SAVANNAH, GA – May 31, 2022 – The Georgia Institute of Technology will host a one-day First-Generation College Institute for rising first-generation and limited income 8th through 12th graders on Saturday, July 16 at the Savannah campus, 210 Technology Circle. This inaugural event, which will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is supported by the Institute’s First-Generation Student Programs, the Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC) and the Office of Undergraduate Admission.

The First-Generation College Institute is a state-wide summer initiative designed to identify, engage, and prepare participants in making the successful transition to college while increasing their exposure to science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEM and STEAM) enrichment. Planned morning activities include informational sessions on undergraduate admissions and financial aid with hands-on STEM and STEAM activities in the afternoon. The event is free and only requires online registration. Meals and snacks will be provided.

“Collaborating with CEISMC and Undergraduate Admission affords us the opportunity to be proactive in expanding access to underserved populations, especially in Georgia’s rural communities,” said First-Generation Program and Operations Manager Charmaine Troy. “The earlier that students know the college preparation process and the aptitude in STEM that is required for an institution like Georgia Tech, the more prepared they will be for the college application process and their transition into college.”

The First-Generation College Institute is one of the signature programs of First-Generation Student Programs, which seeks to advance first-generation and limited income student success at Georgia Tech through resources and programming in collaboration with campus partners.

When Troy joined Georgia Tech last year to lead the new unit, which is housed in the Office of Undergraduate Education, she already planned to bring such an event to the first-generation students of Georgia. Adding a STEM component to the event was the result of a meeting between Troy and Sirocus Barnes, CEISMC director of student programs. Through its outreach activities and research projects, CEISMC has served as the primary connection point between Georgia Tech faculty and students and the preK-12 STEM and STEAM education community for over 30 years.

“We bonded over being first-generation students ourselves and decided to combine our areas of specialty,” said Barnes. “The program aligns with Georgia Tech’s strategic goal of expanding access. More importantly, this collaboration between First-Generation Student Programs, CEISMC Student Programs, and Undergraduate Admission is a perfect example of a cross-campus collaboration to provide supports to Georgia’s K-12 students.”

Annually CEISMC Student Programs have been facilitating a plethora of STEM and STEAM activities for more than 2,000 K-12 students on Saturdays, after school, and during the summer in Atlanta since the late 1990s and extending its reach to Savannah since 2012.  The First-Generation College Institute offers another pathway for CEISMC to broaden participation of underserved populations from the city to the coast, thereby reducing obstacles to higher education opportunities.

“This event is designed to help all students, regardless of their background, understand that college and specifically Georgia Tech, is both a viable option and somewhere they can thrive,” said Timothy Cone, CEISMC Savannah program director. “It was important for us to have an in-person opportunity here at the Georgia Tech Savannah campus as well as the main campus in Atlanta.”

From the beginning, CEISMC has been involved with the planning of the event as several staff members serve on the steering committee regarding logistics and content planning. Georgia Tech staff, faculty, and students will also lead the experiential activities with a focus on Georgia Tech majors and possible STEM-related career choices. 

The staff from the Office of Undergraduate Admission will also be on hand to facilitate sessions on demystifying the admissions process at Georgia Tech and provide resources on financial aid, scholarships, and navigating college life.

“By us collaborating with our campus partners, we will help unlock the potential and spark the curiosity of STEM for all first-generation students!” said Leri Argueta, senior assistant director of undergraduate admission. “As a first-generation student and son of immigrants myself, it means the world to me that we do more programs like this because I know what it is like to be the first in your family to potentially go to college.”

For more information about the First-Generation College Institute, please visit:


Georgia Tech-Savannah provides educational experiences for learners of all ages. Our multitude of learning platforms are tailored to meet the needs of a diverse population, from working professionals pursuing career development and those seeking specific certifications to children eager to explore and discover. Georgia Tech-Savannah’s professional education, training and military programs encourages participants to challenge themselves and meet goals by sharpening existing skills and picking up valuable new ones. We’re proud to bring cutting-edge technology, applied research capabilities and innovation to the Coastal Empire, where our campus also serves as a home for various Georgia Tech affiliates, institutes, and centers. To learn more, visit us at


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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Beasley at or 229-393-6457 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950.


