Primary Role: As Manager of Affiliate Services, Mariana is responsible for all aspects of affiliate support. Her job is to ensure that the wonderful men and women who promote and drive our regional programs are equipped with as many resources as possible. She also contributes to program development through implementing strategies that strengthen our mission as well as recruitment and retention efforts.
Secret Fact: When Mariana was 18 years old, she co-wrote the documentary, Assignment Education: Teen Stories, which won a Regional Emmy Award!
What did you do before coming to the Alliance? Prior to coming to the Alliance, I worked for Scholastic Inc. where I implemented national literacy initiatives focused on empowering underserved communities through literacy development. I worked closely with a plethora of nonprofit organizations from across the United States to raise awareness around the specific literacy needs of children from diverse backgrounds. I also spearheaded many corporate sponsored events such as The Library of Congress National Book Festival and National Advisory Council.
The work I do inside the Alliance is very much tied to the work I do outside its doors. Much of my spare time is devoted to uplifting and empowering the young people in my community. I am a volunteer with Urban Word NYC, an organization grounded in youth development through artistic expression, mentorship, and leadership.
Additionally, I am currently pursuing my MA in African-American Studies at Columbia University. My research interests include African-American and African Diaspora art; photography and representation; and theorizing intersectionality (analyzing how race, geography, ethnicity and nation jointly construct one another as concepts).
As a documentary photographer, I incorporate many of my academic findings into my photographic work. For the past 3 months, I’ve been researching and documenting African-American life along River Road, a community just outside New Orleans, Louisiana. The series explores the modern social make-up of this region that positioned between two distinct periods—antebellum and 21st century South. A portion of the photographs will be on display at the McKenna Museum of African American Art in New Orleans from December 10, 2011—January 21, 2012. For more information visit: http://www.themckennamuseum.com.
Advice to Young Artists & Writers: Don’t compare yourself to other artists. Allow yourself time to grow. Don’t apologize for your honesty.