Indigo Arts Alliance. A place where freedom of expression and personal transformation through creativity is encouraged. Indigo Arts Alliance embodies a Black-led, multiracial approach to the rich intersections of citizenship, community-building, and creativity. More than ever, our world needs people who can help us imagine more compassionate, generous, and welcoming human societies. Indigo does that work. It is a great gift to the Portland community, to the region, and to our nation!
Indigo Arts Alliance is rooted in two principles:
- Art is a key resource for healthy human communities. It should be cultivated and celebrated.
- Artists play a unique role in strengthening our multiracial democracy. We need their vision and inspiration to help build a more humane, inclusive, and just world.
Co-Founder | Artist Director
Daniel Minter is an American artist known for his work in the mediums of painting and assemblage. He is a visual storyteller and accomplished illustrator. Minter’s artwork reflects abiding themes of displacement and diaspora; ordinary/extraordinary blackness; spirituality in the Afro-Atlantic world; and the (re)creation of meanings of home. Minter’s paintings, carvings, block prints, and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums. He is the co-founder and creative visionary of the Portland Freedom Trail, a system of granite and bronze markers that constitutes a permanent walking trail highlighting the people, places, and events associated with the anti-slavery movement in Portland. Minter’s work also marks the Malaga Island Trail which remembers the Black, European and Native American residents of the island who were forcibly removed by the state of Maine in 1912. He has illustrated over a dozen children’s books and commissioned twice to create Kwanzaa stamps for the U.S. Postal Service. Minter teaches at the Maine College of Art.
Co-Founder | Executive Director
Marcia Minter is a seasoned creative professional, dedicated arts advocate and community leader deeply committed to social and cultural activism. Her work on numerous boards represents the interest of underrepresented voices, talents and citizen constituents. She has spent her professional career as an Executive Creative Director for some of the world’s most iconic brands. Her curatorial work focuses on photography, symposiums on the intersection of art and social practice, exhibition planning and implementation. Currently she serves on the Maine Arts Commission, and is a Trustee of the Portland Museum of Art and Haystack Mountain School of Crafts.
Jordia Benjamin, Deputy Director, has a passion for creating compelling programs and cultivating creative environments. She embodies a commitment to equity, inclusion, empowerment and advocacy for communities of color. Jordia co-leads with the Executive Director IAA’s day-to-day operations. Her role ensures that the quality and impact of IAA’s activities and programs directly support its mission. A highly effective collaborator, manager, relationship builder, and communicator, she guides and refines the artist residency program, developing related programming that connects our local, national and international communities.
Director of External Affairs
Wren Manly, Director of External Affairs, is responsible for cultivating professional affiliations, alliances and developing new collaborations with relevant individual or corporate partners who can help further our mission. In her role she executes our development plan; including annual fund appeals, special campaigns, events, grants, and corporate sponsorships. Additionally, she provides leadership and implementation for all communications platforms establishing systems, tools, processes and communications strategies that ensure clear, consistent messaging across all areas of the organization. Wren is committed to supporting artists and is always eager for critical conversations about the arts nonprofit sector, philanthropy, and equity.
Studio and Program Coordinator
Ashley Page is the Studio and Program Coordinator at Indigo Arts Alliance. She serves as a point of contact for artists and supports the development of related public programs and special projects to best connect artists and communities. In her role, she ensures the smooth operations of the studio and it’s administrative needs. As an interdisciplinary artist, community organizer, and social disruptor, Ashley’s creative spirit, passion for community, and dedication to the artistic growth of artists of color is interwoven into her own artistic philosophy. Drawing from the power of vulnerability, collaborative honesty, and mutual understanding, her work creates the bridges between art and people.
Saundra Thomas, recently Interim Co-Executive Director at Open House New York is a non-profit consultant with more than 30 years of media and nonprofit leadership experience. During her 17 years as VP of Community Affairs, at WABC-TV, the ABC New York flagship station, Saundra led, designed and oversaw all on-air public service announcements, community outreach and station community projects for the NY tri-state area. She is a perennial and sought-after board member, speaker and coach.
Saundra is a board member of Indigo Arts Alliance, Open House New York and the Prospect Park Alliance.
Thomas Douglas is an experienced litigator who has successfully argued cases in state and federal courts throughout Maine, including the Maine Supreme Court. He runs is his own firm and in his spare time is an avid writer, musician and long distance runner.
Chair Development Committee
Susan Siegel is a community transformer who has dedicated her life to founding and scaling up local and international businesses that engage artists and underserved individuals. She founded Global Action Project, a non-profit media arts organization that trains young people to produce and use media as a social justice tool. G.A.P. was honored at the White House with the prestigious National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award.
