Adrienne Skye Roberts works in the crossroads of art, education, and social justice organizing. She was born and raised in the Bay Area and is the descendant of Eastern European Jewish immigrants imprisoned during the McCarthy Era for their political beliefs. Her work focuses on the radical potential of storytelling to shift politics and transform our understanding of ourselves and our communities. Her current creative and political projects are in resistance to the prison industrial complex and in collaboration of those most directly impacted by incarceration. She is a member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners (CCWP), a grassroots prison abolition organization that provides support and advocacy for women and transgender people in California state prisons. Adrienne is a founding member of Fired Up!, a self-empowerment collective building from both inside and outside San Francisco’s county jail.
As an educator she will forever be developing and implementing an anti-oppression, feminist, queer art curricula that challenges the false divide between cultural work and politics. She believes that art classrooms are fertile for grounds developing self-awareness, collectivity, and liberation politics. Adrienne teaches at UC Santa Cruz, the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and the Asian Art Museum.
Adrienne’s past curatorial projects include the radical queer film and photography exhibition, “Suggestions of a Life Being Lived” at SFCamerawork (2010), “Home is something I carry with me,” an exhibition and film screening addressing the housing crisis and funded by Southern Exposure (2009), “For Lovers and Fighters” at The Spare Room Project (2009) and “Sweet and Matchless” (2009) and “Between Memory and Invention” (2008) at PLAySPACE Gallery.
Adrienne writes for the Culture section of the online political forum, Organizing Upgrade. Her writing is published on SF MOMA’s Open Space, Art Practical, The Rumpus, and Make/Shift: Feminisms in Motion. She was an artist-in-residence at the Philadelphia Art Hotel (2011) and Elsewhere Collaborative in Greensboro, North Carolina (2009). She has a MA in Visual and Critical Studies from California College of the Arts and a BA in Feminist Studies and Studio Art from the UC Santa Cruz.
- Alumni Profile: Adrienne Skye Roberts
- 08.26.2014 / Watch Presentation of First Annual VisCrit Alumni Award to Adrienne Skye Roberts
- 07.30.2014 / Adrienne Skye Roberts and Amanda N. Simons Teach Youth at Southern Exposure
- 07.04.2014 / Adrienne Skye Roberts Lauches Storytelling Project
- 1.24.2014 / Adrienne Skye Roberts’ Collaboration at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
- 1.12.2013 / The Rumpus: Adrienne Skye Roberts and Tirza Latimer
- 09.27.2012 / Swimming Lessons and the Red Scare with Adrienne Skye Roberts
- 06.30.2012 / FAX(FACTS)BOMB Talk and Workshop by Adrienne Skye Roberts
- 06.16.2012 / SFMOMA Open Space Interview Series by Adrienne Skye Roberts
- 09.01.2011 / Adrienne Skye Roberts Launches Artists of the 99%
About Adrienne Skye Roberts’ Thesis Project
Homesick: The Search for Belonging in New Orleans’s Landscape of Loss
New Orleans is a city I have come to know through the devastating aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. During the summer of 2006 I traveled to the Lower Ninth Ward to offer my assistance in the rebuilding efforts. The neighborhood was emptied of its longtime residents, their absence marked by vacant houses and piles of belongings. In the wake of the storm, numerous nonprofit relief organizations responded to the Lower Ninth Ward and similarly decimated neighborhoods and with them came thousands of volunteers, the majority of whom had backgrounds similar to mine: middle-class, well educated, politically active, white, in their 20s.This volunteer population occupied the space of a historic community of color. Economic and social privilege made their mobility possible.When I arrived, I was not yet aware of how significant the experience of volunteering would be for my generation. New Orleans was for me a pre-planned destination on a cross-country road trip. I was 22 years old, had recently graduated from college, and was searching for a temporary solution to the restlessness of this period of my life. Hurricane Katrina made visible the severely dysfunctional underbelly of America, mainly the huge economic disparities suffered by people of color, and it called many young people to action. Volunteering became more than an act of civic responsibility; it provided people with purpose, direction, and a community with which to engage.As they work to rebuild and bring back displaced residents, the nonlocal volunteers in post-Katrina New Orleans simultaneously develop their own attachments to the city and contribute to its changing racial demographics and social fabric. Considering the inadequate response from the government, their work has been extremely beneficial. Yet their presence signifies a double-edged sword, and it raises the important question of whether or not the presence of predominately white volunteers reinforces the structural and institutional racism that enabled them to come to New Orleans in the first place.
In the years since, many volunteers have made the transition from visitor to resident. Their search for home was fueled by their own mobility and the American ideal of something new lying over the horizon. As the story continues to unfold, the nonlocal volunteers mark a new chapter in a deeply rooted and historically significant city—a city that remains delicately balanced between a traumatic past and an undetermined future.