J. Andrea (yAyA) Amezcua Porras

Sacramento Poderosa 2022

“Write with your eyes like painters, with your ears like musicians, with your feet like dancers. You are the truthsayer with quill and torch. Write with your tongues on fire.” –Gloria Anzaldua

J. Andrea Amezcua Porras, Coahuiltecan/ Chicana, 2Spirit, Queer, Madre, Cultura Cura curator/producer, intersectional artist, documenter, movement story weaver & theater maker. Originally from a Southwest -Tejas border barrio/town San Felipe Del Rio- they have been based in Sacramento since 1990. They currently reside in Oak Park with their mijo of 19 years, JAH’Sol Amaru, and co house/ care for their Ama Josie and Apa Andy.

Porras has been a creative powerhouse cultivating their social political artistic creations and contributing to the arts and culture landscape beyond borders through performance and interdisciplinary art for over 3 decades. Most recently, they curated a of for and by queer centered exhibition at the 45-year-old San Francisco Mission Cultural Center, and Co directed Intercultural Reflections; a Festival of the Arts with Teatro Espejo at the California Stage. Prior to these projects they also recently co-produced and directed a 2-act play: Smart People, by Lydia R. Diamond at Celebration Arts Theatre in Sacramento. Andrea has also recently returned to and wrapped two digital films with Queer filmmakers based in Oakland and San Francisco. They are elated to be in their multiple practices as a creator and collaborator again after taking a break from State Service.

Some of their current professional commitments include Development Strategist at Brava! For Women in the Arts and Arts Admin Co-Pilot (consultant) for The African American Arts and Culture Complex, in San Francisco. They are approaching their 1-year anniversary as Classy Broadway Curatorial Resident, Oak Park, Sacramento where they curate, install and represent visual artists. On the national arts landscape, Porras is a proud graduate & 3rd year Intersection Leadership ILI Fellow. Porras, co-founded Movimiento Molcajete (1997) Contemporary Indigenous Teatro Co. They are a Copilot/ Cofounder of MA Series Arts (2018), a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to support, performance, research, and practice by women, queer of color, and transgender artists. This organization support artists across the nation as well as international copower and support as a fiscal sponsor and co-creative space for collaboration.

Upon their earliest Charcoal foot travels in migrating from Tejas to the Nisenan and Ohlone lands, they have been a student/ member of Quetzalcoatl Danza circle, Sacramento Black Art of Dance, and Ebo Oko-Kan an Afro- Cuban Folklore ensemble. In addition, they were a founding member of ZRAIL and Revolutionary Women of Color/ Sacramento, both writer/ poetry collectives. Through mentorship Porras expanded their role as teaching artist, performer & producer to Arts administrator, as Director/ curriculum co-creator for Sacramento START by creating an entire arts and culture focused after school program at Will C Wood middle school in the late 90’s. Students were both exposed and informed in various creative avenues such as radio programing, training in Afro- Modern Dunham technique, creating art through ethnic studies research, musical theatre, and indigenous visual arts through cultural anthropology. Their training of course came from being a mentee and a member of the Impudent Young Pilots a division of the Royal Chicano Air Force, and the Co-Madres an intergenerational Mujer Arts front, as well as a graduate of the CSUS/ Washington Neighborhood Center’s Barrio Art Program, and a company member of Teatro Espejo y Teatro Campesino Vibrant Being Fellow. As a part of all the collectives and mentorship, Porras found themself alongside Maestrxs, teaching, performing, and facilitating in schools, museum classrooms throughout the region, as well as community centers, youth authorities, and parks, barrios, parking lots and correctional facilities/ infiltrating the industrial prison complex with Cultura Curas.

Later, they were recruited to serve the City of Sacramento Arts Commission first as a teaching artist in multiple elementary, middle, and high schools and later as the Arts Education Outreach Manager; as a grant maker, and cultural arts / education programmer. They exited City service by completing their tenure by creating World Arts Space, a 100% free arts education community school based in Oak Park during 2004/ 05, where they served as Director under Friends of the Sacramento Arts Commission. Later as a community organizer/ and civic activator, Porras would create talleres de arte in multiple Mutual Housing of California affordable housing communities bringing youth ballroom dancing, African drum and language workshops, clay, and painting and finally Hip Hop/Street dance experiences and mentee opportunities with Sacramento based teaching artists in the community centers located on the multiple property sites. Porras, also served as Arts Education Director for La Raza Bookstore, Galeria Posada where they curated and installed exhibitions, led community programming and organized volunteers. After a break from organizing, they took the post of manager / curator and mentor at Taller Arte del Nuevo Sol (UC Davis Chicano Studies) and later was recruited to serve for the California Arts Council where they recently completed their 5 ½ year tenure as a grant’s maker and program specialist/ team lead.

Porras has trained with master artists across California and the Southwest. In addition, they have created, performed and trained in China, Mexico, Cuba, and Ghana, Africa. Porras received a BA from CSU Sacramento in Theatre/ Dance centering practice and research in Ethnic Studies & Cultural Anthropology /devoted to Intertribal & AfroLantix gente y movimientos por justicia. Through their many endeavors they continuously lift and center Black, Indigenous & Queer People of Color in their plight for Freedom, Justice, and Liberation.