History

 

Visionaries of the Creative Arts (VOCA), a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC, was established in July 2019 in response to the critical need of supporting the works of the Deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing artists locally and nationwide. VOCA’s conception was led by Michelle Banks, our visionary leader along with her visionary team who shared the same vision.   Since Ms. Banks returned home in 2007 from living and working in big cities, New York City and Los Angeles, she has been working tirelessly in entertainment such as producing, writing, directing, and acting. She knew something was missing in the DMV area.  After Ms. Banks directed Gallaudet University’s spring 2018 production, A Raisin in the Sun, she realized what was missing -  a permanent home for our local artists.  When Ms. Banks shared her vision with her voice performers, Nayte Paxton and Tiffani Jackson who were in the spring 2018 production, both of them eagerly agreed to support the vision and embarked on the establishment of VOCA.  Then came along Dr. Sandra Jowers-Barber who has contributed her talent to VOCA. As a result, Visionaries of the Creative Arts - VOCA was born!

 

Mission 

 

To present a visionary platform for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing artists to collectively create, collaborate, and showcase their work through various forms of creative arts.

 

Purposes

 

  • To increase awareness of intersectionality in the deaf, hard-of-hearing, hearing communities by artistically collaborating and celebrating the authenticity of our human experiences together

 

  • ·To create unique, aesthetic, and high-quality theatrical presentations in American Sign Language (ASL) and Spoken English.

 

  • ·To provide in-depth training programs for people from all walks of life who want to master in one or more creative arts discipline(s) including but not limited to acting, theatrical interpreting, dance, music, ASL poetry and filmmaking and prepare them for employment opportunities in the entertainment industry and theater. 

·     

  • To strengthen nationwide and global partnerships with other organizations, businesses, and individuals by participating in the creation of new work or the adaptation of theatrical pieces focusing on deaf-centered themes, Deaf multicultures/cross-cultures, and the art of sign language.

 

  • ·To serve as a community center for families, children, and youth to be actively engaged in arts enrichment programs and classes such as interactive ASL while providing access to creative arts resources.


Board of Directors 

Michelle Banks

President

 

Nayte Paxton

Vice President

 

Tiffani Jackson

Secretary

Dr. Sandra Jowers-Barber, Ph.D.

Board Member

 

Lindsay Dunn

Board Member

Jill Sege, Esq.

Board Member

Dr. Ysaye Barnwell, Ph.D.

Board Member

Dr. Janis Cole, Ph.D.

Board Member

Betty Siegel

Board Member

 

Staff

Michelle Banks

CEO/Artistic Director

 

Nayte Paxton

Executive Director/Associate Artistic Director

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