She’s a singer, songwriter, art collector, author and founder of an art organization that provides a platform for emerging women artists. She’s basically #girlboss goals.


Mashonda Tifrere is founder of ArtleadHER, which is now seeking to expand its mission to increase the representation of women in the visual arts by helping New York and New Jersey-area girls in grades 8 to 12 gain access to the arts as spectators and arts professionals. ArtLeadher is partnering with Mana Contemporary a leading arts destination dedicated to celebrating the creative process and believes wholeheartedly in the ArtLeadHer Mission.


Mana will assist in initiatives and programming such as hosting artists talks and studio visits, provide college readiness guidance counseling, facilitate the creation of middle and high school student portfolios to help them gain admission into high school and undergraduate arts programs, and expose them to other professional opportunities in the arts, including curating and marketing.


The organization officially launched on October 14th with a huge exhibition and fall open house at Mana Contemporary. We caught up with Mashonda to discuss ArtLeadHer, her newest book, and advice to young people interested in the arts.


Art Zealous: How do you think the arts helps young minds?

Mashonda Tifrere: Art creates a safe place for children. One where they can explore all things that seem impossible. It relieves stress and forms resiliency in a young mind. I speak from experience. Art gave me a sense of comfort as a child.


AZ: Favorite art space or museum to bring kids?

MF: I love CMA, Children’s Museum of the Arts. It’s a great place with amazing workshops for kids. I had my son’s seventh birthday there. We turned it into an exhibition and showed all of his artwork.


AZ: You’re working with Mana Contemporary on their Fall Open House. How has that experience been?

MF: Mana is an incredible place. It is one of the largest and most innovative contemporary art institutions in the United States. I met Eugene Lemay, the artistic director there earlier this year. I explained my vision for The ArtLeadHer Foundation and he fell in love with it. The team was really impressed with the work I’ve been doing for and with women artists. They asked me to join the staff in creating content and programming for all three Mana locations (Chicago, New Jersey and Miami) and offered me a studio. Now ArtLeadHer can provide underserved artists with residencies and workshops for young women interested in learning more about art.


AZ: You’re working with Lacey McKinney for the Fall Open House. How did you come across her work?

MF: I met Lacey exactly a year ago when I curated my 25 woman show at Pen and Brush Gallery. I fell in love with Lacey’s vision.


Lacey McKinney


AZ: What about her artwork spoke to you?

MF: The way she layers and blends the souls of women. She creates this soft, strong emotion. It reminds me of the women that raised me.


AZ: Congratulations on your new book ‘Blend‘ and being so open about your co-parenting story. Your journey is so inspiring. What’s next for you? Can we expect more books? (we hope so)

MF: Thank you. It took me eight years to write Blend and a lot of ups and downs. The journey has been beautiful. I’m very proud of the result and of course to be able to share the lessons with the world. Yes, working on book number two. All I can say is, I’m taking it to another level.



AZ: Any Art Basel Miami plans?

MF: I’ve joined the advisory committee for Pulse Art Fair. I’m also curating a SPECIAL PROJECT for Pulse. I’m really excited about this because I’ll be showing artist, Allison Janae Hamilton. She uses history, landscape, family and taxidermy to tell very powerful stories.


AZ: Best piece of advice you’ve received this year?

MF: People will love you. People will hate you. And none of it will have anything to do with you.


AZ: How can we stay in touch?

MF: IG @mashondatifrere, @artleadher