For more than 30 years Portia White has worked in the arts as a performing artist and arts administrator. Portia was introduced to dance at an early age by her Mother, and took her first dance class with Louisville’s legendary Jewel K. McNari, owner of Louisville's first Black owned dance studio located in the Parkland neighborhood. She paved the way for Anita Neal Rocknettes and Portia’s own dance school, Genesis Arts Kentucky, Inc. After Ms. McNari retired Portia continued classes at Courtney School of Dance and began taking dance training seriously. By high school, she was studying with the late Myreon Taylor, Margie Castleman, Louisville Ballet and dancing with the ballet’s civic company under Helen Starr and Alun Jones. In the early 1980’s, Portia worked with Jowale Willa Jo Zollar, founder of Urban Bush Women, while a member of the dance cast of “The Death of Black & White” by playwright Judyie Al-Bilali and performed at Actor's Theatre.
Portia relocated to New York City where she studied with The Ailey School, Fred Benjamin of Broadway Dance Center, Eleo Pomare and Forces of Nature Dance Company. She was a program auditor for the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) where she wrote reviews of dance workshops and performances. Since this early introduction to arts administration, Portia has held leadership roles as Box Office Manager at Crossroads Theatre Company in New Jersey; Director of Community Arts Education for Kentucky Performing Arts; Education Director and Modern Dance Instructor for Louisville Ballet; Manager of Arts Programs for Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation; and manager of the inaugural Imagine Mural Festival in Smoketown.
Portia’s passion is to share with students of every age, all of the wonderful things that the arts can do - educate, inspire and improve quality of life.
Gwendolyn Murphy was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. She is a fiber and clay artist who has exhibited her art throughout the region. Gwen has a BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in ceramics from the University of Louisville, and has completed post baccalaureate courses in textile surface design, printmaking, and art for elementary and high school students.
Gwen’s exhibitions include, Art on the Square in Corydon, Indiana; Bardstown Art Fair; Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky; Prospect Art Fair in Prospect, Kentucky; Cherokee Tryangle Art Festival, Belknap Festival and Garvin Gate Blues Festival in Louisville, Kentucky.
For over 25-years Gwen has been a visual art instructor with students ranging age 2 to 102. She has taught for Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, Americana Community Center for a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funded project, Kentucky Performing Arts ArtsReach Program, and Louisville Ballet’s NEA funded “Lambarena Project.”
Gwen has been a Production Artist for Louisville Stoneware, Artistic Director for the Kentucky Theater Project and Program Manager and Instructor for Louisville Metro Government Studio 2000 Art Employment Program.
In addition to her work with Genesis Arts Enrichment Center Gwen is a Special Events Associate with Legacies Unlimited. She has a daughter, Neena and grandson Alijah.