Eshay Brantley (she/her), a multidisciplinary artist born in southside Chicago, moved to Minneapolis in 2004. Social justice advocate, teaching artist, and mother. Brantley’s artistic work commenced in a ritual-based performance. She is dedicated to nurturing the narratives of Black folks, Black womanhood, and Black maternal. Over the past ten years, she has worked with Children’s Theater Company, TruArt Speaks, Minneapolis Community Ed, Park Square Theater, Washburn High School, PBS Twin Cities Public Television, The University of Chicago, Guthrie Theater, Ambiance Theater, Exposed Brick Theatre, Tangible Collective, and Women for Political Change. She’s currently a Spotlight Education Teaching Artist in Residence at Hennepin Theater Trust. Eshay is committed to the work she does in the Twin Cities arts community and continues to plant seeds for a better future for Black babies.
Eshay envisions an exhibit incorporating performance titled “Ode to my Umi.” Her ECI project will pay homage to Black Grandmothers and Mothers’ stories, the intergenerational resilience and comfort passed along generation after generation.
Josephine Hoffman (she/they), a direct descendent of the Grand Portage Band of Ojibwe, is a local queer, multi-media artist. Movement is a constant element in their work that presents in various 2D, 3D, and performance formats. Their work flows through thoughts of environment, body politics, mental health, community, family, and cultural history. She resides in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as an artist, an aerial arts instructor, and a culture bearer mentor for the Native Youth Arts Collective in Minneapolis. Josephine holds a BFA in Fine Arts Studio and a Teaching Artist Minor from Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Josephine plans to curate an event incorporating vendors and artworks of visual, dance, and music by Indigenous artists in Minnesota; engaging the theme of kinetic movement and how this relates to the expression of relationships with body, land, and community.
Nance Musinguzi (he/they) is a Trans/Non-Binary First Generation Ugandan-Liberian multidisciplinary artist who documents and presents work on contemporary American social movements and DIY communities through publications, exhibitions and installations. His practice centers collaboration and co-creation with subjects and strives to build more public access for Black, QTGNC and Indigenous communities across borders to preserve their own knowledge and histories. They have exhibited solo and group exhibitions and guest-curated gallery shows in collaboration with emerging artists, social justice organizations, universities, high schools, and youth-led collectives.
Nance’s curatorial project centers Trans and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) people, involving the development of a manual guide, portraits and interviews featuring Black TGNC people and their caretakers on their experience recovering from top surgery, a wheat paste exhibition and multimedia web archive.
Makeda “Keda” Tadesse
Makeda “Keda” Tadesse (she/her) is an Ethiopian-American interdisciplinary artist and producer with large focuses in mediums such as painting and songwriting. She is most interested in themes of nostalgia, cultural expression and intergenerational conflict, womanhood, and the psychology between music and the visual arts. Keda’s practice also pulls from her many years spent in racial and ethnic inequality research. She is also the co-founder of Reload.it, an organization she began with friends in October 2021 to create opportunities for femme-creatives to build community by curating platforms for them to showcase and cultivate new experiences in the Twin Cities.
Keda will curate a gallery exhibition highlighting the cultural dissonance between first- and second- generation East-African diaspora communities in the U.S. and the conflict of identity displacement.
Za’Nia Coleman is an interdisciplinary artist experimenting with textiles, digital media, and cultural curation. Her primary medium is film focusing on documentary, oral history, and digital projections. The root of her work is archiving traditional and historical practices around love, pleasure, cultural expression, and community building. She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Tangible Collective, an art collective that creates space devoted to Black Millennial thought and expression. Za’Nia holds a Bachelor’s degree in Film Studies and Film Theory and Culture. Throughout her ECI fellowship, she will work to curate an immersive experience that can put imagery to what lives at intersections of the archive, Black folklore, and Black science fiction.
Coleman curated Saturday Morning and the Faces We Remember, presented at Public Functionary.
Alondra M Garza is a Tejana/Tex-Mex artist. She was born on the Mexican side at the Rio Grande Valley borderlands of Mexico and South Texas and obtained dual citizenship as a Mexican American. Garza received a BFA at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley with honors and an MFA at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Her work has been exhibited internationally across the U.S., Mexico, and Italy. This includes a Solo Exhibition at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Her work is part of the private collection of The University of Minnesota Chicano & Latino Studies, by being awarded an emerging artist grant. She has been commissioned by CLUES and Lake Street to make work for the first Day of The Dead Parade in Minneapolis, MN. Garza has curated Open Studio Nights at the MCAD MFA, and a show at Fresh Eye Gallery.
