McKinney - Archivist - Art Center, Detroit, MI, USA

Michelle McKinney

Art Center, Detroit, MI, USA




I am great as a reference and processing archivist. I am branching out into oral history collection and photograph / audio digitization, using the Dublin Core metadata standard. I am increasingly involved in outreach programming.

Work History

Independently Contracted Teacher/Producer/Writer


Helped develop ritual show The Excarnation of Ruby Woods. Summer '04 - Translated public relations material and a scene of Director/Writer Masseye Niang's film-script The Legend of the Gun from French to English, and created a summary of the plot for use in marketing. Promoted to Head Instructor for Sankofa Tutoring in September; researched, developed, and facilitated academic games for December end-of-term. Portrayed Ella Fitzgerald in Plowshare Theater's production of Janet Cho's How High the Moon: Sarah, Ella, & Pops, through October at the Museum of African American History.

Educator for Timbuktu Academy of Science & Technology

The Culture of Roots

Rock, Reggae, ' shopped by OmniArts in Education into the elementary Detroit Public Schools. Co-created a new band 'Daughters of Hakamma;' Educator for Timbuktu Academy of Science & Technology, Zulu 2 Circle (3rd Grade level). Oct.-Tutoring for Sankofa Tutoring & Educational Services.

Actor-singer and dancer

Plowshares Theater Co

in Ellington's Sophisticated Ladies produced by Plowshares Theater Co. Currently producing a cd "A Harold McKinney Songbook" with Marcus Belgrave for the Jazz Heritage & Performing Arts Institute. Wrote & performed "The Louis Jordan Show" for Wendell Harrison's Rebirth at WDET-FM and the 29th Afro American Festival at Hart Plaza; presented Hakamma at the Concert of Colors '02; danced for Straight Ahead Jazz band at the State Theater with Rachelle Farrell.

Director of Hakamma, a Female Oral Historian Ensemble [vocal/percussion/dance], Storyteller

Tales of the Summerland

and poet, researching and producing folklore, poems, and songs; vocalist, dancer, and percussionist. Also the Project Assistant Manager for Harold McKinney's productions of "Jazz Vespers" at MLK, Jr. Presbyterian Church and "Jam & Bread Festival" for the Jazz Heritage & Performing Arts Institute. Shows and tours were produced throughout the year in Detroit and Southeastern Michigan region; producing for MI Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs and Detroit Council for Arts & Cultural Affairs. Also produced a Memorial Tribute for Grand Jazz Master Harold McKinney at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in September.

impresario, produced Caboquinho of Salvador, Bahia

Detroit Festival for the Arts

featured Hakamma; appeared at Detroit International Jazz Festival 2000; featured storyteller program "Tales of the Trickster" at the Detroit PuppetArt Theater. Researched and wrote original scripts "O Anansi" and "Journey to Asamando" for PuppetArt; as an impresario, produced Caboquinho of Salvador, Bahia in a Capoeira Workshop at the SereNgeti Ballroom.

Archivist and Librarian

Museum of African American History's

Researched and presented American Black dance workshops accompanying the Museum of African American History's exhibit "When the Spirit Moves." Designed and implemented after-school storytelling performance workshops for YMCA (site: Focus:Hope's Children Center) and C.A.M.P. Detroit. Hakamma troupe featured by Sherrone Fashions at the State Theater - designed and composed new music and ritual for her show "Wearing God's Promise." Hosted "Walk For Wellness" for second year; featured in DSO's "Onstage Café" with Harold McKinney's 'McKinfolk.' Opened Detroit Institute of Art's Saturday Storytelling series for the entire month of February;

Detroit ambassador

Brazil for Emilia Biancardi's School of Culture

s Celebration 2000; Researched Brazilian culture and music, and as a Detroit ambassador made contacts for cultural trade. Hosted "Walk For Wellness" for the American Heart Assoc.


Cuban Dance Theater

in presentation at Wayne State, the grand opening of the new Museum of African American History, and the SereNgeti Ballroom. Made a video comparing the dance traditions of West Africa, Cuba, and the African Americans of the United States. Assistant Director of Detroit Jazz Heritage Performance Lab @ SereNgeti Ballroom; Researcher/Consultant for McKinney Arts, Inc.; writing, editing scripts and original compositions.

Artist-in-Residency at Cass Tech H.S

Attic Theater

created ritual for National Organization of Women (NOW) as Hakamma. Co-wrote and renamed Discover Jazz as Jazz For a New Generation; produced & sponsored by Focus:Hope for the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival.

Music/English & Dramatic Arts Director for S.H.E.P

Sacred Heart Enrichment Program

summer programs (Sacred Heart Enrichment Program). Marygrove College Admissions Assistant (94-95).

Drummer & Shekere Player

Drummer, Maikot Family Dancers

Toured Discovering Jazz with husband Harold McKinney since 1990.

Dance & Antique Games Instructor/Storyteller

Detroit-Windsor Dance Academy Urban Arts

program. Scripted a closing showcase.
Summer 1989 Dance & Antique Games Instructor/Percussionist for Black Jewels of Kabaz Youth program; scripted/directed closing showcase.

Founder and Director of Daughters of Khmet

--a stick dance/games troupe for girls; toured Detroit and surrounding area. Toured with Modibo Keita's Percussion Ensemble; researched, founded, and named Hakamma, a female vocal/percussion/ritual society.
Summer 1987 Ass't Director/Music, Drama for People's Creative Ensemble Youth program; researched Minstrelsy, scripted, directed & choreographed c. 100 children in a closing showcase. Studied shakeré making and playing with Modibo and Sundiata Keita.


YWCA Downtown

branch's summer youth program; researched and taught antique games, songs, folklore, and dances of Georgia Sea Islanders. Principal source: Step It Down, by Jones & Lomax.

Dancer, Vocal Director

Studio of African Dance Philosophy, Inc

researched and arranged folkloric music for voices. Principal source: Vieux Diop

Grants writer/researcher

Rebirth, Inc. and McKinney Arts, Inc

developed materials for recordings. Studied with Baba Ali and the Studio of African Dance Philosophy.


Vocalist for McKinney Arts, Inc.'s

show/recording Root Classics; toured show around Michigan.
These are only some of the many other engagements of performing, recording, teaching, and researching the cultural history and the practices of the African Diaspora. .


Oral History Initiative

Researching, developing, and producing oral history initiatives to cover Detroit community legacy. I am concentrating on Detroit Neighborhoods, African-centered Schools and Education, Detroit & Michigan Jazz - 1950-2000, and Great Contributors.

Qualifications & Certifications

Masters of Library & Information Science

Wayne State University

English and Music

Marygrove College

Liberal Arts

Wayne County Community College

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