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Interdisciplinary Artist | Teaching Artist | Speaker | Writer | Storyteller | Program Developer | Community Builder & Researcher

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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 of Elsz & O Storytelling Gallery, she lends her consultancy and expertise in Louisville Metro and beyond. Marlesha is the National Equity in Arts Director of Lodgic Everyday Community. She is also, a senior teaching artist of Neighborhood Associates Corporation, and an inaugural Project 2892 National Geographic Wayfinder. Her community-based research has been featured in collabration 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.

"To be born with a gift, and spend ones' life giving the gift away... this is an artist."

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