The following participants have been selected for the Southern pilot of Emerging Leaders of Color. This first cohort will convene online for three days in December 2020 to participate in networking and professional development. They will also have opportunities to network with alumni from prior cohorts.
Building on the success of WESTAF’s ELC program which has been attracting, training, networking and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010, the South Arts program will serve to advance Southern vitality through the arts through leadership development.
- Melanie Colclough, Sumter County Cultural Center/Patriot Hall | Sumter, SC
Melanie Colclough serves as the Executive Director of Patriot Hall and the Cultural Center in Sumter, SC. She has many years of experience working with organizations, committees, and boards to engage staff and volunteers in supporting mutually beneficial goals. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Carolina Columbia and a Master of Public Administration degree from CUNY/Baruch College. A connector and advocate, Melanie served as a nonprofit leader before taking over the Sumter County Cultural Center/Patriot Hall in 2017. She enjoys repositioning the Arts in her community, but is driven by the opportunity to bring people together through her work there. She believes the beauty, diversity, and ambiguity of the Arts give people a much-needed collective experience while offering space for individual ones, a philosophy she hopes people will learn at the cultural center and then transfer to other facets of life. She is a Guardian ad Litem, adoption advocate, National Urban Fellow, and serves on several local arts-related boards. She is a mother of six wonderful children, member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc. and attends Bethesda Church of God, where she and her husband, David, work on the leadership team.
- Jemimah Ekeh, One Columbia for Arts and Culture | Columbia, SC
Jemimah Ekeh is a second-generation Nigerian-American. She is an arts administrator and freelance designer with experiences in arts advocacy, social media, marketing, web development, design and event management. Currently Jemimah works for One Columbia for Arts and Culture–the city of Columbia's de facto arts and culture organization. Jemimah manages the marketing, social media, and administration of the organization while providing support for the promotion of arts and culture in the city; utilizing her expertise to connect and provide information and resources to artists and buskers. Jemimah years of experience encompasses a variety of opportunities from Scenic Theater tech to Production Assistant, Film Festival volunteer for local film festivals to Graphic Designer–which for the last decade she has been freelancing for a variety of clients, most recently working as the Festival Designer for Indie Grits 2020. Jemimah has also worked for the Columbia Museum of Art (CMA), starting as a Visitor Services Representative, then as Special Events Staff and later as a Communications Assistant. She holds a bachelors in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of South Carolina (UofSC), with a major in Visual Communication and a minor in Studio Art. Jemimah is eager to use her experiences to develop meaningful arts and culture experiences for all, one step at a time.
- Nathalie Nia Faulk, Alternate ROOTS/Last Call | New Orleans, LA
N. Nathalie Nia Faulk (They/Them) is self described ebony southern belle born in Lafayette, Louisiana and living in New Orleans for the last eight years. Since her childhood, her work has lived at the the intersections of performance, history and storytelling, healing justice, individual and organizational development, and community building. They use these competencies as tools for the liberation of all people, centering trans and gender non confirming black and brown people. Currently, they serve as A Human Right Commissioner for the City of New Orleans, Co-Director of Southern Organizer Academy as well as Co-Director of Last Call Oral History Project, and as the Cultural Organizing Programs Coordinator for Alternate ROOTS. In addition to her service as Board member of Transcending Women, they currently serve both BreakOUT! and the LOUD Queer Youth Theater advisory Boards. They believe that everyone is inherently valuable and beautiful and collectively, we can manifest everything!
- Carey Fountain, Birmingham Museum of Art | Birmingham, AL
Carey Fountain is a visual artist, musician, and cultural producer based in Birmingham, AL. His art practice combines these disciplines hand in hand with the belief that art can inspire change to propel society forward. Fountain likes to explore what he calls "the language in the middle." He has exhibited nationally including exhibitions and performances at The Study, Los Angeles, CA, Artlanta Gallery, Atlanta, GA, Alabama School of Fine Art, Birmingham, AL and Gallery 905, Selma, AL. He is also the founder of Vibes & Virtues, an experimental art experience. Fountain has worked for Selma Arts, Selma, AL, Coleman Center of the Arts, York, AL, and currently is the Manager of Public Programs for the Birmingham Museum of Art. Fountain graduated from UA in 2014 with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies.
- Brandall C. Jones, Kenny Leon's True Colors Theatre Company | Atlanta, GA
Brandall Jones is passionate about sharing multicultural stories and history, as well as building community partnerships within the Atlanta community. Jones is proud to be part of the True Colors Theatre Company family and is especially proud of the organization's commitment to providing career-making opportunities for emerging artists of color in the Atlanta community. Having graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with a focus in Performing Arts and Arts Administration, Jones has applied his knowledge and experience by serving the Atlanta and South Fulton County areas for years through the development and implementation of a number of arts outreach programs with Fulton County Arts and Culture and The Serenbe Institute for Art, Culture, and the Environment. At True Colors, Jones continues to make an impact through building community partnerships and developing programs for public conversations and performances. An adamant belief that all, no matter what their zip code or background, deserve access to high quality arts has been the driving force of Jones' career.
- Carly Jones, North Carolina Arts Council | Raleigh, NC
Carly Jones is a performing artist and an arts administrator with experience in funding, community programming, arts advocacy, nonprofit development and cultural work. Jones attended Miami University of Ohio where she received a BM in vocal performance, a BA in Black music history, and a minor in arts management. She currently serves her home state of North Carolina as the Program Director for Artists & Organizations for the NC Arts Council. Jones started at the arts council as the Music Director, where she oversaw music grants/fellowships and spearheaded the statewide Come Hear NC campaign, celebrating NC's musicians. She also curated programming for the NC Executive Mansion, which showcased NC musicians from all cultures. Jones led the arts council's partnership with the African American Heritage Commission and National Trust for Historic Preservation on an awareness campaign to preserve the childhood home of civil rights musician, Nina Simone. As the Program Director, she now oversees grants for organizations and artist fellowships across disciplines and cultivates partnerships in communities across the field. Jones previously worked with a variety of arts organizations, including the multi-arts school Arts Together as the Director of Communications & Development, and as the Director of the African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh. Jones has led work around ways to make the arts sector more accessible across cultural and socio-economic boundaries for all artists and communities.
