Artist, Educator, Cultural Worker, Social Justice Advocate
I am a Cultural Worker, educator, and social justice advocate. I believe that creative collaboration is at the root of change-making. I utilize the following creative strategies: applied design, collaborative practices, public art, public pedagogies, civic engagement, social justice, storytelling, advocacy through the arts, participatory media, social media, GIS mapping, data collection, research, social media and storytelling. I founded a public resources and information network called the Social Practices Art Network. I was recently an Artist in Residence with the NYC Department of Veteran Affairs and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. And I recently was the 2016 Artist in Residency at the Women Have Wings Residency. This program is an international art residency functioning as a laboratory of conversation and engagement. Each year WHWr invites one global activist from the WHW Courage Awards and one United States-based socially engaged artist. This is a residency connecting artists with global activists creating networks that expand each year.
Take a tour through some of the things I have done.
The NYC Mayors Office of Veterans Affairs and NYC Department of Cultural Affairs have announced a new residency that will place the artist collective Social Design Collective (SDC) in the Harlem Vet Center. SDC will work with female veterans at the center on a range of socially-engaged art interventions, bringing them closer to the services and resources offered by the center. The residency is being supported by private funding from the David Rockefeller Fund through the Mayors Fund to Advance New York City and public funding from the Department of Cultural Affairs.
3 years ago, Nulawlab began as a start up organization embedded within a law school. Hired because of my creative and social justice background. Within three years we gained international recognition and several national awards. Use design methodologies to identify and cultivate new approaches to transform legal education, the legal profession, and the delivery of legal services. Generated cross-sector partnerships and designing interdisciplinary projects. Worked with a team of designers/coders to envision, develop, design, test and launch NULAWMaps, a new GIS mapping platform blending data with storytelling. Our Webby-nominated NuLawMaps platform was recently used by the Raoul Wallenberg Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law to map informal settlement evictions in Sweden, and by the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health to map ten years of workplace deaths. Both projects exemplify the use of digital media to tell the human stories behind legal disempowerment. Used competitive intelligence to identify marketing needs and recommend marketing tactics and strategies as they for the Lab’s and law school’s current and future educational program.Researched charitable prospects, forged new relationships with potential funders and expanded our partnerships with MIT Open Docs Lab, Rev Studio, Legal Service Corporation, MassCosh, SNELL Digital Scholarship Group, Brazilian Immigrant Center and Veteran Service Organizations across the USA. Strategically built alliances on the Northeastern campus and at the College of Art Media and Design. These new contacts offer the lab a new pool of interdisciplinary academics and design professionals to collaborate with as we forge ahead with the implementation of new projects and research inquiries.Our lab was nominated as a finalist for the HiiL Innovating Justice Awards and Living Wage Innovation Challenge 2014.
SDC grew out of an earlier creative project conducted in the City of Santa Ana. The Social Design Collective LLC, an art and design team comprised of artists, architects, media professionals and educators, using our
creativity to generate long-term community, public and social benefits. Our goal for the StoryCircle project
was to create cross-sector partnerships between community organizations, academic institutions, residents,
youth and local municipalities. In 2012/2013, SDC was awarded a $100,000 art commission funded by
Related LA and the City of Santa Ana. As an aspect of this community engaged public art project we worked
with Garfield Elementary School to provide an arts based curriculum to 700 elementary school students. I
worked closely with the local community to define the scope and shape of my project. I hired and managed artists, arts educators and co-developed an arts curriculum for the elementary school. I also worked with fabricators, photographers, city planners, architects to build and install a public artwork. StoryCircle, our
public art project was installed and reached completion in July 2013.
In 2011, I launched (SPAN), Social Practices Art Network, a resource for individuals, organizations,
community groups and institutions that are interested in new genre arts forms and practices. (SPAN)
conducts research as practice. We also do outreach to artists, art communities and colleagues around the
globe. Interviews and podcasts have been conducted with artists from around the globe. We facilitate an
online community dialogue consisting of over 2000 global users. In 2014, (SPAN) launched an international
research project focused on the needs of socially engaged and community engaged artists. The (SPAN)
collective developed an international survey and study that has reached and engaged over 500 artists from
around the globe that participate in socially engaged art practices. For the survey, (SPAN) partnered with
Open Engagement, Arts Quest (a programme of University of the Arts London, an educational charity), and
DotToDot (UK) Arts. *Note: There are two other individuals working as active researchers, curators and
contribute to the ongoing collective research efforts of (SPAN). As a collective we plan to share, publish and
present the results of the survey along with our research partners mentioned above.