Chair Artists in Residence Committee
Myron Beasley, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of American Studies at Bates College. He is a scholar and international curator. His ethnographic research includes exploring the intersection of cultural politics, art and social change, as he believes in the power of artists and recognize them as cultural workers.
Our Circle of Advisors
Inaugural Elder Advisor and Mentor
One of the world’s leading authorities on the subject of African American Art, Prof. David C. Driskell is highly regarded as both an artist and a scholar. The recipient of numerous fellowships, awards, and prizes including three Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships and a Harmon Foundation Fellowship, Prof. Driskell has also received thirteen honorary doctoral degrees in art.
Adilah Muhammad, Lewiston, Maine is a strategic planning and research consultant specializing in inter-organizational human and financial resource planning. She is also the founder of The Third Place- a nonprofit community development organization and coworking space for people of color. Muhammad is the current program committee chairperson for the Maine Community Foundation and serves as the volunteer coordinator for the LA Arts Downstage Theater.
Atiim Boykin, MA., MFT, MHRT-C, Oakland, CA is a musician, songwriter, band-leader, spoken word poet, community organizer, activist, storyteller, social worker, and family therapist. He has more than 20 years of experience in these roles, and has worked closely with artists, musicians, event design firms, community partners, and funders in leadership positions, as well as with the implementation of community arts, mental health and educational programs.
Brian J. Evans (he/him) is a Citizen Artist, defined by the Aspen Institute Arts Program as:
Individuals who reimagine the traditional notions of art-making, and who contribute to society either through the transformative power of their artistic abilities, or through proactive social engagement with the arts in realms including education, community building, diplomacy and healthcare.
Mixing disciplines, mixing professions, and of mixed race, Brian J. Evans unpacks the “moments of suspension” that reside in the spaces between spaces. Convinced that connections exist between us all and it is the responsibility of the Arts to remind us to be holistically human, lest we forget. Courageous vulnerability and intentional equity keeps him aloft as he finds ways to give back and add to the communities, mentors, and ancestors who blazed trails and continue to do so! Evans believes it is the responsibility of the Arts to rediscover existing connections within humanity. He currently holds the position of Mellon Diversity and Faculty Renewal Postdoctoral Fellow in the Theater and Dance department at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine located on the unceded land of the Wabanaki Confederacy. https://www.brianjevans.org/
C. Daniel Dawson, NY, NY—Prof. Columbia University. Dawson has worked as a photographer, filmmaker, curator, arts administrator, and consultant. He served as curator of photography, film and video at the Studio Museum in Harlem (NYC), director of special projects at the Caribbean Cultural Center (NYC), and curatorial consultant and director of education at the Museum for African Art (NYC).
Daisy Desrosiers is the inaugural Director of Artist Programs at the Lunder Institute for American Art at Colby College. She is an interdisciplinary art historian and independent curator. Her thesis concerns the cultural, post-colonial, and material implications of the use of sugar in contemporary art. She was invited to be the Guest Critic of the Brooklyn Rail for the May 2020 issue where she convened international collaborators across disciplines on the topic of translation and mistranslation in artistic, writing, and research-based practices. In 2018, she was the inaugural recipient of the Nicholas Fox Weber curatorial fellowship, affiliated with the Glucksman Museum (Cork, Ireland), as well as a curatorial fellow-in-residence at Art in General (Brooklyn, NY).
Danielle Conway, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania— Danielle M. Conway is Dean of Penn State Dickinson Law School. She is a leading expert in public procurement law, entrepreneurship, and intellectual property law. She teaches in the areas of Intellectual Property Law, Licensing Intellectual Property, International Intellectual Property Law, Internet Law & Policy, and Government Contract Law.
Elizabeth Jabar, Waterville, Maine—Colby College, Director of Civic Engagement and Community Partnerships. Visual Artist, Printmaker and former Dean of Maine College of Art. She is a feminist printmaker who explores a range of personal-political issues in her work including cultural identity, representation, equity and maternal ethics. Her practice is located in the studio, the classroom and the community where she co-creates collaborative and participatory projects with students, colleagues and community members.
Eneida Sanches, Sao Paulo, Brazil—Visual Artist. Eneida started her career as an architect. Executive board member of the SACATAR Institute, artist in residence on the Island of Itaparica from 2004 to 2011. Created and coordinated the visual arts exhibits: Circuito das Artes Bahia e Circuito Triangulações de 2004 a 2015. Started exhibiting her work in 1994 at the collective exhibition Face of the Gods, Museum for African Art, NY, USA.
Genevieve Tremblay, Bellevue, WA—is an artist, designer, curator and public scholar who ignites and facilitates pioneering cultural and community initiatives. She is a globally recognized education leader using technology to transform education and her curatorial work and published research is aimed at fostering creative communities of innovation.
Henry Drewal, Madison, WI— He has been the Evjue-Bascom Professor of Art History and Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Adjunct Curator of African Art at the Chazen Museum of Art, UW-Madison. He has published several books and edited volumes and many articles on various aspects of African art, primarily on the arts of Yoruba-speaking peoples of West Africa and the Yoruba diaspora in the Americas.
Since 1994 Jamie has co-produced The North Atlantic Blues Festival, an annual two-day blues music festival featuring national blues performers, in Rockland, Maine. Jamie is also involved in several non-profit projects and organizations. He produces a scholarship concert series for Kents Hill School. Jamie also plays Chicago-styled piano with The Blues Prophets, who have been together for forty years. He currently also serves on the board of the St Lawrence Arts Center.
Jill Duson, Portland, Me — recently retired from Maine State Government where she served in a variety of executive leadership positions including Director of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and most recently as Director of Compliance at the Maine Human Rights Commission. Duson’s elected service includes 3 years a member and Chair of the Portland School Board. She is currently serving her 20th year as an At-Large member of the Portland City Council.
John Coleman, Portland, Maine— founder/CEO the VIA Agency in Portland, ME. Coleman holds an MBA and a BS in mechanical engineering and an honorary doctorate in fine arts from Maine College of Art. He sits on the board of trustees for the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and he is a volunteer for the Preble Street Resource Center. Coleman maintains an active studio practice exploring conceptual artwork.
Jolene McGowan, Portland, Maine— Founder and Principal of Matchstick Communications, a creative services firm. Before starting her own communications business, Jolene worked as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Jill McGowan, Inc., a family owned apparel design business in Portland, where she helped the company expand its reach from 4 boutiques in New England to 200 specialty stores throughout the United States.
Karen Geraghty, Portland, Me — is a Senior Philanthropy Officer at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. At PPNNE she is responsible for securing principal and major gifts to support PPNNE’s mission of providing high quality, affordable healthcare to over 45,000 patients in NNE. Karen is part of an experienced team of development professionals that exceeded a comprehensive campaign goal of $25 million dollars to bring PPNNE health centers and technology into the 21st century and strengthen public affairs and grassroots organizing to meet the challenges of the current political climate.
Kemi Ilesanmi, Brooklyn, NY is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, which advances artists and neighbors as change agents in their own communities. Prior to joining The LP in 2012, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation. From 1998-2004, she was a visual arts curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. She serves on the boards of the Joan Mitchell Foundation and The Broad Room, as well as advisory boards for WNET All Arts and Smith College Museum of Art. In 2015, she was appointed by the Mayor to the NYC Cultural Affairs Advisory Council.
Mark Bessire, Portland, Me — has been Judy and Leonard Lauder Director of the Portland Museum of Art since 2009. Before joining the PMA, Mark was Director of the Bates College Museum of Art in Lewiston, Maine, from 2003 to 2009, and Director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, from 1998 to 2003. He was a Helena Rubinstein Fellow at the Whitney Museum of Art and a Fulbright Fellow in Tanzania, and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia University, an M.A. in art history from Hunter College, and a B.A. from New York University.
Michelle Washington, Harlem, NY— is a Design Strategist, Design Researcher and Columbia University Community Scholar. Michelle is a highly sought after creative professional working with brands across sectors, industries and disciplines.
Nathaniel May, Portland, Maine— Arts and non-profit consultant, independent curator, artist residency director, Co-Founder of Common Field, a visual arts organizing network connecting contemporary, experimental, noncommercial artist spaces and projects across the US and beyond.
Nicola Chin, Portland, Me – is the founder of Up With Community, a partnership for helping teams grow at the intersection of strategic thinking, organizational development, and equity. Nicola designs long-term learning programs to help teams put their ideas and values into action – moving from brainstorming and trainings to behavior change and improved impact. She jumped off the path to academia and became an Organizer and Director with the Center for Community Change on campaigns for federal and state immigration reform. Nicola has spearheaded several innovative social media organizing campaigns and traveled extensively to provide technical assistance to diverse national organizations.
