Paying Artists to Help Their Communities During a Public Health Crisis

Wednesday, June 24, 2020
4:00 p.m. EDT

About this Session

Artists are contributing to their communities and responding during a time of crisis. In this session, hear how one public art organization aimed to help ensure artists were financially supported to create work that fosters care and builds connection during the social isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic.  


Speakers 

Divya Rao Heffley, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council
Onika Reigns, Artist, Black Dream Escape
Windafire, Artist, Black Dream Escape 
Christina Springer, Resident Elder, Black Dream Escape 


This session is a part of the 2020 Annual Convention and Public Art & Civic Design Conference


Divya Rao Heffley

Associate Director for the Office of Public Art, Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council

Divya Rao Heffley is an arts professional with over fifteen years of experience in public art, museums, art and architectural history, and programming. As the Associate Director for the Office of Public Art, she works with artists and communities on temporary public art commissions and residencies that address a range of contemporary issues, seeking to foster social justice and cultural equity in public spaces. 

As an Indian-American immigrant and member of a multicultural family, Divya is a committed advocate of equity in arts and culture and beyond. She served on the Learning and Leadership Committee for The Racial Equity in Arts Funding Research Project of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, as well as the Diversity Task Force at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and Inclusion Working Group at Carnegie Museum of Art.

Divya holds a PhD in the History of Art and Architecture from Brown University and a BA in the History of Art from Yale University.

Onika Reigns

Artist, Black Dream Escape

Onika Reigns is a musician, songwriter, licensed, historically poor Black, Native Queer therapist,
with a Horticulture diploma, concentrating in healing gardens. She identified the need for Black
Dream Escape as a labor and prison abolition activist, organizing in support of basic human
rights and connecting those rights to quality of sleep. Her clinical social work has focused on
how trauma affects marginalized communities, recognizing that therapy models are not
culturally relevant and that oppression has left people mentally exhausted. As a rest doula,
Onika has educated many communities, organizations, and individuals on the importance of
Black and Indigenous rest and sleep.

About Black Dream Escape

Black Dream Escape, curated by rest doulas Onika Reigns and Windafire, is an art
installation centering Black sleep and rest. By using original meditations and lullabies, they
soothe unrest through a live expression of their own rest practices.

Windafire

Artist, Black Dream Escape

Windafire is a Caribbean, Black Latine, Queer, Gender-Unified individual who inhabits a Y
Chromosome body. As a healing artist with multiple initiations in African based faiths, he uses
his art and music for health and healing. He views his role in the movements for social justice as
a model and instructor for wellness, boundaries, and commitment to personal joy. Windafire has
done an intensive study of medicinal plants and foraging and makes his own salves, lotions,
tinctures and sprays which he has made available to activists.

About Black Dream Escape
Black Dream Escape, curated by rest doulas Onika Reigns and Windafire, is an art
installation centering Black sleep and rest. By using original meditations and lullabies, they
soothe unrest through a live expression of their own rest practices.

Christina Springer

Resident Elder, Black Dream Escape

Christina Springer is an Alt.Black artist who uses text, performance, video and other visual expressions. Her fourth collection of poetry, The Splooge Factory, was released by Frayed Edge Press in November 2018.  San Jose, Dayton and Pittsburgh recently exhibited Futuristic Relics & Motherboards Sacred: a collection of 75 paintings, fabric, mixed media objects and texts from a museum in our Black utopian womanist future. Springer serves as the Resident Elder for Black Dream Escape.  Cave Canem shaped her voice. Springer resides in Pittsburgh where she home educates her son. www.christinaspringer.com

About Black Dream Escape

Black Dream Escape, curated by rest doulas Onika Reigns and Windafire, is an art
installation centering Black sleep and rest. By using original meditations and lullabies, they
soothe unrest through a live expression of their own rest practices.


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Paying Artists to Help Their Communities During a Public Health Crisis
Live event: 06/24/2020 at 4:00 PM (EDT) You must register to access.