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An Artist by Nature

Arkansas Arts Council - Thursday, November 14, 2019

Drekkia Morning, arts in education program managerDrekkia Morning has been an active performing poet most of her life. “I’m an artist by nature,” Morning said.

Now, she is championing the arts to make sure Arkansans, young and old, have the opportunity to learn from the arts while artists have the opportunity to make a living from their artwork.

“I’d like people to know I’m very passionate and committed to giving artists a chance to showcase themselves on a large platform,” Morning said. “We want artists to excel in all places.”

Morning started as the new arts in education program manager at the Arkansas Arts Council on Oct. 6. Her duties include managing education grants and organizing the Arkansas Poetry Out Loud program – the poetry recitation competition set for March 14.

She is also in charge of the Arts in Education Roster, which is an online listing of professional artists who are available to participate in Arts in Education programs. Getting on the Roster helps artist get teaching jobs and grants.

Morning’s first-year goals include increasing participation in Poetry Out Loud, increasing the number of and diversity of artists on the Arts in Education Roster, creating an annual “signature” event for the Arts Council and creating a certification program that allows artists to receive more education in social-emotional learning through the arts.

Some plans are already in action. About 20 schools – the most ever -- have registered to compete in the poetry competition. Morning also increased the number of coaches helping teach students how to recite poetry, recruited new schools that have never before participated and has planned a workshop on writing and performing poetry leading up to the state competition.

As an artist herself, Morning understands what artists need. She has the education, skill, experience and position to help them succeed. She wants to show other artists how the arts and business intermingle. Artists can thrive in Arkansas, she said.

Morning earned a business degree in insurance and risk management from the University of Central Arkansas in 2017. While still a student, she used her knowledge to start “BARE Arts,” an organization that provided a platform for artists to monetize their talents. She then taught poetry and creative writing to help school children address mental health and behavioral issues.

Morning likes a good challenge. She competed in national-level slam poetry competitions, and last year, sat down to write a book of poetry. Her first book of poetry, “17 Mirrors,” was published this past July.

“Drekkia has the energy, passion and background the Arkansas Arts Council needs to see its arts in education programs, grants and artists flourish,” said Patrick Ralston, director. “Already, she has encouraged and coordinated new efforts to connect and engage artists and their communities through arts in education programming.”