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Current AiR

Artist-in-Residence: Meet the Artists

The Albemarle County Public Schools Department of Community Engagement is proud to present the current Artist-in-Residence Program artists. These talented individuals represent a broad range of cultural, educational, and technical expertise that ties into our multi-cultural school curriculum. Their focus is to broaden the educational experience students are engaged in by providing them with a more in-depth understanding of the many cultural differences.



Whit Whitten

William "Whit" Whitten

William “Whit” Whitten, founder of the Drum Call Center and director of the ensemble Drum Call and Friends, is lead drummer for Chihamba, a traditional African dance and drum troupe. Whit is also a percussionist with the ensemble Afrikan Drum Festival. Whit has studied with master drummers in North America and West Africa. He was sponsored by the U.S. government to tour Europe with the Cultural Music African Dance Company. Whit is a member of the Virginia Commission of the Arts’ Artist in Educator Residency Program. He is masterful at working with diverse people of all ages. Whit uses his drums and himself as tools to facilitate the building of bridges and creation of harmony within homes, schools, and communities.

Profile and Lesson Plan




Blue O'Connell

Blue O'Connell

A Certified Music Practitioner, singer/songwriter,  guitarist, storyteller and teacher based in Charlottesville, VA. Originally from Chicago, Ms. O’Connell got her start as a professional musician nearly 30 years ago accompanying jazz and wedding singers. Since relocating to Charlottesville in 1989, she began composing her own music and immersed herself in the local music scene. In addition to performing in the acoustic music venues, she was a folk radio announcer at WTJU for 20 years.

Blue O'Connell's website
Blue O'Connell Profile - Lesson Plan

Teachers and Diversity Resource Teachers (DRTs) click here to reserve one of these artists to present lessons to their students.

Sessions should be at least 2 - 3 days allowing the artist to expand his/her knowledge and give the students a hands-on approach that will enable them to understand and become more engaged with the subject matter being taught. For more information, contact Community Engagement at 434 293-0288.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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