About the artist
Portia Sholar Jackson is a graduate of Arsenal Technical High School of Indianapolis where she credits the Speech team and Drama Department for a rich beginning in the arts. Portia attended Indiana University Bloomington and earned a degree in elementary education and a minor in African- American Studies. Portia discovered storytelling in an unusual way-“she wasn’t deemed talented enough to sing in the church choir, so she was encouraged to do dramatic reading instead.” From that inauspicious beginning, Portia has become one of the best-known storytellers in Indianapolis. The power of her voice and her dramatic interpretations leaves listeners spellbound as she makes the words of legendary black women like Harriet Tubman and Mary McLeod Bethune take on new meaning. Storytelling has allowed Portia to weave her two loves of teaching and the arts into a successful career. This very talented artist has founded and directed a traveling Storytelling troupe The Freedom Train that has currently 12 members. The troupe presents stories to audiences of all ages throughout the country and emphasizes such topics as cultural awareness, self-esteem, decision-making skills, and American history.