• Arielle Julia Brown


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     Photo Credit: Angel Edwards


    Arielle Julia Brown is an artist, curator and creative wayfinder who directs and supports cultural spaces as sites for radical imagination, vision building and social transformation in her communities.


    Raised between Hayward, California and Conley, Georgia by her beloved migratory people, Arielle now also calls Philadelphia, Pennsylvania home. Arielle’s practices traverse cultural strategy, research, evaluation, performance curation, dramaturgy, facilitation and performance making. Working most frequently in performance, philanthropic, memory work and cultural organizing spaces, Arielle’s offerings help create the conditions for the truthtelling necessary for the building of Beloved Community. As a mother and rigorous believer in the power of young people, Arielle endeavors across all of her work to be an accomplice to the free, resourced and self-determined futures of young people. Artistically, Arielle is committed to supporting and creating Black performance work that commands imaginative and material space for social transformation.



    Arielle is the founder and director of Black Spatial Relics, a regranter, convener and presenter and champion of Black radical performance. Arielle is the Senior Research Officer at The Lewis Prize for Music.


    In addition to her work in performance and philanthropy, Arielle teaches and facilitates workshops across various cultural and academic spaces. As a facilitator she has been most transformed by her work on The Love Balm Project, a workshop series and performance that centers the testimonies of mothers who have lost children to systemic violence (2010 -2015 - more information below). Additionally, Arielle has taught performance at; Destiny Arts Center, Streetside Stories, Eastside Arts Alliance and Liberation Songs (at Morehouse College). She has been a guest lecturer at the Pomona College Department of Theatre and Dance. Arielle has facilitated workshops and or served on panels at Open Engagement, Common Field, Highlander Homecoming, ROOTS Weekend Atlanta, Theatre Bay Area Conference, College Art Association Conference, Alliance of Artist Communities, ASWAD and several others. Recent dramaturgy credits include What We Ask of Flesh by Christal Brown/INSPIRIT (Jacobs Pillow Residency, The Kennedy Center 2022) Grounds That Shout curated by Reggie Wilson (Philadelphia Contemporary 2019), Salt Peper Ketchup by Josh Wilder (Interact Theatre/ Passages Theatre 2018)


    Arielle was recognized by Intersection for the Arts as as 2014 Changemaker. She was a Mellon Artistic Leadership Fellow for the 2014 Encuentro at LATC. She was a 2017-2018 Inaugural Diversity and Leadership Fellow at Alliance of Artists Communities. Arielle was a 2019 Monument Lab National Fellow. Arielle is a 2021 Leeway Transformation Awardee. Arielle is in the inaugural cohort (2021 -2024) of Called By Water conceived and led by Omi Osun Joni L. Jones and Sharon Bridgforth. Arielle received her B.A. in Theatre from Pomona College and holds an M.A. in Public Humanities from Brown University where she was the 2015-2017 Public History of Slavery Graduate Fellow with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice.


    What's up now?

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    A Performance Installation Shaped in the Image of Donna Booker

    A performance installation aspiring to the form of Donna Booker, a Black Trans woman activist who endeavored to make of her body a sanctuary. This work has been supported by the Leeway Foundation for a residency at Headlong Dance Theatre (2018), SACHS program for innovation and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies (2020). Fallawayinto was presented as a site responsive ritual in the fall of 2022 in Waukegan, IL. It has an upcoming production by Ninth Planet in Philadelphia in the fall of 2024.

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    Where the Red birds and the Black folks cross

    Mixtape meets radio play, Full/Fledged/Free: Prayers Out From Under the Feet of Other People is a triptych crossing red/black/white bird migrations with Black folks migration. Considering Black kinship and belonging across regions, continents and oceans the mixtape prominently tracks stories across five generations of Black women and girls in a single family. Highly poetic and rooted in Black storytelling and lore making - the work asks the questions - what happens when spirit tells you to get up and move with or without your flock? Who gets left behind? Who gets carried up? Who prays for the journey? Who is called to make the stories into legend?

    Full. Fledged.Free is in development with support from the Called By Water program. It was first presented by BAMBDFEST in August 2023.

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    Black Spatial Relics

    Black Spatial Relics: A New Performance Residency about Slavery, Justice and Freedom

    A site responsive performance residency commissioned in its first year (2016-2017) by the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University, Black Spatial Relics is an independent organization that supports new performance work about slavery, justice and freedom across the African Diaspora. To learn more about the organization, check out the website here.

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    HOLLERS/Breaks and Intercessions

    HOLLERS/Breaks and Intercessions

    A series of gatherings for Black elders across Black churches | Praying, imagining and interceding for Black Freedoms. Learn more about this work here.


