Artspace welcomes Shalom Cook, and Pablo Lituma to the Rafala Green Fellowship for the 2021-2023 program year. Both Fellows relocated to Artspace headquarters in Minneapolis for the fellowship program’s second iteration. Launched in 2018, The mission of the Rafala Green Program is to promote equity and inclusion among cultural communities often underrepresented in the real estate development field. The program, made possible by the Ford Foundation, fulfills that mission by training the next generation of leaders from underrepresented communities in the core competencies of real estate and artist-led community development. Rafala Green Fellows work full-time at the Artspace headquarters and support current projects in the Artspace development pipeline; work with mentors connected to Artspace’s national network; and attend a series of professional development opportunities aligned with nonprofit real estate development. Fellowship appointments are for two years.
Ms. Cook is an educator, life coach, healer, activist, and artist with over 25 years of experience in youth development, human services, social justice, and community organizing. Her highlights include a breadth and depth of work: founding member of the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative; Co-founder of the Diversity & Equity YMCA leadership team; Trainer for the Cape Town, South Africa YMCA & Pollsmoor Prison staff in Alive & Free methodology; Member of the Emerging Leaders Initiative, selected by National Youth Leadership Council; Cultural Liaison Fellow at the University of Minnesota; Guest Speaker at 20th National Service-Learning Conference; Member of Alive & Free National Consortium; International Trainer in Violence Prevention.
Ms. Cook believes indigenous wisdom is the salve for the world's wounds. She is dedicated to holistic and transformative service that moves humanity in the direction of deep and abundant love rooted in equity and justice, and will bring that lens to her fellowship experience at Artspace.
Pablo Lituma is a first-generation Ecuadorian-American raised in the Bronx and Medford, NY. Mr.Lituma is Indigenous from Azuay, Ecuador, and advocates for the cultural preservation of his community. He is a trained architectural designer and community planner. His experiences of living in distinct cultural communities have shaped a unique desire to understand the built environment so that one day he can provide solutions for pressing needs created by inequities in those communities. Mr. Lituma's early aspirations to create equity through community development and real estate development led him to obtain his Bachelor of Science of Architecture degree from the University of New York. Mr. Lituma received his Master's degree in Architecture and Community and Regional Planning from the University of New Mexico.
As a Rafala Green Fellow, Mr. Lituma seeks to continue his research and professional experience in order to better serve his communities, at home and abroad. He hopes to work on projects that integrate indigenous architecture and indigenous planning in urban and rural environments.