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Arts Council celebrates the Warnersville Community


The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro celebrated and recognized the historic Warnersville community — North Carolina’s First Heritage Community — conferring its 2024 Community Elevation Grants (CEG) to local artists and organizations.

The CEG projects undertaken this year by arts non-profits, partnering with Warnersville residents, centered around community engagement, sustainable impact, and historical preservation. Recognizing the importance of honoring neighborhood roots, they link the community’s rich past with its present. 2024 grantee projects included:

  • African American Atelier: The Artistic Roots program includes workshops, community art projects, and mentorships inspiring local children and highlighting the role of art in community building.
  • Creative Aging Network-NC: The Heritage Cookbook project celebrates the culinary traditions of Warnersville’s families.
  • Gant School of Music: An ensemble of young musicians from Warnersville has been formed, featuring a drumline performance.
  • Shared Radiance: Efforts to capture and preserve the oral histories and memories of Warnersville’s residents through film to ensure that their stories will be remembered.
  • TAB Arts Center: An ancestral garden and a commemorative sculpture project are underway, fostering a space of reflection and pride in the nearby Sholanda Memorial Park.

A convivial gathering of several hundred Warnersville residents as well as descendants and residents of  the original tract, met inside and on the grounds of the recreation center, where they lined up at food trucks, listened to brief remarks from CEG recipients, heard the freedom percussion of the community drumline and viewed a short documentary about the historic area.

“Seeing the children come together to create a mural while learning about the local artists from their community has been incredibly inspiring. It highlights the power that art has to bring people together and create positive change within our community,” said Jocelyn Brown, president of the African American Atelier, a Community Elevation Grantee, explaining that the opportunity provided has had a profound impact. The mural will be installed either in the Warnersville community or at the Atelier, she said.

Warnersville’s history began in 1865 when Pennsylvania Quaker Yardley Warner purchased a 35-acre plot and sold it to freed slaves, creating North Carolina’s first planned neighborhood. Through the decades, Warnersville has seen significant changes, from the Great Migration in the 1920s and 1930s to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, with local heroes like Jibreel Khazan, one of the Greensboro Four, emerging from its community.

James Griffin, founder of the Warnersville Historical and Beautification Society, said the “grant has made it possible to assist the community in all age groups. As we prepare for the 160th anniversary of the founding of Warnersville, these programs offered by the arts nonprofits through the Arts Council will have a tremendous impact on our celebration and neighborhood for years to come”.

The Arts Council of Greater Greensboro is dedicated to fostering creativity and enriching the cultural lives of all residents. The ACGG strives to support, promote, and elevate local arts and cultural organizations, making a lasting impact in the community.