Michelle Castillo is a writer, an interdisciplinary artist, educator, community organizer, activist, and independent curator. She is the founder of the Feminist artists' collective Wyld Womxn and the Filipino pop-up eatery, Lola's Kusina, a co-organizer of Bayanihan and member of KITAKITS an experiment. Castillo's mediums range from performance, poetry, food, landscape, experimental sound, and most recently installation. Through social practice and relational aesthetics, Castillo uses the arts to cultivate, bridge, and create more inclusive communities through alternative spaces and meaningful connections. Her personal and collaborative creative practice includes working at the intersections of race, class, gender, and accessibility. Michelle's work often explores the notions and nuances of home, memory, identity in its many forms, and our interactions with nature and each other. She has produced and designed a variety of socially engaged collaborative and interdisciplinary arts programming with galleries, arts nonprofits, and museums. Her events and pop-ups have happened inside of studio apartments, coffee shops, malls, supermarkets, and in the middle of the desert. Her work as a public school teacher, community organizer, and activist has given Castillo the opportunity to work and serve in diverse marginalized communities. Castillo's writing and poetry have been featured in The Desert Sun/USA Today, East Jasmine Review, Coachella Magazine, DESERT Magazine, alternative weeklies, funky DIY zines, and other places. Michelle earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside. Currently, she is at work on her first book about growing up in an immigrant household and is based in the California Desert.
Michelle will be engaging with participants through her Sari-Sari installation and her social practice community project “Lola's Kusina,” a Filipino pop-up eatery that cultivates multisensory experiences to explore the notion of home, homeland, and identity in its many forms. Lola's Kusina is a food and memory project that was inspired by eating lunch at her grandparents' house every Saturday as a child. Her pop-up eatery is dedicated and named after her late Lola Sally, the matriarch of her family. Castillo will be leading a series of workshops/happenings that involve writing, poetry reading, Filipino dishes from her family's recipes, and an interactive Sari-Sari store installation. The store will function as a swap/barter/donation-based space