Erik O’Neal is an outstanding Cultural Heritage Artist and serves as the Director for the Pan African Cultural Heritage Institute’s Art & Entertainment Program. He took his first formal lesson at the Art Institute of Chicago. He completed his study of art at Southern University, earning a Bachelor of Arts Degree. Erik began his professional art career at the Art Libraries Society of North America (ARLIS). He is a member of the Louisiana Art and Artists’ Guild and the Art Council of New Orleans. Most noteworthy, Erik was a participant in Arts Council of New Orleans “Artist as Entrepreneurs” 2012 work shops. The knowledge gained from his New Orleans arts experience, Erik brought to his position as Director and Educator for the Art & Entertainment Network and will share it with Cultural Heritage Community artists.
Sonja Griffin Evans is an international Cultural Artist born and raised in Beaufort, South Carolina. Growing up in the Lowcountry, which prides itself on its ability to preserve its culture and heritage, has heavily influenced Sonja's artwork, and gives her an uncanny ability to capture the beauty, spirituality and purest representations of the Gullah Sea Island and of African American culture. As a prolific mix media artist, she incorporates items such as tin, wood and other materials in her art. She is also adept at painting the vibrantly colored art on canvas that is acknowledged as the traditional Gullah style; however by applying texture to her canvas and masterful choice of color, she takes her art a step further to convey more depth and feeling. In both mediums, Sonja is careful to express her culture in its purest form. Evans believes that everything that God has created is not only beautiful, but has a purpose and states nothing should be wasted. She further believes she merely holds the paint brush and God ultimately creates the art.