diaspora. As a legacy project spearheaded by Baobab Tree Drum Dance Community and its supporters, this fund honours Baobab’s significant achievements in intercultural arts education, and will provide invaluable opportunities for current and future generations of students at Carleton.

Launched in the 2022-2023 academic year, this fund will help support individuals with cultural expertise outside of the Carleton community to share their knowledge with Carleton students through experiential learning opportunities. It will connect students with artists from a variety of disciplines including music, dance, spoken word, poetry, film and more, bringing new insights from across the globe to engage students in their education while learning through diverse cultures and perspectives.

By supporting the arts, you are supporting expanded approaches to teaching and learning. The participatory nature of music and other arts provides a creative outlet for individuals to connect with each other; promoting positive social, mental and physical health. Through this unique experiential learning opportunity, students will have increased engagement in their overall education, acquire hands-on skills and bolster their teamwork and decision-making skills in an immersive environment.