For Skira Martinez, the founder of CIELO galleries/studios and its Liberation School, accessibility is not just about making sure people can get in the building — it's about ensuring folks have the means, ability and confidence to show up in the first place. All CIELO's events welcome children, so parents who don't have childcare can still come. There's also a carpool system for people who don't have a way to get there, plus plenty of indoor bike parking. Those with social anxiety can join workshops via Skype, and therapists are on hand for triggering events. The programming centers on black and indigenous artists, ranging from documentary screenings and poetry readings to crocheting circles and classes on aquaponics. Some events are open to all, such as a workshop on abolishing policing; some are open to all but focused on certain groups, like the Blk Grrrl Book Fair; and some are intentional spaces open only to some, like black healing circles and movie nights. CIELO also draws big names. Sheila E. just shot a music video there for her song “Girl Meets Boy,” a tribute to Prince. As Martinez puts it, the space is whatever it needs to be.
Credit: Skira Martinez