Ashara Ekundayo is a Detroit-born, Oakland-based, inter-disciplinary independent curator, artist, creative industries entrepreneur and organizer working internationally across cultural, spiritual, civic, and social innovation spaces. Through her company AECreative Consulting Partners she places artists and cultural production as essential in equitable design practices, real estate development, and movement building. Some of her ventures Evolve Oakland (formally known as Impact Hub Oakland), Omi Arts Project + Space, and Ashara Ekundayo Gallery gained international attention for their groundbreaking methodology and courageous programming and have been featured in publications such as Black Enterprise, Forbes and The Guardian. Ashara is also a “pleasure activist” and her creative arts practice epistemology requires an embodied commitment to recognizing joy in the midst of struggle.Currently she serves as Chief Creative Catalyst for the Bay Area Girls & Womxn of Color Collaborative, sits on the Advisory Board of the Oakland Public Conservatory of Music, and is the Co-Founder of See Black Women – a curatorial collective whose mission is to center and present an understanding of Black feminist thought and creative culture through exhibition, publication and policy. Her new media platform and forthcoming book, “Artist As First Responder” excavates, documents, and nurtures the next generation of cultural workers whose practices save lives.