Core Creative Team
María Magdalena Campos-Pons combines and crosses diverse artistic practices, including photography, painting, sculpture, film, video, and performance. Her work addresses issues of history, memory, gender, and religion; it investigates how each one of these themes informs identity formation. Born in 1959 in La Vega, a town in the province of Matanzas, Cuba, Campos-Pons is a descendant of Nigerians who had been brought to the island as slaves in the 19th century. She grew up learning firsthand about the legacy of slavery along with the beliefs of Santeria, a Yoruba-derived religion. Directly informed by the traditions, rituals, and practices of her ancestors, her work is deeply autobiographical. Often using herself and her Afro-Cuban relatives as subjects, she creates historical narratives that illuminate the spirit of people and places, past and present, and renders universal relevance from personal history and persona. Her imagery and performances recall dark narratives of the Middle Passage and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade
Okwui Okpokwasili is a Brooklyn-based performing artist working at the intersection of theater, dance, and installation. Her work considers the dynamics of interiority and psychic space in shaping relationships, sociality and memory grounded in the body and perspective of the Afro-femme. With Director/Designer Peter Born, Okpokwasili creates collaborative multidisciplinary projects including the Bessie Award-winning Pent-Up: A Revenge Dance, Bessie-winning Bronx Gothic, and Bronx Gothic: The Oval, Poor People's TV Room, Poor People's TV Room Solo, When I Return Who Will Receive Me, and Adaku's Revolt. In the last few years, Okpokwasili has been working on Sitting On A Man's Head a collaborative, improvisational sonic praxis with multiple artists inspired by the precolonial embodied protest practices of Southeastern Nigerian women called Sitting On A Man. The last iteration of this practice was an anchoring event in the Danspace Platform: Utterances from the Chorus, which she co-curated along with the team lead by Judy Hussie-Taylor at Danspace Project in NYC. As a performer, Okpokwasili frequently collaborates with award-winning director Ralph Lemon. She is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, a 2015-2017 Randjelovic/Stryker New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist (RCA.), a 2018 Princeton University Hodder Fellow and is currently a UNC Chapel Hill CPA fellow. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Doris Duke Artist Award, United States Artist Fellowship, Herb Alpert Award, and Foundation for Contemporary Art Award. Her performance work has been commissioned and presented by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, MCA Chicago, ICA Boston, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, The Young Vic (London), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and New York Live Arts. As a performer, Okpokwasili frequently collaborates with award-winning director Ralph Lemon. She is a 2018 MacArthur Fellow, a 2015-2017 Randjelovic/Stryker New York Live Arts Resident Commissioned Artist (RCA.), a 2018 Princeton University Hodder Fellow and is currently a UNC Chapel Hill CPA fellow. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including a Doris Duke Artist Award, United States Artist Fellowship, Herb Alpert Award, and Foundation for Contemporary Art Award. Her performance work has been commissioned and presented by the Walker Art Center, Danspace Project, Performance Space New York, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, MCA Chicago, ICA Boston, the 10th Annual Berlin Biennale, The Young Vic (London), Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Jacob’s Pillow, and New York Live Arts.
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs
A writer, vocalist, and performance/sound artist, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs is the author of “TwERK” (Belladonna, 2013). Diggs has presented and performed at California Institute of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, The Museum of Modern Art, the Walker Art Center, and at festivals including Explore the North Festival, Leeuwarden, Netherlands; Hekayeh Festival, Abu Dhabi; International Poetry Festival of Copenhagen; Ocean Space, Venice; International Poetry Festival of Romania; Question of Will, Slovakia; Poesiefestival, Berlin; and the 2015 Venice Biennale. As an independent curator, artistic director, and producer, Diggs has presented events for BAMCafé, Black Rock Coalition, El Museo del Barrio, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, and the David Rubenstein Atrium. Diggs has received a 2020 C.D. Wright Award for Poetry from the Foundation of Contemporary Art, a Whiting Award (2016) and a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship (2015), as well as grants and fellowships from Cave Canem, Creative Capital, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the U.S.-Japan Friendship Commission, among others.