SAVANNAH, GA – MAY 31, 2022 – The Savannah African Art Museum will hold its second annual Juneteenth Celebration from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, June 18, 2022, on the museum grounds, at 201 E. 37 St. The festivities will reflect on and honor the past while celebrating the future. This event will feature music and dancing, spoken word performances, a marketplace, African food samples, and more. The event is free and open to the community, but donations are welcomed and appreciated.

This year’s Juneteenth theme is Sankofa, an African word from the Akan people in Ghana. The literal translation is, it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind” – they believe the past serves as a guide for planning the future. The Akan people believe wisdom is derived from creating a robust knowledge of the past. To accomplish this, the Savannah African Art Museum invites the public to celebrate Juneteenth as the museum exhibits African roots and makes its world history connections through music, art, food, and storytelling. The museum will also share information of local resources and services available. Please be aware there will be limited disability parking available with a valid State Disability Parking Permit. Some seating will also be available, but patrons are welcome to bring their own folding camp or lawn chairs to the event.

Some of the activities and attractions Juneteenth attendees can expect to enjoy include tours of the museum’s West African collection, performances by Deep Slam Artists, presentations from the Pinpoint Museum on Gullah/Geechee history and culture, Dancing to African & African influenced music by DJ Santiago, Zumba with Mai Evans, African Food Samples, Ghanaian fine artist William Kwamena-Poh, Fine Artist Viyanca, The African Diaspora Marketplace, Savanna Naturals, Ari’s Handmade Jewelry, voter registration opportunities, and informational tables hosted by the African-American Health Information & Resource Center, the Bull Street Library’s Kaye Kole Genealogy & Local History Room, and the Book Nation of Dreamers, Children’s literacy program.

Juneteenth is the oldest national date of remembrance and celebration of the abolition of chattel slavery in the United States, dating back to June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers, led by Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger landed at Galveston, Texas, with news that the war had ended and the enslaved were now free. This came two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, as there were not enough Union troops in Texas to regulate and enforce its order. However, it was after Gen. Robert Lee’s surrender in April 1865 and the arrival of Gen. Granger’s regiment that the forces were finally strong enough to overcome the resistance of enslavers and all slaves were then set free on what became known as Freedom Day – Juneteenth.

The news was met with shock and utter joy. The day became a celebratory time for prayer, song, and the telling of stories about Africa by the elders, as families gathered and sought other relatives from plantations near and far. Education, empowerment, and self-improvement quickly became top priorities. Activities such as rodeos and fishing were part of the celebration, as were foods like barbecue, black-eyed peas, watermelon, cornbread, okra, and hibiscus tea. The celebration soon spread from Texas to other regions of the southern U.S., including Georgia and South Carolina.

During early Juneteenth observances, mainly African American communities participated in the festivities. With every passing year, the annual commemoration flourished but there were declines in the early 1900s. Additionally, during the Great Depression and the Civil Rights Movement, Juneteenth encountered both declines and resurgences in participation. The celebration gained traction in the 1980s and continued to grow in the 90’s on into the new century with 47 states and the District of Columbia all passing legislation recognizing Juneteenth as either a state holiday or day of observance. Last year on June 17th, 2021, President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, establishing June 19th as a federal holiday.


“Juneteenth marks a day of reflection, remembrance, and freedom that we all can commemorate “ said Savannah African Art Museum Education and Community Outreach Liaison Lisa Jackson. “Last year was the museum’s first Juneteenth celebration and  the first year Juneteenth was observed as a federal holiday! We were so pleased to have so many join us in celebration of both firsts! We look forward to returnees and others to come celebrate with us, enjoy the festivities, experience our collection, and meet new friends.”


To learn more about the museum, upcoming workshops, and the newest collections, please visit and follow the Savannah African Art Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.


Savannah African Art Museum is a nonprofit institution that introduces all audiences to African art and culture. Their mission is to provide engaging experiences that educate and start conversations about the power, diversity, and spirituality of African art. Learn more by visiting or dropping by their location at 201 E. 37th St. for a free tour.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).