During her fellowship with ECI, Alondra will organize a community-gathering social practice project about being a Latina and non-binary Latine in the U.S. It will culminate in a gallery exhibition.
Information about her curatorial project: Inventadas
Drew Maude-Griffin is an interdisciplinary artist, author and educator whose work explores illness, disability and the complex politics of care. Drew creates multisensory artworks as a way of making visible the unseen realities of their illness. Their work is made with the intention of honoring and building community with other sick and disabled folks, as well as broadening how we all think of, practice, and experience care. They are a recent graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, where they completed their BFA in Drawing and Painting with a Teaching Artist minor. Their writing was recently featured in The Walker Art Center’s online platform Mn Artists, where Maude-Griffin was the guest editor of a six-article series featuring local disabled artists. Their work has been exhibited at the MCAD Gallery, Intermedia Arts, Co Exhibitions, the Schelfhaudt Gallery, and the Chan Gallery. Currently, they work as a Gallery Assistant at Fresh Eye Gallery in Kingfield Minneapolis, and are an art facilitator for Fresh Eye Arts, a progressive arts studio supporting artists with disabilities. In the spirit of expanding our collective understandings of care, as well as fostering disabled joy and catharsis, during their fellowship with ECI Maude-Griffin will focus on the development of an exhibition featuring disabled artists responding to the theme of Crip Futurism.
Drew Maude-Griffin curated Currents: Currents: Adaptation, Brilliance, and Joy presented at the M from December 7, 2023 – February 25, 2024
(raˈis – SIM- [BY] + [OT] + [ISK])
Pamela Vázquez (México) and Emma Wood (Sweden, USA) are an artist-curator duo working under the name Raíz Symbiotisk. There is symbiosis in their shared curiosity for fungi: as arts facilitators, as seen from an interdisciplinary artistic practice and a research/archive perspective.
Vázquez (she/her) comes from a background in Art History, she has collaborated in curatorial projects exhibited internationally and in the production of public art events. She is currently coordinating a Folk Arts Exchange program between Mexico and Minneapolis (Office of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy + Weisman Art Museum) and most recently was part of the production team of winter, on-ice art festival Art Shanty Projects 2022.
Emma Wood (they/them/hen) is a nonbinary, Swedish-American, arts facilitator and interdisciplinary artist who works with intersections of mycelium and glass. Bridging between science and art to investigate their personal relationship with grief. Their work is on a transition exploring the duality of ephemeral and archival. They were a 2021 Emerging Artist-in-Residence at Franconia Sculpture Park and an Emerging Artist-in-Residency at FOCI MCGA in 2021. Emma and a team of collaborators hosted an art shanty at Art Shanty Projects in 2022.
Fungi hold many metaphors, of life and death, of the boundaries of the human, and of new ways of thinking and collaborating. Fungi embody interconnected and supportive communities, as Raíz Symbiotisk, they want to center this in public interaction.
More about Archive I: Diverged Origins installed at New Studio Gallery from July 13-August 31, 2023
Kehayr Brown-Ransaw is an interdisciplinary artist and educator. Brown-Ransaw’s art practice focuses on traditional crafts of quilting, weaving, and printmaking. His work engages in conversations of individualism versus collectivism, familial histories, concepts of gendered work, tradition, and Blackness/Black identity. He has exhibited work at the University of Minnesota, FilmNorth, Vine Arts Center, BI Worldwide, and the MCAD Sculpture Garden. Additionally, Brown is an active and operating member of the People’s Library, collaboratively producing arts programming at MCAD, The Soap Factory, Walker Art Center, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Through the Emerging Curators fellowship, Brown-Ransaw will curate an exhibition showcasing the diversity of fiber artists outside of the canon of middle-aged white women: the show will carve space out for BIPOC and Queer fiber artists, legitimizing their works and practices alongside those of white fiber artists.
After, Other, and Before was on installed at Franconia Sculpture Park from September 24-December 30, 2021.
Starasea Nidiala Camara
Starasea Nidiala Camara is a rising curator, museum professional, scholar and aspiring linguist. Currently a student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, College of Liberal Arts. She is graduating in Spring 2021 with an Individually Designed Interdepartmental B.A. in African Diaspora Studies, Art History, and Arabic Language & Literature. More recently, Camara completed an internship with the Souls Grown Deep Foundation, in which she curated an upcoming exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), titled In The Presence of Our Ancestors. At Mia, she previously served on advisory committees for the exhibitions Mapping Black Identities and Turkish Rugs on Tudor Walls. Starasea brings aspects of intersectionality and authenticity into her curatorial practice. Throughout her ECI fellowship, she will work to illuminate the practices of Afro-Latinx artists through a curatorial project to decolonize how we view the intersections of the language, nationality, and racial identity in relation to the African Diaspora.
