Beauty Breaks: Guild

56 3Arts supporters
$5,300 raised of $5,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on August 24, 2017
    • 106% contributed

“Beauty Breaks: Guild” is an expansion of a project I’ve been developing for the past year that focuses on forging creative healing practices and affirmative dialogues around what it means to be Black, beautiful, and well. Working as a cross-disciplinary artist, I have always placed language at the center of my work, with this project being born out of a desire to create new narratives around Blackness and Black femme traditions. Earlier versions of “Beauty Breaks” involved a series of singular workshops, performances, and rituals that re-imagined Black beauty and wellness. Operating as both an educational initiative and community support system, the sessions attracted a vibrant and vast group of Black femme artists, healers, and educators who have individually or collectively fought against forces designed for our oppression and destruction. With “Beauty Breaks: Guild,” I’m excited to fuel this work by creating an intensive residency that will offer a deeper immersion for Black femme folks who work at the intersections of healing, education, and creative practice. This week-long residency will provide practitioners with material resources, workshops, and dialogues to incubate new community-oriented projects. I plan to launch the pilot of “Beauty Breaks: Guild” in the summer of 2019. This is both an ambitious undertaking and a dream of mine that requires considerable resources that I don’t currently have. With this campaign, I’m inviting you to be part of making this possible, to be an ally on this project, to affirm that this work matters and the space we’re providing for healing and beauty has the power to shape space and cause real change, action, and events to unfold.

About This Project

“Beauty Breaks” was conceived during my fellowship at the Stony Island Arts Bank as a response to the language of beauty and wellness advertisements in the Johnson Publishing Library archives. During that fellowship, I initially intended to repurpose found language from advertisements within the magazines to create new narratives around what it means to be Black and beautiful. After making my way through magazines spanning several decades, I was emotionally fatigued. A bulk of the language that I came across accessed beauty through consumption, class ascension, and whiteness. This extreme discontent spawned “Beauty Breaks.”

“Beauty Breaks” originates in the belief that the words we say hold real power, that the language we use to describe ourselves and our communities impacts our wellness and our world. In a society where the lives of Black femme queer folks are constantly under direct attack, we are in desperate need of language that is imaginative and affirming. “Beauty Breaks” operates on the belief that conversation may act as a collective affirmation, a collective prayer, or a spell for a better world. I believe that the sharing of knowledge, the developing of new language to define ourselves, our bodies and our communities is radical, necessary, and life-saving.

With this new iteration of “Beauty Breaks: Guild,” I will be inviting 25 Black femme-identified folks working as artists, healers, and educators to participate in a week long intensive residency to take place in the summer of 2019. My goal is to locate this residency within the South or Midwest regions of this country, outside of city limits, in a setting that will allow for concentrated effort, collaboration, and community building. The “Beauty Breaks: Guild” community will be comprised of five core faculty members and a select number of Teaching Residents. We will engage core faculty, including previous and newly accepted facilitators. Core faculty will work together to structure the curriculum of this intensive residency and healing retreat. A select number of Teaching Residents will be expected to facilitate a minimum of one workshop during their residency, work for which they will be paid. Residents who are not interested in teaching will be able to take part in the program by paying a small fee to cover administrative costs, housing, food and materials. My hope is to have this cost subsidized through funding.

Residents will be sought through an open call. We will be looking for creative people from a wide range of disciplines interested in incubating community-oriented projects. “Beauty Breaks: Guild” will culminate in a performative communal ritual led by resident faculty. Once the residency is complete, my hope is that projects incubated during the intensive will be showcased in partner institutions and homes across the country. Lesson plans and curriculum developed during the intensive will be published and available for use by others.

Funds from this campaign will assist in making “Beauty Breaks: Guild” a reality! Your donations will help support the considerable administrative work that goes into creating space for people—from covering space rental and food, to graphic design and publicity materials. Funds also will go towards paying our lead faculty and teaching resident artists for their creative labor. Along with the ability to pay our educators, we will be able to produce and distribute a “Beauty Breaks” toolkit to assist in shaping educational spaces that center and support Black feminine people. This toolkit will take the form of a resource book filled with information on past workshops, organizing strategies, and lesson plan samples. These toolkits will aid those who are working in education or community-building in various capacities. We hope to be able to use this as a resource that reaches beyond the space of “Beauty Breaks: Guild” to reach and empower more communities. 

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $25
    Personal thank you on social media and permanent acknowledgement on the “Beauty Breaks” website. ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above plus PDFs of zines from the “Beauty Breaks” creative team. ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    Above plus mini-handbook of “Beauty Breaks” activities, meditations, and rituals. ($75.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Above plus a screen-printed “Beauty Breaks” poster by Amina Ross. ($175.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Above plus a creative home-cooked meal by artist Jory Drew accompanied by a live soundbath performance by A.J. McClenon, and a meditation session conducted by Amina Ross. ($325.00 is tax deductible.)

Amina Ross

An undisciplined creator, Amina Ross creates boundary-crossing works that embrace embodiment, imaging technologies, intimacy, and collectivity in physical and digital spaces. Amina has exhibited work, spoken on panels, and taught workshops at venues throughout the United States. Amina's intention within …

View Amina Ross's profile
  • Update 1: 25 days left! & We're so close :)
    Posted on July 30, 2017



    Thanks for everyone’s support so far. This campaign is the launching pad for what, until now, has been a far off dream. Thank you to everyone who has contributed thus far, for making this dream materialize.

    We are 20 days into our campaign with just 20% of our $5,000 goal left to raise. SO CLOSE!

    Our Beauty Breaks team just got back from New York where we hosted two Beauty Breaks Sessions in the Bronx. In our travels, the necessity of making this work even more available to black femme creatives + healers across the U.S. becomes more and more clear.

    Thank you for affirming this work through your donations! 


    Beauty Breaks in the Bronx!

    Update 2: We Are Working Hard!
    Posted on August 10, 2017


    Hello Beauty Breaks Family!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for all the amazing support and love you have given us! We are so excited by the outpouring we have seen and in so many ways.

    We wanted to let you all know we are busy at work preparing the gifts for you! Such a small way to show our appreciation as we enter the final stretch of this amazing fundraiser!


    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Nina Yeboah

    • Rondell Ross

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Aymar Christian

    • Ashley McClenon

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Lydia Ross

    • claire pentecost

    • Naila McKenzie

    • Julia Hendrickson

    • Hannah Zurko

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Keon Dillon

    • Xiili Rose

    • Mayleen Armorer

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Lauren Tothero

    • Elizabeth Chodos

    • sabina ott

    • lisa vinebaum

    • Sierra Tothero

    • Nicole Melanie Davis

    • Irina Zadov

    • Shirley Ross

    • Omari Ross

    • Maria Maldonado

    • Gregory Smith

    • Jeannette Tremblay

    • Janelle Miller

    • Shaka Lee

    • Lynnea Domienik

    • Artemis Tally

    • Teshika Silver

    • Ameer Ross

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Paul Wood

    • Maryiah Winding

    • Anthony Ladson

    • Amy Stuenkel

    • Andy Li

    • Anisa Mcgowan

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Justin Chance

    • Anna Trier

    • Jamillah Hinson

    • Latham Zearfoss

    • Ana Hedenstrom

    • Hilesh Patel

    • Carolynne Winston

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council