Who is Marie Kellier:
President, MARIKEL International and Founder/ Director, Los Angeles Carnival Cultural Policy Fellow/Delegation Leader, Arts for L.A. ACTIVATE Chair, Arts and Culture Committee, Empowerment Congress, Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas
Marie is President of MARIKEL International, a producing and consulting practice in Los Angeles, California. She currently chairs the Arts and Culture Committee of the Empowerment Congress ( www.empowermentcongress.org ) in the Office of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas where she initiated, and is spearheading the creation of an arts and cultural policy framework for the Second Supervisorial District of Los Angeles County. An Academy Nicholl Fellow with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation, ( www.oscars.org/nicholl ) she is the first person of African or Caribbean heritage to have been awarded that prestigious fellowship. As a producing artist Marie founded Los Angeles Carnival ( www.losangelescarnival.com ) in 1998 and was the main creative energy to have helped build and sustain this living Caribbean tradition in Los Angeles. As a result of her pioneering work in establishing a Caribbean carnival presence in Los Angeles, she was invited to the On Route World Carnivals Conference as guest of the Arts Council England to represented Los Angeles Carnival. Upon her return, she formed Los Angeles Carnival On Tour to promote Caribbean carnival and festival arts. This performing and educational ensemble has presented Caribbean cultural traditions is schools and communities throughout the state, placing first in its category in each of its entries in the Los Angeles Kingdom Day Parade. In 2010/2011 Marie competed for, and was awarded a grant by the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs ( www.culturela.org ) to represent Los Angeles as an international exchange artist. More recently, her focus has shifted to community leadership through advocacy where she meets with elected officials and community leaders to advocate for the arts and other issues. As part of that work, she completed an advocacy leadership training program in cultural policy through Arts for LA ACTIVATE program ( www.artsforla.org/activate ). She is a pre-qualified producer for the City of Los Angeles and her company is currently working with specific neighborhoods to develop and produce ‘placemaking’ events that help to revitalize their communities.
Marie holds a Bachelor of Arts (BA), cum laude, in Theater Arts, and a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in film and television production, both from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She currently lives in Los Angeles.
Her vision for the Jamaican Diaspora:
In this current political climate where ‘immigrant bashing’ has become an active item in political discourse; and immigrant communities are thrust into a lifestyle of uncertainty, strong advocacy is needed in the Jamaican Diaspora. Having spent a lifetime in community service representing those whose voices have been silenced or diminished, I believe that I have cultivated the level of advocacy, developed the connections and honed the skills necessary to be a strong voice to address topical issues affecting the Diaspora community. I believe I am suited for this role, and would like to serve the Jamaican Diaspora in this capacity.
In addition to advocating for the Jamaican Diaspora and being a liaison to the Jamaican government, my specific area of interest during my term in office would be to form an Arts, Culture and Technology Task Force. This task force would work with Jamaican and international leaders to help local communities combine Jamaica’s vibrant art and cultural heritage with modern technology to create economic growth. Many cities and towns have used this to uplift and revitalize whole neighborhoods and communities because in most cases, it requires using available resources creatively and applying good business principles to build on what’s already there. I especially want to teach young Jamaicans how to apply their abundant creativity along with their skills and intellect to pursue and accomplish goals that might at first seem out of reach. I believe I can transfer the skills I have acquired from a first class education, and combine that with my professional experiences working with top community and arts leaders to help our enterprising Jamaicans to identify and utilize local resources to improve their lives.
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