SAVANNAH, GA. – May 26, 2022 – The Savannah African Art Museum was awarded the title of “Best Art and History House” in Connect Savannah’s 2022 Best of Savannah Readers’ Poll. This year’s online voting competition was fierce, with more than 30,000 total votes cast, according to the Connect Savannah editorial team. Voting ran from Feb. 28-March 18, and the winners were announced May 25. All award recipients will be honored at a party on Thursday, June 2 from 6-9 p.m. at the Kehoe Iron Works.

The annual Best of Savannah contest allows Connect’s readers to support their favorite people, places and things to do in the Hostess City. The categories include music and the arts, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, sports and more. Voting was limited to once per day per category.

Savannah African Art Museum is a nonprofit institution that introduces all audiences to African art and culture. Their mission is to provide engaging experiences that educate and start conversations about the power, diversity, and spirituality of African art.

“We are so grateful to the Savannah community for their consistent support,” said Museum Founding Director and Chief Curator Billie Stultz. “We are happy that the artistic, cultural and educational opportunities we work hard to provide, free of charge, to the community are appreciated and recognized. We look forward to our continued role as a valuable resource and celebrated regional attraction.”

Since 2016, the Savannah African Art Museum has provided education to the community on African history and culture with over 1,000 pieces of art native to West and Central Africa. The museum has an agenda full of educational opportunities in the form of classes, events, workshops and exhibits for the coming months, including the Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

For more information on the Savannah African Art Museum please, visit or follow Savannah African Art Museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377). 




Judging by how busy the travel industry is at the moment, many of us seem to believe that 2022 is a year to make up for lost time and schedule all the trips we had to postpone during the pandemic. So earlier this month, I went on a long delayed “girls’ trip” to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  

Although I have been to Texas and Arizona and loved them both, somehow, I had never been to New Mexico, nestled in between the two. Every time I travel within the USA, it blows my mind to be reminded once again just how very large this great nation is. The 48 contiguous states are just under 3.2 million square miles, and 3.8 million including Alaska and Hawaii… more than twice the size of the European Union. That includes almost 200,000 square miles of lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. The USA is the third-largest country in the world behind Russia and Canada. Remember that the land of my birth, the United Kingdom, is just 94,000 square miles – about 75% the size of the State of New Mexico.

Coming directly from beautiful Coastal Georgia, the first and most striking thing one notices in New Mexico is the lack of humidity, rainfall and outdoor water in general. However, because the state is geothermically active there are a number of fantastic hot springs – discovered centuries ago by native Americans and later Spanish settlers who found them to be very soothing to mind and body. The extremely dry climate also contributes to a massive problem in the area – wildfires! We could see them on the horizon, smoky and raging outside Santa Fe. Luckily, they were being contained in the area around us, but it was heartbreaking to see. The state’s national parks were closed during our visit, and it was rather unnerving to be within a dozen or so miles from the largest wildfire in New Mexico’s history. Coastal Georgia gets about double the rainfall of Santa Fe, so it did make me appreciate our Low Country climate, the Ogeechee River, and our proximity to the coast. Even the Georgia humidity seemed to be put into perspective for me.

New Mexico is known as the ‘Land of Enchantment’ and Santa Fe is its state capitol, famous for its extensive art galleries mostly situated on Canyon Road. Advertised as “more than a hundred galleries, boutiques and restaurants in one half mile”, we spent a lovely afternoon exploring the nooks and crannies of Canyon Road, and resisting the temptation to purchase paintings, photographs, sculptures, jewelry, and knick-knacks.

Santa Fe, which translates as “holy faith” in Spanish, was founded in 1607. It is the oldest capital city in United States, the oldest European community west of the Mississippi, and the second-oldest surviving US city founded by European colonists on land that later became part of the United States (St Augustine Florida is the oldest). While Santa Fe was inhabited by a few European people earlier than 1607, it became truly established as a city few years later by the Conquistador Don Pedro de Peralta, a lawyer sent from Spain who was appointed Governor of New Mexico while the territory was still part of the Spanish Empire. In fact, Santa Fe had been colonized 25 years before the colonials set foot at Plymouth Rock

Santa Fe is the highest large city in the United States at about 7,000 feet above sea level and became an important trading post for travelers in the 18th and 19th centuries.

