Roads Less Traveled

An arts education program takes students on international trips.

By Gabriella Souza - November 2016

Roads Less Traveled

An arts education program takes students on international trips.

By Gabriella Souza - November 2016

-Courtesy of Muse 360

For most people, the task Sharayna Christmas had last summer might have seemed overwhelming. She, along with the African Diaspora Alliance, was charged with shepherding 13 teenagers, some of whom had never left Baltimore, through Cuba, a country that had for years been cut off from the U.S. and lacked the comforts of home. But Christmas—executive director of Muse 360 Arts, which offers youth from diverse backgrounds artistic training and experiences—is no stranger to this type of journey.

Since 2007, she has taken similar groups to nine countries associated with the African diaspora. “The idea is to see people of African descent embracing their cultures,” Christmas says. “They have a pride and love for their countries and have developed an identity that’s missing here in Baltimore.”

The mostly high school-age students have to fundraise to pay their way, as well as prepare a research project to present upon their return. And this year marks a new chapter for the program. Starting this month, students will meet monthly, and, to prepare for international travel—next year’s destination is the Brazilian state of Bahia—they’ll visit Washington, D.C., and New York.

The hard work is worth it, says 17-year-old Hydeaia Hale of West Baltimore. In Cuba, her days were packed with dance and drumming workshops and a visit to a slave plantation. But her favorite part was a talk by Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando. “She told us it was a blessing to talk to young people,” says Hale. “That’s why I like to travel—it opens me up to new experiences, and shows people like Gloria that there are black youth who want to do good things with their lives.”





You May Also Like


Arts District

Social Media Creates More Accessibility in the Art World

Platforms like Instagram provide all patrons a front row seat to art exhibits.

Arts District

Ratscape Returns After a Three-Year Hiatus on Artscape Weekend

The underground music festival is back with a packed lineup in late July.

Arts District

Roberto Lugo Taps into Personal and Collective History in Work at The Walters Art Museum

The ceramic artist will present an interactive performance piece inside the Walters' new 1 West Mount Vernon Place.


Arts District

What Art Installations Not to Miss at Artscape 2018

Visual artists add their magic to the festivities with interactive pieces.

Arts & Culture

DDm Is Ready To See You Now

The Baltimore rapper prepares to spread his wings with a debut record.

Arts District

‘Betty: They Say I’m Different’ Film Screening Coming to WTMD

Betty Davis is the legendary ‘Queen of Funk’ you’ve never heard of.

-Courtesy of Muse 360

Connect With Us

Most Read


Where to Find the Best Co-Working Spaces in Baltimore: Find free parking, complimentary coffee, and even child care at these shared spaces around town.

Center Stage Names Stephanie Ybarra as New Artistic Director: With an interest in social justice and inclusivity, Ybarra will come to Baltimore from New York's Public Theater this fall.

Roberto Lugo Taps into Personal and Collective History in Work at The Walters Art Museum: The ceramic artist will present an interactive performance piece inside the Walters' new 1 West Mount Vernon Place.

Zack Mills to Head Up Kitchen at True Chesapeake Oyster House: Former Wit & Wisdom chef continues passion for regional cuisine in new venture.

New BGE and Maryland Zoo Partnership Provides Fresh Food for the Animals: The program will use tree trimmings to feed various animals at the zoo.