• creativity. imagination. Mental Wellness.

     

    Drive Social Change at the Speed of Creativity.

     

     

     

     

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    About us

    Fine Arts Find Life (FAFL) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Birmingham, Al. The mission of FAFL is to enhance the mental wellness of children from underserved communities via expressive arts and education. Our vision is for children to engage in creative, transformative arts experiences as a mode of expression and communication. We aim to inspire imagination and mental peace enabling youth to respond to conflict in a responsible manner and overall, just be their best selves. Our strategy, we offer youth services comprised of expressive arts experiences through collaborative relationships with local children's organizations.

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  • Board Members

    Makella Moore Harris

    Founder & Executive Director

    Makella Moore Harris, Ed.S., is a native of Demopolis, Al. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in Music Business from Alabama A&M University, Masters of Arts in Music Education from Alabama State University, Education Specialist in Instructional Leadership from the University of Montevallo, and is currently enrolled at Samford University to receive her Doctorate of Education in Educational and Organizational Leadership. She has been an educator with Birmingham City Schools for 16 years teaching band and an adjunct instructor at Lawson State Community College for eight years where she currently teaches humanities and music appreciation but has also taught music theory and art appreciation in the past. Other aspects of her career consist of musical theater performances and noteworthy performances such as guest vocalist with Brooklynn College Conservatory Choir at Carnegie Hall.

    Sharifa Wip

    Chair

    Sharifa Wip was born in Huntsville, Al, and raised in Southern California.

    She is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) with bachelors degrees in African American Studies and Mass Communications and a masters in Information Engineering Management. Sharifa worked for WBRC before working for the Blazer Male Excellence Network. She currently is the Mentor Coordinator in the office of Student Multicultural and Diversity Programs.

    Additionally, she is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Central Alabama Caribbean American Organization, and Junior League of Birmingham.

    Tamara DeBolt

    Secretary

    Tamara DeBolt is a native of Decatur, In. She attended Butler University, where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics/Education. She taught high school math for ten years before attending Purdue University to attain a Mechanical Drafting & Design degree. She has been an actress for over 30 years. Tam has performed, directed, and designed for most of the theatres in Birmingham, Al. Currently, she is Executive Director of Terrific New Theatre (TNT). TNT was founded in 1986 and has a glorious history in Birmingham. Tam is also an original member of inTOTO Creative Arts Forum, an arts initiative for homeless guests of The Firehouse Shelter here in Birmingham.

    Terralance De Shon Thurman

    Treasurer

     

    Terralance De “Shon” Thurman is an Assistant Vice President and System Support Analyst with Wells Fargo. Shon received a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Huron University and a Computer Technician Diploma from Virginia College. He volunteers his time to several charitable organizations including Childcare Resources, Habitat for Humanity, Community Kitchens and the Birmingham Urban League. He is also affiliated with several civic and professional organizations including Virginia Trace Homeowners Association serving as President, Childcare Resources (Past Chairman 2017), The Birmingham Urban League Young Professionals (Past President 2014-15), Birmingham Change Fund and Leadership UAB Class 2010. He is a Chairman of the Birmingham Change Fund and also a member of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church in Birmingham, where he volunteers in various ministries.

     

    Erica Jewel Littleton

    Board Member

    Erica Jewel Littleton is a graduate of Samford University earning a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood, Elementary, and Special Education and master's degree in Educational Leadership. A National Board Certified, she is currently a doctoral student at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. She has worked with Birmingham City Schools in several capacities as well as Midfield City Schools and even a private school. She founded Learning Little People where she helps Alabama's educators continue learning and provides tutoring and enrichment for youth in Birmingham. She has served as the Director o f Educational Advancement for the City of Birmingham in Mayor Randall Woodfin’s office. She volunteers her time as a member of Samford’s Board of Overseers and the Samford School of Education Dean’s Advisory Board.