I was enchanted by Santa Fe’s adobe houses and the narrow winding streets, which reminded me of southern Europe, and was pleased to learn about the city’s historic preservation efforts focused on preserving the Spanish-Pueblo architectural style even in new construction.

New Mexico became the USA’s 47th state in 1912 and is an interesting place. The state bird is the roadrunner, and the state tree is the pinon pine. About a third of the residents speak Spanish as a first language.  The state’s largest city, Albuquerque (which we flew into from Atlanta) is the hot air ballooning capital of the world and is also the hometown of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The state is home to a lot of research facilities and laboratories and is also known for a disproportionately large number of reported UFO sightings. And here is my favorite little-known fact about New Mexico – it is illegal to dance while wearing your sombrero hat. We didn’t do much dancing or sombrero wearing while we were there, but it was good to know just the same!

There is a lot more information at

I will leave you with a quote by the great 19th century American author who achieved international acclaim for his travel narratives, the ever-witty Mark Twain. “Until I came to New Mexico, I never knew how much beauty water adds to a river.”

God Bless America!

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009. She can be contacted at  or via her PR and marketing agency at


SAVANNAH, GA. – MAY 24, 2022 – The Savannah African Art Museum’s remote learning option, through video conferencing, is gaining tremendous popularity, allowing visitors from around the nation to experience what this museum, on the arts and cultures of the African continent, has to offer.

Tours of the museum’s collection, utilizing video conferencing technology, were first introduced when the COVID-19 pandemic began. It turned out to be an engaging way for guests to learn about the museum’s art collection. This is a service that continues to be offered by the Savannah African Art Museum as a way of reaching a larger global audience. Alisa Evans-Newsome, the museum’s Chief Administrator of Operations, and Dr. Edwin Johnson, the museum’s Registrar and Volunteer Coordinator, have been providing engaging, educational experiences through the virtual gallery tours. These insightful, informative, and even entertaining, sessions have included sizable groups of students, of many different age groups, from different regions in the United States.

Previously, the Savannah African Art Museum used web-based social media such as Facebook to broadcast videos on objects and themes represented in the museum’s collection. This was followed by university professors registering at the museum to have their students remotely attend guided tours of the galleries. This enabled these students to remotely experience what the museum has to offer when classes were being held online.

Evans-Newsome has been at the forefront of the museum’s pursuit of educational accessibility as elementary school teachers begin to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the museum through distance learning. Earlier this month, she conducted a tour, via Zoom, for 380 seventh-grade students at the West Chatham Middle School in Georgia. On the same day, Evans-Newsome provided an enriching educational experience for a group of third-grade students from the Elysian Charter School in Hoboken, New Jersey. By her accounts, these students were engaged and demonstrated a genuine interest in the cultures of the African continent. This was evident due to how these young students frequently commented on what they saw and how often they asked many questions about what was covered during the conferencing session. In addition to fueling the curiosity of these young students, Evans-Newsome found the experience to be remarkably rewarding.

Younger participants are increasingly utilizing virtual tour options provided by the museum. It is heralding a new chapter in this museum’s efforts to reach out to larger, farther flung, and more diverse audiences. The Savannah African Art Museum will continue to provide remote learning opportunities for educational institutions that range from elementary schools to universities, close to home and further afield. Additionally, remote learning opportunities are also available to individuals who want to learn more about the arts and cultures of the vast and diverse continent of Africa. The museum recently expanded the capacity of their conferencing service, which now allows up to 100 devices to log onto one session at the same time.

Anyone who is interested in booking an online for themselves or an educational group can find more information at  or by emailing

Savannah African Art Museum is a nonprofit institution that introduces all audiences to African art and culture. Their mission is to provide engaging experiences that educate and start conversations about the power, diversity, and spirituality of African art. Learn more by visiting or experiencing the collection in person at the museum’s location at 201 East 37th Street for a free tour on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).


SAVANNAH, GA. – May 23, 2022 – The Savannah Alliance of Pastors, along with Asbury Memorial Church, Red Letter Christians, Moms Demand Action, and Full Circle Hospice Savannah, have partnered with activist and faith leader, Shane Claiborne to recognize National Gun Violence Awareness Month with a ‘Beating Guns’ event. This community-wide event, supporting gun violence prevention awareness, will be held from 1-2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 at First African Baptist Church, 23 Montgomery Street (Franklin Square).

