50 for 50: Shirlette Ammons

Story by Sandra Davidson

Monday, October 16, 2017

Shirlette Ammons may currently live and create in Durham, but the musician, poet, and producer says her childhood in Beautancus, a tiny town in eastern North Carolina, deeply shaped her artistry.

"We didn't have a lot of money but we had a lot of space, and we were really imaginative," says Shirlette, who grew up singing in church and performing to fields of corn with her twin Shorlette. "I was always inclined to be creative and was always encouraged to be outside. So I grew up with a wonderful backdrop for being a creative person."

Because of her experiences in rural North Carolina, Shirlette is a passionate advocate for rural arts education. She explains why here:





Shirlette is no stranger to public funding for the arts. The N.C. Arts Council awarded Shirlette an Artist Fellowship in 2014, and she's received grants from the Durham Arts Council and the United Arts Council. She reflected on her N.C. Arts Council Fellowship in this episode of Arts Across NC:


Learn more about Shirlette here.



Sandra Davidson

Sandra Davidson is the marketing and communications director of the North Carolina Arts Council, where she curates, produces, and develops content that highlights the diversity and vitality of the arts in our state. Trained as a folklorist, she is a practicing photographer and multimedia storyteller who lives in Durham.


In honor of the North Carolina Arts Council’s 50th anniversary, 50 renowned artists with North Carolina roots reflected on how our state shapes their work and why public funding for the arts matters. These interviews were conducted in 2017 and 2018.

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