Wendi Norris started Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco in 2011 after co-owning a gallery and working for a decade in Fortune 500 and start-up technology companies. Her gallery team represents critically acclaimed artists and artist estates, working to ensure that they are included in international museum and private collections, top-tier exhibitions and publications around the world. In 2017 Gallery Wendi Norris announced a new targeted and mobile business model that has resulted in exponential increase in revenue and exposure for her artists. Norris speaks and writes regularly on art and economics and art and public policy at outlets including Artsy, the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, SFMOMA’s Modern Arts Council, and Americans for the Arts. She served as the San Francisco Art Dealers Association President from 2014-2016 and is currently on the Board of the Art Dealers Association of America. She has twice been named one of the Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business by the San Francisco Business Times.
Codie Elaine Oliver
Director, Codie Elaine Oliver is CEO and co-founder of Black Love, Inc., a growing media company comprised of BlackLove.com, Black Love’s social and digital platforms, and live and virtual events, including the annual Black Love Summit. She is the NAACP Image Award-nominated director and co-creator of the ground-breaking docuseries Black Love which premiered as the most-viewed unscripted series in OWN’s history and is set to return for its fifth season in 2021. Oliver is also a partner at Confluential Content, a company she shares with her husband Tommy Oliver, and the production company behind the recent HBO Documentary 40 Years A Prisoner and the upcoming Netflix film, The Perfect Find, starring Gabrielle Union. Prior to Black Love, Oliver had stints at Film Independent, Fox Searchlight, and Creative Artists Agency. Oliver received her Master’s degree from the Peter Stark Producing Program at USC and is a proud Howard University alum, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, and mama to three boys four and under.
Woodard currently stars in the feature film CLEMENCY, released in theaters December 2019. Among the critical praise she received for her lead role in the film, she also received a Spirit Award nomination for Best Female Lead. On the small screen, she stars opposite Jason Momoa in the Apple TV+ series SEE, created by Steven Knight. Woodard will next appear in the Sony Pictures Film FATHERHOOD, alongside Kevin Hart. Other recent film appearances include the blockbusters CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR for Marvel and ANNABELLE for New Line. On the small screen, she most recently starred as the fierce "Mariah Dillard” in MARVEL’S LUKE CAGE and as the title character in the Netflix Original film JUANITA, which she also developed and produced. Acclaimed dramatic performances include her roles in Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE, John Sayles’ PASSION FISH, Maya Angelou’s DOWN IN THE DELTA, Peter Bratt’s FOLLOW ME HOME, Gina Prince-Blythwood’s LOVE AND BASKETBALL, Spike Lee’s CROOKLYN, Lawrence Kasdan’s GRAND CANYON and MUMFORD, Tyler Perry’s THE FAMILY THAT PREYS, Billie Woodruff’s BEAUTY SHOP with Queen Latifah, Richard Donner’s SCROOGED opposite Bill Murray, as well as MANDELA and MISS EVER’ BOYS (both for HBO Films).
Dell Marie Hamilton
Dell Marie Hamilton is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and independent curator who has performed and presented extensively in and around New England including Boston University, the Museum of Fine Arts/Boston, ICA/Boston, and at Dartmouth College’s Hood Museum of Art. She has also appeared in collaborative performances with Afro-Cuban artist Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York) and the National Portrait Gallery (Washington DC). In 2019, Dell presented her first solo show “All Languages Welcomed HERE,” at Salem State University, which was reviewed by NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art. She also became the first visual artist to present a performance artwork at the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown. Last summer she participated in the 13th Havana Biennial as part of Campos-Pons’s curatorial project “Intermittent Rivers.” Her most recent curatorial project “Nine Moments for Now” was ranked by Hyperallergic.com as one of 2018’s top 20 exhibitions in the US.
Jana Harper (Mackinac Bands of Chippewa and Ottawa Indians) is an interdisciplinary artist of mixed settler and indigenous ancestry. Her work explores the themes and tensions between materiality and transcendence, chance encounters and human willfulness, relationships and connectivity, and human acts of meaning making. With a background in somatic practices, Harper works both individually and collaboratively towards establishing conditions for healing. Recent performance projects included Cargas, the closing event for Intermittent Rivers at the 2019 Havana Biennial and This Holding, which was supported by a National Endowment for the Arts award. Jana is associate professor of the practice in the department of art at Vanderbilt University.
