"With these powerful arts resources, we are breaking the chains of trauma — turning them into links of community and connection.”
MARTINE PHILIPPE, AWBW COMMUNITY ART ACTION MANAGER
Art has always been an accessible tool for communication, raising awareness about social issues and affecting positive change.
At A Window Between Worlds, we believe in centering art as a powerful tool for initiating dialogue, raising awareness about social issues, and affecting lasting change.
By empowering community-based leadership, our Social Justice Fellowship Program cultivates the leadership and lived experience of our fellows to innovate collective art actions in communities across the country and abroad.
The AWBW Social Justice Fellowship consists of:
APPLICATIONS FOR THE NEXT COHORT WILL BE OPEN IN APRIL 2023
The Arts Campus at Willits, Colorado
Art Williams (they/he) serves as the Executive Assistant and Teaching Artist at VOICES and as the Education and Community Partnerships Coordinator at The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW) in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley. During their time in the Valley they’ve been involved in arts projects with Latinx newcomers and have seen the healing power the arts affords youth who are finding their voices. In addition to their professional work, Art is undertaking Somatic Movement Therapy certification training through the Tamalpa Institute.
Through years of working in the community Art came to intimately know the patriarchal values and mentalities that plague the creative and cultural industries — as well as the education system and almost every institution in this nation. As a Social Justice Fellow, Art will use the training to develop artistic lessons and experiences that offer the most important gift to the community; a chance to come back to the true self and become more embodied. Art plans to incorporate their learning into their professional work as a teaching artist and also facilitate peer-exchanges with local organizations and educators and be a part of reframing the importance that the arts play in our daily lives.
Art also plans to take the work directly into community-centered art projects with community members who do not typically feel welcome in art institutions and other spaces where patriarchal and other prejudices abound. Through awakening the artist, connecting with the inner child and making space for the embodied traumatic experiences each of us lives with, community members will reclaim their stories and “rewrite” the pinch points that keep them stuck in unhealthy mental formations. Through this training they hope to (re)introduce their community to the imaginal power that the arts hold, and to collectively re-imagine this society of oppression and bias into one of openness, trust, and fervent creative expression.
Washington State University GEAR UP Program
“We are rebirthing color from the shadows.” -Maria Celeste Estrada
Maria Celeste Estrada is an undocumented Chicana born in Jalisco, Mexico. She is now the Student Achievement Specialist at Kennewick High School under the GEAR UP program where she advises students to pursue higher education and guides them in professional and personal development. Celeste is in the process of creating a project called “Colores de Colibri” where she hopes to continue to cultivate and use her workshops to help her community bloom best.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Celeste will develop art workshops that can be shared with her multicultural, immigrant and first-generation communities; especially those who have experienced oppression and are looking for spaces that can help them process, heal, grow, and activate their best potential. The vision is to continue to develop the “Colores de Colibri “project that was started and grow it into a tool for more community discussions, safe spaces, and collaborations.
“Colores de Colibri”’s mission statement states the following: “Chicanx history, culture, and political issues are complex discussions rarely exposed in USA and Mexican society. We believe creative spaces are transformative outlets that can easily help these discussions flow, leading to further education, advocacy, and community building. Our Goal is to create safe spaces to learn about each other and expose our identities through creative storytelling; helping elevate our consciousness, resisting our struggles, reaffirming our humanity, building community, and fighting for societal/political change.”
Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center, California
Christina Kataoka currently serves as executive director of the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC), a nonprofit organization that has been improving race and human relations for the past 33 years through mediation, restorative justice, and other dispute resolution services. Through the work of the APADRC, Christina has had the opportunity to address complex, cross-cultural community conflicts and their preceding root causes across the diverse communities in Los Angeles County and beyond. In her experience as a bilingual Mandarin-English mediator and conflict resolution skills trainer, Christina has had the opportunity to focus especially on the traditionally underserved and underrepresented AAPI diaspora.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Christina is excited to develop art-based exercises to engage disputants at opposite ends of conflict in a deeper understanding of their own as well as one another’s internal needs, interests, and expectations, which, left unacknowledged lead to a projection of negative emotions through disagreement and combative or defensiveness. Additionally, in the context of COVID-related discrimination and rising AAPI racism stemming from pandemic and class-based misinformation, the need for self-reflection and mutual understanding continues to grow ever more urgent. Growing up in China as a Japanese and Polish-American immigrant, Christina has long since been fascinated by the ability of people to build empathy across languages, cultures, and in high conflict situations and looks forward to using art to get at the core of this human process.
