Monica L. Williams is a conceptual performance artist and artistic leader who specializes in cross-sector collaborations. Her artistic journey humbly began creating theater in midwest churches and community centers then evolved to major cultural institutions. With an undergraduate degree in Acting (Wright State University B.F.A.) and graduate degree in Applied Theater (New York University M.A.), she combines her passion for community and culture with her belief in the power of storytelling to craft a 20 year career as a leader in the Arts and Humanities. She conceptualizes, curates and directs live experiences for diverse audiences to enjoy Nationwide. Her work has been presented at various community-based organizations, festivals, Off-Broadway theaters and major cultural institutions including The ‘World Famous’ Apollo Theater, John F Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, TED Women Conference, and the National Black Arts Festival. Her latest work, In Love and Struggle, produced with The Meteor, is currently streaming on Audible.
Monica consults with executive leadership to design large scale installations and live experiences to address some of societies most pressing needs. Her arts-based engagement with families of the incarcerated is practiced within community-based organizations in New York, California and Louisville, Kentucky with The Special Project, a 10 year public installation designed with the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Arts-based engagement with youth and community is a career long practice and includes her 8 year relationship with Bailey’s Café as a program advisor and artistic director. She is dedicated to sharing stories that address the needs of authentic stakeholders, including her own. In 2013, in an effort to address the need for more balance in her life, she created #LoveHustle, an artist-led, multi-platform conversation about pursuing our dreams while balancing life, love, family, relationships and work. She is the founder of Create Legacy and her vision is to deepen global conversations about the ebb and flow of living a well, balanced life.
Monica is a lifelong educator and has been an artist-in-residence at various colleges/universities including Mt. Holyoke College, Anderson University, Wright State University, Goucher College and most recently a full-time lecturer in African American Studies at New York City College of Technology.
Monica is the Chief Curator and Director of Programs at 651Arts. She is a 2020 and 2021 MAP Fund recipient, a member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, and was a 2016 CCCADI Innovative Cultural Advocacy Fellow and Rockwood Leadership Institute Arts and Social Justice Fellow.
Beginning in 2013, Monica has been instrumental in leadership and staff development at Bailey’s Cafe as well as establishing routines and Core Values that infuse all aspects of the organization and its programs. In 2016, Monica became the Artistic Director and Project Manager for our performance installation As Quiet As It’s Kept. Summer 2021, she has stepped down from that position but remains part of the Bailey’s family.