The second Black Arts Matter Festival adapts and centers queer artists

Poetry and music combine in this year’s live-streamed event.

This year, with the arts at a near standstill as venues remain closed and artists are unable to tour due to the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, Irvin re-thought the Black Arts Matter Festival’s mission and presentation. 

“My goal was to safely present artists and to support artists. Believing ‘Black arts matter’ means paying Black artists,” Irvin says. “My goal this year was to definitely give a platform for them. It’s an opportunity to feel community from wherever you are.” Read more at Tone Madison.

Reparations Thrift asks white Madisonians to pay it back in style

The mutual-aid organization makes a case for fashion-based reparations.

Reparations Thrift purposefully connects fashion with reparations. Cultural appropriation is rampant, particularly on Instagram, says Thrift co-head Venus Han. Personalities like the Kardashians get likes—and accumulate social capital—by cherry-picking aspects of style from Black and brown cultures. Read more at Tone Madison.

From trauma to joy


An exhibit at the Chazen Museum highlights experiences of people of color

Jay Katelansky was walking home from her Frances Street art studio about three years ago when she noticed a police officer trailing her. Newly arrived in Madison from New Jersey, with iPhone in one hand and groceries in the other, she stopped to ask why. The officer said she matched the description of a woman who was reportedly begging for money in the area. She said it was a case of mistaken identity, but the officer did not believe her. He offered to drive her to a women’s shelter.

“I had to explain my existence, and that’s something that will always happen,” says Katelanksy, who recently won the 2016 Chazen Museum Prize for an Outstanding MFA Student. “I don’t know one person of color that isn’t depressed here.”

– See more at:

U.S. News & World Report

Best Place to Live: #24 Madison, Wisconsin
I had the honor of researching, writing about and photographing my favorite city for U.S. News & World report.

Here are a few photos extra photos.

Lake Monona

View of the Madison, Wisconsin, isthmus from across Lake Monona.


The Yahara River, on Madison’s Near East Side, which connects Lakes Monona and Mendota.

James Madison.jpg

James Madison Park on Lake Mendota.

First Unitarian.jpg

The First Unitarian Society, one of several Madison buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.


An early morning kayaker on Lake Monona.


The entrance to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum on Lake Wingra.