Little Black Pearl’s Founder and Executive Director, Monica Haslip, is a compelling voice on behalf of children and the arts. Alabama bred, Monica’s love affair with visual arts began while attending the Alabama School of Fine Arts and continued through her higher education at Atlanta College of Art.

Her desire to highlight the importance of African-Americans in every aspect of life, especially in the arts, was very profound. Her mission resulted in the creation of Little Black Pearl (LBP). The organization, founded in 1994, is an innovative Arts and Culture Institution designed to create positive vehicles for children to thrive. Her philosophy and art practice is anchored by her belief in the power and impact of “Love”.  The primary vision for Little Black Pearl is to serve as a laboratory of human potential. 

Today Little Black Pearl is a premiere Art and Design Center that houses enterprising visual arts studios including pottery, wood, metal, painting, glass, photography and technology/multimedia.  Additionally, LBP houses its Teen Tech Center, a space that allows youth drop-in opportunities for technology and digital media learning.


In 2013 Ms. Haslip expanded Little Black Pearl’s educational initiatives by opening a high school through a Chicago Public Schools contract. Little Black Pearl Art and Design Academy (LBPA) serves a capacity of 200 student’s (grades 9-12) with rigorous academic programming and emphasis in visual arts and technology, music, dance, graphic design and architecture. This vehicle has created an opportunity for Little Black Pearl to operate a district school, allowing a community based organization an impactful role in creating a more effective educational experience for African American youth.


Monica Haslip’s own artwork will be featured as part of the New Standards Installation, Part 1 of Shifting The Narrative: Jazz and Gender Justice opening in the Carr Center Performance Suite on October 14th and running through November 27th. 


To learn more about her work: