Artist Communities Alliance is thrilled to welcome five new board members in 2023:
Karen Patterson, Executive Director at Ruth Foundation for the Arts
Karen Patterson is heading up the newly formed Ruth Foundation for the Arts, a new foundation based in Milwaukee, built from the generous bequest of the late Ruth DeYoung Kohler II (1941-2020). Formerly, Karen was the Inaugural Curator and Director of Exhibitions at the Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) and Senior Curator at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center (JMKAC).
Over the past seven years, Patterson has curated over fifty exhibitions. Her focus at JMKAC was also geared towards the curation of the Arts Center’s premier collection of folk art, self-taught art, and artist environments, work that culminated in an multi-tiered collaborative 2017 collections-based exhibitions series, The Road Less Traveled, which received praise by Hyperallergic as the year’s top exhibition.
Megha Ralapati, Program Director of Fellowships at CEC ArtsLink
Megha Ralapati is the Program Director of Fellowships at CEC ArtsLink. Prior to this role, she developed and oversaw the Jackman Goldwasser Residency at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, where she forged partnerships with the French
Embassy, Goethe Institut, Asian Cultural Council, Northwestern University and other institutions to design intentional cross-cultural artistic exchanges. Megha specializes in artist mobility and has collaborated with community-centered organizations based in the US and internationally like Project Row Houses, ARTPORT Tel Aviv, and Center for Contemporary Art Lagos.
Before joining Hyde Park Art Center in 2011, she was Director of Bose Pacia in New York, an international visual art gallery presenting contemporary work from across the Indian subcontinent. Megha regularly participates in award and fellowship juries, presents ideas and workshops to artists of all levels, including at the School of the Art Institute, NYU, and most recently at Asiko, an alternative pan-African summer intensive for artists, and has contributed to publications for Documenta 14, Brooklyn Museum, Sharjah Art Foundation, among others. Megha received an MA in Visual Culture from Goldsmiths and a BA in Art History and Anthropology from Columbia University. She is on the board of Enrich Chicago.
Reveca Torres, Artist + Founder of BACKBONES
Reveca Torres was paralyzed in a car accident as a teenager. After completing degrees in Fashion Design and Theatre Arts, Reveca worked as a costume designer and simultaneously with organizations doing disability work in health, advocacy, recreation, and peer support. She started a nonprofit called BACKBONES after realizing that years of interaction and friendship with others living with spinal injuries (SCI) made a significant impact in her own life. Reveca wanted to ensure that others, especially those newly injured, had access to resources, information, and the same type of support she has had.
She is co-director of ReelAbilities Film Festival Chicago and has curated touring photography and art exhibitions that showcase work of people with disabilities and bring awareness to disability rights. Reveca received Creative Access Fellowships at Vermont Studio Center (2014) and Santa Fe Art Institute (2017). She was selected as a fellow for Kartemquin Films Diverse Voices in Docs program (2017) and Hulu+Kartemquin Accelerator Program (2020). She received a 3Arts Residency Fellowship at the University of Illinois Chicago in 2018 and is one of 2020 3Arts Awardees. In 2020 she was awarded the Craig Neilsen Visionary Award for her art and advocacy work. Reveca uses painting, illustration, photography, film, movement, and other media as a form of expression and a tool for advocacy and social justice.
Brandi Turner, Artist + Founder of Sipp Culture
Brandi Turner is the Co-Founder and Co-Director for the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (MCCP), best known as Sipp Culture (SC) in Utica, MS. MCCP, an organization taking a place- based approach to holistic community development through agriculture, cultural production, community engagement and organizing, artistic funding, along with advisory support and digital media. As a partner in the design of SC programming, Brandi is also the lead coordinator of all SC events. Formally, the Managing Director of TWA Consulting, a company that provides services in creative consulting for artists looking to strengthen their work in arts and culture. Currently, Brandi is a member of the Daisa Enterprises CoPA Steering Committee, Alternate ROOTS member, a Utica Institute Museum board member, and an Art of the Rural board member
Through nurturing, Brandi has developed an inseparable love for culinary arts, aiding as a tool in her community engagement and artistic practices. She is also a freelance makeup artist with an extensive career in cosmetic sales, management and event coordinating. Raised by proud Motown natives (Detroit, MI) in the south (LA & MS), she became a student of dance for 15 years. Brandi lives in Utica, MS with her husband Carlton Turner and their three children, Jonathan, Xiauna, and Tristan.
Jenni Wu, Director of Internal Communications + Human Engagement at Macdowell
Jenni Wu (she/her/hers) started working at MacDowell in 2013 and currently serves as the organization’s first Director of Internal Communications & Human Engagement. In this role, she focuses on strengthening and maintaining a healthy and inclusive work culture, creating opportunities for staff professional development, and coordinating MacDowell’s ongoing work in diversity, equity, inclusion, and access.
Jenni studied art history and French at Grinnell College and has a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. She enjoys spending time with her dog Marvin, reading, painting, and doing crossword puzzles.