Hood Huggers Founder and CEO
DeWayne Barton (B-Love) is the Founder & CEO of Hood Huggers International, an organization which offers sustainable strategies for building support pillars for systemically marginalized neighborhoods, providing a framework for community capacity building while increasing the effectiveness of existing service programs. These strategies incorporate the arts, environmental education and social enterprise. A sculptor and poet, Barton combines his creative practice with community activism. Born in Asheville, NC, Barton grew up in Washington, D.C. and is a Gulf War Veteran. He is the author of two books of poetry, Urban Nightmare Silent Screams and Return to Burton Street, and has been involved in community improvement and youth development for over 20 years.
As a visual and performing artist, Barton is involved in justice issues — both through his art and his community involvement. His mixed-media, found-art installations have been featured at Duke University, Smithsonian Institute’s Museum of African American History and Culture, Upstairs Gallery, and August Wilson Museum as part of Affrilachian Artist Project. Barton is co-founder of the Burton Street Community Peace Gardens and serves on the African American Heritage Commission, CoThinkk, and the City of Asheville Neighborhood Advisory Board. He is the co-founder of Green Opportunities, a job training program designed to prepare Asheville area youth and adults for “green-collar” careers