Maria Cherry Rangel

2020 Artist-led Giving Circle Cohort

Maria Cherry Rangel is the daughter of agricultural workers and musicians who worked the land of many Southern states. A New Orleans-based cultural strategist, resource organizer, cultural producer, and equity coach, Cherry’s advocacy has ensured that millions of dollars have been redirected to Southerners, BIPOC communities, and LGBTQ communities. As Director of Strategic Initiatives for Foundation for Louisiana, Cherry launched FFL’s arts and culture program, and utilizes her expertise in organizational growth, cultural strategy, racial justice, and LGBTQ organizing to inform FFL’s future. With Ron Ragin, she co-authored Freedom Maps: Activating Legacies of Culture, Art, and Organizing in the US South. With Sage Crump, she co-authored the forthcoming Queer (Re)public: a QTBIPOC Liberatory Artistic Aesthetics Framework for the Theater Offensive. During her tenure at the National Performance Network, she increased NPN’s practice of racial and social justice, and introduced the work of NPN to younger generations of artists and cultural workers. In her early work as a cultural producer she co-founded Mangos With Chili, and helped develop the work of over 150 QTBIPOC artists, launched productions via national tours and local seasons of programming, initiated dialogue around racism and queer/transphobia in arts funding and practice, and ushered in a new era of possibility for QTBIPOC centered arts and culture. Cherry was a 2018-19 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow. Cherry wrote her first arts grant at the age of 15 in support of her father’s application to be a master folklife artist, and after that success, hasn’t stopped.