The Voices of Creative Change Initiative

The Voices of Creative Change Initiative | Fugitive Laboratory for Ideas – Creativity (VCCI | FLIC) emerges as an essential component in Plains Art Museum’s educational, curatorial, and administrative teams. The purpose is to develop and manage dynamic and community-responsive programming at Plains Art Museum. VCCI-FLIC also generates an emerging set of experimental and conceptual artistic programs and projects that are designed to recognize, highlight, and elevate diverse artists’ voices, build trust between the Museum and vulnerable communities, and advance the Museum’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (I.D.E.A.) motivations. VCCI |FLIC generates strategic planning, collaboration, and evaluation/assessment that concomitantly supports and delivers compelling programs that advance creativity and foster interconnected experiences for diverse audiences. Consequently, VCCI-FLIC remains capable of supporting both internal and external initiatives and programmatic efforts.  

The Voices of Creative Change Initiative is made possible by the generous endowment support of Mr. Richard and Commissioner Arlette Preston.


Given this, VCCI-FLIC advances three fundamental goals:  

  • To elevate diverse and artistically creative voices
  • To advance the Museum’s I.D.E.A.’s motivations 
  • To build trust between the museum and vulnerable communities  


Underscoring and guiding VCCI-FLIC’s fundamental goals, are several imperatives—which include but are not limited to the following: 

  • To think and work under erasure 
  • To pursue productive transgression 
  • To advance relevant cultural critique 

All of this means, for example, that VCCI-FLIC takes up an intentionally aggressive polemic with the paradigm referred to as “the West and its historical formations (ablism, sexism, racism, homo-/transphobia) as well as persistently duressing dehumanizing forms of sexualized colonial dynamics that appear and emerge from within mundane social relations and cause harm). It asks: are other ways of knowing and existing possible? If so, can we assume that they will be more humane, ethical, and just?  


Dr. Kelvin Monroe, Voices of Creative Change Coordinator
701.551.6120 •


Critical Grooves Book Lab
Select Thursdays, 6:30-8 PM

  • February 22: The Street by Ann Petry
  • March 28: Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • April 25: Bailey’s Café by Gloria Naylor
  • May 23: Things I Should Have Told My Daughter by Pearl Cleage

Plains Art Museum’s Voices of Creative Change Initiative | Fugitive Laboratory for Ideas—Creativity (VCCI-FLIC) announces its fifth iteration of its community-based book forum, Critical Grooves Book Lab.

For our fifth ration session (Winter – Spring ’24), we will read some four writers who are very familiar to the literary landscape. In fact, these writers and their novels embed themes that converge with the themed-exhibition, This is Not Black & White. We extend the Book Lab’s discursive platform by linking up featured artists and their works with each of the novels.

For example, Alfred Conteh’s Malik and Marquis (2020) dialogues with Ralph Ellison’s monumental classic, Invisible Man in nuanced ways that point up the tragic dimensions of American democracy. Too, Pearl Cleage’s Things I Should Have Told My Daughter grapples with feminism and humanism, from within the tragic dimensions of Ellison’s portrait of American democracy. grapples with feminism and humanism, from within the tragic dimensions of Ellison’s portrait of American democracy. Cleage interrogates our capacity to be human; and, in so doing, never forgets that these crucial questions often require a gracefulness and wisdom that escape the purview of war and violence—also the concerns of artists Glenn Ligon, Henry Moore, and Harmony Hammond, for example.

If placed in dialog with artists Kerry James Marshall, Marty Two Bulls, Jr. Ed Moses, and Andy Warhol, Ann Petry’s The Street exposes the forgeries of cultural difference that so many of us depend upon when thinking about how we are humanly constituted in both American and global contexts. Gloria Naylor’s Bailey’s Café asks us to consider the blues as form, narrative, voice, and perspective: Who tells whose story, from within what conditions, under what degree of duress, and how? Further, in the same way that Judy Onofrio deals with the spectral traces of human consciousness and reality, asks us to consider narrative patterns, voice, and perspective: Who tells whose story, within what conditions, and how? Further, in the same way that Judy Onofrio deals with the spectral traces of human consciousness and reality, Bailey’s Café constructs mythical dimensions that absorb the realities with which its characters struggle.

All four novels call attention to a peculiar progress narrative that is supposed to render all endings neat, clean, digestible, and “happy.” However, the artists featured This is Not Black and White, along with list Book Lab’s winter-spring authors—Ann Petry, Ralph Ellison, Pearl Cleage, and Gloria Naylor—seemingly exposes instabilities of language, narrative, identity, and progress.

If this assemblage of exciting yet complex voices along with the prospect of reading (and re-reading) the exhibition, This is Not Black and White, sounds compelling, please join us at Plains Art Museum on the select dates below. Light refreshments and beverages will be provided. Feel free to bring your own beverages/snacks, as well. Ages 16+ are welcome.

To encourage broad participation, you may acquire the selected texts through convenient means, as per your situation. Also note: Critical Grooves Book Lab selections will also be available for purchase from The Store at Plains Art Museum.

For more information and/or participation contact Dr. Kelvin Monroe

Writing the Self: Atlas to the Future
Sundays: June 9, 16, 23, 30, and July 7, 1-4 PM
Ages: 16+ • All materials and supply costs for this program will be provided

If you’re a woman who identifies as Black, Indigenous, person of color, Queer, Trans, non-binary, or socially isolated, and you’re curious about exploring social identity through writing and visual art, then this program is perfect for you. Writing the Self is a unique art program that encourages critical self-awareness, confidence, and leadership among young women who embody, own, and reclaim diverse identities. It’s an opportunity to experiment with art in ways that reflect who you are and your beliefs.

Throughout the sessions, we’ll explore various forms of visual art, such as printmaking techniques, assemblage, photomontage, or photo collage, alongside experimental writing. You’ll have the chance to respond to cultural texts, which could include artworks, song lyrics, written passages, poetry, or current events, using both text and images. Over the five weeks, you’ll document and archive your creative journey, ultimately revealing aspects of your “self” through the process.

Meet the Educators

Jovan C. Speller Rebollar is a lens-based interdisciplinary artist based in Minnesota. Her work uses photography, installation, sound, text, and mixed media works to interpret historic narratives through contemporary discourse. Her research-based practice is centered around elevating, complicating and inventing stories that explore ancestry, identity, and spatial memory.

Speller Rebollar holds a B.F.A. in Fine Art Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Her photographic works and installations have been published and exhibited in various group and solo exhibitions. Her work has been collected in private collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota Museum of American Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography. The recipient of multiple grants and fellowships—the McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship, Jerome Emerging Artist Fellowship, Minnesota State Arts Board grants, and she was awarded the 2021 Carolyn Glasoe Bailey Foundation Minnesota Art Prize—Speller also has had a dedicated career in non-profit arts administration for over 20 years. Currently, she is Executive Director of The Great Northern. Speller’s work has impacted broad communities throughout New York, Washington DC, and Minnesota. Her expertise spans development and fundraising, grant-making, education, entrepreneurship, and non-profit management.

Stephanie M. Lammer teaches writing at Concordia College and NDSU. Her classes move students to interrogate binary-thinking in order to see how ideology frames our perceptions.

Stephanie’s recent work archives the oral histories of self-exiled women in Northern New Mexico. This archive documents collective expressions that undo normative ways of being.

As co-founder of Writing the Self, she facilitates writing that deviates from usual genres and forms of representation.