Story Collection June Gathering
with Omope Carter Daboiku
June 17 2022
Agraria Center for Regenerative Practice
Agraria’s Artist in Residence, Omope Carter Daboiku will be leading the Story Collection Project this spring. Bringing together stories from rural and urban communities, multiple generations and three counties, this project will culminate in a dynamic gathering crafted from these stories of resilience, food, land and transportation.
The June Gathering will incorporate stories collected from the tri-county Story Collection sites. Through media, story-telling and shared experience, Ms. Daboiku will lead us to imagine and act toward next-step solutions for our shared bioregion.
Tickets may be purchased for $10 for the Story Collection June Gathering. Registration required & space is limited. All proceeds benefit educational programs at Agraria Center for Regenerative Practice.
This Series, funded in partnership with the Ohio Arts Council, will be led by Omope Carter Daboiku, Agraria’s first Artist in Residence. OC Daboiku is a life-long cultural geographer, wordsmith and storyteller. She was also one of Agraria’s first Regenerative Farmer Fellows in 2021. See her full bio below.
Questions? Contact Omope Carter Daboiku at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Omope Carter Daboiku
An Appalachian of mixed ancestry, Omope Carter Daboiku hails from the Ohio River town of Ironton; she migrated to Cincinnati in 1972 and to Dayton in 2012. A cultural geographer and award-winning teller of tales, she has worked as an Ohio Arts Council Teaching Artist and also with the Cincinnati Arts Association at its inception in 1997. Omope has performed and led story circles across the US and abroad, lecturing abroad at the The Art of Survival (Nuremberg, Germany) conference, addressing quilting as an African American female cottage industry and upcycling economic system. In 2008, she secured a 7 city-tour contract from the US State Dept as part of its English Proficiency Program in Turkey. Her company, Homeside: The Human Academy, specializes in arts-based, culturally relevant academic curriculum. She is also a seasoned stage and voice actor with multiple production credits and accolades in theater and television.
Omope’s writing appears in the Southern Appalachian Writers Collective’s Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and in FX Walker, Nikki Giovanni, and Crystal Wilkinson editions of Shepherd University’s Anthology of Appalachian Writers, where her first published short-story, “The Power of Water Baptism” was nominated in 2014 for the prestigious Pushcart Prize. Grassroots work in health, nutrition and foodways is documented in several small press cookbooks, and “History Keeper” -- a memoir about place and identity produced in 2018 at a Story Center/NPS Network to Freedom digital storytelling workshop, is on YouTube. In a NEA funded residency for Muse Machine (Dayton, OH) Omope engaged middle-schoolers in a 4-month long interaction, encouraging them to express how place, identity and a sense of belonging are essential to a balanced life). Based on the works of narrative-installation artist Ping Chong and his creative writing/theatrical production, the students spoke their truths to an SRO audience.
To encourage cross-cultural conversations, Omope serves the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition as cast member of “Express Appalachia” – an initiative about cultural identity. She has become a valued culture keeper in the Dayton community: her stories are archived on the Dayton Metro Library’s Dial-a-Story service, she’s the founder of the Dunbar Literary Circle for the local National Park Service, and she has served as artist-in-residence at the historic home of world renown poet Paul Laurence Dunbar. She is an instructor and Appalachian cultural advisor at Sinclair College, VP of the Ohio Storytelling Network, leads the Dunbar Branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), and works to preserve the history of Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church, its influence in creating free black communities and “daughter” churches in Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia.
Her New Normal shift includes writing for “West Dayton Stories” on WYSO (91.3fm) and promoting urban agriculture as a civic opportunity to redevelop formerly industrial neighborhoods into models for food sovereignty. In the Great Quarantine of 2020, she found solace teaching urban mentees how to plan and sustain an open community garden in the DeSoto Bass Community and then to Greater Edgemont Community Coalition’s Solar Garden. Affectionately called, OC or Mama O, she serves as the farm manager and on-site liaison for Central State University Extension’s Beginning Farmer Incubator. Descended from agricultural people, her southern Ohio socialization in northcentral Appalachia included food traditions from the Virginia Blue Ridge to the Georgia/Tennessee mountain valleys. Honoring the ways of her ancestors led OC to Agraria (Community Solutions) where she was chosen to be a member of its initial Regenerative Farming Fellowship and anticipates being their first Artist-in-Residence during 2022.
Easing into eldership, Omope calls herself “a futurist” using her storytelling and writing vision to share global Earth Wisdom, understand the dynamics of stewardship as social and spiritual transformation, and reasserting that “Humanity is sewn together with global threads”.