The Wanda Alston Foundation cooperated with the Corner and Youth Services at Whitman Walker team over a series of workshops that allowed for creative expression, vulnerable conversations and new connections. These workshops took place on Tuesdays throughout the month of October. Together we captured our past to present our futures. READ MORE
Jewel Addy, Sheila Alexander-Reid, Jamila Alih, Mehraneh Atashi, Holly Bass, Leo Baumfeld, JEB (Joan E. Biren), Bryan Blanchard, Don Blanchon, Benjamin Brooks, Daniel Bruner, Roger M. Buergel, Tony Burns, Hannah Byrne, Raymond Caldwell, Mary Ellen Carroll, Beth Caseman, Paula Castro Martinez, Hans D. Christ, Jane Cohan, Court Cook, Carl Cornin, Derrik “Strawberry” Cox, June Crenshaw, Anna Daučíková, Pip Day, Nicole Doud, Andrew Eschrich, Sharon Farmer, Abby Fenton, Kymone Freeman, Berthony Gaspard, Masha Gessen, Amber and Kayla Ginsburg, Max Gomez-SanchezJose Guiterrez, Tina Gverović, Karolyn Hatton, Shawn Henderson, Lee Hicks, Chris Holleman, Ericka Huggins, Joe Izzo, Chester Jenkins, Tracy Jenkins, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Jamese Johnson, Ellen Kahn, Ramatoulaye Keita, Theodore (ted) Kerr, Lisa Kim, Jennie Knight, Koyo Kouoh, Amie Krautwurst, Dwayne Lawson-Brown, Barbara Lewis, Juan Carlos Loubriel, D. Magrini, Papaya Mann, Miguel Mejia, Lucas Michael, Mariah Miranda, Leigh Mosely, Gabi Ncgobo, Amy Nelson, Charlotte Eleni Noack, Kasimir Percy Noack, Dakota Oliver-Barret, Michelle Parkerson, Sherry Paxon, Sophia Prinz, Randy Pumphrey, Josh Riley, Abby Schanfield, Anja Scheffer, Naseema Shafi, Joanne Sincero, Pamela Sneed, Sol, Azza Sultan, Ambrose Nzams, Nico Artiga-Oliver, Sue Tan, Gary Taylor, Lisbeth Tellefsen, Kermit Turner, Gerard Tyler, Simone van Saarlos, Tom Vosloh, Britt Walsh, SaVanna Wanzer, Joyce Wellman, Agnes Wegner, Tonyea West, Dejha Wright, Lauren Wright, Jessica Xavier, Amelie Zurn.
Jewel Addy and Ruth Noack would also like to thank the DC Oral History Collaborative, the Staff, Volunteers and Boards of Whitman Walker, the Cleaners of The Corner, the Advisory Board of The Corner, Goethe Institute in Washington D.C., Dodge Chrome, Iced Coffee, Please, Dilligent Rocket, Moshe Zusman Photography, Rainbow History Project, DCTV, Havit, The Community, and all who couldn’t be here to share your part of the story. We hope we did it and you some justice. JEB would like to thank all the lesbians throughout the years who have allowed her to photograph them. Pamela Sneed would like to thank all those who were interviewed or appear as subjects in this work.
As one of the earliest healthcare institutions focused persistently on HIV and LGBTQ care in this country, Whitman-Walker made history. This history is documented in the institution’s Oral History Collection and Archive.
Inspired by this collection, See You There gathers documents, fresh stories and artworks, some of them newly commissioned. It casts back a queer look at some of the facts and some of the lore of Whitman-Walker. It catches a glimpse at vital stories about Black and Lesbian life in this city. It envisions a future of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and Black liberation. And it witnesses a younger generation giving voice to their aspirations. For when history is something we make together, a better future becomes imaginable.
See You There gathers documents, fresh stories and artworks, some of them newly commissioned. It casts back a queer look at some of the facts and some of the lore of Whitman-Walker. It catches a glimpse at vital stories about Black and Lesbian life in this city. It envisions a future of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and Black liberation. And it witnesses a younger generation giving voice to their aspirations. For when history is something we make together, a better future becomes imaginable.
The exhibition is inspired by The Whitman-Walker Oral History Project, which chronicles narratives and experiences of patients, advocates, program directors, and community members.