Savannah City Council, County Commissioner and District Attorney will be in attendance. The event will begin at the First African Baptist Church with a keynote address from Rev. Sharon Risher, whose family was killed in the 2015 Emanuel AME Church mass shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. Attendees will then move to Franklin Square where the event will continue with local survivor testimonies accounting the tribulations of gun violence, spoken word performances from the youth of the Deep Center’s Block by Block program, musical performances by Huxsie Scott, and dance performances by the Royal Ambassadors. Gun violence survivors will be invited to transform a gun into a functioning garden tool with the help of a blacksmith.  

“The mission of this event is to address the proliferation of guns on our streets, to say that we can build better tools to live together harmoniously, to honor the victims, and to offer surviving family circles a therapeutic way to manifest their anger and grief over the loss of loved ones,” said Rev. Claire Marich, local ‘Beating Guns’ event coordinator and Asbury Memorial Church Associate Minister.

Attendees will be invited to interact with community partners during a meet-and-greet at the conclusion of the program. Grief counselors will be in attendance to assist those in need for the duration of this event. Those planning to attend the ‘Beating Guns’ event are encouraged to wear orange in support of National Gun Violence Awareness Month.

“We are looking forward to this opportunity to raise awareness about the prevalence of gun violence and the need for peace in our community,” stated Rev. Marich. “It’s an honor to work alongside these activists, faith leaders, and community partners to present this important witness of hope in the face of ongoing gun violence.”

Community members will have the opportunity to hear from Claiborne again on Sunday, June 6 during the 11:15 a.m. worship service at Asbury Memorial Church, 1008 E Henry Street.

Claiborne brought this impactful event to cities across the nation, but this will be the first time ‘Beating Guns’ has taken place in Savannah. The ’Beating Guns’ initiative, stemming from a book by the same title written by Claiborne and Michael Martin, allows victims and perpetrators of gun violence to tell their own compelling stories, offering hope for change and helping reimagine the world as one that turns from death to life, where swords become plows and guns are turned into garden tools. 


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For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at or 229-393-6457, or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950, or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377). 


THOMASTON, GA. – May 17, 2022 – Beyond The Bell Upson County has partnered with local first responders to host the “What To Do when You See Blue” town hall event Saturday, June 18 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Silvertown Baptist Church, located at 300 W. Goodrich Ave. Thomaston, Ga. 30286. These leaders of the Upson County community will inform attendees about what to expect and the processes of getting stopped by a police officer with advice on what to do.

The featured speakers at the event will include Sergeant Derric Pearson with the Thomaston Sheriff’s Department, Officer Kentavious Traylor of the Thomaston Police Department, and a representative from the Thomaston-Upson Fire Department. There will be a Q&A session with all three speakers following the event and lunch will be provided to attendees as well as free information materials.

“It can be intimidating for citizens, especially youth, to interact with law enforcement due to a lack of understanding and trust. The goal of this free town hall event is to encourage honest conversation and positive interactions between law enforcement and the citizens of Upson County,” said Executive Director Sandra Dean. “We are thrilled to be working with the Upson County Sheriff’s Office. Police department, and fire department to inform our community’s youth about what to do when they interact with law enforcement.”

Beyond The Bell, along with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) provides tools and evidence-based strategies to train, educate, and support youth and families in the prevention of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use and abuse.

Beyond The Bell offers programs to the community including the “Botvin Life Skills Training”, which consists of a 7-week groundbreaking substance abuse and violence prevention program which is designed to promote mental health and positive youth development. They also implement the “Positive Social Norms” campaign which focuses on the fact that people’s behavior often is influenced by their perceptions of what is “normal” or “typical.” The problem is that people usually severely misperceive the typical behaviors or attitudes of their peers. For example, if people believe that the majority of their peers drink, then they are more likely to drink. Using social norms marketing to inform people that most of their peers do not drink can potentially lead them to avoid drinking.

For more information about Beyond The Bell and its programs/resources, please visit

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For media inquiries, please contact Lesley Francis at, Allie Robinson at or 912-547-3100 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).