- Victoria Jones, The Collective The CLTV Inc. | Memphis, TN
In 2015, with the encouragement of artists, activists, and stakeholders, Victoria Jones gathered a group of Black artists and founded The CLTV (Collective) in an effort to empower the community they were charged to serve. The CLTV operates under the belief that Black artists and creators are the most thoughtful and brilliant change agents in the city. For that reason the CLTV is dedicated to elevating Black artists in Memphis, using their creative expression and thought energy to empower Black communities, and in execution shifting the culture of Memphis. The CLTV has been covered locally, nationally, and even internationally through publications like Essence Magazine, Vice, The Art Newspaper, and Madame Noire amongst many others.
Jones was named Leadership Memphis' 2019 Change Maker Honoree, Jones was also named by the Black Millennial Convention as 2019 Millennial Leader to Watch. In 2018 Jones was invited to join the Salzburg Global Forum for Young Cultural Innovators.
- Chad Locklear, Givens Performing Arts Center | Pembroke, NC
Chad Locklear is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and has Tuscarora ancestry. He is the director of marketing for the Givens Performing Arts Center, a 1,600 seat theater on campus at UNC Pembroke. Chad is responsible for leading all marketing efforts for the center, including advertising, design, social media, student engagement, and sponsorships. Chad also serves as the Lumbee Film Festival's communications director. In 2015, Chad organized the 4th River People Music Festival, which highlighted local and national American Indian musicians. He previously worked as a graphic artist for UNC Wilmington and the Fayetteville Observer. He has performed at numerous venues as a member of the traditional native group, the Deer Clan Singers.
Chad earned a master's in liberal studies from UNC Wilmington and dual bachelor's degrees in communication and arts studies from N.C. State University. He is currently pursuing a second master's in digital communications at UNC-Chapel Hill.
- Chase Miller, Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra | Lexington, KY
Clarinetist Chase Miller is an active performer and Teaching Artist. In 2019 he was appointed Program Director of MusicWorks, which is Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra's El Sistema program. Prior to that he held the position of Education Coordinator with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. Most recently, he was a co-presenter at the 2020 El Sistema USA Conference in Durham, North Carolina. The Kentucky Governors School for the Arts awarded Chase with the Annual Marlene M. Helm Alumni Achievement Award. Which was created to honor an outstanding alumnus or alumna for their contribution to the arts in their home community, their service to the Governor's School for the Arts, and the dedication to enriching the state's artistic future.
- Viola Ratcliffe, Bib & Tucker Sew-Op | Bessemer, AL
Viola Ratcliffe is an arts administrator and educator, whose work explores the intersection of art and activism. A native of Montgomery, Alabama; she earned her undergraduate degree in Art History from the University of Alabama and her master’s degree in Art History from Bowling Green State University. As the former Curator Specialist of the Troy University Rosa Parks Museum, Viola has travelled the country and the world studying the relationship between art, memorial, and activism. In 2014 she was selected to take part in Bowling Green State University’s Fulbright- Hays “Walking Witness” program, which provided her with the opportunity to travel to Europe to study the history of Ohio Holocaust survivors. Currently, Viola works as program manager for Bib & Tucker Sew-Op in Birmingham, AL; an arts non-profit that is a hub for sewing activities that promote empowerment, education, and economic opportunity. She is also the founder of Elynn & Rose, LLC, a venture that honors and celebrates the journey that is womanhood and girlhood, and whose mission is to create opportunities for women and girls through entrepreneurship, education, creation, and exploration. Viola currently lives in Bessemer, Alabama with her husband and her two young daughters.
- Cecilia Reyna, Community Citizen | Louisville, KY
Cecilia Reyna Lara is a human and arts administrator in Louisville, Kentucky. She is passionate about community arts and broadening access in Louisville, while remaining rooted in her home community and family in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. Cecilia holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Bellarmine University. She has worked with Kentucky Performing Arts, The Speed Art Museum and the Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana. In addition to her work, Cecilia has served as consultant for Backside Learning Center at Churchill Downs, a grant panelist for The Fund for the Arts, and Board Member for the West Louisville Women’s Collaborative. Cecilia loves to share art with the community and believes that art is for everyone.
- Stacey Wilson, Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience | Meridian, MS
Stacey Wilson-Curator, Project Manager, Exhibition Designer, and sometimes Artist. Wilson is the Curator of Exhibitions for the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience and has held multiple roles in this position. In the beginning she was an Exhibit Designer brought on as a Project Manager to coordinate a 14 million dollar 6,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art permanent exhibition. Now she is the Curator responsible for overseeing the maintenance and future development of said exhibition as well as organizing the changing exhibitions. All of that hard work paid off when Wilson received the SEMC Emerging Museum Professionals award in 2019.
Wilson loves history. She earned a M.A. and B.A. in history, with a concentration in Public History from Texas State University-San Marcos and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, respectively. Her studies focused on antebellum Louisiana and she previously worked as an interpreter at Destrehan Plantation. Portraying a free woman of color and a slave, she has presented laundry, indigo dyeing, and tignon tying demonstrations. Her tignon tying demonstration has transformed into a lecture delving into the history of headwraps and their meaning in early Louisiana history. Formerly, she was the Curator of Exhibitions/Lead Designer at the Louisiana State Museum.