This Perspectives section in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy will explore how artists, curators,
cultural workers, designers, and educators activate what Homi K Bhabha, has defined as a thirdspace; a
space created so that cross-disciplinary relationships and collaborations can flourish. For the purposes of
this proposal abstract we are defining a third space as a site of learning formed when educational, artistic,
creative, and other cultural practices intersect and move outside traditional paradigms and norms. As such, these third space practices are in effect hybrid practices which are often collaborative and encourage cross- disciplinary dialogue and citizen engagement. Third spaces and hybrid practices create neutral zones that
encourage open exchanges of ideas from a range of perspectives. For this Perspectives, we will focus
specifically on ways in which artists, designers, and educators create, inhabit, and use third spaces to navigate the liminal boundaries that exist among artistic production, participatory design, education, social
justice, economic justice, ecology, and conflict resolution.
As a cultural worker, I have developed an extensive number of partnerships with a range of community
groups and cultural organizations. I have networked and developed relationships with city officials, arts
institutions, funders and associations I have solid grant writing and fund development skills and, I am also
capable of generating successful final reporting to national arts councils and other types of funders. I have
managed contractors, performers, organizations and staff members. I have applied for various city permits. I
have created and managed performer databases and artist contracts. I have conducted a board/staff visioning
retreats and organizational reviews. I have conducted board development and recruitment. I have maintained
budgets, cash flows and payroll. I have developed opportunities on a local, national and international scale.
In 2012, I was given an initial $11,000 grant to work with the Grand Central Art Center, a Southern California contemporary art institution with a mission focused on creating collaborative and mutually
beneficial outcomes through creative process. The Artist-in-Residence program provided me with a
dedicated apartment and studio to work in thus provided me with time and space away from my normal
work environment and community, creating the opportunity for expanded collaboration, exchange, growth,
resources, knowledge and discovery. For an aspect of my residency, I worked as a community organizer,
project advisor, researcher and media mentor for The Raitt St. Chronicles: A Survivors Oral History. In a
team structure, we co-developed an oral histories project that dealt with stories of the survivors of violence, in a neighborhood known as the Townsend District in Santa Ana. This was designed through a collaboration with the Santa Ana Public Library Teen Space program young historians and Sharon Sekhon PhD,
Professor, CSUF American Studies. We received a $10,000 California Community Stories Grant to initiate
the project. This grant was raised in addition to the artists fee I was given to as resident artist. As a critical aspect of my residency, I conducted outreach to and developed working relationships with the City of Santa
Ana, SACReD - Santa Ana Collaborative for Responsible Development, El Centro Cultural de Mexico, the
Mayday Coalition, the Kennedy Commission, OC OCCORD, Santa Ana Public Library, United Artist of
Santa Ana and Garfield Elementary School. This residency led to another grant in the form of public art
commission within the City of Santa Ana. During my residency, I created the Social Design Collective LLC
to help administer a $100,000 public art commission.
