Meet Melani Douglass: Artist, Educator and Activist Championing Diversity at the National Museum of Women in the Arts

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Melani Douglass is an artist, educator, advocate for social change and self-proclaimed lifelong learner. Her latest work of group art is the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ FRESH TALK series for which her role is to connect women’s issues on both the national and international levels. The series, which serves as the signature program of the museum’s Women’s, Arts and Social Change initiative, features engaging community conversations on art and activism and gives audiences a chance to directly engage with featured artists.

According to Douglass, the goal of the FRESH TALK series is, “to create a network of women at the center of art and social change.” She went on to say,

“We’re looking at how these conversations can lead to having an impact on changes in society.”

While pursuing further education to continue her career, Douglass was introduced to the world of public programs, such as FRESH TALK, and found that it suited her and her goals. She says that public programming is the perfect blend of education, art and helping others gain experiences.

Through her work, Douglass hopes impact women locally, regionally, nationally and then globally in an effort to create a network of women who can create art and social change for and with one another. This was evident at the last installment of the FRESH TALK series, which featured “El Tendedero” or “The Clothesline Project,” when Douglass asked that the audience offer the panelists answers instead of questions. This opened the room to various levels of dialogue and brought a sense of connection and conversation to the event.

This is just one example of Douglass’ commitment to making sure that women of color not only get a chance to create art but also get a seat at the table where influential art is being discussed. She also founded a nomadic museum, The Family Arts Museum.

Douglass offered this advice to women of color looking to create art for social change as she has, “Create your own vehicle to express yourself… If somebody is not hiring you to do it, create situations for you to do it.” She added, “Connect with people who are going to position you to be able to do the things that you want to do.”


To learn more about Melani Douglass, title and her work at the National Women’s Art Museum please visit here.

Chantè Russell

Chanté Russell is a Howard University print journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina. Her entire life has been shaped by her passion for writing, fashion and activism. Those passions have led her to create a blog entitled Be The Zeitgeist and serve as a staff writer for Howard’s student newspaper, The Hilltop. She has also written for Lady With Attitude and worked as a freelance journalist. Some of her biggest role models include Anna Wintour, Maya Angelou and her cousin, Dr. Jennifer Edwards, who inspired Chanté to attend Howard. After completing college, Chanté hopes to work as a fashion journalist and use her platform to combat cultural insensitivity within the fashion industry and improve the public perception of the industry.

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