Moments of Light

Dear Friends, As if it is no surprise, of course I’m one of those folks who insists that every month in America is Black History Month—that any day ending in Y is an occasion to celebrate the contributions of Black folk, and that my particular lean is the cultural and artistic contributions of Black folk. The first day of February I was in a familiar, yet now foreign space: a movie theater. Being married to a Black independent film curator will present you with many opportunities to sit in front of a screen. His Luminal Theater was selected to program
Read

Sharing the Full Story

Dear Friends, At least the turn of a new year gives us a chance to re-imagine the stories we want to tell about ourselves and our work, the journeys we want to take into our futures. One of the stories I am choosing to lean into for 2021 and beyond is to remind myself that the work I do shines when I let my artist self be more visible. Work, and the idea/drudgery of it asks that we hide portions of ourselves that didn’t directly relate to a job description. My colleagues at Red Olive might get caught up in
Read

My Journey to Red Olive

I don’t recall a time in my life when I didn’t feel drawn to the arts. From the moment I was able, I used to write long winding stories about princesses and witches and draw pages and pages of nonsensical doodles. I was fortunate to be raised by parents who were always supportive of my childhood enthusiasm, even though they did try to steer me toward more financially sound pursuits. My father, a dark-skinned stern man from the west African coast, and my mother an effervescent high yellow black woman from the south endeavored to raise well-rounded children and build
Read

Locating the Source of Our Pain

Dear Friends, In another life, I was a board chair of an arts nonprofit in Brooklyn. On my way to meet the ED for our monthly meetings, I’d meditate on what discoveries I wanted to share, what new thinking for our work together. Because I moved back to my hometown in South Carolina a year ago this month and my work continues to be remote (like so many of us), I no longer have long, quiet stretches of a commute to think, to watch the sidewalk pass me by, to dream. This is a small reminder for all of us
Read

Celebrating Funding Small Black Arts Organizations This Fall

Dear Friends, The past few months I have been reminded of the ways in which folks on the ground have the power to claim the future they need, and the ways in which working against the grain will get you still on the other side of something if you keep at it. In the Radical Fundraising Discussion Club last month, we talked about the Flywheel Effect, how a singular continual push in the same direction with the same intention will eventually give way to inertia, and suddenly—Georgia can be a Blue state. Or how ,when we lead all of our
Read

Unbossed & Ungoverned

Dear Friends, I’ve been thinking deeply about the work of Black Art Futures Fund, and all of the ways the project moves through the world, all of the ways in which we are seen or unseen, what assumptions come with those perceptions, and so forth…and the influences to the wider field—mostly unattributed, but we know the conditions under which we dreamt up such a thing as BAFF. In 2015, I was a Development Director at Weeksville Heritage Center, and trying desperately to continue down the roads of my predecessors there, as well as attempt to chart new pathways—thinking about how
Read