Chapel Hill Laureate | CJ Suitt

About The Program

In November of 2019, the Town of Chapel Hill appointed artist, educator, and activist CJ Suitt as the first Laureate of the community. The Laureate program aims to deepen the relationship of the arts and foster connections by being an amabassador for the community. The Chapel Hill Laureate engages in activities that enhance the presence of the arts in the social and civic life.  A primary duty of this position is to provide space and opportunity for the sharing and performance of the arts. This position is a two-year term.

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About CJ Suitt

CJ Suitt (he/him/they/them) is a performance poet, arts educator, and community organizer from Chapel Hill, N.C., whose work is rooted in storytelling and social justice.

CJ co-directed, produced, and starred in a historical reenactment of the 1947 Freedom Rides, performed at many national and local music festivals, including Gnarnia, Shakori Hills and Bonnaroo, and acted in a production of Hands Up: 6 Playwrights, 6 Testaments.

His career as an educator has allowed him to work with young people awaiting trial at the Durham Youth Home, older inmates whose voices have been silenced within the Orange County Correctional Facility, and high school and college-aged men pushing to redefine masculinity in their schools and communities. Additionally, he has collaborated with organizations such as Transplanting Traditions, Benevolence Farm, and Growing Change on the intersection of storytelling and food justice.

CJ most recently was appointed as the first Poet Laureate of Chapel Hill. He is committed to speaking truth to power and aims to be a bridge for communities who can’t always see themselves in each other.


Get to know Chapel Hill's Laureate

Get to know CJ Suitt

Carrboro Poet Laureate Fred Joiner asked CJ to explain his poetry and his vision for his role as Chapel Hill Laureate.

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"I want to open up more pathways for artists to work together in the city of Chapel Hill. "