The Kuumba Institute


The Kuumba Institute at Ashé commits to always do as much as we can, in every way we can, in order to leave our communities more beautiful and beneficial than they were when we inherited them. It is our goal to inspire students to use culture and the arts to help develop their power of expression, and to encourage the building of relationships within the community and throughout the world. Life is the inspiration of our art; and our artistic expressions should inspire our lives, as well as those in the community and throughout the world. We want to feed the cultural and artistic realm giving students fluency in various art forms, so they may be able to use art to work with life's challenges. We emphasize the importance of developing our community with culture and creativity by exposing students to culture and the arts and enhancing their ability to be creative thinkers. Our goal is to enhance the academic curriculum by integrating the arts. We teach the values of respect and discipline to establish a system of peer support.  Students are urged taught to express themselves verbally, while appreciating the expressions of others. 


Kuumba Drum Workshops

Saturday Classes - February 9 through April 2019

9:00 - 11:00 AM

Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., New Orleans

Only $30 Per Month!

Students will receive breakfast, a snack,

and will perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

The Kuumba Institute Program

Our program, which serves students ages 6-16, offers specialized training in: visual arts, dance, photography, poetry, arts and crafts, drama and African drumming.  In addition to providing our students with various means of artistic expressions in a classroom setting, we also expose them to outside resources.  Our students have participated in numerous field trip experiences, visiting institutions and places of interest throughout the city.  Students are provided with breakfast, lunch and a snack, daily.

Classes are held at Ashé Power House, 1731 Baronne Street, NOLA 70113.

YOUTH SATURDAY PROGRAM: Classes are held on Saturdays from 8:30 AM - 3:30 PM throughout the year during the Winter, Spring and Fall.  Tuition applies. 

YOUTH SUMMER PROGRAM: For seven (7) weeks throughout the summer, classes are held Monday through Friday 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM.

7-week Session: The summer program starts the first week in June 4 and runs for seven weeks.

YOUTH KWANZAA PROGRAM: This program is held over the Christmas/New Year Holiday. Each session is concluded with a culminating experience where students share with family, friends and the community, artistic expressions which are created from instructional inspiration. Students are also invited by other community organizations to perform and showcase their works in progress. They have performed at the Jazz Fest, the Umoja Fest, Celebration of the Young Child, the Maafa, Central City Festival, Louisiana Children's Museum, and Holiday on the Boulevard, to name a few.

The Kuumba Curriculum

Our curriculum is designed to enhance the academic curriculum by arts integration. By incorporating Louisiana Benchmarks and Content Standards in our planning and curriculum, it allows our focus of integrated arts education to complement what the students already receive in their school settings. Through discussion, interactive activity and reflection we encourage students to consciously define and embody their identity as community-involved and culturally-aware individual scholars. The curriculum allows youth to view themselves as members of a larger social and cultural community, one that is rich in history and tradition.

This curriculum has many developmental goals including values clarification, the encouragement of positive attitudes and behavior in both academic and social settings; a greater commitment to extra-curricular and community involvement; identification of creative capacities and stronger connections to family and community.

The inspiration for our work with students in the Kuumba Institute is the Nguzo Saba--the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or guideposts for culturally conscious living. Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits” in Swahili, is an African-American and Pan-African celebration that was established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a scholar and social activist. Kwanzaa celebrates African harvest and is based on the beliefs and values of traditional African customs. It is an annual celebration that begins on December 26 and lasts for seven days. This holiday encourages African-Americans to look back at their heritage and remember their roots.

The goal of Kwanzaa is to put the “seven principles” into practice in daily life.  A principle is a rule or law that governs conduct in given situations. The Nguzo Saba principles emphasize basic standards of behavior for people of African descent. These values in general, stress family, community and culture, and speak to the best of what it means to be African and human in the deepest and fullest sense. 


UMOJA (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

KUJICHAGULIA (Self-determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

UJIMA (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our sisters’ and brothers’ problems our problems and to solve them together.

UJAMAA (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.

NIA (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

KUUMBA (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

IMANI (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.