    Here are some images, video and writings from some of my previous creative projects

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    Remember2019 (2016-2023)

    To Unearth. To Listen. To Amplify

    Remember2019 is an effort to make space for the congregation of the Black communities and Black cultural workers of Phillips County, AR. Our work is to support and facilitate local practices of self-determination, memory, and reflection, that are directly related to the mass lynching of 1919, the lasting effects of racial terror, and the current and future health of these communities. Learn more about our work here.

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    Staying Power (2020-2021)

    Monument Lab and The Village of Arts and Humanities

    I served as co-curator of Staying Power, an outdoor art exhibition and program series in the Fairhill-Hartranft neighborhood of Philadelphia. Staying Power asks artists, residents of the neighborhood, and visitors: What is your staying power in your neighborhood? What is your staying power in a city and world that are rapidly changing? Staying Power seeks to understand, amplify, and invest in the staying power of Fairhill-Hartranft’s neighborhood residents. For more information about this work visit the project website here.


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    Grounds That Shout! (and others merely shaking) (2019)

    Philadelphia Contemporary and Partnership for Sacred Spaces

    I served as the project dramaturg for Grounds That Shout! Curated by award-winning choreographer Reggie Wilson, Grounds that Shout! (and others merely shaking) was a series of performances that respond to the layered histories of Philadelphia’s religious spaces through contemporary dance, reflecting on the relationships and connections between practices of movement and worship. Over two weeks, eight choreographers and performance groups performed in four historic Philadelphia churches, drawing from site and spirit to present original and re-situated works of dance.

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    The Love Balm Project (2010 -2015)

    A theatre workshop series and performance based on the testimonies of mothers who have lost children to systemic violence.

    Launched in 2010, The Love Balm Project includes workshops, training institutes for local arts practitioners, peacebuilding symposiums, productions and a site specific performance series - Our Hallowed Ground. For more information about this project, check here.

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    The Doubleback: Inquiries into Freedwomen's Gaze (2016)

    A Site Responsive Performance and Witness Driven Conversation

    The DoubleBack was a site responsive series performances and appearances centered around Phillis, Rose and Fanny Chace, three Black women who were enslaved by the Chace family in the late 18th century. The culminating site investigation of The Doubleback was an inquiry into the personal and industrial labor of remembering, applying transhistorical solidarity and ritual performance knowledges to play in the holes of the historical archive and build new thing/memory of Phillis, Fanny and Rose Chace. For more information, images and writings about these performances and appearances - view here.

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    California Shakespeare Theater | Triangle Lab Residency (2013 & 2014)

    The Triangle Lab

    As an artist in residence with the Triangle Lab at Calshakes, I directed The Adventure of Grief with RAW Talent from Richmond, Ca. For more information about this work, check here. As a part of the residency with Calshakes the previous year I also co-taught a site specific performance class called Disrupting Public Space with artist/activist/curator Jose Navarrete at Intersection for the Arts.

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    Transatlantic Conversations - Creating Together (2015)

    Co-led as a collaboration between Deborah Asiimwe, Joyce Lu and museld, this course and performance engaged young people in the practices of asking the following questions in the work of building across the African Diaspora: How does the persistent portrayal of “Africa” and the “African Diasporic” by people in these locations, as well as by dominant Western media create certain relationships between "blackness," "whiteness" and "otherness" in the global imaginary? And how do these ideas influence our perceptions and frame our prejudices about subjects unfamiliar to ourselves?  How do we find that core that centres us? Can we truly see and embrace the other in us? As the project dramaturg, I created an installation to come alongside this questioning. 


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    Producing Well-Being: Music-Based Creative Youth Development's Approaches to Youth-Led Workforce Development


    As Senior Knowledge Generation and Research Officer at The Lewis Prize for Music, I led a systems change lab on CYD and workforce development. I also co-authored the Producing Well-Being Report, which explores the dynamic interplay between Creative Youth Development (CYD) and Workforce Development. Propelled by purposeful dialogues, peer knowledge exchange, and collaborative efforts, the Producing Well-Being Report points out the transformative impact of music-based CYD programs in enabling youth who are most marginalized to discover their voice, refine their artistic skills, and emerge as leaders in the 21st-century workforce. Across the United States, these organizations empower young people to use their talents to navigate life and workforce complexities, aiming for a future where they can lead self-determined lives and contribute meaningfully to society.

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    Cane: A New Critical Edition

    Oracular Card Deck Contributor


    Printed by 3rd Thing Press - Edited by Diane Exavier, Carlos Sirah and Anne de Marcken.