Nils Tcheyan, Orrs Island, Maine— After 35 years living and working in some of the most difficult places in the world Nils is building a practice as a documentary storyteller, inspired by the resilience of individuals and communities who overcome challenges on personal and societal levels. As an executive for The World Bank Group, he has grown and managed significant investments in Africa, China, South Asia, Central Asia and Latin America in both public and private sectors.
Paul Gardullo, Washington, DC — Since 2007, historian and curator Paul Gardullo has worked towards building the collections and exhibits for the Smithsonian’s 19th and newest museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), opening on the National Mall in Washington D.C. in 2016. His research interests are broad-ranging, but relate to African-American history and culture, slavery in American cultural memory, public history, and the African Diaspora.
Peggy Greenhut Golden, Portland, Maine—Founder of Greenhut Galleries has worked tirelessly for the past 39 years on behalf of artists in Maine and beyond. She believes fiercely in giving back to the Portland community and enriching the Portland experience. Her involvement has included an appointment by the City Council to serve on the Portland Public Art Committee for 20 plus years, serving as a Commissioner of the Maine Arts Commission.
Peter Goldman, Portland, ME — Practices Intellectual Property Law (IP). Goldman’s practice is national and includes patent and IP litigation in technology-driven fields. His focus is start-up and science-directed clients as well as a specialty practice in vineyard, brewery and distillery law. Goldman works in concert with his clients to create value. He advises them on how best to match their long-term goals with the realities of the marketplace. His goal for his clients is to keep them in the marketplace and out of the courts. Social justice matters to him. He devotes a significant amount of pro bono time to these issues.
Rachel Harding, Denver, CO—is a poet, historian and scholar of religions of the Afro-Atlantic diaspora. Associate Professor of Indigenous Spiritual Traditions in the Ethnic Studies department of the University of Colorado Denver, Dr. Harding writes about the conjunction of religion, creativity and social justice in the experience of communities of African descent in the US and Brazil.
Rodney Moore, Hyattsville, Maryland/Maine —Arts Manager, The David C. Driskell Center for the Study of Visual Arts and Culture of African-Americans and the African Diaspora. Rodney is an active arts advocate serving as a trustee to the Portland Museum of Art.
Samaa Abdurraqib moved to Maine in 2010, spent three years teaching Gender & Women’s Studies at Bowdoin College and transitioned into the non-profit world in 2013. She currently works at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. Samaa’s academic and non-academic writing can be found in a variety of edited collections, academic journals, and on the online platform The Body Is Not An Apology. Her poem, “End of Land – Deer Isle” was recently published (2020) in Maine Coast Heritage Trust’s Voices From the Coast – a publication celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary.
Sarah K. Khan, Queens, NY— multimedia maker/scholar, writes and creates content (prints, photography, films) about food, culture, women, and migrants. Her short films intersect globalization, environmental degradation, gender disparity, race and caste discrimination and the loss of biocultural diversities. Khan has degrees in Middle Eastern history (BA), public health and nutrition (MPH, MS), and traditional ecological knowledge systems/plant sciences (PhD). She is a two-time Fulbright scholar, and the recipient of multiple grants and fellowship to carry out her work.
Dr. Scott Barton, Harlem, NY—has a PhD from the NYU Food Studies program. Scott has worked for more than twenty-five years as an Executive Chef, Restaurant and Product Development Consultant, and, Culinary School Teacher. He has been a fellow of Instituto Sacatar in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Scott researches the intersection of secular and sacred cuisine in Northeastern Brazil, using documentary film and written text.
Sean Alonzo Harris, Portland, Maine—Established his career in commercial, fine art and editorial photography in Maine, Boston and New York. He works with a broad range of editorial, educational and corporate clients. Sean’s work was recently exhibited in the Portland Museum of Arts 2018 Biennial.
Toccarra A. H. Thomas is the Director of the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. Thomas has previously served as the inaugural general manager of Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, NY, and inaugural managing director of SPACE, a contemporary multidisciplinary art organization in Portland, ME. In her role at the Joan Mitchell Center, she directs the Center’s expansive artist residency program, develops public programming and special projects to support community engagement with the Center’s artist residents, and manages the day-to-day operations of the Center. Thomas also works closely with leadership at the Joan Mitchell Foundation in New York to further develop artist-centered resources and programming.
Valerie Boyd, Atlanta, GA— writing across platforms, including digital narratives, magazines, newspapers, books and film. She is interested in American history, arts and culture as well as race and gender issues in media. Prof. Boyd is the author of the award-winning biography, “Wrapped in Rainbows: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston”. She is currently curating and editing the journals of Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Alice Walker. “Gathering Blossoms Under Fire: The Journals of Alice Walker” will be published in 2017 by Simon & Schuster.