LaShawnda Crowe Storm is the community engagement director for the Spirit & Place Festival. She is a mixed media artist, activist, community builder and occasionally an urban farmer. Whether she is making artwork or sowing seeds, Crowe Storm uses her creative power as a vehicle for dialogue, social change and healing. Crowe Storm has worked with diverse communities to build collaborations, empower community voice and to creative approaches to addressing difficult dialogues and community organizing. As the Community Builder and Organizer for the Northwest Area Quality of Life Plan, she worked with residents to translate their vision of community self-determination into an Action Plan with more than 100 community lead efforts in nine core initiatives, including Community Safety and Peacbuilding to Youth Development.
At the core of Crowe Storm’s creative practice is a desire to create community; any community in which the process of making art creates a space and place for difficult conversations around a variety of topics, with an eye to community healing. In her words, “If life were a photo, then my artwork would be the film negative, seeking to explore those aspects in our society that have been ignored or forgotten. By printing these negatives, I give voice to the marginalized and disregarded aspects of our society.”
Crowe Storm has an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (graduate fellowship in sculpture) and a B.A. in Mass Communications and English Literature / Creative Writing from the University of Michigan. Selected awards include a 2012 Emerging Vision Residency from Michigan State University, a 2011 Creative Renewal Arts Fellowship (Arts Council of Indianapolis), and a 2010 Artist-in-Residence (Indianapolis Parks and Recreation). Her training includes, but is not limited to, Racial Justice Leadership Institute (The Center for Racial Justice Innovation), Community Organizing (Don Washington), ABCD (The Learning Tree), Community Leadership Certificate (Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center, Ivy Tech), Undoing Racism and Community Organizing Training (Peoples Institute for Survival and Beyond, Child Advocates), Civic Reflection Dialogue Training (Project on Civic Reflection), Comprehensive Community Development Training (Indiana Association for Community Economic Development) and Engage: Organizing Skills for Community Change (Indianapolis Neighborhood Resource Center).