Staff Spotlight: Erika Dickerson, Professional Development Coordinator

Learn more about Erika Dickerson, ARAD’s Professional Development Coordinator.

erikaheadshot.jpgShare with us who you are, your professional experiences thus far, and what led you to this position.
I am a Black feminist Pushcart Prize nominated poet-turned-playwright, educator and grassroots organizer from Chicago, Illinois. Prior to joining the ARAD team, I served as the Assistant Executive Director of Black Women’s Blueprint. While pursuing my Master of Arts in Christian Education at Dallas Theological Seminary, I founded The Love Well Series, a citywide monthly teach-in for faith leaders designed to foster education about social injustice in an American context. I hold a Bachelor of Science in English Secondary Education with a certificate in Gender & Women’s Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. There, I founded the For Colored Girls Project, Madison’s first and only women of color theater company, for which I served as Artistic Director from 2010–2013. As a former classroom teacher and Education Specialist, I’ve implemented culturally savvy pedagogical practices in metropolitan area schools and community centers nationally and abroad, having served as an English Language Arts, character education, theatre, and urban arts instructor in Chicago, Madison, Dallas, and Cape Town, South Africa. I have also designed sociopolitically-charged theater-based creative action curricula for arts organizations, including People’s Theatre Project. My life’s mission is hinged on three areas: art (as a practitioner), arts administration and social justice. After spending so much time focused primarily on arts administration and grassroots organizing, I wanted to allow myself the space to really create a new body of creative work while also offering my skills in the arts administration realm. I wanted to create more balance in my life and this was the perfect opportunity to do so.

What are you looking forward to in this position? How will you uniquely contribute your experiences to ARAD students?
I am most excited about the diversity of talent and experiences of the students, who each straddle the art and art administration worlds in unique ways. I look forward to their re/visioning of the art administration world and how I can assist them in that re/visioning. As a fairly young Black woman professional who has had a variety of mid and high-level education and nonprofit positions and walked through the world as an artist-art administrator-justice worker, I bring a unique roux of experience coupled with a millennial perspective of the world that I believe is valuable and relevant to the current student body. I bring an abundance of experiential knowledge and tangible resources from across the world that I hope to share.

Tell us who are you outside of work!
I am the Lark’s 2018 Van Lier Playwriting Fellow, an associate organizer with the #LetUsBreatheCollective back home in Chicago and an artistic associate of Black Lives, Black Words International Project. When I’m not at work I’m tucked away in my bedroom working on the tetralogy of plays I have in development at The Lark, on a plane in route to see the world and record it in my journal or organizing against policing, mass incarceration and other state-sanctioned violences against people of color, specifically Black women. You can also catch me rnvisioning radical faith communities that will help transform our world or blasting Jamila Woods’ and Noname’s music, using Black girl joy as resistance on hard days.

Share with us some of your ‘favorites’…
Favorite spot in NY: Lot 45 in Brooklyn
Favorite arts experience in the last year: Watching The House That Will Not Stand (Marcus Gardley) at New York Theatre Workshop. It was an exquisite piece of work!
Favorite place to get work done: The comfort of my bed in Brooklyn
Favorite food: New Orleans soul food; namely sweet potato pecan pie, crawfish etouffee and jambalaya
Favorite trip or place to visit: New Orleans is my safe space; but Cape Town is an international favorite
Upcoming arts experience you are most looking forward to: The mounting of my own work in a workshop production at The Public Theater in the spring
Upcoming trip you are looking forward to: Sicily (to be planned) 🙂

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