Peacebuilding and the Arts

About Jane Wilburn Sapp

jane sapp performing at pianoJane Wilburn Sapp is a powerful and highly regarded performer, songwriter, recording artist and educator who engages with disenfranchised urban and rural communities in the United States and around the world.

Sapp's music reflects the blues and gospel sounds of her Georgia youth and is deeply rooted in the spiritual, religious and historical experiences of the African American world. She has recorded four albums and has performed in concert halls (including Carnegie Hall, with Pete Seeger), colleges and community centers throughout the U.S. and in Sweden, Canada, Senegal and Mali, West Africa.

As an educator, Sapp has developed techniques to help the silenced find their voices through the arts. Her community-based cultural development programs are the subject of three scholarly studies as well as the hour-long documentary "Someone Sang for Me."

Sapp has a long history of working with grassroots communities and innovating community programs, events and cultural centers. She founded and developed the Black Belt Folk Roots Festival in 1975, in Greene County, Alabama, and the festival of Low Country Life in 1972, in South Carolina, both of which continue today.

In the educational realm, she founded the Greene County Community-Based Cultural Education Program as well as a youth creative and leadership development group in Springfield, Massachusetts (1994-2005). Sapp led further innovations in founding the York W. Bailey Museum at Penn Center on St. Helena's Island, South Carolina, in 1972, an institution that continues to grow and develop to this day.