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Sibyls Shrine: an arts residency for Black creative mothers

Saturday, Nov 6, 2021
7pm EDT/4pm PDT

Panel: 60 min

Open Call Session
Organized by Sibyls Shrine
Presenters: Naomi Chambers, Jessica Gaynelle Moss, Alisha B. Wormsley

Sibyls Shrine is a first-of-its-kind artist residency program for Black women, womxn, trans women, and femmes who are mothers and identify as artists, creatives, and/or activists in Pittsburgh and beyond. An homage to the original priestesses of the Black goddess Mami Wata, the term Sibyls predates Greek history and was used to name the guardians of the Matriarchy.

The program, created by artist Alisha B. Wormsley in 2019, supports a population that has, for centuries, faced the intersecting oppressions of racism and sexism in addition to the rigors of motherhood and childcare. By providing financial support, funding for childcare, groceries, cleaning assistance, opportunities for skill-sharing, self- care, safe spaces and mutual aid, this project creates a structure that directly addresses the systemic and structural factors that oppress Black womxnpromising to positively impact a population acutely in need.

In this session, Alisha Wormsley, Jessica Gaynelle Moss, and Naomi Chambers will share a history of the program, its relevance to the field, and will offer insight in how this work has impacted their lives, creative practices and communities.

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Naomi Chambers is a Pittsburgh-based painter and assemblage artist; she also runs The Flower House in the Pittsburgh neighborhood Wilkinsburg. The Flower House is a community art studio and art center that responded to the needs of the black community and families of Wilkinsburg by providing a space to create, learn, and gather. It is cultivated by group-centered artists who practice cooperative economics to empower women and families.

Jessica Gaynelle Moss (b. 1987) is an artist, independent curator and arts consultant to institutions and private clients. She has an extensive background in program management, production and fabrication, nonprofit leadership, grant writing, community engagement, education, and the advancement of equitable development. Jessica is committed to developing innovative, ethical and responsible solutions to improve the conditions that directly affect Black people, women and underrepresented artists. Jessica received a bachelors in Fine Art from Carnegie Mellon University; a masters in Arts Administration, Policy and Management from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and a masters in Studies of the Law from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

Alisha B. Wormsley is an interdisciplinary artist and cultural producer. Wormsley’s work has been honored and supported with a number of awards and grants to support programs: The People Are The Light ( part of the Hillman Photography Initiative), afronaut(a) film and performance series, Homewood Artist Residency (recently received the mayor’s public art award), the Children of NAN film series and archive, There Are Black People in the Future body of work. These projects and works have exhibited widely. Namely, the Andy Warhol Museum, Octavia Butler conference at Spelman University, Carnegie Museum of Art, Johannesburg SA, Studio XX in Montreal, Project Row House, the Houston Art League, Rush Art gallery in NY, the Charles Wright museum in Detroit and most recently the Mattress Factory. Wormsley has an MFA in Film and Video from Bard College and was awarded the Postdoctoral Research fellowship in art at Carnegie Mellon University.