Emma Colón is an artist and cultural worker committed to supporting art’s capacity to build community and effect social change. Prior to joining The LP, Emma worked as Editorial and Communications Manager at A Blade of Grass, where she wrote about socially engaged art and helped to develop and carry out a comprehensive content strategy for the organization. She holds a Bachelors’ degree in Creative Writing from Macalester College and has run arts-based youth programs as part of Casa Experimental in New York and Highpoint Center for Printmaking in Minneapolis.
Get to know Emma Colón
In what neighborhood do you live?
How did you first become connected to The LP, or hear about The LP?
I was first told about The LP shortly after I moved to New York in 2016 by a friend and fellow Minnesota-transplant, who highlighted it as a cool org to be aware of. In 2017, I began working at A Blade of Grass, bringing me into the broader institutional family of New York-based socially engaged art orgs and putting me in professional proximity to The LP.
What attracted you to The LP? How does working here relate to your professional goals?
My attraction to The LP comes from its thoughtful values, specifically its focus on place. I feel really inspired and invested in community building in the ways The LP champions.
Do you have your own creative practice? If so, tell us more!
I studied creative writing as an undergrad and am most interested in poetry and creative nonfiction, form-wise. I also love lino-cut printing, collaging and other paper crafts, and watercolor. Going for a DJ practice in my next life. (Or sometime later in this one—my DJ alter ego (and Instagram handle) is djyungpup).
Can you tell us about an artist or project that has inspired you?
Very inspired by the work of Philly-based Ras Cutlass, who combines social work/therapeutic practices with Afrofuturist visioning methodologies towards community-based mental wellness. Can’t stop reading Jia Tolentino.
What is your favorite… film? …album? …food?
Film: Moonlight by Barry Jenkins. Album: I think my most listened to albums are Be the Cowboy (Mitski), Ethiopiques vol 21 (Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guébrou), and Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon (Devendra Banhart). Food: anything/everything in the “treats” category.
Where do you do your laundry?
A&R Laundromat on Flatbush Ave and Ditmas! They are the best.
In your opinion, why does art matter?
That’s the big Q! To me, what matters most about art is its capacity to crack open a system, process, or notion—the way it can carve out a literal or figurative space specifically for examining, stretching, being curious, and being brave. bell hooks said, “the function of art is to do more than tell it like it is—it’s to imagine what is possible.” Add to that imaginative function the capacity to both model and enact, and I think that gets at what feels most meaningful about art to me.
What LP value do you most relate to and why?
I’d like to choose two. I brought up the focus on place earlier, which is important to me for the way our most immediate environs/communities/neighborhoods are what feed into the larger structures and systems that hold us all. “Starting at home” feels clear and direct to me. The second value that feels particularly special is being propelled by love, which strikes me as an abundant and powerful way to move through the world, especially as an institution.