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 expertise in Louisville Metro and beyond. Marlesha is the founder of Equity in Arts a national program launched in Louisville, KY. She is also, a senior teaching artist of Neighborhood Associates Corporation based in Washington, D.C.. She has provided community engagement art-based programs for several organizations spanning 16 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.
"If you always do what you've always done, you'll always have what you always had."
- Southern phrase repeated by Elsz
Faith. Family. Community. Nature. Music. Words.