My redevelopment work began in 2007 when I transformed a blighted and dilapidated residential space in a previously vibrant, culturally rich Black neighborhood (The Hill District, Pittsburgh PA) into an affordable housing solution for artists in the community. Building on this creative place-making work, from 2013 to 2015, I worked on the senior leadership team of Theaster Gates' Rebuild Foundation, operating out of The Stony Island Arts Bank-- a 1923 savings and loan bank turned into a world-class arts center in a greatly under-resourced Black community (Greater Grand Crossing, Chicago IL). Immediately after, in 2016 I acquired another neglected property in a predominately Black historic neighborhood (Camp Greene, Charlotte NC) and converted it into an artist in residency program called The Roll Up CLT.
The Roll Up is an ethical, long-term, artist-run residency project that connects national artists, local talent, and community residents all as neighbors. By connecting these communities, we transform people and neighborhoods ultimately creating a space that contributes to social change. We call it The Roll Up because whenever the garage doors are rolled up, it's a sign for the community to roll up and participate in whatever program or event the artist is hosting in the space.
Each year, Black artists of any discipline are invited to stay for six months to one year. We provide housing accommodations, a space to produce and exhibit work, an unrestricted honorarium, a transportation stipend, food and meal stipend, and a supply and material budget. While in residence, artists are supported with opportunities to develop programming in partnership with local arts organizations and are encouraged to collaborate with our community of local artists and neighbors.
The Roll Up CLT is committed to collaborating with Black artists through every step of our process. Our Advisory Board consists of artists, curators and administrators that help with the selection of our annual artist resident, fellowship recipient, and interns. Our Advisory Board consists of all Black women including, arts nonprofit CrownKeepers' Director Davita Galloway, The North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green, The L’Louise Arts Foundation Founder La Keisha Leek.
The 2019 Roll Up resident is visual artist, educator and freedom fighter $HAN Wallace from East Baltimore, Maryland.
The 2020 Roll Up residents are literary artists Ashley Nickens and Kia O. Moore from Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 2021 Roll Up resident will be announced soon...
Sibyls Shrine is a first-of-its-kind artist residency program for Black women, womxn, trans women, and femmes who are mothers and identify as artists, creatives, and/or activists in Pittsburgh and beyond. Sibyls Shrine is an homage to the Sibyls, the original priestesses of the Black goddess Mami Wata. The term, which predates Greek history, was used to name the guardians of the Matriarchy. The program, created by artist Alisha Wormsley in 2019, supports a population that has been faced, for centuries, with the intersecting oppressions of racism and sexism, on top of the rigors of motherhood and childcare.
The urgent need for Sibyls Shrine is underscored by the release of the “Pittsburgh’s Inequality Across Gender and Race” report by the Gender Equity Commission of the City of Pittsburgh in 2019. Irrefutable data across multiple categories showed the numerous ways in which Pittsburgh is one of the worst places in the country for Black women to live. When compared to white men and women, life is exponentially more difficult for Black women in Pittsburgh, a reality that has long been experienced by many of us. By providing financial support, funding for childcare, groceries, cleaning assistance, opportunities for skill-sharing, self-care, safe spaces and mutual aid, this project creates a structure that directly addresses the systemic and structural factors that oppress Black womxn, promising to positively impact a population acutely in need.
You can support this project by directing a tax-deductible gift to Sibyls Shrine H E R E .
Learn more about this project H E R E.
The 2021 Sibyls Shrine Visiting Artist is Jamaican-American artist, photographer, lecturer, political activist and curator Renee Cox.
NORTH CAROLINA BLACK ARTISTS FOR LIBERATION IS A COLLECTIVE OF BLACK ARTISTS AND ARTS WORKERS THROUGHOUT THE STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA.
The signed North Carolina-based working and originating Black makers, performers, and artists are committed to building an equitable arts and cultural sector. It is our labor, dollars, sweat equity, and culture that make both burgeoning and prestigious North Carolina organizations culturally viable. As educators, volunteers, artists, and essential workers, we recognize that the moment for systemic change is now.
While we understand that culture alone cannot fix systemic racism, culture is strongly connected to racism’s material effects and the violence used against us as Black artists and makers. This is your opportunity to really be the change that we need to see.
You, your organization and your colleagues can contribute to The NC Black Artists for Liberation Project by making a donation H E R E.
But your investment must go beyond your cash donation. Please sign the petition H E R E.
Initiated in 2018 by artist, writer and entrepreneur Jessica Gaynelle Moss, in partnership with Elsewhere Museum in Greensboro, NC, The ABOVEGROUND RAILROAD is a scaffolding artwork that reclaims space, honors ancestors who’ve paved the way, and prepares the next generation of young Black female arts administrators with an opportunity to develop a unique skill set, building upon their existing interests, that prepares them with a successful launching pad for a career in the Arts industry. In addition to the scholarship opportunities available to North Carolinians through Elsewhere museum, unrestricted grants of $10,000 will be awarded annually through The Pittsburgh Foundation to three Black students in pursuit of a career in arts administration.
Initiated by Hilary Burt, Professor of Art History and Arts Leadership + Administration at Queens University, Liz Faison, private collector and Board Member of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, and Jessica Moss, artist, academic scholar and arts educator, The Sphere: Art History Series is a monthly social intended to provide insight into artists, their traditions, techniques and the art movements they are often associated with. Beginning in October 2017, the Sphere: Art History Series has traveled to over 30 unique cultural spaces throughout the city for one-of-a-kind events, hosted by Charlotte’s most creative educators, academics and leaders. These casual and educational mini-courses will focus on the cultural, political and historical context of a specific art movement by an expert in the field.
The Art Admins of Color Network (AACN) is a Chicago-based collective, exchanging programming insights and ideas as Black people working in the arts & humanities. AACN's charter vision is to become a 'go-to' think tank and platform where AACN members are recognized as tastemakers on the cutting edge of innovative cultural production---within the Chicago art world in general but within Chicago's marginalized art world(s), in particular. AACN's mission is to deliver critical presentation insights and initiatives that enlighten and empower artists/ audiences/ critics/ producers/ venues/ donors & funders to seek and support boundary-pushing arts programming.
Led by The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Arts Administration graduate students, Jaleesa Wells, Jennie Crichlow and Jessica Moss, The Black Lady Caucus began as a weekly open discussion forum about black women in today’s society. From 'Making Black History' to the Sunday Home Series [SHS], programs generally investigate and contemplate current events and popular culture and focus on issues from media representation to hyper-visibility.
Educated and motivated to expand the boundaries of the box in which black women are continuously placed within, the challenge of the Black Lady Caucus is to actively confront issues that appear to be intangible and yet directly impact each and every one of us. The Black Lady Caucus aims to combine the ideas, creations, and personal experiences of participating members in a critical discourse and to empower that network.