Writer, stage performer, and visual storyteller, Thandiwe Shiphrah has made it a practice over the past 25 years to share the arts in every community in which she finds herself. She is known in Nashville for creating “poetic happenings” that blend poetry, music, monologue, creative writing, and collage into interactive performances and unconventional workshops. These lively gatherings inspire us to get to know ourselves and our neighbors better. They reflect her love of the arts – particularly poetry – and embolden us to tap into our own creativity and live from the heart. Thandiwe likes living in south Nashville because of its diversity, affordability, and accessibility. “You really get to know your neighbors here. Everyone is very friendly.” She has led several art projects in the Woodbine neighborhood, both independently and in collaboration with her husband, Daniel Arite, with other local artists, and in partnership with churches and cultural institutions in the area. Last year, Thandiwe created a workshop series called Walking in Rhythm and presented it in collaboration with the Global Education Center, which has a satellite studio on Nolensville Pike. Participants used poetry as prompts to explore pedestrian safety issues in south Nashville, to identify traffic hazards, and as a way to share their ideas, perspectives, and experiences with one another. For Thandiwe, it was also an opportunity to tell her neighbors about Fannie Williams, an African American quiltmaker and a lifelong resident of Woodbine who worked tirelessly on behalf of its residents. Just off of Nolensville Pike and Whitsett Road there is a street named in her honor. It is adjacent to Patterson Memorial United Methodist Church, where she was an active member for more than 70 years. “I first learned about Fannie Williams from a fellow member of Woodbine United Methodist Church, shortly after I joined their congregation. I was so inspired by her dedication to this community that I decided to do whatever I could to spread the word about her art and leadership.” Thandiwe is working to complete a video project that showcases the work of several local artists. In it she pays tribute to Fannie Williams in poetry, imagery, and song. “Fannie Williams left a legacy of caring, compassion, and responsibility for the quality of life in this south Nashville neighborhood and in communities beyond it. I want people to know about her and I want them to know how much she contributed to Woodbine.” Another favorite project is The Gemstone Poets Workshop, a program she developed for aspiring writers age 50 and older.