SAVANNAH, GA – May 16, 2022 – VOICExperience (VE) announces that soprano Sydney Fabregas is the Grand Prize winner of the 16th annual Opera Idol competition Sponsored by The Tom Lysaught Scholarship Fund. Opera Idol is a competition where young singers from around the country are invited to compete for a full scholarship to attend and study at the Milnes VOICE Studio. This summer the Milnes VOICE Studio will be held at Iowa State University.

Fabregas is an emerging American soprano pursuing a career in classical performance. Her recent performance highlights include operatic and music-theater roles such as Serpetta in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera, La Princesse in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, La Fée in Viardot’s Cendrillon and Louise in Sondheim’s Gypsy. This year, she plans to perform more, continue operating her teaching studio, and complete her Carnegie Mellon University Master’s degree. 

“The judges had a very hard decision this year selecting just one winner,” said Milnes VOICE Programs’ Executive Director Chad Sonka.  “In the end, what set Sydney [Fabregas] apart was her opulent voice and we believe that the Milnes VOICE Studio will strengthen her gift even more and catapult her career above and beyond.”

The esteemed panel of judges for this year’s competition were Presidents and Co-Founders of the Milnes VOICE Programs Sherrill Milnes and Maria Zouves, Artistic Director Jorge Parodi, Andrew Bisantz with the Eugene Opera, Dr. Bernard J. Dobroski with Northwestern University, and Milnes VOICE Programs’ Composer-in-Residence Michael Ching.

VOICExperience will be broadcasting the competition recording at 2 p.m. Sunday May 29 and is free to watch at Opera Idol was conceived by Milnes and Zouves as part of their non-profit vocal training organization, VOICExperience Foundation, when the two served as faculty at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. The contest aims to showcase and encourage budding opera stars in a format that emulates popular television shows featuring talent searches.

Zouves and Milnes, who hosted and conducted the competition in a master class format, concurred that the level of talent they witness at Opera Idol continues an undeniably impressive upward swing.

For more information on Opera Idol or VOICExperience, please call 855-76-OPERA or visit


For media inquiries, please contact Kristyn Fielding at 229-393-6457 or, Allie Robinson at 912-547-3100 or or Lesley Francis at 912-429-3950 or


EDITOR’S NOTE: The VOICExperience Foundation is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to pass on the traditions of great singing and develop new audiences for opera. Under the umbrella of The Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs, VOICExperience continues its dedication to the quality, integrity and perpetuation of the vocal arts through life-changing intensives, performances, and community-enriching outreach events in New York, Georgia (with its sister organization, the Savannah VOICE Festival), Florida and Illinois. For more information, please visit


SAVANNAH, GA. – MAY 11, 2022 – Savannah African Art Museum is looking for eager docents and volunteers with good communication skills to assist with daily operations at the museum in the historic Thomas Square Streetcar District. This is a wonderful opportunity for those interested in learning and teaching the history and art of West and Central Africa. As the summer nears and students prepare for a break, donating time and energy in an educational capacity is a wonderful way to give back to the community while broadening their own knowledge.

Docents will have the opportunity to teach the history of West and Central Africa to a variety of different groups  and ages – from Savannah locals to tourists from all over the world and from grade school and up! No prior experience as a docent or knowledge of African Art and history is required as all docent volunteers will go through training and will learn the provided talking points before giving tours of the museum’s art collection. General volunteers are also needed to help with additional tasks, clerical duties, organizing, assisting at workshops, our 2nd Annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 18, 2022, and other duties.  Those who volunteer their time and talents will gain invaluable knowledge, volunteer or community service hours, recommendation letters, and experience with public speaking and customer service.

Thanks to the museums’ varying hours, volunteer shifts offer flexible time commitments that are sure to meet the availability of those with even the busiest schedules. Shifts are available during the museum’s regular operating hours on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tours are provided to visitors on either a walk-in basis or by appointment.

During docent training, volunteers will learn about the Savannah African Art Museum and its collection through instruction from the volunteer coordinator and current docents. New volunteers will also shadow current docents on tours to gain a better understanding of the process and how each docent brings something different to each tour. Docent talking points will be explained and reviewed, and volunteers will be provided with literature to complement the tour talking points. Upon training completion, docents will be expected to give tours to guests visiting the museum. Over time and with constructive feedback, volunteers will become effective teachers and public speakers as they amass impressive knowledge on African art and cultures.

