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Currency: An Exchange of Artist Solidarity

Thursday, March 21, 2024 | 5-7pm

Mt. Pleasant Library

Meeting Room 1, 3160 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20010


A Conversation and Workshop with Danielle De Jesus & Gabrielle Tillenburg

Join us to celebrate spring and kick off the first of two events in our 2024 Open Call series, Where should we start?

From Puerto Rico to Palestine, artists continuously participate in activism to call for a more just world. For this program, curator Gabrielle Tillenburg and artist Danielle De Jesus join in conversation about how Puerto Rican artists have long engaged in solidarity with other occupied peoples around the world. They will talk about historical and international examples with a specific focus on Danielle’s practice of amending currency with messages that draw attention to international struggles for justice and freedom from oppression. Gabrielle and Danielle invite artists, and others, to join them in considering what values we exchange with each other, each and every day.

Following the conversation, Gabrielle and Danielle will lead an interactive workshop where attendees will create their own art by using currency as a canvas, similar to Danielle’s own practice of painting portraits of revolutionaries and everyday people on U.S. currency. Attendees will then put this currency back into circulation,* further circulating their own calls for justice. This workshop considers how money is a symbol of federal power, but has the potential to be an exchange of people power.

In response to WPA’s question “Where should we start?,” Gabrielle and Danielle responded: With solidarity with oppressed peoples around the world.

*(Yes, it’s legal. Learn more here.)

WPA strives to create a safer space where participants feel they can participate and converse fully without fears of censorship. Capacity is limited and attendance is free with RSVP.

Event Details & RSVP Here


About the Organizers

Danielle De Jesus (she/her) is a Nuyorican painter and photographer. Her work tells the story of growing up in New York City amidst gentrification and displacement. She draws from her experience growing up in the Puerto Rican diaspora as a native of Bushwick, New York to document her home neighborhood while creating narratives that uplift the lives and stories of its multi-diverse residents. Using common objects such as dollar bills and tablecloths, she creates textural stories of everyday life and resilience. De Jesus’ images help us rethink the significance of the image and the politics of representation.


Gabrielle (Gabi) Tillenburg (she/her) is a curator and an emerging art historian studying modern and contemporary Caribbean and diasporic art. Her research interests include contemporary Puerto Rican art, artist activism in anti-imperial movements, and interpretations of time and memory in lens-based art. In 2023, she was awarded the Summer Internship Fellowship by UMD to pursue curatorial research on Puerto Rican performance art at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico. In 2022, she was the Bresler Curator in Residence at VisArts where she curated Sound of Fire, an exhibition exploring artist responses to US military occupation.


Featured artwork: Leila Khaled & Lolita Lebron by Danielle De Jesus

About this Series

For our 2023–2024 program season, we invited DC-area artists to submit ideas for one-night only events around the question: “Where should we start?” WPA’s first-ever symposium How can we gather now? (March 2023) explored questions of community and the potential of gathering as a crucial practice. During her keynote talk, author and organizer adrienne maree brown spoke about the different scales and modalities of gathering and how healing and change start at the individual level.

“With everything we need to do, there is always a starting place within, a starting place between, and a starting place for the collective.” – adrienne maree brown


Calling all artists What question fuels your practice? Submit Your Idea How does your process manifest?
Calling all artists What question fuels your practice? Submit Your Idea How does your process manifest?
Calling all artists What question fuels your practice? Submit Your Idea How does your process manifest?