Episode 61: Nisa FLoyd: Come Back As A Flower

Nisa Floyd talked about honoring her feelings through her internal and personal art practice and how that also allows her to honor her students’ feelings in the classroom. Her gardening and plant metaphors are so beautiful and meaningful and woven throughout our conversation. She shared her experiences feeling the need to be a savior and then checking that need and asking how she could turn that urge to something truly helpful. She talks about art as a solution, as a way to create space for dialogue, and a way to tap into some of the deeply rooted beliefs that we need to change.

The way she communes with community and asks “what does support look like for you?” is a model for institutions wanting to change systemically. We talked about shame and the power dynamic within breaking down a culture of white supremacy and how so often the work being done is not breaking down these systems at a skeletal level, but instead adding a pretty dress on top of this deformed skeleton. Nisa talked about her worries that her work at the institution could end with her and how she’s working to institutionalize change and develop systems rooted in community-based planning of programs.

This conversation left me thinking deeply, considering how I can come back as a flower, for myself as a human, for my daughter and family, but also for my communities – my students, fellow art educators, and artist mothers. Thank you, Nisa!!

Nisa Floyd photographed in front of work by Mimi Gross, who created portraits  of the children murdered from 1979 – 1981 in Atlanta collectively known as the Atlanta child murders. More about this work here.

Nisa Floyd is the founder of Art Makes – a project being incubated at Atlanta Contemporary that makes art accessible to people who have physical and financial barriers by creating zines that contextualize art (and its history) relative to Atlanta whilst also sharing social emotional tools through the art making process. Nisa currently serves as the Program Coordinator at Atlanta Contemporary, where she manages the Studio Artist Program, coordinates the public programming and is currently developing a synchronous education department to serve as a leading resource for educators, caretakers, and cultural organizations. 

Nisa received a bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in French. She is currently working on a mixed-media project that explores intergenerational trauma and the archiving of fragmentary narratives of black expression. Nisa is passionate about utilizing public spaces to tackle complex issues related to scarcity of resources such as the academic achievement gap, mental illness, and climate justice.