This was a residency with dLux Media Arts. For this project, I was given a grant to work with the DLUX
team in Australia. DLux is one of Australias key screen and media arts organizations, committed to
supporting the development, engagement and experience of contemporary screen and digital media
culture. Their program and activities include research into emerging technologies and media arts practices,
partnership development between public and private sector, curation and touring of digital media arts exhibitions and digital skill development and inclusion. DLux Media Arts was the successful recipient of
the Australia Council, Community Partnerships Initiative allowing the program to extend into the beginning
of 2017. More here: http://www.dlux.org.au/cms/dLab/dlab-national-program.html. As an organization,
Dlux develops partnerships, which contribute to new opportunities for digital media practitioners locally
and in remote and disadvantaged communities through social media and software technologies. For this
project, we took a mobile digital lab to hard to reach youth in regional Australia. The program traveled to
four primary regional locations: WaggaWagga, Broken Hill, the Blue Mountains, Wilcania, Darwin, and
varied communities on the outskirts of Sydney. In Australia, I worked with local agencies arts councils and
community groups to schedule and plan for the workshops. I also worked with Dr. Gareth Jenkins of Save
Our Children (Australia) on the Mobile Youth Van (M.Y.Van). This provides young people living in remote,
isolated and marginalized communities with access to culturally appropriate and educational activities
specifically designed for their age and community. http://www.dlux.org.au/cms/images/mediarelease/dLab
For this research and teaching contract, I acted as a research and fund-raising consultant for the roll-out of
the first Media Excellence Program for Native American Public and Community Radio Producers. I worked
with Dr. Traci L. Morris and with NPM founder/Director, Loris Taylor. I was a co-teacher and night lab
instructor for the Media Excellence Program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. I also co-wrote the
online digital journalism curriculum for this Media Excellence Program, which was a 3-credit college course
at the Institute of American Indian Arts. Native Public Medias signature Media Excellence Program was
designed to help bridge the media and digital divides in Indian Country. The program included the Annual
Native Media Summit, the Digital Journalism and Storytelling Intensive, Station Services and the Native Media Landscape Report. The participants learn how the platforms of print, video, audio, new media, and
more can be effectively and creatively employed to tell important stories; including practical skills such as
equipment use, digital editing and production, basic reporting techniques, and best practices that journalists
and citizen storytellers face when employing new media in their reporting work and while engaging new
technologies that will empower themselves and their communities with voice. This intensive encourages the
Native American perspective and storytelling in tribal languages. I created an interactive WIKI platform that
supported in class learning. I also created student handbook and class tutorial.
For this writing contract, I wrote and published an article for Issue 46 spring / summer 2012 Food for
Thought. This issue explored the theme of Food for Thought and how what we eat affects public art (and
vice versa) on a global scale. The publication covers the topic from a holistic lens of the entire food cycle
revealing how public artists address the topics of growing and raising our food within fragile ecosystems, the infrastructure of the global food business, the culture of eating and sharing food within our communities, and
ultimately the politics that influence our food system again, all from the angle of how public artists shape
and communicate these processes to their audiences. Released and Published: June 2012
I was the studio manager to the large studio practice of artist Lauren Bon. Metabolic Studio was physically
located in a warehouse situated in East Los Angeles but our projects occurred in various sites in Los Angeles and around the globe. I was responsible for managing the facility and the LA studio team.I served as a studio liaison and reported to various Annenberg Foundation representatives, staff members, the legal
team, the trustee, and community members. I provided studio leadership; work with Annenberg Foundation
Senior Managers and Financial Officers. I managed external and internal studio contracts and vendor contracts. I reported on budget, cash flow, and payroll. I participated in community based philanthropic
giving through community grant-making a community outreach on behalf of the Trustee. As a member of
the studios unique design team, I worked with the artist to implement and produce her creative vision and
to raise awareness regarding the challenges of returning soldiers and to share the historic significance of the
VA grounds, the Studio created a living sculpture and hands-on experience that includes veterans and the community at large. The project called Strawberry Flag was a response to and in support of the enormous
population of veterans, the largest in the U.S., who live in the greater Los Angeles area. LA veterans worked
on various aspects of Strawberry Flag which included tending to the growth of the plants, harvesting,
preserving and packaging the fruit. Veterans from the VA Compensated Work Therapy program and the
VA Domiciliary, and other groups are instrumental with all parts of this project. As the studio manager, I
developed key external art world relationships with the College of Fine Arts (COFA), National University of
New South Wales, NIEA the National Institute for Experimental Arts, Sydney Australia, Otis College of Art
and Design, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Miscellaneous Productions (founded by Elaine Carol, Jules Rochielle and a volunteer board of directors)-
We worked with youth and elders using models of anti-racism and anti-violence training combined with
community based art as a vehicle for social change. All projects were created in collaborate with community. Sited in Promising Practices for Addressing Youth Involvement in Gangs Research Report prepared by
Mark Totten, PH.D April 2008 In support of the Strategy, Preventing Youth Gang Violence in BC: A
Comprehensive and Coordinated Provincial Action Plan Appendix B: Promising Canadian Gang Prevention
and Intervention Initiatives (revised and updated list based upon as a Primary Prevention Programs 2003
2006 B.C. primary prevention initiatives (educational videos, primary and secondary classroom education,
parent information, community collaboration) http://www.pssg.gov.bc.ca/crimeprevention/shareddocs/pubs/
-I served 1 year of service at FSGV. During my time I created and implemented a branding strategy to assist
FSGV in gaining national accreditation with National Family Services Corporation. Co-developed printed
and online communication materials for 40 programs. Raised resources for various FSGV youth programs.