Lisa E. Harris
Lisa E. Harris is an interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker, creative soprano, performer, composer, improvisor, writer, singer/songwriter, and educator from Houston, Texas. Recognized by Huffington Post as “one of fourteen artist transforming Opera”, Harris’s work focuses on the energetic relationships between body, land, spirit, and place. Using voice, theremin, movement, meditation and new media to explore spatial awareness, relationality, panoptical surveillance and sonic profiling, she maintains a focused concentration on healing in performance and living. She is the founder and creative director of Studio Enertia, an arts collective and production company in Houston. Studio Enertia is the producer of Harris’s recently completed ten year durational work, “Cry of the Third Eye, a new opera film in Three Acts” that archives the effects of gentrification on her Houston neighborhood. She recently created and curated Houston’s inaugural Free Time Flow Festival at MacGregor Park, celebrating the intersections of basketball, electro-acoustic music and improvisational performance.
Liz Gre (née Lassiter), b. 1991, is a composer and vocalist writing genre-less compositions with Black Women for Black Women. Her practice is rooted in storytelling and the viscerality of the imaginary. Currently, she is a PhD student at City, University of London studying how ethnographic composition can best answer questions around the Black Woman immigrant/ex-pat/trans-national identity. Gre uses a collaborative practice to make music and performance work that explores the essential and most difficult questions of life. What matters now? What stories shaped me? Whose stories wrote mine? What must my soul wonder?
Vocalist, performer, composer, and educator Samita Sinha creates multidisciplinary performance works that investigate origins of voice. She synthesizes Indian vocal traditions and embodied energetic practices to create a decolonized, multivalent language of vibration and transformation. Sinha’s works have been commissioned by Asia Society, Performance Space 122, Invisible Dog Art Center, Danspace Project, Rubin Museum, Queens Museum, Gibney, and Onassis Foundation, and presented by The Kitchen, Wexner Center for the Arts, REDCAT, PICA, National Sawdust and others. She has received awards from National Endowment for the Arts, Fulbright Foundation, National Performance Network, New York State Council on the Arts, and the Ucross/Alpert Residency Prize, and collaborated across disciplines with artists including Okwui Okpokwasili and Peter Born, Ralph Lemon, Sunny Jain and Grey Mcmurray, Sunil Bald, and Sekou Sundiata. Sinha teaches voice through many channels, recently through Danspace, Princeton University, Swarthmore College, Movement Research, Centro Nacional de las Artes in Mexico City, and New York Asian Women's Center.
Jennifer C. Thomas
Jennifer C. Thomas, Supervising Producer, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Media, Journalism and Film at Howard University, her alma mater. She earned a Master of Arts degree in Arts and Culture from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. An award-winning broadcast journalist and former CNN executive producer, she served as the 9am newscast producer during the September 11th Terror Attacks. She is the 2019 Scripps Howard Foundation Teacher of the Year, Fulbright Special Program scholar, and published author who speaks internationally on World Press Freedom issues. She is also founder of MediaReady Consulting LLC, which provides coaching, event management, and media relations services.
Greta Knutzen, Senior Producer, oversees large-scale campaigns & productions. Knutzen has served as executive producer for unprecedented large-scale events such as projecting images of endangered species on the Empire State Building and Vatican that together garnered just shy of 5 billion impressions for Racing Extinction, the Oscar-nominated documentary film. Knutzen served as Senior Advisor for Public Art and Production for the Third Avenue Business Improvement District in the South Bronx, where she was involved in community led public art initiatives and advisor to The Mayor’s Office of Citywide Event Coordination & Management (CECM) to strategize best practices for the event industry in New York City. She previously spent 15 years producing award-winning documentary film and television for the world’s biggest broadcasters.
Gabi Madsen, Project Producer & Director of When We Gather: Together, is a film and events producer. She was part of the New York Film Festival as the programming manager and programmed special events, talks, narrative, and documentary shorts programs. She was also part of the activism work launching EVOLVE, an initiative partnered with Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti, which placed young people of color in career development internships throughout the entertainment industry. She was an Associate Producer for the feature film DIANE, directed by Kent Jones. The film was the winner of the Tribeca Narrative Feature, and part of President Barack Obama's list of favorite movies of 2018.
Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung
Andrea Yu-Chieh Chung, Co-Producer, is a Taiwanese documentary filmmaker based in the New York metropolitan area. Born and raised by a family full of wanderers, she has endless curiosities about the world and has lived or produced films across four continents. She is passionate about telling stories of people who are in between places, and those who strive to understand and transcend differences. Her work has screened at festivals around the world, including London International Documentary Festival, Riga International Film Festival, Sharjah Film Platform, and Cinequest Film Festival. Chung holds an MFA in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University.
Virginia Shore is a curator, producer, arts advocate, and advisor, with extensive expertise in contemporary and modern art in all media. Shore served as 'Chief Curator' and 'Acting Director' of the US Department of State, Office of Art in Embassies for over 20 years. Currently, Shore is a consulting curator and art advisor to the Obama Foundation for the Obama Presidential Center, the Fredriksen Family Collection (building a collection focused on diversity and inclusion) for the first public-private partnership with the new National Museum of Norway, the Emerson Collective, and the Hall Group. She recently produced YOUVOTE a GOTV campaign with Jenny Holzer + leaders, athletes, musicians, institutions, universities in five of the swing States, continuing in Georgia.
Jessica Tully, Campaign Producer & Director, is an award-winning social practice artist, organizer, and producer. Her media-genic public stunts and installation videos remix core themes of the precariat, intersectional feminism, and water as a spiritual technology. Her work has been seen in nine presidential cycles, in major cultural institutions and museums, and . Tully was a key member of the Rock the Vote staff that invented voter registration online on the nationwide rollout of Take Our Daughters To Work Day. In 2020, she was a collaborating artist in #ProjectYourVote, leading the relational aesthetics and distribution of projection video in 14 states.
Stacy Horne, Digital Event Producer, has over 20 years in the live event space with a track record of conceptualizing and producing cultural events, festivals, concerts and conferences. She is a master community builder and experience creator. Since Covid-19 she has moved in the virtual livestream space where she works with clients to bring their mission to life via well produced and inspiring events.
Jan Rothschild, Associate Producer and Communications, is founder and president of Rothschild & Associates, delivering global communications and marketing campaigns for cultural institutions, businesses, and not-for-profit organizations. Rothschild & Associates works with for-profit and non-profit entities, including museums, galleries, art fairs, media companies, charitable foundations, and artists. Rothschild has worked in-house in world renowned arts institutions including the Corcoran Gallery of Art/College of Art and Design, Washington, DC, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Barnes Foundation Philadelphia. Rothschild has also worked in executive roles at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Sotheby’s Institute, and National Public Radio, among others.
Janet Stapleton, Public Relations Consultant, has worked in the dance and performance field as an independent producer, arts management consultant, and public relations specialist for three decades. She founded Janet Stapleton Public Relations in 2000, a boutique communications and PR firm that represents artists, cultural institutions, and select special events. Recent clients include the Baryshnikov Arts Center, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Martha Graham Dance Company, Okwui Okpokwasili, Richard Move, Yasuko Yokoshi, Ralph Lemon/Cross Performance, Emily Johnson, and the Bessie Awards. She was the publicist for the NY citywide festivals: DANSE: A French-American Festival of Performance and Ideas, and Queer NY International Arts Festival. Prior to forming Janet Stapleton PR, she was the director of marketing and public relations at Dance Theater Workshop.
Dr. Nikki A. Greene
Dr. Nikki A. Greene, Co-Producer and Host of When We Gather: Together, is a tenured professor of Art History at Wellesley College and an advisor to the ICA Boston for the 59th Venice Biennale presenting the work of Simone Leigh for the United States Pavilion in 2022. She has written for numerous art museums, including The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Guggenheim Museum, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery. Her forthcoming book Grime, Glitter, and Glass: The Body and The Sonic in Contemporary Black Art features María Magdalena Campos-Pons’s performances prominently.
Laura C. Suárez Rodríguez
Laura C. Suárez Rodríguez, Associate Producer, is an independent visual and performing arts consultant, writer and curator whose work centers contemporary Latinx and Latin American art histories, performance, artivism, ethics, and decolonial aesthetics. She has worked throughout New England as a researcher for scholar Adriana Zavala, at the Galería Cubana in Boston, and for the environmental and entertainment non-profit REVERB in Portland, Maine. At Wellesley College, she manages social media, designs print and digital communications, and organizes college community events for the Art Department. Suárez Rodríguez is a graduate of Tufts University and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.
