Today we’d like to introduce you to Brianna Mims.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I began dancing at a very young age. I attended art school in Jacksonville, Florida, from fourth grade to high school with a focus in dance the whole time. I also attended a dance studio outside of school during that same time frame. I trained in modern, ballet, hip hop, West African, tap, and jazz. I also come from a family rooted in activism.
Therefore, activism feels very innate to me. In my last two years of high school, I began working with grassroots organizations, and I began exploring various uses of dance in spaces outside of regular stage performance. I began teaching movement classes to children who resided at the Salvation Army in Jacksonville, Florida and I began to notice how therapeutic the movement was for the children. While attending the University of Southern California, where I studied Dance and NGO’s and Social Change, I began to merge my work of activism and movement.
Please tell us about your art.
I am a movement artist, facilitator, and activist. The goal of my work is to create spaces and to disrupt spaces. Through both facilitation and interactive art experiences and performances, I create spaces for people to engage in dialogue, share perspectives, share stories, self reflect, empathize, and address and mitigate trauma. A lot of my work explores mass incarceration and is used to support the initiatives of grassroots organizations that do work to eradicate and shift various policies that pertain to the system of incarceration. Over the past two years, I’ve been apart of an abolitionist creative action team that has an ongoing art series called #jailbeddrop. The last #jailbeddrop I created in collaboration with my peers at the University of Southern Californa (Minh-Han Vu, Adam Drazan, Bindhu Swaminathan, and Georgina Grkikian). We created a performance and interactive installation where we explored the intentions and effects of incarceration, questioned our inherent relationship between crime and punishment, and created a space to reimagine public safety. I am convinced that the issues that we are facing politically and systemically are deeper than any law can fix.
Alongside policy change, we have to shift culture. My work is about shifting culture so that we can sustain the policy changes that we are fighting for, and it is also about taking a holistic approach to change. It is important to me that we take an internal and external approach when we are pushing for change. This means it is equally important to fight for policy change as it is to mitigate trauma and toxic socialization. Trauma, labels, socialization, and ignorance to others experience affects how we see ourselves, interact with others and is reflected in our culture and policies. I also facilitate movement and self-reflection classes in schools, correctional facilities, and homeless shelters.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing artists today?
I think one of the biggest challenges for artists today is finding funding for their work.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I post where I will be performing on my Instagram. There is also some footage from performances on my website. People can support this work by coming to shows, donating money, or donating their time/skills at events.
- Website: www.bjmims.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: bj_mims
Gina Clyne, Ella Mikayelyan, Caleb Griffin