Living for a Purpose | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Living for a Purpose


Footprint Creative Arts Institution founder Margaret Nana Yaa Baker and Executive Director Chiquila M. Pearson.

When Margaret Nana Yaa Baker moved back to her hometown of Jackson in 2002, she was disheartened at the lack of African culture in the area. She wanted to open a place where people could have fun and enjoy learning about their African heritage at the same time. Baker consulted her friend and African dance instructor Chiquila M. Pearson, and opened Footprint Creative Arts Institution in Jackson in February 2008.

"There is a void of things for children to do in Jackson," Baker says.

Footprint is devoted to teaching children about creativity and leadership through dance, song and mass communication. Children can participate in video art and media classes at the JSU e-Center or learn African dance at the Mississippi Basketball and Athletics Center.

One of the goals of the Institution is "to nurture, strengthen and empower the whole child through positive creative expression," its Web site states. Baker's classes vary in size from 20 to 6, and she's willing to work with families to get children involved in cultural activities.

Through the programs, Pearson and Baker want children to "gain respect for oneself and others" and "live for a purpose." Years from now, they would like to pass the torch to generations of children who are presently in the program.

For more info, visit or call 601-750-0452.

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