WOC Art Collaborative is a multi-generational collective of Black women & women of color creators in Rochester NY committed to bringing the power of their individual accomplishments, visions, and social justice practices to create an institution rooted in intersectional equity for women, femme, gender-variant and nonbinary artists of color.
“We can join together to effect a future the world has not yet conceived, let alone seen.” — Audre Lorde
"Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow's world is yours to build."—Yuri Kochiyama
In 2016, the Democrat & Chronicle reported this startling data, "Monroe County ranks fifth worst in the nation in the median household income gap between white residents and residents of color." For low-income, majority-black neighborhoods across the United States, this is an all-too-familiar narrative. As an artist-driven, multi-cultural collective, WOC Art recognizes the intrinsic value in developing a space exclusively for Rochester's most marginalized residents. It is our mission to center women artists of color who exist in a landscape in which their work, perspectives and bodies are underrepresented.
We are thrilled to have a physical space where artistic and cultural activities can flourish. We are launching this campaign to help with our first year of rent as we establish this groundbreaking collective:
WOC Art Collaborative at Gallery Seventy Four provides 2,700 square feet of performance, rehearsal, creation and exhibition space for its members. Here, we will work to foster community engagement and preservation by collaborating with fellow artists and cultural workers. Authentic cultural expression (for artists of color, by artists of color) is the key to unlocking inspiration, hope and civic engagement with our people to help reimagine community identity. In order to save ourselves, we must, first, see ourselves.
Rachel Y. DeGuzman is CEO of 21st Century Arts and ARTivist in Residence at Gallery Seventy Four. The focus of her work is decentering whiteness in arts/culture by centering the art, narratives & voices of people of color - especially women & marginalized LGBTQ communities. In fulfillment of that vision, she established “At the Crossroads: Activating the Intersection of Art and Justice” and then organized and initiated the founding of WOCˑArt Collaborative.
N’Jelle Gage-Thorne is president of FuturPointe Dance, which she co-founded in 2009 with the vision to re-introduce Caribbean creative diversity in the dance community and to promote cross-cultural dialogue and conviviality. Born in Jamaica, N’Jelle has performed on stages throughout North America, Europe, Africa, and the Caribbean. She is an in-demand choreographer and educator.
Reenah Golden has spent her life cultivating experiences that reflect her passion for arts, culture, and education in ways that redefine womanhood and purpose. Her primary mediums as an artist are pen, page, and stage. She is a native of Rochester where she is the Founder and Managing Artistic Director of The Avenue Blackbox Theatre, a creative bold space with a mission to elevate the voices, interests and art of the marginalize.
W. Michelle Harris is a digital media artist and associate professor at RIT. Harris creates both interactive video installations for gallery settings and live-mixed visuals for music and dance performances. Her work often explores lives lived in the context of patriarchy and racism.
Delores Jackson-Radney is an actor, director, art historian, educator, curator, writer, and founding partne of Kuumba Consultants, an arts-in-education agency providing arts and cultural programming for school and youth organizations throughout the greater Rochester, NY region.
Tamara Leigh ,a Rochester native, is the current Director of Communications at the Out Alliance, an agency that champions the rights and lifestyles of the LGBTQ+ community and Editor of their publication, The Empty Closet. Leigh also acts as co-host of radio show, Brunchin’ With Dee & T. on WAYO 104.3FM and CEO of Roc Candy Media, an urban Public Relations, Brand Development and Media Management firm. Tamara co-chairs, Rochester Black Pride and is a published author of “A Young Thug’s Heart” and “Love and Loyalty, Not Just Another ‘Hood Love Story”. Her most sacred accomplishment, however, is being mom to her two young sons, Zaire & Zayden who have already begun a movement to change the world all of their own.
Tianna Mañón is a multimedia journalist based in Rochester NY. She enjoys covering political and policy decisions and making them approachable for the average reader.
Rachel McKibbens is an acclaimed poet & resistor. She is a two-time New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and the author of three critically acclaimed books of poetry, blud, Into the Dark & Emptying Field, and Pink Elephant. In 2009, she became the first Latina to win the Women of the World Poetry Slam championship title. In 2012, McKibbens founded the Pink Door Writing Retreat, an annual retreat exclusively for femme, trans & gender variant writers of color. She co-curates the reading series Poetry & Pie Night and co-owns the Spirit Room in downtown Rochester.
Nydia Padilla-Rodriguez is artistic director of Borinquen Dance Theatre, which she founded in 1981 as well as an administrator with the Rochester City School District. She is an expert on the traditions of dance in Latin culture.
Danielle Ponder is a musician and attorney. A native of Rochester, NY- she performs internationally with her band Danielle Ponder & The Tomorrow People. She was previously employed by the Monroe County public defender’s office where she provided criminal defense for the indigent community. She is involved in several community initiatives and sits on the board of Teen Empowerment.
KaeLyn Rich is an intersectional feminist, a direct action organizer, a nonprofit leader, a teacher, and author of Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership, and Starting a Revolution. She’s an adoptee immigrant from South Korea, a comfort food foodie, and a working queer mama.
Let's do this!