When Jewel Addy and I started to work together to bring the Oral History Archive of Whitman-Walker to life in the present moment, we envisioned a series of durational workshops, which would help us generate new material for an exhibition, a performance, a curriculum, and a microsite. Then Covid hit. All had to be revisioned and reconfigured. We were able to provide a safe environment for two workshops. Some of the material generated there has entered the exhibition. Other outcomes will feed Whitman-Walker’s Oral History site, to be launched 2021. One workshop morphed into a public program. And another one will reappear next year.
“Life is very short. What we have to do must be done in the now.”
The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action
An afternoon of sharing memories amongst present and former staff about the lobby of Whitman-Walker’s Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center, having a chance to talk about our experiences of the ongoing response to HIV and connecting with other folks during this very specific moment in history, led by Ted Kerr. READ MORE
The Workshop on Black Lesbian History at Whitman-Walker transformed itself into what will be 2–3 public events scheduled to take place at The Corner in the first quarter of 2021.
Dates will be announced here.
Jewel Addy (she/her) is a Washington, DC transplant by way of Silver Spring, MD, South Orange, NJ, and Liberia, West Africa. Jewel is the co-founder of Red Dot Campaign, Inc. a non-profit that supports menstrual health access and awareness through art, comedy and storytelling. Through this work, Jewel has co-led the curation of annual period-inspired art shows since 2016. Jewel works as the Director of Communications at Whitman-Walker Health, having worked at the organization in various capacities since 2015. During her time at Whitman-Walker, she has led projects including the 2017 and 2019 oral history collections through a partnership with the DC Oral History Collaborative and produced a 2018 documentary in partnership with DCTV called Fearless at 40: The Story of Whitman-Walker. The hour-long documentary highlights the organization’s shared history with community during its 40th anniversary year. The documentary was screened at the 2019 DC History Conference and the 2019 Alexandria Film Festival. Through these projects, Jewel has also led the creation of 40 Stories for 40 Years — a digital story series consisting of audio oral histories, short videos, and written pieces uplifting the stories of community members, Whitman-Walker locations and past programs. The story series has set an example for historical and impact storytelling and community archiving.
Mehraneh Atashi is an Iranian photographer, artist living and working between Amsterdam and Washington DC. Mehraneh earned her BFA in photography in Tehran and post graduate education at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. Her/Their work unfolds between the time of the self and the time of the world. Through an excavation of memories, archiving and documentation of the self. Mehraneh's work has recently been shown in London (V&A, British Museum), Amsterdam (DeAppel, rongwrong, Framer Framed), Graz (Kunstverein), Tirana (National Gallery of Arts), Paris (Palais deTokyo), Los Angeles (REDCAT), Antwerp (MHKA, Lodger), Salzburg (Kunstverein), Eindhoven (MU Art space) and Athens (State of Concept).
Holly Bass is a visual and performance artist and writer. Her performance work combines dance, written text, video and installation to address themes such as the black female body, gentrification, and the American South. She has received numerous grants from the DC Arts Commission and was a 2019 Red Bull Detroit artist-in-residence, a 2019 Dance/USA Artist Fellow and a 2019-2020 Smithsonian Artist Research Fellow. A gifted and dedicated teaching artist, for four years she directed a year-round creative writing and performance program for adjudicated youth in DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services as well as facilitating workshops nationally and internationally. She is currently the national director for Turnaround Arts at the Kennedy Center, a program which uses the arts strategically to transform schools working to solve deep racial and economic inequities.
JEB (Joan E. Biren) is a documentary photographer, filmmaker and activist. She is best known for her groundbreaking work in chronicling the history of LGBTQ+ people. In 1979, JEB self-published her first book, Eye to Eye: Portraits of Lesbians, a pivotal work that moved lesbian lives from the margins to the center. It is being re-issued by Anthology Editions in March 2021. Making a Way Out: Lesbians Out Front, JEB’s second book, was released in 1987. After receiving a public art commission, her photographs were installed on the façade of Leslie-Lohman Museum for 16 months. JEB’s work is in the permanent collections of the National Portrait Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the Academy of Arts in Berlin, Germany among other places. Frameline distributes JEB’s award-winning videos. Her papers are archived at Smith College. JEB lives surrounded by chosen family and sometimes pretends that she is retired from photography and filmmaking. Her plan is not to retire from social justice activism. You can follow her work on Instagram @jebmedia.
Hannah Byrne is a public historian in Washington, DC working at the Smithsonian Institution Archives. She holds a master's degree in public history from American University.
