Hi <<First Name>>,

Joy here, DFA Operations Coordinator coming to you today to talk about two of my favorite things: freedom and celebration.

This upcoming Saturday marks a very special day in this country. Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the final enslaved people in Galveston, Texas being informed of their freedom on June 19, 1865–two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. A bit of breaking news - the Senate unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday establishing Juneteenth as a federal holiday!

To celebrate, I recommend a remarkable new Netflix mini doc; High on the Hog: How African American Cuisine Transformed America – with an episode diving deep into Juneteenth celebrations. It’s an insightful, informative and joyous look at Black food and culture.

Now, I’m a firm believer in the beauty of life’s small moments. One of my favorite celebrations of this is found in the pages of Black Archives. The project is a multimedia platform showcasing decades of the beauty of the Black experiences, a powerful statement in a world that insists on trauma-forward narratives. 

I leave you with this final note – well, a letter really. In 1865, former slave Jourdon Anderson dictated a letter to his master who, distressed at the fall of his plantation, begged Jourdon to return and help with the harvests. Jourdon’s reply, “Letter from a Freedman to His Old Master" became widely popular at the time, republished in a number of large newspapers and is, as they say today, A READ honey!


In celebration and remembrance,
Joy + the DFA Team

The DFA National team is growing! As a way to celebrate the team, we're highlighting the passionate, creative folks that contribute to the Network. Read about their hobbies, projects, and passions and don't hesitate to reach out and learn more!
Happy Hearts with Joy Mutimura
She/her | Chicago, IL


Outside of DFA, Joy is the co-founder of the collaborative “Healthy Minds, Happy Hearts” which works to reduce the stigma, increase awareness and open discussion around mental health in the Rwandan diasporic community she grew up in after immigrating to America. 

She's always ready to talk about BLM, mentorship, travel, civic engagement, the importance of cultural competency, 90s RnB and her quarantine rescue cat, Sister Saffron - she’s a nun who used to be a chef (her backstory for when the cat food brands finally answer Joy’s DMs - it’s obvious she’s a star!)

Crafting with Glory Dang
They/them | Chicago, IL

Emerging from the pandemic, Glory deemed themself a serial dabbler in arts and crafts. Glory channels their creative energy into seasonal hobbies: Spring was all about tailoring and upcycling old clothing, and this summer is for acrylic painting plein-air style at Lake Michigan. Down the line, they hope to use art and design for community building in LGBTQIA+ spaces to empower individuality and creativity.

Website | Linkedin
Documenting with Ross Brunetti
He/him | Chicago, IL

Ross recently decided to transform his collection of old Time magazines into collages. He set some ground rules: each magazine can only make one collage, a collage can only be made from pages of the magazine, a collage can cover no more than a spread in his sketchbook, and a collage must be finished within 30min.

A lover of puns, he calls the project his “Time Capsule.” It’s been great for him to work with his hands, see the stack of old magazines disappear and a surprising challenge in restraint - saying no to pieces that overwork a composition is an important part of the process!

Sculpting with Katie Schulman
She/her | Detroit, MI

After working hours, Katie’s home office turns into her home studio. While her output is generally sculptural and constructed out of various material components through a wide range of applications, she has significantly pared down her current studio practice. Katie is embarking on a new body of work that focuses specifically on developing a new surface texture for her sculptural knittings. You can follow along on Instagram to watch her iterative making process aid in the expansion of this very specific material goal.

(Left: Musclestomach v.1, 2021. Ribbon and cord)

Website | Instagram | Linkedin

Arts Census with Alden Burke
She/her | Chicago, IL


Outside of DFA, Alden is the Co-Founder of Annas, a collaborative residency space for emerging makers. Currently, Annas is working on The Chicago Arts Census, the first comprehensive, cross-discipline data collection on the labor and livelihood of art workers in Chicago. The Census hopes to amplify the voices of art workers, serve as an advocacy tool fighting for better working, living, and making conditions, and create opportunities for coalition-building across the art sectors of Chicago. The full public launch of the project is set for late June! 

Website | Instagram | Linkedin
Supporting Students with Alex Sarkissian
He/Him | Los Angeles, CA


After a year as a remote student, Alex is setting his sights on Providence for an in-person final year at RISD (Rhode Island School of Design). This summer, he will be at the transfer center of his community college alma mater in Pasadena, guiding students who also hope to transfer to art programs whether in or out-of-state.

With some more time on his hands, he’s beginning to upload a backlog of his work to his new design Instagram. Here’s one of his favorites, made through a process of JavaScript and print!

Instagram | Linkedin
Post-Grad life with Jane Gormley
She/her | Seattle, WA


While post-grad life has only just begun for Jane, who graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in May 2021, she’s loving it already. With so much more free time for hobbies and personal projects, she’s looking forward to starting some hobbies and personal projects! For now, this summer is about slowing down, relaxing, and spending time with friends and family. 

Website | LinkedIn
Fair Housing with Kate Rose
She/they | Bellingham, WA

Although Kate recently moved from New Orleans following her graduation from Tulane University, she continues to co-create a report with advocates in the city. Right now, she’s working with the Louisiana Fair Housing Action center to investigate the ways that race, class, and gender impact access to political power. Their report will be released in August 2021 to coincide with, and hopefully impact, local city council elections. Outside of her research, Kate passionately experiments with printmaking. You can follow her creative endeavors on Instagram! 

Instagram | LinkedIn 
Gaming the Cultural Moment with Shreya Raol
She/they | Monroe TWP, NJ

This self-directed semester-long project was part of a course requiring the development of my own project brief that clarifies my project goals & the factors involved in achieving them. It gave me the opportunity to explore a specific design problem in my areas of interest & develop it comprehensively as a thesis throughout the semester. I became interested in designing a board game that reflected the geopolitical narrative around farming & could inform people about this current moment historically. In this game, farming instincts will be put to the test as players try to yield more soybeans bushels than their competition amidst life-altering circumstances.


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