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Towson University Tour: Civil Rights vs Civil Wrongs

Towson University students lending a helping hand during our Gratitude Project training.

Every year, Towson University students and lecturer, Tavia La Follette, participates in a tour of South Africa which aims at educating and inspiring these students and simultaneously raise funds for the Butterfly Art Project. The students embarked on a two-week tour around South Africa and explored all kinds of pockets of SA including...

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Visits to the Apartheid Museum, Sterkfontein Caves, the market theatre and other pockets of Johannesburg. Thereafter, the students had a two-day workshop with our children from the Heart for Art Programme in Cape Town where they were the first to test our Gratitude Project. The students worked with each of our learners and explored ideas around Gratitude and gained insight on the importance of practicing gratitude. They also visited a few other sites including the Slave Lodge, Table Mountain and experienced a traditional meal in Vrygrond. All the experiences aimed at all helping the students align their projects around the theme of Civil Rights versus Civil wrongs.

Lukiya (Sewing Masters) and one of the students of Towson University working on their gratitude piece.

Awonke, one of the Sewing Master girls, delicately sewing her panel with Djenebou, one of the students from Towson University.

The students met with other activists and artists whose work deals with social divides, inequalities and issues around race, segregation and other political themes repeated throughout history via the human condition. This all aims at finding parallels between the social issues and injustices in Baltimore and South Africa. This is a great interest of Tavia who is the founder and director of ArtUp, a border crossing space for artists and companies that are concerned with exploring art as action. ArtUp is also a non-profit organisation which aim to bridge a language of peace through the actions of Art and explores contextual interrelations of multiple art disciplines such as theatre, visual arts, movement, media and sound. Towson University Master of Fine Arts students also gifted the Butterfly Art Project with drama workshops and lead the first event hubs for 2019.

The Towson University Students at the District 6 Museum, with a tour lead by Mandy Sanger

More about Tavia: Originally from New York City, Tavia La Follette is a director, designer, curator and performance artist. Her work has been seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland, Arts at St. Ann’s (St. Ann’s Warehouse), the Tenement Museum, the Williamsburg Historical Society, and the Cooler in NYC. In Pittsburgh, where she is currently based, she has exhibited/performed at the Mattress Factory Museum, the Three Rivers Arts Festival, First Night, the Pittsburgh International Children’s Festival, the Cultural Trust’s Gallery Crawl and Gallery Chiz. In the fall of 2010, she joined Carnegie Mellon University’s Centre for Arts in Society as the first Artist-in-Residence where she completed her doctoral research. In 2013 she completed her PHD in Leadership and Change at Antioch University. She is currently a Professor at The Department of Theatre Arts at Towson.

For more information on tours and this project, please contact

For more information on ArtUp and Tavia La Follette, please visit

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