Strong Women Healing Their Community, California
Christina is the President of Strong Women Healing Their Community. The organization plans to host groups and spread them to include culture and sensitivity. SWHTC had children publish a book of children's writings about their Covid experiences. The proceeds of these books go back into scholarship funds for the co-authors of the book. SWHTC has plans to do a similar project involving art therapy, painting, and scholarships for the Southeast City communities as well. In addition, they are working to provide a calm, soothing, and healing process for youth in the community which aligns with their mission..
As a Social Justice Fellow, Christina would first like to host and fund art groups for various age ranges. They would address topics such as racial inequality, environmental justice, and strong women. Christina envisions an art walk/ art gallery event that would serve to highlight artwork, as well as the cause or issue they are trying to address, while providing scholarship funds to artists.
Dawn Garrido, LMFT
Age Wise, Department of Aging and Adult Services, California
Dawn Garrido is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. Dawn holds a position as a Clinical Therapist II with Age Wise, Department of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) in the County of San Bernardino, California. Age Wise is a non-traditional mental health program for the high-risk and underserved older adult population. Services are provided to older adults who would benefit from behavioral health and wellness services with the goal of helping individuals maintain the best possible behavioral and physical health in order to increase the ability to sustain independent living and well-being.
Art has the ability to attract and connect, and through that connection, one of Dawn’s goals is to advance the social dialogue regarding the specific needs of older adults and the barriers to getting those needs met. As a Social Justice Fellow, Dawn will utilize and develop art workshops that engage the older adult population with a focus on wellness. Dawn envisions the advancement of social justice to include the education of others on this population and their needs, expanding work with local organizations to address the needs of this population, supporting the development of other resources, and advocating for opportunities.
Silent No Longer Tennessee, Tennessee
Greta McClain is the founder and Executive Director of a grassroots nonprofit organization in Tennessee that focuses on providing artistic programs for victims of sexual violence and educating the community through both visual and written word art projects.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Greta will take what she learns to create workshops for members of the community whose lives have been impacted by sexual and other gender-based violence. During the artistic process, they will have the opportunity to examine and process their trauma, begin to let go of feelings of shame, fear and blame many often feel, and eventually express their stories through various art forms. The art created during the process can be used to promote better understanding of sexual and gende-based violence within the community. This gives all community members the opportunity to learn, to discuss and ultimately, to act and be a part of that “group of thoughtful and committed citizens” who can change the world. Greta believes this is a very important part of the work due to the history of misogynistic attitudes and disregard for victims of sexual violence by many of the elected officials and leaders within the state of Tennessee.
Oklahoma Dept of Human Services, Developmental Disability Services
Hannah Nofsinger is currently a case manager serving clients with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Hannah co-founded Blue Panda Kids while living in China with the vision of equipping, encouraging and empowering individuals with disabilities and their families. She is currently in the process of registering a non-profit and hopes to make an impact in Northeast Oklahoma, where she lives with her family, through creative endeavors in the lives of youth and adults living with intellectual disabilities.
Hannah intends to use the AWBW Social Justice Fellowship to become better equipped to assist individuals with disabilities to dream about their future while providing a safe space to process their already lived experiences. With a background in both the arts and human services, Hannah understands the beauty brought about in life when we have the space to explore emotions and experiences. Hannah intends to use her time as a Social Justice Fellow to further the celebration and acceptance of individuals with disabilities and their families in the communities they call home.
Just Detention International, California
Jamila Cervantes is a Program Officer at Just Detention International, a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in detention. JDI is committed to holding government officials accountable for the sexual abuse of incarcerated people; challenging the attitudes and misperceptions that allow sexual abuse to flourish; and ensuring that survivors get the help they need. In addition to responding to crisis calls and written correspondence from incarcerated survivors, Jamila supports JDI’s wellness programs inside detention facilities by co-facilitating therapeutic art workshops within these facilities in California.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Jamila will develop Windows curriculum that engages community members, especially those impacted by incarceration, on the topic of grief. The intention is to spark conversations regarding collective grieving and healing, especially in settings of confinement where individual and community traditions around grieving are often disrupted or not possible. Jamila hopes that their participation in the program will allow them to grow a more nuanced understanding of the needs of survivors of violence to better support this population.
