Atlanta has a strong and growing creative economy. Everyday, we meet women who are on the ground working to break down barriers, build community, inspire, inform, and entertain the people of Atlanta through the arts.
For National Women’s History Month in March, C4 Atlanta will be curating a Leading Lady blog series celebrating the women in the creative economy of Greater Atlanta. Over the last several weeks, we have asked the public to nominate women in the creative sector who inspire and have positively impacted the Atlanta community through their contributions.
We are proud to introduce the Next Leading Lady for March 2020 : Letricia Henson
Where do you work and what do you do?
I work in the Atlanta Public Schools System as a K-5 Elementary General Music Teacher and Choral Director. I teach children how to sing, perform, play classroom instruments, and provide culturally diverse program opportunities for children.
I have served in APS for 13 years as a Music Educator in the following roles as 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year, former Music Lead Teacher, former Business Manager in the Atlanta Public Schools Honor Chorus and producer of Cultural Arts programming for various schools in the district.
When and how did you first become interested in the arts? How long have you been in your line of work?
I started singing at the age of 4 in my home church in Morrow, GA. Next, I remember my first experience of being a lead performer in a musical in elementary school when I was in the 5th grade. The experience of the musical allowed me to find my place in the Performing Arts. Also, I have served on several Arts boards such as Out of Hand Theater (presently) and Spivey Hall Education Committee (past ). Additionally, I have served as a member of the Atlanta Opera Chorus for ten years and was apart of the Atlanta Opera’s International Tour of Porgy and Bess in 2008. I have served as music educator for 13 years and my work in the performing arts as a professional has been 15 years.
What did you want to be or think you were going to be when you grew up?
I had the dream of being the first African American female justice to serve on the Supreme Court in hopes to use my voice to assist the voiceless. I have always had the desire to use my voice to effect change in the world. I am able to effect change every day in my classroom by being a culturally responsive teacher that teaches music in a culturally diverse school.
If you could have lunch with any woman from history who would it be and what would you want to talk about?
I would love to have lunch with Ms. Ava DuVernay, filmmaker and film distributor.
Ava DuVernay’s work inspires me and I would love to ask her for advice on my own personal projects.
I would like to know more about ways to build my branding as culturally responsive teacher in the Arts and distribute mini teaching lessons that could bring about change in music classrooms world-wide.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I have several factors that have been influences in my life. My support system that includes my parents and sister are big factors that inspire me to lead and try new experiences daily in life. Secondly, as an music educator I have been influenced my Mrs. Cynthia Terry, my first Fine Arts Coordinator at APS. Mrs. Terry always told me focus on the needs of the children and everything else will fall in place. Music Education is very hard because funding and support for arts programming in schools change from day to day. These 2 factors (funding and support of arts programming) alone can make work very discouraging for a music teacher. I have learned to focus on the important parts of my life through my family and mentor it continues to inspire me to strive for success daily.
How is art a passion for you?
Art is a passion for me that provides with the opportunity to use my God giving talents.
My gifting in the arts through my singing, stage directing, arts advocacy and love of the arts provide me and my audiences with holistic connection to my abilities as a performing teaching artist
Art is Life and to live is to have the arts around me daily.
What are your thoughts on equality and the representation of women in the creative workforce?
I want to see more women and women of color in the creative workforce. As woman that teaches in the creative workforce, I still want to see women and women of color in leadership positions in the creative workforce. As a female teaching artist and woman of color often times both of these criteria are not seen in the leadership roles in the creative workforce. We need more doors to open so that our viewpoint on the arts will be heard and seen for audiences around the world.
What most excites you about the arts in Atlanta?
I am most excited about the Arts in Atlanta because we attract talent from around the world to our lovely city. I feel that the Atlanta Public Schools has a prime opportunity and should really work on promoting the arts programs in all of the K-12 schools since we have so much in our city such as the movie studios, recording studios, etc… we are the Hollywood of the South.
What do you hope to contribute to the Atlanta arts community with the work you do?
I want to contribute to building up the future generations of performing artists that will use their talents to bring about positive creative work in the world. I believe that I have the next greatest talent in my classroom that will bring about change in the world of creative arts.
Where can I learn more about your organization/business and work (websites, social media, etc.)?
Letricia Henson, Performing Arts Teaching Artist Page Facebook