To apply or for more information, please email an updated resume to, call the Savannah African Art Museum at 912-721-7724, or visit in person at 201 E. 37th St., Savannah, GA 31401.

Savannah African Art Museum is a nonprofit institution that introduces all audiences to African art and culture. Our mission is to provide engaging experiences that educate and start conversations about the power, diversity, and spirituality of African art. Learn more by visiting or dropping by their location at 201 E. 37th St. for a free tour.

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For media inquiries, please contact Hollie Barnidge at or 912-272-8651 or Lesley Francis at or 912-429-3950 or the team at 912-417-LFPR (5377).



When I was in the UK last month, I got quite emotional a few times as I did things that, during the darkest days of the pandemic, seemed like they might never happen again. Obviously, it was fantastic seeing friends and family after so long, and great to attend my cousin’s wedding with loads of hugs, kisses, and re-bonding much missed aunts, uncles, and cousins. I also learned to once again appreciate the freedom to travel between the two countries I love. However, one thing that really underscored the return to some type of ‘normalcy’ to me was once again going to the theatre in London’s West End, which is the British equivalent of Broadway in New York.

First, let’s clear the air on a transatlantic spelling difference. The British spell ‘theatre’ differently than ‘theater’ in the American spelling tradition. Just to complicate matters further, in the UK ‘theatre’ can only be used to mean a place of live plays and entertainment, whereas in the US you can also have a ‘movie theater’ where films (movies) are shown. In the UK this would always be known as a ‘cinema’.

My husband and I wanted to see something uplifting in London, and we both love musicals. So, we chose to see (or rather I chose and he capitulated) “Tina – The Musical”. This story of Tina Turner, while not in the same league as a classic show like Les Miserables, was very enjoyable. The music was great, and her story of triumph over both poverty and her early abusive relationship with husband Ike Turner is inspiring. The singing and sets were first rate, and it was just so good to be back in an audience of over a thousand people in the city I grew up in and spent many years as a young woman.

I have always found music and the theatre provide me with a welcome release from day-to-day stress and life in general. Did you know that the ancient Greeks first noticed this process and coined the phrase ‘cathartic’ when they saw the strong impact theatre and theatrical traditions had on their audiences? The philosophers of the day noted that their art forms of tragic and comic dramas really moved audiences and alleviated their burdens of daily troubles and woes.

The history of British theater dates back to Medieval times when travelling players would perform religious mystery plays in villages and towns, portraying the lives of saints and uplifting bible stories. Community-based religious theater stopped abruptly in 1534 when King Henry VIII broke the British church away from the Pope and Catholicism in Rome so he could divorce and remarry. Overnight, actors had to be part of a royal or aristocratic household to perform. A little later during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign (she was Henry VIII’s daughter), royal patents or licenses were given to actors to perform commercially and many open-air public theaters were built at this time. The Elizabethan age was very important for theatre, and this is of course when the great author and playwright, William Shakespeare, first came to prominence.

So how did London’s West End district begin? During the 17th century, the first of the 39 theaters that make up this district was built and named the ‘Theatre Royal’. We saw ‘Tina: The Musical’ nearby at the Aldwych Theatre, a more modern theatre which opened in 1905. London’s theatres tend to be magnificent and opulent buildings. The Aldwych is no exception, and it spent its first years primarily hosting musical comedies. Famous 20th century actors including Laurence Olivier and Vivian Leigh starred at the Aldwych and in 1960 the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company made the Aldwych its London base for 21 years. Since then the Aldwych has played host to a number of musicals including Fame, Dirty Dancing, Beautiful and after a break due to the pandemic, Tina resumed last year. There is much more information at

I will leave you with a quote by the great American/Canadian film actress, Mary Pickford; “Make them laugh, make them cry… What do people go to the theatre for? An emotional exercise. I am a servant of the people. I have never forgotten that.”

God Bless America!

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Lesley grew up in London, England and made Georgia her home in 2009. She can be contacted at  or via her PR and marketing agency at