#WHITMAN-WALKER ORAL HISTORY PROJECT
Benjamin Brooks believes in the power of art and culture to transform society. Ben’s love of art comes from his continent-spanning childhood, where he grew up in a multi-generational family of artists. He learned from his mother that the act of creation can unlock hidden truths and express the otherwise inexpressible.
In his life, Ben examines the role of culture in producing our social structures and tries to find more ways to bring liberation and joy into the world. In his role as a health policy analyst at the Whitman-Walker Institute, Ben works as an advocate to advance health equity in DC.
As a queer man, Ben enjoys learning about those lost to AIDS and how their work and lives affected the progression of art history and provided the foundation for the work that he does.
Raymond O. Caldwell is in his second season as Producing Artistic Director at Theater Alliance. He was born and raised in Southern Germany. Recent directorial credits include A Protest in 8 (Theater Alliance), Day of Absence (Theater Alliance) Anne Frank (National Players), Everybody Black and Thirty Meter Telescope Project (Kennedy Center), Les Deux Noirs (Mosaic Theatre), Blood at the Root (Theater Alliance), and The Frederick Douglass Project (Solas Nua). Raymond was the resident director and a faculty member in the Theater Arts Department at Howard University from 2013–2019. He holds an MFA with a focus in community outreach and developing new work from The Ohio State University and a BFA in acting from the University of Florida. In 2009 he was the recipient of the Arena Stage Allen Lee Hughes Fellowship, after which he joined Arena’s staff for six seasons as their Community Engagement Partnership Manager. He is committed to using theatre as a tool to transform communities all over the world. This past July in partnership with NGOs in India, Bangladesh, and Nepal he developed theatre with artists and activists in South East Asia to promote peace and counter violent extremism. He has done similar work throughout India, Ukraine, Croatia, Germany, and the UK.
Paula Castro Martinez is an artist, abolitionist, educator, and zine-maker living in Washington, DC by way of Broward County. Getting involved with subculture at age 12 via straight edge hardcore, Paula has since then become an active participant of a wider international underground music and arts scene, contributing non-stop since adolescence through both her artistic projects and commitment to hanging out. She graduated from American University in 2019, majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Studio Art. Paula now works as an art educator at The Corner at Whitman-Walker, an LGBTQ+ cultural center, and publishes Demystification Magazine with collaborator Ambrose Nzams.
June Crenshaw is the Executive Director of the Wanda Alston Foundation and oversees all operations of the organization. Since joining the Wanda Alston Foundation, June has increased awareness around the prevalence of homelessness among LGBTQ youth and the trauma LGBTQ homeless youth experience. She fights for resources to be allocated to programs that create a safe and welcoming environment for LGBTQ youth. She has tripled the organization’s budget, and after 12 years of operations, has opened its 2nd location.
Andrew’s passion for public service comes from previously working at a nonprofit supporting refugees and immigrants in the Pittsburgh area, and joining the Peace Corps as a youth development specialist in Morocco. Andrew was drawn to the Wanda Alston Foundation because of their important mission and his continued desire to support at risk youth in reaching their full potential.
Sharon Farmer is a photojournalist and lectures extensively on photography and photojournalism. Farmer’s most recent solo exhibits were held at the Africa House in Lynchburg, Virginia and the National Democratic Women’s Club in Washington, DC. She also exhibited with the ExposureGroup at the Candy Factory in Manassas, Virginia and at the Tolbert Bing Gallery on the Artswalk in D.C.’s Brookland community.
She has been a judge for three panels for the D.C. Arts & Humanities including the Art Bank with the newly created Washingtonia Collection, the Visual Arts Fellowship Program and the Public Art grants.
A White House photographer since 1993, she documented the Clinton-Gore Administration at it’s beginning. Farmer served as Director of the White House Photography Office from 1999-2001. In 2004, she was the campaign photographer for Sen. John Kerry’s presidential election run.
Farmer has been a professional photojournalist and exhibition photographer for more than 45 years, shooting news stories, political campaigns, cultural events, conferences, and portraits. Over the years she has photographed for The Washington Post, the Smithsonian Institution, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, the National Urban League, the Brookings Institution, and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. to name a few.
Her photographic work resides in the collections of the Clinton Presidential Library, the U.S. National Archives, the Library of Congress, Howard University’s Moreland-Spingarn Collection, The District of Columbia Government; The Anacostia Museum and the National Museum of African American History & Culture of the Smithsonian Institution; The King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio; The South African Museum in Pretoria and in private collections.
Sharon Farmer majored in photography and minored in music at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree.
