A Way Out of No Way:

Jane Sapp, Cultural Work and Social Transformation

By Jane Sapp with Cynthia Cohen


 Jane Sapp

Now Released: Let’s Make a Better World: Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp

A Way Out of No Way is a multi-media project of the Peacebuilding and the Arts program that is documenting the forty-year practice of cultural work of the extraordinary musician, educator, activist and cultural worker, Jane Wilburn Sapp. The project draws on an extensive archive of songs, CDs, DVDs, digital stories, photographs, and articles. Through a book and accompanying disc, and a series of presentation/performances, Jane Sapp and Cynthia Cohen will identify the principles that inform Jane’s practice, and illustrate its application in education, community arts, and development efforts, as well as its effectiveness in strengthening intergroup relations. This October, they will be focusing on the project during a ten-day collaborative residency at Blue Mountain Center. Jane’s stories and observations will be augmented by a diversity of voices from other artists, cultural workers, educators and organizers.

Featured News & Events:

Now Released: Let’s Make a Better World: Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp

Let’s Make a Better World: Stories and Songs by Jane Sapp is a new resource for music educators, chorus songbookleaders, activists and cultural workers. In it, the nationally admired cultural worker, musician, educator, and activist, Jane Wilburn Sapp, shares her approach to social transformation and its roots in African-American musical traditions.

In the book, Jane tells the story of her childhood, nurtured by the Black community while living in the brutal world of the Jim Crow South. She describes her participation in the Black Power movement and introduces us to her mentors. She shares 25 songs she has written with young people and sung with people of all ages, and tells the stories behind each song and offers suggestions or teachers and chorus leaders. The book also includes scores, and all of the songs can be heard on podcasts where Jane’s approach to cultural work is illuminated through conversations with activists, cultural workers, and music educators. Purchase the book! 

International Visiting Research Scholar Public Talk:
Arts, Well-being and Resilience: Ideas and Music

May 6, 2014
Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies
University of British Columbia


Listen to the podcast (beginning at 15 minutes & 30 seconds).

Dr. Cynthia Cohen reported on her research into resilience, peacebuilding and the arts, focusing particularly on her collaboration with the distinguished musician, activist, educator and cultural worker Jane Wilburn Sapp. Dr. Cohen was accompanied by Jane who illustrated the power of music’s contributions to resilience through her own stories and through songs performed at the piano.  Conversation will explore connections between resilience and the practices of cultural work, music-making, healing, and justice-seeking... Read more.

A Call to Action:
Learning from Jane Sapp's Life, Stories and Songs

via Indiegogo


Jane Sapp in Workshop


Our partner organization, ReCAST, Inc, is launching an online fundraising campaign to generate resources that will allow Jane Sapp to document her practice in a book, in performance/presentations that will be recorded and disseminated on an accompanying disc, and in a songbook with transcriptions of some of the powerful songs Jane has written with children. This campaign is an experiment to see if folks of modest means can join together to support a cultural worker whose life has been devoted to strengthening communities... Read more about the campaign.

Learn more about the project.

Learn more about Jane Sapp.

View the Gallery of Works.

Learn about the book and songbook.

Read news about the project.

Get involved!