Arts Presenters: Baraka Sele

Baraka SeleBaraka Sele is Assistant Vice President of Programming and Curator of the World Festival at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. She has also held senior positions at 651 Arts Center, the Yerba Buena Arts Center and the Houston International Festival.

In this interview Baraka talks about her curatorial process, why it is essential to look at the performing arts as a business, and why you should go to the Fes World Festival of Sacred Music in Morocco.

This interview is part of an ongoing series with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters.

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10 Responses to “Arts Presenters: Baraka Sele”

  1. K. Mensah Wali
    May 31st, 2008 11:41

    What a pleasant surprise this morning. Baraka I agree 100% with having the experience before presenting it, that is what I did when I was at the IAAF in Brooklyn.
    The Fez festival is on our radar.
    Much love,respect and blessings for continued success.
    Eyes,ears and mind w i d e open, Mensah

  2. Rhodessa Jones
    June 1st, 2008 23:08

    She is smart! I have had the great privilege of being presented by her in SF. She has also been a great mentor for me when I was Artistic Director for SF International Festival. Baraka is a gift to the arts in America and the world! She is so very informed and a great teacher in the arts and all it workings.

  3. Bill
    June 8th, 2008 08:14

    Baraka as “Hero of the Week”

    See the recent blog:

    Do let us know about all the other heroes doing such great work!

  4. Miriam Gibson
    July 5th, 2008 13:20

    You are doing such excellent work. Yes you are definitely making a difference in the performing arts field & especially in Newark. We are coming to Atlanta for Arts Festival and would like to contact you. Have not been able to find your email. I am a senior citizen from Houston who grew up in dance classes in Cleveland ohio. We would love to contact you asp. Looking forward to hearing from you.

    January 3rd, 2009 22:33

    Hello Baraka,
    Long time no see or hear,(April 14, 1995) I just found a letter you sent to me, (your new friend at that time) resigning your position at Yerba Buena Center. In finding this letter, it led me to find you and I did. I was at the time of our meeting a Event Producer. I was included in the “hard hat” tour of the center. The most interesting occurrences was meeting you. I am sure that you have many friends and people since then. This finding you was great because I would like you to come to Memphis on Feb 4to 8 to listen to my daughter Suze Sims and the Red Hot Blues Sisters. No, I will not send you a press kit. However, you may wish to check out their web site. or the Anyway, they are semi-finalists in the International Blues Challenge.

    I was a professional classical modern dancer and at the time we met, I was so excited to see the sub-floor of the stage at the YB theater because it was a sprung floor. I did not have that when I danced.

    I hope that you will take a chance and call me.
    415 386-0225 or 415)407-6920 - cell.

    Looking forward. Peace and Blessings to you.

    Be well and safe. Happy New Year

    Fondly, Margo Sims

  6. Virginia Alber-Glanstaetten
    January 8th, 2009 20:04

    this has made my week.
    thank you, Baraka.

  7. PEB
    March 10th, 2009 22:44

    PC….uh, Baraka… You are the best.

    “Because ivory can not let go of life,
    It is the elephant who knows he must die.”


  8. Baraka Sele
    April 8th, 2009 18:37

    Miriam, Margo, Virginia, Philip . . . My dear friends, I had not looked at this blog/podcast/website since June 2008!!! . . . Luckily the folks at KADMUS ARTS alerted me to the recent emails/responses . . . What an unexpected and pleasant surprise to hear from folks I have not heard from or seen for years! I don’t know if you will ever take the time to look at this site again-But if you do please call me at NJPAC 973 642 8989 ext 5802 and I will share my email address . . . All the best to all of you . . . warmest regards, Baraka Sele (much affection to Virginia and Philip)

  9. Julie Wiehl
    May 2nd, 2009 10:42

    Hello Ms. Sele,

    I am working with an amazing group from NYC, the Altino Brothers who are a classically trained piano duo originally from Haiti. One piano virtuoso in a family is rare but two is pretty much unheard of: Nerva and Robenson are that rarity. They have performed in Lincoln Center, Woolsey Hall, Christian Cultural Center, the Congressional Medal of Honor Ceremony for the Tuskeegee Airman and other prestigious venues to excellent reviews.

    This past November, Nerva Altino composed and directed an original cantata that debuted at the Riverside Church to over 1700 in attendance.
    They are at the place in their careers where they need a break and more exposure. They offer 3 types of multi-genre perfomances: as a piano duo, as The Altino Brothers and Friends with a small ensemble and talented soloists, and a large concert performance with their 100 person chorale and orchestra.

    I would love the opportunity to talk or meet with you about them. Please call me at (908)996-6033 or email me at

    Their website is

    I hope to talk with you soon. Thank you.

    Julie Wiehl

  10. wow power leveling
    September 14th, 2009 02:53

    This is great! It really shows me where to expand my blog. I think that sometime in the future I might try to write a book to go along with my blog, but we will see…Good post with useful tips and ideas

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