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Sunya Folayan 

SunStar Studio founder

Sunya Folayan conducts workshops devoted to healing and works to help the community by using art, dance, and percussion in therapeutic ways.

For many years Folayan worked as a licensed clinical therapist. When she later realized that talking isn't always necessary, she shifted to art. "You can say things through art and music that are beyond words," Folayan says.

At SunStar Studio, Folayan creates primarily abstract pieces using natural fiber. She founded SunStar Studio in 2002. It is a program of the Empowerment Project Inc., a non-profit organization that she also founded, which addresses family and community violence in marginalized families.

Folayan serves as a consultant for the non-profit adoption agency, Another Choice for Black Children.

She works as a teaching artist at schools affiliated with the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center Education Institute, The McColl Center for Visual Art and The Afro-American Cultural Center. She uses her art to teach English, math and science. "I am not teaching the art form. I am using the art form to teach curriculum," says Folayan.

Folayan is a founding member of Garvey Sisay, a chamber music ensemble. She also dances in several West African dance and drum ensembles.

Her art is featured on the cover of A Familiar Renaissance: A Collage of Writings of a Re-Awakening Woman, by Radhia Jaaber. Social, economic and gender aspects are also important to Folayan. "I am an artist, but I am also very much interested in social justice, in the society and world that we live in," she says.

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