Arielle Julia Brown
CULTURAL STRATEGIST. PERFORMANCE MAKER. PERFORMANCE CURATOR. DRAMATURG.
Photo Credit: Angel Edwards
Arielle Julia Brown is a multidisciplinary cultural worker who commands and directs 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, PA home. Arielle’s practices traverse cultural strategy, performance curation, dramaturgy, facilitation and performance making. Arielle’s work as a cultural worker calls forward spaces for truthtelling the likes of which continue to make expansive space for Beloved Community. Across her efforts, Arielle is committed to supporting and creating Black performance work that commands imaginative and material space for social transformation.
Woven throughout her cultural work, 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 (2021), 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 -2023) 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?
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.
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.
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) . The work is also supported by the SACHS program for innovation and the Alice Paul Center for Research on Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies.
HOLLERS/Breaks and Intercessions
HOLLERS/Breaks and Intercessions
Here are some images, video and writings from some of my previous creative projects
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Transatlantic Conversations - Creating Together (2015)
Pomona College Theatre Department
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.
I contributed an essay to this forthcoming work from the National Center for Choreography at the University of Akron on the brilliant and essential Debbie Blunden Diggs of Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.
This collection of essays, the first in a series, uplifts the stories of women-identified leaders in dance — often overlooked despite decades of stalwart creative and structural leadership. Profiled artists include Ananya Chatterjea (Twin Cities, MN), Shirley Mordine (Chicago, IL), Cleo Parker Robinson (Denver, CO), Donna Uchizono (New York, NY), and others.
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.
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.
Creating Place While Building People Power: How ROOTS Weekend- Atlanta Insisted on Traditions of Place and Spirit
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.
Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Frontlines
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!