Participated in a National Family Services Conference. I participated in strategic revisiting of FSGV during
challenging funding cutbacks. I networked with and developed relationships with community groups and
associations. I created two agency wide annual reports with the FSGV management team. I conducted site
visits with programs supported by Family Services of Greater Vancouver. I managed and attended to the
day-to-day administrative duties. I reported weekly to a Senior Management team, Chief Financial Officer
and incumbent Executive Director.
Take a look at a few of my favorite projects I’ve started or been a part of during the course of my career.
The Perspectives section in the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy explored how artists, curators, cultural
workers, designers, and educators activate what Homi K Bhabha, has defined as a thirdspace; a space created
so that cross-disciplinary relationships and collaborations can flourish.
In 2012/2013, SDC was awarded a $100,000 art commission funded by Related LA and the City of Santa Ana. As an aspect of this community engaged public art project we worked with Garfield Elementary School to provide an arts based curriculum to 700 elementary school students. I worked closely with the local community to define the scope and shape of my project. I hired and managed artists, arts educators and co-developed an arts curriculum for the elementary school. I also worked with fabricators, photographers, city planners, architects to build and install a public artwork. StoryCircle, our public art project was installed and reached completion in July 2013.Open Link
Social Practices Art online resource for individuals, organizations, community groups and institutions that are interested in new genre art forms and practices. It is meant to serve as a platform for
a variety of socially engaged art and design practices.
The project was initiated by community activist Reggie Lawson of the Crescent City Peace Alliance, artist Ron Bechet, and others toacknowledge the site on which Homer Plessy was arrested on June 7, 1892. Lawsondecided to organize an event to bring together the various stakeholders, including New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) and Students at theCenter (SAC). The team invited Suzanne Lacy and the MFA Public Practice programat Otis College of Art and Design to participate in Plessy Day 2008. The day included personal testimonies of segregation, a procession through the Bywaterneighborhood and ended with an interactive installation at the Plessy site,where eight temporary chalkboards served as the foci.Open Link
I was an artist participant in this Los Angeles based exhibition on Social Art Practices."Come In, We're Open," a project organized by Edith Abeyta, Owen Driggs, and Carol ZouOpen Link
At Northeastern University School of Law, I co-teach this limited-enrollment, two-credit, three-week intensive seminar explores the use of design principles in the development of new models for delivering legal information and services. Students explore problem-solving methodologies derived from the fields of product and systems design as they apply them to a specifIc design problem.Open Link
This project will engage directly with women veterans and multidisciplinary stakeholders to collaboratively design a mobile technology outreach tool that provides underserved women veterans with information about their legal rights and available benefits. The tool will build upon the resources available through Stateside Legal Women Who Serve initiative, and will be designed for outreach to all underserved women veterans, including those who are homeless and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and military sexual trauma (MST). The ultimate goal of this project is to measurably increase the number of low-income women veterans who contact Stateside Legal for help, thereby enabling legal aid programs and law school clinics to provide the assistance that many low-income women veterans and their families need.
Created by Studio REV- (lead artist: Marisa Jahn), the Domestic Worker App is a public art nanny hotline that informs New Yorks 200,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers about their rights. Users call in using any kind of phone at any hour to hear humorous episodes about topics like minimum wage, days of rest, trafficking, and more think Click and Clack on NPRs Car Talk but for nannies.Open Link
Get in touch with me if you would like to do business together, share an idea or just say hello.