    From 3rd Thing Press: "Our 100th anniversary celebration of Cane is an invitation to wonder, speculate, imagine and create. We present our beautifully designed, faithful edition of the genre-defying classic along with a deck of striking, large-format oracular cards.

    Black thinkers and makers from across and between creative, scholarly and community practices have convened for this project. They offer their insights in the form of prompts, gestures, images, questions, calls to respond…each authored for this edition presented on a card, paired with an evocative, timeless quote from Cane.

    Use the deck and book together for insight into Cane. Or use the cards on their own for creative inspiration and oracular insight. Portals out of ordinary time."

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    Chapter: Let Them Tell It

    Black Southern Women's Retrospection Within the Works of Remember 2019


    Black southern women’s retrospection within the works of Remember2019 is an engagement with the artistic contributions of Black women to the Remember2019 project. Remember2019 is a multi-modular performance-based memorial effort centering the stories and futures of Black Phillips County, Arkansas community members. In the wake of the 1919 Elaine Massacre, the Remember2019 project has followed the cultural strategies of Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Black women leaders in Phillips County to create spaces for self-determination, memory, and reflection. This essay follows the work of the eight-year long project to date and marks the cultural strategies and voices of its closest Black women collaborators.

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    Sounding From The Heartlands: A Think Tank Centering Appalachian, Black Belt Southern, Borderlands, and Indigenous Music-Based Creative Youth Development Efforts


    As the Senior Knowledge and Research Officer at The Lewis Prize for Music, I led the Sounding From The Heartlands: A Think Tank Centering Appalachian, Black Belt Southern, Borderlands, and Indigenous Music-Based Creative Youth Development Efforts Project. This was inclusive of a think tank and white paper authored by CYD organization leaders including youth and adults. Check out this report here. 

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    Midcasting* Toward Just Futures: Creative Youth Development’s Waymaking to Systems Change through and beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic

    August 2021

    As the lead on the Knowledge Generation team at The Lewis Prize for Music, I led the research, writing and editing of the Midcasting Toward Just Futures white paper on systems change and CYD. This report features writing by young people, researchers and reports out on research about nearly 280 creative youth development organizations and their work before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read the full paper here.

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    Arielle Julia Brown Discusses Process on Remember2019

    May 22, 2020

    Remember2019 is an effort to make space for the congregation of the Black communities of Phillips County, Arkansas. Our work is to support and facilitate local practices of self-determination, memory, and reflection that are directly related to the mass lynching of 1919, the lasting effects of racial terror, and the current and future health of these communities. Having recently developed and completed programming at the centennial of the 1919 Elaine Massacre in Phillips County, Arkansas, the Remember2019 team reflects on process, impact, values, aesthetics and vision around the work of the project over the last 4 years while also considering the futures of the work over the next four years. In this reflection Arielle Julia Brown discusses durational process in Remember2019. Read the full series here. 

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    Black Spatial Relics and Lifting Black Vigilance

    May 2019

    When everything and all we got is each other, outside eye turned protest and our best recollection. Read more about it here.

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    Creating Place While Building People Power: How ROOTS Weekend- Atlanta Insisted on Traditions of Place and Spirit

    January 2018


    How do we repeatedly ask of cultural work, a space to build people power? Check out this reflection on ROOTS-Weekend Atlanta here. 

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    Listening to the Land/Playing off the Crowd: Black Public Performance Interventions in Artmaking and Placemaking

    November 2017


    Listening to the Land/Playing off the Crowd: Black Public Performance Interventions in Artmaking and Placemaking was first presented at the Public Art Dialogue-sponsored panel, “Public Art in the Era of Black Lives Matter,” at the 2017 College Art Association annual conference in New York. Check it out here. 

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    October 2016

    A conversation series for Arts.Black on Black site specific performance and Black Displacement. The featured artists in this conversation series are Dr. Omi Osun Joni L Jones, Marcus White and Amara Tabor Smith. Read the editors note here.

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    Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines

    March 2016

    I wrote a piece about The Love Balm Project for this landmark anthology about radical mothers, collectives, and artists of color. Edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens and Mai'a Williams, this anthology also features never before published work by June Jordan. Get it on amazon here!

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    Transatlantic Conversations: Dramaturgy as Public Humanities


    This blog post is a reflection on my dramaturgical work on the Transatlantic Conversations project. Read it here!

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    Activating Allyship at Encuentro 2014

    November 2014

    Here is an essay I wrote reflecting on my work on the 2014 Encuentro as a Mellon Artistic Leadership Fellow at the LATC. Read it here.


    A few writings from collaborators, cultural workers and critics about the work

    Not Another Memory Play | Ashley Teague



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