Tracy Fenix with The Archive Project at the Visual AIDS office, September 2018.

Visual AIDS is excited to announce our new Artist+Registry & Archive Associate, Tracy Fenix. Tracy brings with them a diverse history of socially engaged artistic projects, programs and exhibitions and will build lasting relationships with Artist Members and the broader Visual AIDS community. Please help us welcome Tracy to Visual AIDS—stop by the Visual AIDS office to say hello or drop Tracy a line at: [email protected]

I’m beyond ecstatic about joining the Visual AIDS staff and its supportive community of Artist Members and activist allies as Artist+ Registry & Archive Associate. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and identity as a Xicanx/ Indigenous /Tejanx queer cultural worker who supports communities at the intersections of art, activism, and public spaces. I have contributed to the arts community with organizing artist residency public programs and exhibitions that focus on a broad range of themes including queer identity politics; immigration and migration narratives; intergenerational trauma and healing; social engagement and activism; environmental racism; and public memory of historical spaces and ephemera.

I’m inspired by Visual AIDS’ mission to work at the intersections of radical art and activism. In my first two months at Visual AIDS, I’ve grown very fond of organizing the development of the Visual AIDS Archive Project and Artist+ Registry, supporting Artist Member’s narratives, collections and legacies. I’ve had the pleasure of having insightful conversations with Artist Members, board members, and estates; guiding artists with Visual AIDS Artist+ Material Grant applications and other artistic grants; organizing an Artist Member Survey to improve Artist Member’s experiences with archival, artistic and professional development services; and strengthening communities among Visual AIDS Artist Members.

I recently had an opportunity to sit-in and witness Artist Member Shirlene Cooper facilitate her Love Positive Women Empowerment Women’s Group at the Visual AIDS office. The workshop thoughtfully opened up safe space for women living with HIV to talk intimately about their experiences with unpacking traumas, navigating community resources and breaking stigmas with positive self-affirmations. This work speaks to how Artist Members can embody intimacy around intergenerational loss and healing, regeneration and find supportive ways to come together in community. This project serves as an inspiring possibility of where we imagine taking future Visual AIDS Artist+ Member projects and community events.

Moving forward, I plan to make intentional steps to continue activating the Visual AIDS Archive with guiding support from the staff and board, by building deeper, meaningful relationships with Artist Members and their collections; expanding Artist Member events and professional development resources; highlighting Queer/ Trans People Of Color (QTPOC) and underrepresented narratives of artists’ living with HIV and AIDS; expanding community outreach efforts with NYC archive organizations and libraries that center the intersections of arts and activism; and engaging virtual communities by highlighting Artist Members’ archives and collections online and on social media platforms.

My previous projects reflect innovative artistic practices that reimagine and reclaim underrepresented communities of color histories through an intersectional lens of solidarity, accountability and self-affirmation. These projects are reflected in one of my recent professional experiences, as a Curatorial Fellow at Wave Hill in Bronx, NY where I assisted with coordinating exhibitions and public programs including the Outcasts: Women in the Wilderness exhibition featuring Nancy Spero, Zanele Muholi, Kris Grey, Chitra Ganesh, Scherezade Garcia, Samira Abbassy, and others. This experimental installations speak to the expansive ways underrepresented artists are honoring their own lived realities and histories and turning them into transformative moments of validation and recognition.

My exciting new creative direction supporting the Archive Project and Artist Members at Visual AIDS will require me to explore new archival techniques, as well as embody a sense of mindfulness, trust, and collective support to continue the realization of Artist Member’s artwork—past, present and future. I sincerely look forward to meeting Visual AIDS' community of activists and allies and supporting Artist Member’s artistic projects. I’m grateful to support the fight for social justice and creative empowerment and look forward to the many inspiring moments ahead!

Tracy is available in the Visual AIDS office Mondays–Wednesdays. For Artist Members and the Visual AIDS community, please reach out to Tracy with a time to connect at the office via email at [email protected] or call via phone at (212) 627-9855.