TO CONTACT SHARON FARMER: SFPHOTOWORKS@ATT.NET
Abby Paige Fenton serves as the Chief External Affairs Officer and oversees branding, community relations, communications and media relations while also serving on the executive leadership team. Prior to joining Whitman-Walker, she served as the Director of Community Relations at ABC7/WJLA-TV and News Channel 8 where she oversaw the stations corporate social responsibility initiatives and public relations strategies and created partnerships and messaging opportunities for over 400 non-profits per year. Earlier in her career, she worked in event planning and fundraising in DC for the District Chamber of Commerce and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company as well as in Baltimore at Center Stage. While at Woolly, Fenton helped to raise nearly $9 million for BREAKING NEW GROUND: The Campaign for Woolly Mammoth. At Center Stage, she helped to raise over $14 million for their $12 million capital campaign. She has been named one of the YWCA of the National Capital Region’s Women of Achievement and was included in Washington Life Magazine’s list of the most influential people in Washington for four years in a row. Fenton worked as the Executive Producer for the award-winning feature film CRUZANDO. She is a graduate of the class of 2012 from Leadership Greater Washington and continues to be a speaker for their Rising Leaders program. She is a Commissioner for the DC Commission for Women and serves on NBC4’s Community Advisory Board. She is President of the Board of the Hearth Foundation — a local charity providing housing to people with disabilities and serves as board member for Leashes of Valor — an organization that trains rescue dogs to be service dogs for Veterans living with PTSD and TBI. Fenton is a graduate of Kenyon College and has lived in the Adams Morgan neighborhood of DC for over 20 years.
Kymone Freeman is an award winning playwright, founder of the Black LUV Festival WDC Mayor's Art Award Finalist for Excellence in Service to the Arts in 2006. He is a founding board member for the non-profit Words Beats & Life and co-founder of Bum Rush the Boards the largest annual youth chess tournament in WDC. He is the subject of one chapter of the book Beat of A Different Drum: The Untold Stories of African Americans Forging Their Own Paths in Work and Life (Hyperion). He is a 2010 Green For All Fellow & co-founder of We Act Radio DC’s Best Social Justice Radio Station 2017 by Washington City Paper and 1st Place PRNDI Award winner for his Lion and the Map Commentary with Anacostia Unmapped radio series on NPR their most successful local productions in 2016. He was featured in the most controversial Ebony Magazine in recent history and PBS Online Film Festival for the short film Fresh Prince of Anacostia.
Jose Gutierrez holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University Ana G. Mendez in Washington, DC. Jose is a local and national long time human rights and social justice activist, immigration advocate, Latinx LGBTQ historian, artist, writer and a poet. He is the founder of the Jose Gutierrez Archives, the Latino GLBT History Project, the DC Latino Pride and co-founder of the Rainbow History Project. In 1996 Jose received a recognition by the National Latina/o LGBT Organization LLEGO for his contributions with the Latinx LGBTQ. As the first International Leatherboy in 2002 he raised awareness and funds for the leather community. In 2010 Jose served on the Washington, DC Mayor’s LGBTQ Advisory Committee. In 2014 he received the Jose Sarria medal of honor by Nicole Murray-Ramirez, The Queen Mother of the Americas from the Imperial Court for his contributions to the LGBTQ and in 2015 contributed to the book Queer Brown Voices, with an interview/essay entitled We must preserve our Latino LGBTQ history. Jose is serving in the board of directors of GLAA and Capital Pride. Jose works with the DC Gov DHS, currently he is writing a book about the history of the Washington, DC Latinx LGBTQ. He staged an exhibition of the Jose Gutierrez Archive in The Corner’s Community window.
Tina Gverović works with installation, drawing, painting, sound, text and video. Her work — often in the form of immersive, disorientating installations — explores the economy and history of materials. One of the key questions in her work is where lies the potential of the political vision and re-invention? She finished MA at Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and holds a doctorate from Middlesex University in London. Her work was recently shown as part of the 57th Venice Biennial, WKV Stuttgart, Museum of Arts and Crafts Hamburg, Trigon — Post Environment in Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien Graz, Suzhou Documents — Biennial, Tate Modern, and Busan Biennial. Her public art commission conceived in collaboration with Ben Cain was recently installed in The University of Reading Campus. She held teaching posts at Camberwell College of Arts, Slade School of Arts, Dutch Art Institute Roaming Academy, and WHW Academy in Zagreb.