Equity-Driven Artistic Practice + Communications Infrastructure, Community Building & Social Innovation
Rebecca Nichloson divides her time between South Minneapolis, New York City and Los Angeles. As an African American creative writer, musician, and interdisciplinary artist with a passion for media culture, communications infrastructure and social change, she seeks to further a more equitable world through her artistic practice and the development and expansion of creative projects, initiatives, programs, systems and methodologies that foster cross-cultural empathy-building, advocacy and individual/collective healing from historical trauma, in addition to advancing diversity & inclusion efforts in all aspects of public life.
Rebecca is the founder of The Kaleidoscope Project (TKP), a series of local, national, and international solidarity-building workshops informed by principles of Human-Centered Design (HCD), creative storytelling, and artistic practice. During her time in the Sesame Street Writers’ Room fellowship program in New York City (created by Sesame Workshop), she wrote a pilot titled Sasha K. Jenkins, Kid Scientist. The unproduced script, “Decoding Hamad’s Dream,” was an animated children’s television series focused on STEM methodologies and problem-solving.
Photo Credit: Carina Lofgren. Walker Art Center Citizenship Series (2019)
Rebecca is also the recipient of a Liberace Award, the Howard Stein Fellowship, the Matthews Fellowship, an America-in-Play Fellowship, and received a 2020 Honorable Mention for her spoken word poetry from the McKnight Foundation, to name a few. Her performance poem, Conjuring Transcendence: Zones, Borders, & Spiritual Visibility (2019) was presented at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and published in the Star Tribune (2020). In 2020 she wrote the libretto and vocal arrangement for Dear America, Beat Your Heart Defiantly, Naked & Open with Love, as part of the Minnesota Opera’s Mniatures program cohort.
She has served as director of communications for the African American Leadership Forum (AALF), where she developed and implemented the organization’s communications strategy in addition to a communications plan development process and individual campaigns for initiatives, its leadership academy, as well as a collective impact program that utilizes aspects of human-centered design to bring positive change to Minnesota’s African American community. In addition, she’s also served as director of digital storytelling as Art 4 New York (A4NY). Moreover, she’s worked as communications associate in the civic tech sector; developing communications plans for initiatives centered on technology for public good and providing communications support for premier New York-based civic tech efforts.
Rebecca is the recipient of a Cedar Cultural Center Commission for Multicolored Musings: Jewels of Love, Loss, & Triumph (a three-part collection of genre-defying songs she wrote, arranged, and performed). Mara (Pt. 1) includes songs that tell the story of her full-length play with music, Mara Queen of the World; about an African American slave living on a plantation in 1830s Alabama, led into the forest by a mysterious light and given a magic quilt to defeat a dark force. The Infinite Power of a Human Piano (Pt. 2) is a poem that envisions the sound of our humanity. The piece includes an ode to Okonkwo, protagonist of Chinua Achebe’s novel, Things Fall Apart, and vocal excerpts from songs reflective of Black America. Lastly, Romance Elegy (Pt. 3) is a celebration of complex romantic and self-love.
She has also written and edited content for Black Enterprise, a premier business and wealth-building magazine with readership of over 2 million, conducting interviews with nonprofit leaders and entertainment professionals such as Alan Jenkins, co-founder and executive director of The Opportunity Agenda (a communications, research, and policy organization). Rebecca has also interviewed playwright/screenwriter Dominique Morisseau (former story editor for Showtime’s Shameless), as well as Emmy-nominated actor/comedian Anthony Anderson (Black-ish) and series creator Kenya Barris. During her time at Black Enterprise, she provided support for the company’s associated media outlets, such as Our World with Black Enterprise, a network television show featuring interviews with celebrities, newsmakers and thought leaders from around the country, and edited content for the 2015 Black Enterprise Tech ConneXt Summit in Silicon Valley.
As a book reviewer for IndieReader.com, she authored over twenty book reviews of fiction and non-fiction and contributed to “Everybody Pays For It,” published in The Huffington Post.
Her playwriting, creative, and performance work has been showcased at numerous venues in New York City and Minneapolis, including the Walker Art Center, The Cedar Cultural Center, The Playwright’s Center of Minneapolis (where she was a Many Voices Fellow for two residences), Harlem Classical Theatre (playwrights playground), The Fire This Time Festival, and Signature Theatre Company (as part of Columbia University School of the Arts “New Plays Now”), among others. Her play Hello, I’m Eve was the 2013 winner of the Jane Chambers Student Playwriting Award. In addition, Rebecca has taught playwriting at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.