In July of 2019, my friend and former roommate, Jonah Welch, Transgender artist and activist, launched a billboard in Detroit, Michigan, in collaboration with Save Art Space and Ellen Rutt . The billboard proclaimed "Trans People Are Sacred,” a phrase that Jonah credited to me years earlier while we were living in the Audre Lorde Cooperative in Madison, Wisconsin.
Last month, Jonah hit me up and said, 'Let's put up 100 of these billboards featuring 97% BIPOC artists.' So now we are trying to raise $152,000 to do just that. We have already had around 70 BIPOC artists offer up their wisdom, knowledge, and creative practice to craft these messages of Trans divinity into billboards.
Can you help us meet this goal by donating and/or sharing this with your friends, families, and kin?
There is a brilliant team of co-curators for this project that will be joining me in selecting the artist for this project. You can learn more about them below.
Randy Ford is a Seattle-born dancer, choreographer, actor, and activist. She grew up learning choreography in her living room from watching music videos as a child. It wasn’t until the age of 17 when performing became a reality. After some time at the University of Washington, she became a member of Seattle’s Au Collective, a collective of artists committed to bringing womxn, queer people, and people of color to the forefront of everything it does. She has been featured in Velocity Dance Center’s Next Fest NW, CD Forum’s Showing Out: Contemporary Black Choreographers (2016, 2018), Bumbershoot Festival, Birthday Girl Series #5, Legendary Children at Seattle Art Museum, and Beacon Hill Block Party, among other community events. Casted as Lady in Jerome A. Parker’s House of Dinah at On the Boards, she's been recognized on City Arts Magazine's 2018 Future List and received a SeattleDances 2016 DanceCrush Award.
Randy has worked with artists such as Dani Tirrell (Genre Bender, Black Bois), Markeith Wiley (IT’S NOT TOO LATE), Kitten N’ Lou (CAMPTACULAR, Jingle All The Gay), and BenDeLaCreme (Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor). Identifying as a Black non-binary Transfemme, her work continues the conversation about and centering intersectionality. When not onstage she's a program leader through ArtsCorps at Dimmit Middle School and Meeker Middle School. She's a guest teacher at Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a MixxedFit Instructor at the Northwest African American Museum.
Born in Misawa, Japan, Ryan Young (they/them/their), is a Two Spirit Ojibwe multi-disciplinary artist from Lac du Flambeau, WI. They recently graduated from the Institute of American Indian Arts, completing their BFA in Studio Arts (Photography) and a certificate in Performing Arts.
Their senior show focused on empowering Two Spirit people, using a variety of mediums, including photography, silkscreen printing, projection and mixed media.
During their time in Wisconsin, they photographed album covers for local bands, shown work in art shows at multiple venues, and published in the UW’s Art Department Journal Illumination. They’ve also hosted multiple workshops focusing on Two Spirit identity/history and cultural appropriation.
Their first photography project, Indigeneity, promoted representation of Indigenous students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. This work lead to a photo spread in Native Max Magazine and soon after a job offer for Young as their Deputy Fashion Photography editor. Young’s photography appeared in multiple issues and even in advertisement for JG Indie during New York’s Fashion Week.
Since moving to Santa Fe in 2014 to attend IAIA, Young continues to work on a variety of projects and expanded their mediums into printmaking and performance. They were invited to speak about the Two Spirit Project, which brings voice and visibility to queer indigenous people, and their photography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in November as a part of Native American Heritage Month and Trans Visibility Week. Young’s photography will appear in an upcoming book by the American Theatre Wing and their art can be seen in LGBT Resource Centers and Centers for Diversity at Princeton and Brown University. In 2018, Young was announced as Eighth Generation’s designing artist for the Two Spirit Blanket which was released later that year.