The founder and president of Elegba Folklore Society, Inc., Omilade (oh-
mee-lah-DEH) Janine (Jan [like tan] neen) Bell is an artist, a producer, an arts administrator, and a cultural historian. From its downtown Richmond, Virginia cultural center, the Society is an African-centered cultural art and education non-profit that intends to build bridges within the African Diaspora.

Bell created and produces the Society’s annual events including Juneteenth: A Freedom Celebration, the Down Home Family Reunion, A Celebration of African American Folklife, and the Capital City Kwanzaa Festival. Elegba Folklore Society also offers a menu of cultural history tours including, In the Beginning... Virginia, Along the Trail of Enslaved Africans that Ms. Bell created and interprets in the ensemble.

The Society presents performances of African dance, music, and theatre at home and on tour as well as engagement in the visual arts and material culture, where Ms. Bell curates and performs. Elegba Folklore Society is operating in its 31st year.

Ms. Bell holds a degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a recipient of UNC’s Harvey E. Beech Outstanding Alumna Award, the Teresa Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts, the Belle Women in the Arts Award, the 2019 Richmond History Maker Award, and recognition as a 2020 Person of the Year by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta. From the Yoruba (YOUR - ruh - bah) cosmology of West Africa, Elegba is the Orisa (or – REE - shah) or intercessor who opens the roads bringing clarity out of confusion. Elegba Folklore Society hopes its programs and services are indeed road-opening experiences for its audiences.

Embrace the Spirit!