Interdisciplinary Artist | Teaching Artist | Speaker | Writer | Storyteller | Program Developer | Community Builder & Researcher
Marlesha S. Woods (she/her) is a Louisville native, a dedicated interdisciplinary artist, visual storyteller, creative placemaking strategist, writer, community researcher, and visual arts educator. Pairing visual arts with advocacy, Marlesha has partnered with non-profit organizations within the U.S. and globally to strengthen communities, and spark vital conversations including: health equity, diversity, and civic rights.
She is a member of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, National Art Education Association, Teaching Artists Guild, and Black Arts & Cultural Center. Her work and scholarship, centered within the intersections of public health and art, provide both cultural nuance and context to develop sustainable community-programming.
As owner & founder of Elsz & O Storytelling Gallery, she lends her consultancy and experience in Louisville Metro and beyond. She is also, a former senior teaching artist of Neighborhood Associates Corporation based in Washington, D.C. She has provided community engagement art-based programs for several organizations spanning 17 years of dedicated service. She has provided consultation with The Compassion Museum based in Minnesota's Twin Cities and is an inaugural 2892 Miles to Go National Geographic Wayfinder. Her community-based research has been featured in collaboration with nationally recognized data-catalyst, Root Cause Research Center.
Her visual artistry includes wearable art with a focus on exclusive designs for the Muhammad Ali Center, and commissioned paintings including an emphasis on abstract expressionism intertwined with portraiture.
Featured Exhibitions & Collaborations
Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, 2021
Art Makes Home
Kentucky Refugee Ministries, 2020
Between the Lines I
IUPUI Cultural Arts Gallery, 2019
Art Against Human Trafficking
Allies, Inc formerly Purchased, 2015
Pat Harrison Gallery, 2014
Faith. Family. Community. Nature. Music. Words.