Shirlette Ammons may currently live and create in Durham, but the musician, poet, and producer says her childhood in Beautancus, a tiny town in eastern North Carolina, deeply shaped her artistry.
"We didn't have a lot of money but we had a lot of space, and we were really imaginative," says Shirlette, who grew up singing in church and performing to fields of corn with her twin Shorlette. "I was always inclined to be creative and was always encouraged to be outside. So I grew up with a wonderful backdrop for being a creative person."
Because of her experiences in rural North Carolina, Shirlette is a passionate advocate for rural arts education. She explains why here:
Shirlette is no stranger to public funding for the arts. The N.C. Arts Council awarded Shirlette an Artist Fellowship in 2014, and she's received grants from the Durham Arts Council and the United Arts Council. She reflected on her N.C. Arts Council Fellowship in this episode of Arts Across NC: