Category : Featured

De Nichols Selected as a Kennedy Center Citizen Artists Fellow

De Nichols was selected as one of five fellows for the 2017 John F. Kennedy Center’s Citizen Artists fellows program, which recognizes artists across the country who utilize their art form for positive impact on communities.

“The recognized Citizen Artists Fellows will be mentored by Yo-Yo Ma, Kennedy Center Artistic Advisor at Large, among other Kennedy Center artistic partners. Additionally, they will receive national attention for their impact in their local communities and opportunities to showcase their voice and work on stage, through exhibition, and at national convenings.”

To commence participation as a fellow, De will join thought leaders from the arts and related fields together for the Kennedy Center’s Art Summit to explore how the arts can propel our thinking towards new ideas and actions, including the leaders we look to for guidance and inspiration.

Learn more at

Jan 28: Black Notes for Taking It to the Streets Exhibition

“Black Notes” is a multimedia exploration of one artist’s life lessons, reflections, and observations configured in the midst and aftermath of protest and racial trauma. The body of work includes a wall of typographic artworks and visualized memories conveyed onto hundreds of black Post-it sticky notes. Stemming from a larger body of work, Sticky Note to Self, these notes represent the most complex and serious creations from the series, reflecting moments and changes within the American political landscape, intersectional ploys for human and civil rights, as well as concerns of gender, sexuality, economic, and racial equity. These notes are paired with a video projection that interweaves footage from moments of protests in Ferguson, MO, with a monologue series of memoirs about blackness and racial challenge. As a collection, “Black Notes” provides a literal visualization of lessons and notes portrayed on black surfaces while probing a larger inquiry into the intersections of race, justice, and the preservation of collective memories.

“Black Notes” is part of the Taking it to the Streets exhibition featuring work by artists who address themes of identity, social-justice, place, environment and family through artistic practice. This timely exhibit focuses largely on contemporary urban experiences of deep interest to the communities of North St. Louis County, North St. Louis City and all of Metro St. Louis. Curated by Freida Wheaton, Mel Watkin and Roseann Weiss, Taking it to the Streets features regional artists including Howard Barry, Cbabi Bayoc, Damon Davis, Attilio D’ Agostino, Christine Ilewski, Louis Ingrum, Basil Kincaid, De Andrea Nichols, Chris Phillips, Solomon Thurman, Annetta Vickers-Bentil, and Denise Ward-Brown.

Taking It to the Streets opens January 28–May 6, starting with a 4PM panel discussion moderated by De Nichols. This program is free and open to the public.


Design Observer “Creative Will: What It Takes to Shift Creative Organizations and Industries toward Greater Racial Equity”

As a new political administration and cultural climate continues to unfold in the United States, there will be demand and need for more industries and populations of people to rise up for the protection and sustainability of justice, unity, and humanity across the nation and world. Industries of creative practice are presented with a crucial set of roles and opportunities in which to contribute, design, and actualize systems, tools, cultural norms, and services that will benefit the collective mass of citizens moving forward.

My Podcast Interview with Revision Path

Through my friends at Affect Conf (at which I’ll be speaking in October 2016), I got a chance to connect with Maurice Cherry of Revision Path podcast and talk about navigating the design world as a person of color.

Revision Path is an award-winning weekly interview podcast that focuses on showcasing some of the best Black graphic designers, web designers, and web developers from all over the world. On each episode, we explore the stories, processes, experiences, insights, and creative inspirations of these awesome creators.
(via Revision Path)

In the conversation, I talk through past projects, philosophies on social impact design, people who inspire and mentor me, and what I see as paths forward for designers to do work in social impact.

Listen to it on the following outlets:

Commencement Speech to the Creative Class of 2016: “Do What Makes You Come Alive”

On May 19, I gave my first commencement address to art and design students graduating from my alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. In engaging this opportunity, I was asked to speak from the perspective of a young alum and share inspiration for how to live a radically and consciously creative post-graduate life.

In reflecting on this task, I tapped back into my 22 year old self and asked: what would I have wanted to know? What would have made my journey easier? What were the biggest challenges in transitioning from a life-long role as a “student” to becoming a creative adult? How did I learn how to live a life with meaning?

With many tears wiped aside, I shared the following:


The #StickyNotetoSelf project is a semi-daily micro-blog and creative photo project that I started as a way to remind myself of life lessons, inspirations, and frustrations that each day may bring. Using Instagram as the primary platform for the project, #StickyNotetoSelf interweaves through images of my daily life that serve as context for the experiences and reflections shared. As appropriate, notes includes a description of the experiences which inspired it. As the collection of the actual notes grow, they will be compiled in book form with expanded reflections on the brief “notes to self” they entail.

View the #StickyNotetoSelf project.