    Roy S. Johnson

    Board Member

    Roy S. Johnson is a Columnist and Director of Content Development for the Alabama Media Group/AL.com. Roy has served as Director, Sports, and Editor of Birmingham magazine. Now a columnist , his columns regularly appear in AMG’s three print publications--The Birmingham News, Huntsville Times and Mobile Press-Register. He served as Editor-in-Chief of three prominent national magazines: Savoy (conceived and founded), Men’s Fitness and History Channel. He was also a writer and top editor at Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, a reporter for The New York Times and sports columnist at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Executive Producer of the “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search” (NBC) and “Bernie and Ernie” in ESPN’s award-winning 30-for-30 documentary series, he also co-authored biographies with Earvin (Magic) Johnson, Charles Barkley and Avery Johnson.

    Aisha Cooper

    Board Member

    Aisha Cooper resides in Montgomery, Al, with her husband Isaac Cooper and three children. A native of Forkland, Alabama and graduating high school from Demopolis, Al, she studied at Alabama State University receiving a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling at Alabama State University. She is currently working on her doctoral degree in Professional Counseling at Amridge University. She is a licensed counselor in the State of Alabama where she provides counseling services at her private practice. She also serves as the Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of Stevens Home Healthcare Montgomery. She has worked in the mental health and disability field for over 10 years and served as chairperson of the Human Rights Committee with Progressive Healthcare.

    Tawny Stephens

    Fundraiser Committee Chair

    Tawny Stephens is a life and empowerment coach. She received her health and life coach certifications from HCI and is currently enrolled in their mastery program (TCM). Her focus is helping women unlock their confident voice and feel powerful when they stand before a group. Be it through theatre, management, or coaching, she has helped women “find their voice” in a variety of ways: Interview skills, talks, video production, monologue prep, and corporate presentations to name a few. She works with clients 1:1 utilizing inner game and outer game techniques to give them applicable tools to immediately improve their public speaking skills. Tawny brings 20+ years of experience in professional theatre.

  • Arts for EXPRESSION Instructors

    Lydia Graves

    Arts for Expression Instructor of Strokes of Joy

    Lydia is an artist, illustrator, and educator based in Birmingham, Alabama. She received a Bachelor's in Fine Arts from Georgia State University in 2006. Since then, she has exhibited at The Contemporary, Barbara Archer Gallery, and Marcia Wood Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. Lydia started teaching 2017 in Birmingham City Schools. She has helped the district develop a curriculum map for elementary and middle school art programs. In addition, she has facilitated district-wide professional development. Lydia is currently finishing her Master's degree in Art Education at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and she teaches PreK-5th grade at Avondale Elementary School.

    Christi Toyer

    Arts for Expression Instructor of Drama for Expression

    Christi obtained her Bachelors of Art degree in Theater Arts under the direction of Dr. Tommie “Tonea” Stewart. She continued her theatrical training as an intern at the Black Rep Theater, St. Louis, MO, under Founder/Producing Director, Ron Himes. Christi founded Plays on the GO Touring Theatre Company in August of 2007 and made her mark in Birmingham, Al by performing on stages at Birmingham Children’s Theater, Red Mountain Theater, Magic City Actor’s Theater, and Aldridge Repertory Theater.

    Shronda major

    Arts for Expression Instructor of Moving Away from Insecurities

    A native of Birmingham, AL, Shronda received her B.A. in Theater Arts from Alabama State University and currently teaches Theater Arts/Dance at Bush Hills Steam Academy. Her dance experience includes training in West African Dance with Nathifa Dance Co. and Quantum Leaps Dance Co., Jazz and Hip Hop from Alabama State University, and Hip Hop with Dance Trons. Her past and present theater credits range from performances with Birmingham Children’s Theater, Aldridge Theater Company,, Virginia Samford City Equity, Terrific New Theater, Red Mountain Theatre and Encore Gallery.