Crystal Whaley, Consulting Producer, is a double EMMY Award-winning creative producer and development executive for award-winning series television, commercials, music videos, and nationally syndicated and Peabody nominated documentaries for PBS and TLC. She’s also former VP of Development and Production of Pixel Media LLC / Lionsgate as well as a former Director of Video Production for Arista Records and former Executive Producer of Free Spirit Films Inc. Whaley is a curator and founder of the forthcoming curatorial project, M’Dear: Reclaiming Our Seat at the Table premiering at MoCADA Museum 2021. Whaley is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority Inc. She holds a journalism degree from Howard University and a Film Production Certificate from New York University.
Aïma Paule, Assistant Social Media Manager, is multidisciplinary artist, more commonly known for her music Aïma aka Aïma the Drmr, aka the Dreamer, has been performing as well as producing & hosting events for well over a decade. Aïma is co-founder of Oakland's beloved Soulovely, a QTBIPOC dance party now going into its 10th year! She is also an exhibiting visual artist, her work is currently on display in The Black Woman is God exhibit in San Francisco. Aïma has lived in the Bay Area, California for 20 years. She continues to be inspired by the beauty and brilliance of the art, music, and activism that is fostered here. No stranger to collaboration, she believes in the power of connection using art and music as a bridge between communities.
Julie Schuchard, Creative Director for Digital + Social Media Manager, is a creative director and marketing consultant living in San Francisco, CA. She has a combined background in marketing and graphic design and holds a broad spectrum of experience in the comedy, theatre, and music industries. Current clients include: SF Sketchfest, Adulting Well Podcast, Foundation Rwanda, The Battery, Battery Powered, Moon Hollow Estate and more.
Marlon Ingram, Graphic Design and Animation, is located in the Bay Area. Marlon has designed, educated, and produced client projects within the Art, Design, and Education industries for over 20 years. Multidisciplinary thinker who focuses on art, design, and informative exhibitions. His work has always been based on the processes of creative development, visual communications, and educational planning. Innovator of many branding campaigns, youth-tech curriculum, product development, and social media for businesses, art centers, design agencies, residencies, and museums in China, Hawaii, San Francisco, and New York. Creating exhibition solutions using creative workshops and education curators to develop new informative directions to educate and empower students with a visual curriculum focused on collecting cultural or visual content for beautification projects. His work with non-profit organizations, residencies, galleries, museums, and mural projects has granted him educational merit in SF Weekly's, 'Top 5th Element Teachers' in 2008 and Yerba Buena Center of the Arts for the 'YBCA's 100 Top Culture Makers' award 2015.
Michelle Mehrtens, Additional Editor, is a recent graduate of Stanford University's MFA Program in Documentary Film. Previously, she worked on the production team of TED-Ed in New York City. She is currently a freelance editor, writer, and founder of Meesh Says Things, a website dedicated to film and television.
Meg Neville is a costume designer, visual artist, and writer. She has collaborated with Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons on costumes for performances including If I were a poet with Wendi Norris Gallery in San Francisco. As a theatrical costume designer, she has worked with venues including BAM, The Public, Second Stage, Oregon Shakespeare Theater Festival, Yale Repertory Theater, Hartford Stage, Center Stage, The Guthrie, and The Kirk Douglas Theater, Los Angeles. Nelville has long collaborated with Bay Area theaters, including Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Magic, and California Shakespeare Theater. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Yale School of Drama and recipient of the Bay Area costume design award.
Yeon Park, Editor for When We Gather: Together, is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in San Francisco. Her recent film "I Bought a Time Machine" premiered at Visions du Réel and won the Best Documentary Short award at San Diego Asian Film Festival. With the same film, Park was nominated as a semi-finalist in the Student Academy Awards. Born and raised in South Korea, Park was a producer and director at SBS (Seoul Broadcasting System) where she directed, filmed, and edited a variety of non-fiction TV shows. After quitting her stable job to be a documentary filmmaker, she pursued an MFA in Documentary Film and Video from Stanford University.