Kúkátónón broadens awareness of African and African American cultural traditions and fosters appreciation and respect for similarities and differences between cultures. We provide arts, cultural and music opportunities to underserved youth in Portland’s low-income communities. Participants gain increased body awareness, physical health, and self-confidence. In addition to our Gala Fundraiser in May and Annual Performance at SEI in June, various performances are held at schools, universities and at public events throughout the school year.
It was with the dream of educating young minds about African traditions and bringing people together across cultural lines through her life’s passion that Rolia Manyongai-Jones, an immigrant from rural Liberia and a teacher in the Portland Public Schools, founded Kúkátónón. During the past 30 years, our unique artistic program has engaged hundreds of thousands of audience members. Our troupe is made up of approximately 35 schoolchildren, ages 7-12, from Woodlawn Elementary, Rosa Parks Elementary, SEI, and other elementary schools in Northeast Portland.