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Teaching artist Vanita Leatherwood is an award-winning poet, storyteller, performer and mixed-media artist, with over 30 years of experience in facilitating expressive arts workshops that inspire creativity, cultivate joy, foster personal discovery and build community.


Ms. Leatherwood holds a B.A. in Mass Communications from Towson University and an M.A. in Transformative Language Arts from Goddard College. She has used her skills as an educator and artist in a variety of venues and fields from teaching poetry to high school students to presenting a poetic performance piece at a 50+ center. Ms. Leatherwood co-authored the READY program, an interactive, performance-based workshop to educate adults and children about sexual abuse and bullying. She served as a member of the DC Safe and Drug Free Schools Advisory Council and was honored by the District of Columbia Public School system for her educational initiatives. She was also honored by Mount Saint Mary’s College for her commitment to the education and motivation of students as founder of the Pathways: Attitudes and Aptitudes Program. Ms. Leatherwood has conducted poetry and wellness workshops for individuals living with mental illness and their family members. In 2018, she was awarded a Governor’s Citation in honor of her contributions to the state of Maryland and our nation. The recipient of multiple arts council awards in the state of Maryland, Ms. Leatherwood is the producer of the award-winning podcast “Transforming Together,” and the playwright for “Telling This Truth” at Slayton House Theatre. In 2019, her work garnered the NAACP Jenkins Odoms Freedom Fighter Award. In 2021 she received “The (S)heroes Award” from the Women’s Giving Circle, presented to women admired or idealized for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. She is the founder and editor Dragonfly arts magazine, celebrating its 10th year of publication. Ms. Leatherwood’s poetry can be found in magazines and anthologies including PegasusThe SheetMotherwitA Starlight Night and Trivia: Voices of Feminism and her book, Scratching the Itch and Other Natural Tendencies. She is a member of the Transformative Language Arts Network and the National Association of Poetry Therapists.


Ms. Leatherwood is the owner/director of The Yes Within, facilitating virtual and in-person workshops for groups as well as sessions for individuals. She enjoys working with adults, helping people find their voice, especially through teaching poetry, mixed-media projects and devised theatre performances. Her work promotes self-reflection, unity, and equity across boundaries of age, class, culture, gender, race and sexual orientation.

Art Forms

Theatre, Visual Arts, Literary Arts

Primary Art Form

Literary Arts

Are you willing to travel for work?

Yes – Up to 50 miles

Are you currently looking for work?


Experience Level


Program Experience

exposure (on-site assembly/off-site field trip), culminating participant experience (performance, exhibition, parent community engagement)

Populations Experience

youth: 18-24, healthcare patients, LGBTQ+, incarcerated adults, older adults

Asset Map Information

Asset Map Address

11007 Farmerfield St.