2011 Artist + Community Council

The Laundromat Project is proud to introduce the members of our 2011 Artist + Community Council! These socially engaged art professionals live and/or work in the communities where our programming is located and will serve as both programmatic advisors and ambassadors to The LP over a year long period.

This year’s Council members will lend their expertise to the selection of our 2011 Create Change Public Artists in Residence; lead and/or participate in professional development sessions for Create Change artists; and continue to serve as outreach partners to increase the impact of and participants in all of our programs.
Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, Ph.D., is Associate Curator at El Museo del Barrio where she is currently working on a number of projects including El Museo’s Bienal: The [S] Files for Summer 2011. Her curatorial work and research focuses on modern and contemporary art of the Americas. She has organized significant retrospective exhibitions of the work of the artists Chakaia Booker (2004) and Raphael Montañez Ortiz (2006) and shows about Precisionism, titled Industrial Strength (2009), the use of hair in art, Hair Tactics (2009) and geometric abstraction, Colorforms (2010). Ms. Aranda-Alvarado is also on the adjunct faculty in the Art History Department at the City College of New York. She has been invited to speak at the Smithsonian Institution, the Whitney Museum, the Americas Society, the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture and has taught art history at local universities. Her writing has appeared in various publications including catalogue essays for the Museum of Modern Art and El Museo del Barrio, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Art Nexus, Review, the journal of the Americas Society, NYFA Quarterly, Small Axe, BOMB and American Art. Photo by Andrew Demirjian.
Caron Atlas works to support and stimulate arts and culture as an integral part of social change. She is currently directing three programs to further this goal: the Arts & Democracy Project, the ArtsCommunity Change Initiative, and Place + Displaced, a project of Fractured Atlas. She also teaches at New York University Arts & Public Policy program and Pratt Institute. Caron worked many years at Appalshop, the Appalachian media center, and was the founding director of the American Festival Project, a national coalition of activist artists. She has also worked with Animating Democracy; National Voice; Network of Ensemble Theaters; Cultural Blueprint for New York City; Urban Institute; and the Ford, Leeway, Nathan Cummings, and Surdna foundations, among others. Over the years she has produced many events, including festivals, international cultural exchanges, a white house briefing on art and social justice, and a city council inauguration. A frequent writer about arts activism and cultural policy, Caron is co-editor of Critical Perspectives: Writings on Art and Civic Dialogue. Caron was a Warren Weaver Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation and holds a masters degree in the social sciences from the University of Chicago. She is an active member of the Freelancers Union.
Kalia Brooks recently joined MoCADA as the Director of Exhibitions where she will be overseeing the Curatorial Fellowship, as well as three annual exhibitions, and several related public programs each year. Kalia Brooks is a New York based curator and writer. In addition, Brooks is currently an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Photography and Imaging at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a PhD Candidate in Aesthetics and Art Theory with the Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Brooks received her M.A. in Curatorial Practice from the California College of the Arts in 2006, and was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow in Critical Studies at the Whitney Independent Study Program 2007/2008. Photo by Terrence Jennings.
Olukemi Ilesanmi is the Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation where she shepherds the process that selects new grantee-artists each year and then works closely with them to realize their projects.Prior to joining Creative Capital, she spent six years as a curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis where she organized several exhibitions including To/From: Rivane Neuenschwander and The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art which was named the top contemporary art exhibition of 2003 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. She also ran the Walker's visual arts artist residency program, working with such luminaries as Julie Mehretu, Christian Marclay, Robin Rhode, and Catherine Opie. She has written extensively on several artists including Glenn Ligon, Nari Ward, and Allora & Calzadilla.She also serves on the advisory board of None on Record, an African oral history project, and briefly served on the board of No Name Exhibitions at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis. In addition, she often volunteers for feminist, political, and queer causes.She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Afro-American Studies from Smith College.
Victoria Restler is an interdisciplinary artist and educator, focused on the intersection between contemporary art and social justice education. She has been teaching and facilitating content-driven art courses for ten years in New York, San Francisco, Oaxaca, and Philadelphia using sound, craft, intervention, and mapping to address a broad range of social issues. In 2005 she co-created The Global Youth Media & Arts Program with World Savvy in San Francisco and expanded the program to New York City in 2007.

Victoria spent the 2009-10 year in Oaxaca, Mexico writing curriculum, making things, and conducting ethnographic research on a radical alternative indigenous education model called the Secundaria Comunitaria Indigena. She returned to New York in the fall where she is pursuing a doctorate in Urban Education at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research interests include “deschooling,” alternative educational paradigms, and art as research practice.
Michael Premo is Creator and Co-Producer of Housing is a Human Right, which is an ongoing documentary portrait of the struggle for home. He is a multidisciplinary artist, theater producer and arts consultant who has worked with the Hip-Hop Theater Festival, EarSay Inc., StoryCorps and The Civilians, among many others. He was a founding producer and curator of The Globesity Festival: Hunger Strike Theater. Michael studied the role of arts in social and political organizing at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

He was a 2009 Create Change Public Artist in Residence
José Ruiz is a Peruvian-born artist and curator. In the past few years, he has curated exhibitions for the Queens Museum of Art, P.P.O.W. Gallery, Bronx River Art Center, El Museo de Arte de El Salvador, and PS122 Gallery, among others. Current curatorial roles include: Co-Curator, AIM Biennial exhibition (Bronx Museum of the Arts, 2011) and Co-Curator, Incheon Biennial (South Korea, 2011). From 2006-2010, he served as the Gallery Director & Curator for the Bronx River Art Center. Ruiz received his MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2004 and began his curatorial practice in 2000 as part of an interdisciplinary, collaborative art project called Decatur Blue—an artspace and art collective based in Washington DC. Since then, Ruiz has curated over 15 national and international exhibitions and co-curated over 30 exhibitions across various institutions and organizations. He currently lives in New York by way of Lima, Brasilia, Washington DC, and San Francisco.