Ayodele N Nzinga

I create therefore I am. Ayodele Nzinga MFA, Ph.D. is the first Poet Laureate of Oakland and founding producing director of the Lower Bottom Playaz (LBP), Oakland's oldest North American African Theater Company, founded in 1999, Artistic Director of BAMBDFEST, Founding Director of BAMBD, CDC, an actor, playwright, director, and producer. LBP is the only theater company to present August Wilson's Century Cycle in chronological order, and they are the originators of “Shakespeare in the Hood” and the site of Nzinga's “Literacy through the Arts” work. Nzinga has over 20 years of experience as a theater director and community programmer. She has served as a writer in residence, dramaturg in residence, and guest artist in residence. She developed the curriculum used in “Literacy through the Arts,” and has scholarly work published on the importance of art in community spaces. In 2016, Nzinga was recognized by Theater Bay Area as a [email protected] honoree, awarded an Alameda County Arts Leadership Award, and inducted into the Alameda County Women's Hall of Fame for her contribution to the arts in Alameda County. She is The 2017 San Francisco Foundation Helen Crocker Russell Bay Area Community Arts Leadership Awardee. Nzinga is one of the co-founders of the Black Arts Movement Business District, Community Development Corporation and serves as the Artistic Director of BAMBDFEST. She is passionate about the arts as a tool for civic engagement, creative place-making & place-keeping, and engaging marginalized communities in cultural organizing to design their own futures. Her work has been internationally reviewed. Nzinga resides in West Oakland with her family.

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