Coalition For Humane Immigrant Rights, California
Jessica Huerta is a social justice advocate that promotes immigrant rights and social inclusivity for underserved and hard-to-reach communities of color. In 2014, she joined the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) one of the largest community based organizations that advocate for a just society, fully inclusive of immigrants. As a Community Education Program Manager, she has been able to acquire a deep understanding and knowledge to serve low-income and communities of color. She provides workshops and facilitates training to allies, community leaders and immigrant families to empower themselves, demand their rights and social recognition with dignity and respect.
Jessica, as a Social Justice Fellow, aims to incorporate AWBW tools and materials to empower immigrant families, amplify their voices and convey a strong message of hope, justice and compassion for communities of color. AWBW training will not only support immigrant families to heal through art, but to continue advocating for a pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million undocumented people in the US.
Riverside County Office of Education/Cal-SOAP, California
Kaitlyn Zollin is a College Success Coach for the Riverside County Office of Education under the Cal-SOAP program, and a graduate student in School Counseling at California Baptist University. The primary focus of Cal-SOAP is to target underserved student populations who could benefit from advancements in college and career readiness through one-on-one coaching. Kaitlyn works as a coach at Tahquitz High School in Hemet, CA, as well as Hemet’s continuation school Alessandro High, in targeting these populations and providing them with additional support to meet their goals.
As a Social Justice Fellow Kaitlyn will use this knowledge to develop art workshops that engage students, especially those who have experienced oppression, in immersive experiences that help them process trauma and discuss mental health in healing rather than damaging ways. These sessions, in conjunction with other student services offered, will build art as an entry point for deeper conversations about individual and community health including discussions of solutions for systemic problems. This is especially relevant in the context of college and career goals as these areas are directly impacted by first-generation and low-income status, as well as tied to overall student well-being and success. Kaitlyn’s goal is to incorporate art as a method of community change into her current work with students and her future school counseling program.
Bethel Park Elementary, Indiana
Marisela Hernandez is a school social worker at Bethel Park Elementary, a public charter school powered by pilotED Schools of Indiana. Marisela facilitates social and emotional learning (SEL) groups with students from kindergarten through the 6th grade, where she addresses various topics such as trauma, grief, social and coping skills, goal setting, and other topics that affect students directly and are posing as barriers in preventing them from succeeding academically.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Marisela will implement the Windows Program into her group sessions to not only help students enhance their coping skills, but also help them express their feelings and address what many of them have in common, which is trauma and grief, in a healthy way. Bethel Park Elementary students come from diverse backgrounds and many students have been directly affected by micro- and macro-aggression. Art will serve as a tool for social activism and social healing by giving students the opportunity to express themselves via the artwork that they create. Marisela’s goal is to give students an outlet to openly express their feelings, thoughts and views, in hopes of empowering them and initiating dialogue with their peers, families and in their community.
Just Detention International, South Africa
Unathi Mahlati is a Programme Officer at Just Detention International-South Africa (JDI-SA) — a health and human rights organisation that seeks to end sexual violence in all forms of detention. She is passionate about protecting and advancing the rights of marginalised and vulnerable populations. She is equally passionate about storytelling as a tool for reflection, healing, and shining a spotlight on contested issues. She conducts research, provides technical support to the Department of Correctional Services’ (DCS) officials, manages JDI-SA’s communications, and ensures that survivors of sexual violence in detention get the psychosocial support they need and deserve.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Unathi is pairing the Windows art program with discussions with currently and formerly incarcerated women aimed at better understanding the health and safety needs of women behind bars — the majority of whom have suffered sequential gender-based violence. The Window workshops are a valuable tool for reflection, healing, and creative expression, enabling participants to find the language to articulate their trauma, and reflect on meaningful ways of self-care and healing, in a safer, non-judgmental space.
The inward-looking process of creating art allows participants to acknowledge their needs for healing. This awareness of both individual and collective healing has led to participants expressing a need for counseling, something that JDI-SA has been facilitating through its counseling partner organization. This is a crucial step towards ensuring participants’ well-being and processing of trauma ahead of their leadership roles in our advocacy work to end sexual violence in detention. Moving forward, the participants’ counseling needs underscore the necessity for the DCS to make the Windows art program and counseling services available to all incarcerated persons; JDI-SA is currently working to make this a reality.
