Arts Leadership Award Program

Kendra Barnes and Laura Elaine Ellis

Representing Alameda County Supervisorial District Three —

Kendra Barnes and Laura Elaine Ellis of San Leandro, are the co-founders and co-directors of the Black Choreographers Festival which is a yearly event celebrating African and African American dance and culture with dynamic annual performances culminating at Laney College in Oakland. Kendra and Laura are also dance educators and lead their own non-profit arts organizations that support and promote dance and performance. Kendra is the director of the Kendra Kimbrough Dance Ensemble and K*STAR* Productions. Laura is the director of the African and African American Performing Arts Coalition. Kendra and Laura joined forces to present the comprehensive Black Choreographers Festival: Here and Now which serves the community through providing a forum to increase the visibility of African American dance. In understanding the impact and importance of the African and African American experience in dance, this project aims to recognize the ingenuity and uniqueness of African and African American Choreographers. The project contributes to the Alameda County and the Bay Area arts community by presenting local and national artists in a series comprised of contemporary and traditional concerts, showcases, mentoring, educational programs, community partnerships, symposia, and archival documentation. The Black Choreographers Festival also fosters a new generation of supporters ensuring the longevity of both established and emerging artists.