About Us

Mission

Wacheva Cultural Arts, Inc. (“Wacheva”) was founded to promote the creative and educational development of youth, families, and adults by implementing arts and cultural experiences from around the world in the form of classes, performances, and fostering community.

In today’s climate, it creates a solid, program addressing a pressing community need for unity and understanding in the Central New York community with culturally diverse forms of art disciplines. In all of Wacheva’s classes and events, one can witness children, parents, families, and community members of all backgrounds, heritages, and cultural understandings, uniting to share the joy and experience of each other’s art forms, cultures, and ethnic expressions.,

Purpose, and Goal

Our purpose as a multicultural arts organization is to create programs involving different cultures where the community is able to experience an expansive understanding of many cultures and ethnic artistic traditions. Witnessing  teachers sharing their knowledge with  students is like watering the garden for its survival. It’s a way to immortalize these cultures because humanity can cease to exist, but the traditions remain alive through the voice of others. It is the dream of human understanding, acceptance, and unity to be expressed in our own communities. To continue to build this bridge and to continue to realize this dream, we must support one another. At Wacheva Cultural Arts Inc. we believe that the integration of each culture from around the world, without discrimination, will contribute to the betterment of all mankind and that our goal.

Wacheva is a not-for-profit organization with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.

 

Founder: Biboti Ouikahilo

biboti_founderBiboti Ouikahilo was born in the Kouetinfla Progouri Central West region of the Ivory Coast, West Africa. In December of 1980, Biboti began his professional dance, drum and choreography career with the prominent Ivory Coast National Dance & Drum Company. Touring throughout the world provided Biboti with the opportunity to share his talents in a number of countries such as, Morocco, Germany, Belgium, England, France, Yugoslavia, Italy, Kenya, Spain, Benin, and Mexico.

In 1997, after spending 17 years with the National Dance & Drum Company, Biboti came to the United States and paired up with other artists to create Africa Azolou, a celebratory show of Africa, Brazil and the United States. The success of the company brought the show to Ohio, Chicago and New York City.

New York City became the homeland for his West African teaching styles and techniques. Biboti taught for 6 years at the renowned Djoniba Dance and Drum Center, as well as Abizaid Studio and Lehman College. He worked with young children at Ifetayo Cultural Arts, in Brooklyn, NY. Biboti was also chosen as a lead African drummer for the Jimmy Buffett Summer Tour in 2000-2001. The West African dancer, drummer and choreographer continued to express his artistic abilities in 2002, when he traveled to Hawaii to participate in the Hollywood film “Tears of the Sun,” starring Bruce Willis.

In July, 2003, Biboti moved to Syracuse, NY, where he currently shares his artistic talents with the Central New York community through workshops, classes, performances and lecture/demonstrations. In 1994, Biboti founded Wacheva Cultural Arts in Ivory Coast; in 2004, he revived the organization in Syracuse; and in 2008, Wacheva became incorporated and received a not-for-profit status. In September 2009, Wacheva opened Wacheva Dance and Drum Studio where you can see kids, adults, different cultures, religions, and ethnicities under same roof. ”It is the place for dance and drum in Central New York.”

Biboti’s intention is to share his love, passion and joy for West African dance and drum with the CNY community, uniting and celebrating the diversity of the world’s cultures.
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Board of Directors

Dr. Carol Babiracki, President: Ethnomusicology Professor at Syracuse University
Georgia Popoff, Vice President: Poet, Author, Editor and Teaching Artist
Susy Santiago, Treasurer: Dual masters in social work, and marriage and family therapy at Syracuse University
Nikki Fortier, Secretary: Gradute student at Syracuse University
Caterina Ranieri Graso, Member: Immigration Lawyer
Dr. Sydney Hutchinson
, Member: Ethnomusicology Professor at Syracuse University
Melissa A. Bassett-Graetz,  Member: Syracuse University MA Candidate 2016, Janklow Arts Leadership Program

Biboti Ouikahilo: Executive and Artistic Director of Wacheva Cultural Arts