    Ronique Carter

    Arts for Expression Instructor of Beating Away Anxiety

    Ronique Carter is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and is an accomplished lead percussionist and teacher. Body of work: Drums of West Africa in America, where he studied under the master drummer Eric “Suliman” Rucker. This was the start of his drumming pilgrimage – Pittsburgh, PA. The Shona Sherif African Drum and Dance Ensemble, where he had teachings under Griot Medoune Yacine (Dom) who was the master drummer renowned KanKouran West African Dance Co. Performed in multiple drama productions – Pittsburgh, PA, Columbus, OH and Birmngham, AL.

  • Programs

    Arts for Expression

    Arts for Expression is an interactive community arts program that enables children to engage in
    various modes of fine arts such as drama, painting, arts & crafts, drumming, and dance to explore
    and express their inner selves.
     

    Four Components:
    1st Saturdays: "Drama for Expression" (Drama)
    2nd Saturdays: "Strokes of Joy" (Arts & Crafts/Painting)
    3rd Saturdays: "Beating Away Anxiety" (West African Drumming & Chant)
    4th Saturdays: "Moving Away from Insecurities" (Hip Hop, Jazz & West African Dance)

    Self-Care Sundays

    Self-Care Sundays is an informal interview platform where we have vulnerable conversations
    with dynamic people concerning topics around fine arts, mental health, and wellness. Our goal is
    to normalize these conversations and inspire others to prioritize wellness.

  • FAFL blog

    Thoughts, musings, and ruminations.

    By Alie B. Gorrie   Maybe you have had a friend or family member in the hospital or in a treatment setting who discussed programs like art therapy, music therapy, or even dance/movement therapy…but have you ever heard of arts in health?  Arts in health is a growing field in the United States...
    Meet Our Blogger, Alie B Gorrie.     Alie B. serves as the Community Education Manager at Red Mountain Theatre in  Birmingham, Al.  She received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Belmont University and is  currently working towards her MA in Arts in Medicine from The University of Florida....
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  • F.a.Q

    What does FAFL do?

    We collaborate with local organizations who service at risk students to offer expressive arts services. Our sessions consist of layering fine arts modalities and journaling to increase mindfulness.

    How can we get involved to support the mission of FAFL?

    Thank you so for your interest in FAFL. Please reach out to us at

    fineartsfindlife@gmail.com to discuss collaborative possibilities.

    How can interested adults attend FAFL expressive arts sessions?

    Follow us on social media [IG: @fineartsfindlife and FB: Fine Arts Find Life] to receive updates on community events.

    How can we receive services from FAFL if we are not involved with a partnering

    organization?

    Be on the lookout for upcoming FAFL events via our website fineartsfindlife.org and social media accounts.

  • Partners

  • media

    Fine Arts, Find Life: Teacher Makella Harris Heals Through Music-birmingham times

    The isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown gave many time to reflect. For Makella Moore Harris, it gave her time to “connect with her creative energy on a different level,” she said.

    Birmingham children strengthening mental health through 'Arts for Expression' program-wvtm13

    The lessons are designed to help strengthen their mental health according to Makella Moore Harris, the executive director of a Birmingham-based non-profit called Fine Arts Find Life.

    Positive mental health and conflict resolution for 5th-12th graders

    Birmingham non-profit Fine Arts Find Life is partnering with the YMCA to promote positive mental health and conflict resolution for kids in the 5th through 12th grades, by using expressive arts and education.

    Women Breaking Barriers: Makella Moore Harris, Music and Band Instructor at Putnam Middle School-wvtm13

    In this Project CommUNITY: Women Breaking Barriers, WVTM 13's Carla Wade introduces you to Makella Moore Harris, the Music and Band Instructor at Putnam Middle School in Birmingham. Harris is the founder of 'Fine Arts Find Life,' an organization aimed at positively influencing children in indirect ways, such as through the fine arts.

    Fine arts, find Life: Teacher Makella Harris heals through music-AL.com

    The isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown gave many time to reflect. For Makella Moore Harris, it gave her time to “connect with her creative energy on a different level,” she said.

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