Juleana Enright is an Indigenous, queer, non-binary writer, curator, and DJ. They are a member of the Oglala Lakota Tribe of Lower Brulé, South Dakota, Turtle Island. In 2018, Juleana curated Soft Boundaries which explored how vulnerable narratives can be used as an act of resistance, liberation, and healing. They have been awarded a fellowship from MnArtists and worked with KFAI Radio to create audio documentaries centered on community stories. With Indigenous Futurisms in mind, Juleana will create a curatorial project exploring ancestral knowledge. Juleana plans to address Indigenous histories and demand for futures involving decolonization through art and community. They imagine a world where Indigenous people and representation isn’t disrupted and skewed in favor of the colonial project.
More information about their exhibition: bisakaabiiyang (returning to ourselves)
Suriya Khuth is an interdisciplinary artist interested in image-making as a means to explore Khmer-American identity, queerness, femininity, and familial memory. Suriya holds a Bachelor’s degree in Media and Cultural Studies from Macalester College. He is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Generation Magazine (@generation__magazine), an art publication dedicated to amplifying the voices of various generations throughout the Khmer diaspora. Realizing Generation Magazine continues to inform his understanding of the capacity for curators, artists, and communities to reshape and reimagine art spaces that reflect themselves. Through ECI’s fellowship exhibition, Seaing & Seeing, he hopes to curate familiarity and comfortability in order to forge a space that cherishes the voices of Southeast Asian artists and communities.
ECI Interview Series 1: Read an interview between Suriya Khuth and Lumi Tan, Senior Curator at The Kitchen in New York:
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Sutures was on view from October 30, 2021-February 20, 2022.
Alexandra Buffalohead received her Master of Arts in Art History, and Museum Studies Certificate from St. Thomas University in 2019. She is currently Arts and Cultural Engagement Manager at the Native American Community Development Institute and All My Relations Arts Gallery. She is currently curating the Native Fall Print Exhibit at Highpoint Center for Printmaking. Previously, Buffalohead received an Artists in Business Leadership Fellowship from First Peoples Fund and Native American Art Fellowship at the University of St. Thomas. Throughout the Emerging Curators Institute program, she will create a space where Native artists can reclaim and share their narratives, where Native visitors would feel comfortable and be treated respectfully, and the average Minnesota demographic would have access.
Read an interview with Alexandra Buffalohead.
More about her exhibition, Revitalizing Symbols.
Amirah Ellison graduated from Carleton College Northfield with a Bachelor’s in Art with a major in Cinema and Media Studies and minor in Middle East Studies. While studying for her undergraduate degree, Ellison was a Mellon Mays Research Fellow and Public Poetry Fellow. She is the founder and curator of infemous, a zine dedicated to amplifying feminist journalism, critical analysis, art and other forms of expression. Through the program, Ellison will curate an exhibition with local black artists as a gesture of love towards her community. Through story and form, the exhibition will serve as an expression to flatten the boundaries between things that are seemingly disparate.
Read more about her curatorial project, We Are New Again.
Xochi de la Luna
Xochi de la Luna seeks to curate as a method of creating togetherness. Previously, they curated Mother Goose’s Bedtime Stories,a multidisciplinary cabaret, and Transitional Transmissions, a series of intergenerational panels and performances from trans and nonbinary community members. Xochi de la Luna started curating in Minneapolis because spaces felt very segregated and white to them, so they started their own platforms for QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color). For their fellowship project, they will curate a multidisciplinary horror festival that will highlight Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists, and challenge the idea of horror.
Read an interview with Xochi de la Luna.
Learn more about their public show, Flores Oscuras.
Gabby Coll + Adrienne Doyle
Gabby Coll’s undergraduate degree in Art History informs her work as an arts advocate and arts communications professional. Adrienne Doyle is a media and social practice artist who uses DIY tools and strategies to center the collective, connective, and vulnerable aspects of Blackness. Doyle is the founder and director of Burn Something Zine, a submission-based, queer- and trans-inclusive media project that focused on amplifying the voices of Women of Color (WOC) and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) folks of color in the Twin Cities. With their combined backgrounds, Coll and Doyle will collaboratively create a curatorial project that honors the creative and documentary work of Burn Something and its contributors. Through the fellowship, they will create a multimedia exhibition of work and a series of social practice engagements that support of their community of WOC and GNC folks of color in the Twin Cities.
Read an interview with Gabby Coll.
Read an interview with Adrienne Doyle.
More about their public art exhibition, Burn Something.