Our Board

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Ifáṣọpẹ́ Bamgbàlà Arẹ̀sà

Ifáṣọpẹ́ believes in the power and beauty of Black collective genius. Ifáṣọpẹ́ has resided in New Orleans for over a decade and currently works as the Director of Partnership with Change-Machine He is a third-generation Harlemite. He has spent 15 years working in the nonprofit sector, focusing on K-12 education, youth development, strategic planning, finical security, business development, and partnership cultivation. He has lead teams and organizations through partner engagement and strategic initiatives.  Before Chang, Qasim served as the Director of Teacher Recruitment at New Schools for New Orleans. Ifáṣọpẹ́ is the Co-Founder/CEO of Critical Q Consulting. A consulting firm dedicated to developing, growing, and sustaining a network of Black businesses striving to actualize thriving Black economies. He is a master strategist leading internal and external equity initiatives for system-wide impact in New Orleans Public Schools. Ifáṣọpẹ́ is a graduate of Urban League’s Urban Leaders for Equity and Diversity cohort, Emerging Leaders through Greater New Orleans Foundation, Propeller’s Growth Accelerator cohort, and Tulane University’s Mellon Graduate Program. He enjoys listening to vinyls in his spare time, traveling with his wife, and is highly invested in his spiritual development.  

Leslie-Claire Spillman

Leslie-Claire Spillman is an artist and arts professional with 17+ years of experience in sales and curation. A graduate in art from Xavier University, Spillman was the longtime Director of Soren Christensen Gallery in the heart of the vibrant New Orleans Arts District, and curated hundreds of shows for the space in her tenure there, with a personal sales record well into the millions. As a gallerist and professional photographer for almost as long, Spillman has cultivated a long list of clients including the trade, private and corporate clientele. She's honed a curatorial eye that is respected in her art community, and has been tapped to be juror or reviewer for a number of competitions both locally and nationally in art and photography, including the selection committee for nationally renowned Unframed Mural Project in New Orleans, now in it's fourth round. In August 2020, she established SPILLMAN | BLACKWELL Fine Art, initially a virtual gallery and consultancy, which opened a brick and mortar location in the Arts District in April 2021 and represents a large and growing roster of artists working in a variety of media and processes. She is also the current sitting President of the New Orleans Arts District Association.

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Jay Simple

Jay Simple is a visual artist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and currently resides in Virginia. He has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Photography at Longwood University and is the founder of The Photographers Green Book, a resource for inclusion, equity, and diversity within the photographic medium. Working through photography and a variety of mediums, Simple examines historical and contemporary effects of colonialism and white-centric ideology within the context of the United States. As a producer and cinematographer he continues to collaborate to create documentary films looking at the effects of colonialism within the context of Africa and the African diaspora in their relationship with the rest of the world. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, a Master of Liberal Art from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Master of Fine Arts in Photography from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Olóyè “Chief” Ìyánifá Ifáṣèyí Bamgbàlà Olátúnjí-Arẹ̀sà

Olóyè “Chief” Ìyánifá Ifáṣèyí Bamgbàlà Olátúnjí-Arẹ̀sà is an Indigenous Tribal- American born, descendant of the Òtu Lineage (matriarchal) and Arẹ̀sà Royal Bloodline (patriarchal) of Yorùbáland, Nigeria. She is a graduate, and former Adjunct Professor of Loyola University’s graduate counseling program in New Orleans, LA. She is also a graduate, and former Director of Psychological Health at Dillard University’s undergraduate psychology program in New Orleans, LA.

 

Olóyè Ìyánifá Olátúnjí-Arẹ̀sà served for 4 years as the State of Louisiana Director of Psychological Health, and Psychological Health Subject Matter Expert for the U.S. Air Force (New Orleans, LA) where she was first advisor to Wing Command pertaining to Airmen and Family psychological health needs. She is the first Woman and African-American to serve a full term in this position with a clientele of over 3,000. Olóyè is also the Founder and Director of the Louisiana Guard Community Psychological Health Partners Network, and lectures (in the military and civilian sectors) on a wide-range of topics pertaining to the relationships between psychological and spiritual health, civilian and military life and family culture.

 

Philanthropist and entrepreneur, Olóyè Ìyánifá Olátúnjí-Arẹ̀sà is the Founder and Clinical Director of Orí Counseling Services of New Orleans®, a small private practice catering to the psycho-spiritual and psy-cultural health needs of Our diverse Global Community. She is also the co-founder and lead infrastructural designer of the Children’s Mental Health Center at a 122 year-old New Orleans counseling agency. Olóyè is deeply devoted to her mission as Director and Tenure Professor of the Ifá-Òrìṣà Education, Training and Development Academy® where she engages in intense long-term mentorship and development of her apprentices. Additionally, her Academy offers World-wide lectures and trainings in the Ancient West Afrikan Spiritual Tradition, Science and Philosophy of Ifá-Òrìṣà Lifestyle.

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Amir George

Amir George is an award winning filmmaker based in Chicago. George is a film programmer at True/False Film Fest and Chicago International Film Festival. George is the co-founder of the touring film series Black Radical Imagination. As an artist, George creates spiritual stories, juxtaposing sound and image into an experience of non-linear perception. George’s films have screened at institutions and film festivals including Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, Anthology Film Archives, Glasgow School of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival, BlackStar Film Festival, Afrikana Film Festival, and Camden International Film Festival, among others.

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer M. Williams is the Communications Manager at the arts service organization Alternate ROOTS. She is passionate about collaborating with artists and recently served as the Public Programs Manager at the New Orleans Museum of Art. Before taking on her role at NOMA, Williams served as the Deputy Director for the Public Experience for Prospect.4. For six years, Williams served as the Director and Curator of the George and Leah McKenna Museum of African American Art. 

 

As a visual art curator organizing exhibitions & performances, Jennifer is committed to contributing to the cultural and artistic landscape in the city and across the region. As a part of a vibrant art community, she supports and serves on a variety of committees and boards including Junebug Productions and the New Orleans Photo Alliance. She has participated and led in a variety of experiences around the world, including the Lagos Biennial Curatorial Intensive and the Urban Bush Women Leadership Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She received her B.A. in History with a concentration in Art History from Georgia State University.

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