Shanika Rucker, LCSW
Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, Connecticut
Shanika Rucker is the Clinical Program Manager of Survivor Services at Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants (CIRI) and has a part-time private practice where she provides arts-based psychotherapy. At CIRI, she supervises the program Case Manager and Staff Attorney, who provide direct services to torture survivors. In addition, she offers clinical support to agency staff, coordinates the Mental Health Evaluator Network, and conducts statewide presentations to raise awareness on the only torture survivor program in Connecticut.
At the Connecticut Institute for Refugees and Immigrants, services are provided to arriving refugees, unaccompanied minors, and survivors of torture and/or human trafficking through comprehensive case management, advocacy, immigration legal aid, and community referrals. These services are complemented with a focus on building client’s economic independence and security through workforce readiness and job placement services as well as financial literacy education.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Shanika will use the Windows program to serve CIRI’s work as it spans from the personal to the systemic levels of change. On the personal level, a key area of focus will be self-care, which can be extremely difficult to cultivate amidst the crisis circumstances and multi-layered trauma CIRI's clients navigate. There is almost no language to anchor actions of self-care. Shanika will develop Windows workshops to support CIRI’s clients to conceptualize self-care and create their own resources and road map navigating the dimensions of well-being: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental, occupational. On the systemic level, Shanika will explore how art can enable legislators to not only see and hear but literally carry the voices of refugees and immigrants in their policy development. As part of the National Consortium of Torture Treatment Programs that meets to lobby in March every year, Shanika will explore art-based tools to leverage collective impact.
Rialto Unified School District, California
Carlos Mares is the Restorative Practices Coach for Rialto Unified School District. His goal is to transform the lives of children and youth dealing with trauma through healing and connection. He works to provide a collective space to students of all grade levels and sub-populations through the use of support groups and restorative community circles where students have a voice as far as their disparities, direct trauma, vicarious trauma, victims of systematic oppressions and building opportunities for awareness in the community.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Carlos will utilize his role and platform at Rialto to facilitate a creative way for students from marginalized communities to express trauma and healing and most importantly, voice. He will use the Windows art program to create an open and inclusive space for students and families to come together collectively. This safe space of voice and belonging will then allow for his school district to develop advocacy work, inviting the community to join Rialto Unified to empower community voice and choice in educational needs and community needs.
S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD, California
Michelle Daniels-Holloway is Founder/Executive Director at S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD, a Los Angeles-based organization that serves as a voice for the voiceless. S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD is dedicated to serving underserved & at-risk youth through advocacy, initiatives and ongoing support to create positive change and catapult them into long term success.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Michelle will establish a bi-weekly art program for youth and innovate Windows practices that serve S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD’s ongoing community outreach. By helping youth to find their own unique voice and speak out, Michelle aims to positively develop their leadership in the areas of social justice and racial equality, with an ultimate goal to positively impact system change. S.P.E.A.K. OUT LOUD understands that working to create positive change in these areas is not an easy task and requires confronting factual decades of ongoing trauma of racial inequality, social injustice, and the systems currently in place that negatively impact our youth today. Michelle aims to be a beacon of light within these communities. She believes that there is indeed hope to create better systems for a better future, and as a Social Justice Fellow, she will innovate with youth the role creative healing can play in birthing positive change.
Out North, Alaska
Anne Hillman is Mental Health Mosaics Project Director and Lead Reporter at Out North, an Alaska-based organization which has focused for 35+ years on amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities with an initial focus on the LGBTQ+ community. Anne leads their new project Mental Health Mosaics, a journalism, arts, and community engagement project focused on destigmatizing mental health.
As a Social Justice Fellow Anne will develop Windows workshops that engage community members, especially those who have experienced oppression, in immersive experiences that help them process trauma and discuss mental health in healing rather than damaging ways. These sessions, in conjunction with Out North’s podcast episode releases, will build art as an entry point for deeper conversations about individual and community health including discussions of solutions for systemic problems. This is especially relevant in Alaska where the effects of colonization are vivid and evident in all systems and in the high rates of intergenerational trauma and abuse. Anne believes that the Windows program will help her listen to people and understand these issues in new ways, connecting with others—and with herself—through avenues that help her see people more clearly. Anne’s goal is to make the reporting/podcast aspects of Mosaics more effective in sparking community change.
