Linda Thomas Jones

Linda Thomas Jones is considered one of the founding mothers of female African
drumming in the United States. She began her career in drumming at the age of 18 as
a dance major at Case Western Reserve University. She studied African drumming both
in Ghana and with world-renowned Nigerian drummer Babatunde Olatunji and Dr.
Charles Davis. In 1980, Thomas Jones created The lmani African-American Dance
Company in Cleveland which taught African, modern, improvisational, and children’s
creative dance classes to the local community. As a community art educator she is
skilled in designing and producing community performances using African culture as
an educational tool. After accumulating over 47 years of teaching experience in public,
private, and institutional settings she has recently developed a program called “Girls
and Grandmas Drumming Together.” The female mentoring program, for girls and
women between the ages of 8 and 100, is centered on drumming and is designed to
encourage healthy growth in youth while stimulating their creative abilities.

Ohio Heritage Fellowship Information
Linda Thomas Jones received a 2017 Ohio Heritage Fellowship for Performing Arts.
As an accomplished musician, she has dedicated her talent to help children and adults
go beyond their perceived limitations. Her kind and nurturing disposition combined
with her strength and enthusiasm creates an atmosphere conductive for her students
to reach their full creative potential. She believes an effective teacher must provide
and maintain a positive and supportive learning environment. This type of
atmosphere facilitates both group and individual student’s growth. As a teacher and
artist her aim is to create a supportive yet dynamic environment that address the
learning style of all students and encourage them to participate. She is committed to
helping students explore their artistic abilities as well as providing them with the
necessary tools to assist them in becoming better human beings.

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