Zola Barnes

Oberlin College

Zola Barnes, a fourth-year student at Oberlin College and Conservatory, is a leader in promoting the accessibility of the arts and in building relationships between Oberlin College students and the broader community through the arts. Zola sees the arts as a vehicle to connect people across divides, and in 2016 she worked with a group of arts organizations in Oberlin to create a unified programming calendar. This year Zola served as a teaching assistant for the community-based learning course Ethnomusicology as Activism, working closely with students to help them develop and implement projects that were sustainable and ethical in their approach. She has a particular passion for working with youth and ensuring that children in public schools have meaningful opportunities to engage with diverse forms of music and art.

Carmen Ambar
President
Oberlin College

Personal Statement

Growing up I was lucky enough to have access to an amazing arts education from Baltimore City Public Schools. I will always be grateful for that access, which I know not everyone has. Since coming to Oberlin I have been able to engage in a number of music-based community learning projects with Oberlin City residents. Going to school in Oberlin, a school within a larger city community, allowed me the wonderful opportunity to share the art that was so crucial to my own education and development. While at Oberlin I have worked with the newly formed Oberlin Arts organization to compile a comprehensive Arts Calendar, allowing more community members to know about, and access art events. I was also welcomed into Oberlin's Prospect Elementary School and Langston Middle School to conduct music workshops with various groups of students. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to engage with Oberlin's young students and share with them some of the art that has made such a difference for me and so many others. I look forward to continuing this musical journey, and working so that Oberlin Public School students have greater access to free and approachable music and arts education.

Zola Barnes
Bachelor of Music, Vocal Performance, Bachelor of Arts, Anthropology, and Minor in Ethnomusicology: Class of 2019
written 2018

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