REACH LA, California
Xelestiál Moreno-Luz (she/her/ella) is a Los Angeles-based artist who uses Photography and Cinematography to uplift, empower, and weave solidarity networks that highlight LGBTQIA+ communities of color. Her community work in approach to art production comes from a lack of trans and queer inclusion within institutional art programming. In her efforts to combat art inequity she has led social actions that highlight art production, fostered community spaces through magazine making programs, and curated photography incubators for queer and transgender people in Los Angeles.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Xelestiál plans to tap into a framework of healing to holistically serve and empower LGBTQIA+ clients & staff at her organization, REACH LA, where she currently serves as the Program Manager. She aims to cultivate art incubators free from judgment and harm, tailoring spaces of inclusivity by fostering collaboration, and bridge networks of care between communities of color. Xelestiál’s ultimate goal is to design a framework for queer-trans art education that utilizes affirming mental health practices when engaging in curriculums that center community art production.
Prism Youth, Kansas
Allison Knier created Prism Youth — A first-of-its-kind program of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney County Kansas. Prism Youth caters to LGBTQIIA+ youth and allies in grades 5-8, providing a safe space where they can be themselves, weaving in education about safe relationships, mental health, first aid, bystander options, how to access resources, and how to support their peers. Allison is an LGBTQIIA+ parent who aims to create a ripple effect of mental health awareness, resource awareness, and relationship safety for her group participants and their peers.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Allison will provide an outlet that currently isn't available to LGBTQIIA+ youth in rural southwest Kansas. A Window Between Worlds gives Prism Youth an amazing opportunity to create an environment where the students feel safe and supported using art to build community and establish safety within a population especially vulnerable in rural Kansas. That feeling of belonging is one of the most important elements of safety and empowerment. Art is one of the most requested activities, and the resources and training are of great value to the mission of Prism Youth.
East Bay Sanctuary,
Esmeralda Mendoza currently works in Berkeley, CA at East Bay Sanctuary, an organization that provides legal and social services, community organizing, and transformative education to support low-income, undocumented immigrants. Esmeralda facilitates a group of indigenous Maya Mam women coming together to share their needs and experiences with trauma.
As a Social Justice Fellow, Emeralda intends to use art as part of a model of training, empowerment and support for Mam Maya women to become advocates in their own lives and in their communities and build on this model to create similar groups for other marginalized low-income immigrants in the community. Esmeralda’s goal is to use art and stories as part of the Amplifying Sanctuary Voices oral history project to help educate the broader community about immigrant rights.
APPLICATIONS FOR THE NEXT COHORT WILL BE OPEN IN APRIL 2023
Please fill out the form below to be notified when the next application cycle opens.
Visit our frequently asked questions below for more info. For additional questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
No, participants are not required to have a formal leadership position in their work or volunteer roles, but should be able to demonstrate their interest in further developing their leadership skills.
No, experience in the not-for-profit and public sectors, or experience in a role with an explicit social mandate, is not a requirement.
No. All applicants are welcome regardless of educational background.
While our organization is based in the Los Angeles area, our network of 750+ Windows Facilitators live all across the nation and abroad. You are not required to live locally. You should, however, have a meaningful connection to the community you serve.
Please only apply once per application cycle.
Here are some qualities that contribute to a competitive application:
All applications must be for one person only. During the Fellowship, you will have the opportunity to collaborate and work with other fellows.
No. There are no fees for the AWBW Social Justice Fellowship. Your $1500 AWBW Facilitator Training scholarship is supported by private donors.
The AWBW Social Justice Fellowship offers stipends to reduce the expense of art supplies for individuals served. Applications will be available during the last quarter of the Fellowship.
The AWBW Social Justice Fellowship runs from June 2022 to May 2023.
Fellowship activities include:
Fellows will work collaboratively and therefore must be able to meet regularly with the cohort throughout the year-long Fellowship.
Successful candidates will receive a comprehensive program schedule prior to the first session.
No. All of our sessions will be held via Zoom.
Fellowship applications are reviewed and scored by a review committee composed of AWBW stakeholders. Each Application is reviewed separately by multiple panel members. AWBW is committed to producing a diverse fellowship that is considerate of the balance of sector distribution, geographical location and demographics when finalizing application decisions.