growing up

When I was three- or four-years young, I gave an impromptu dance performance at one of my sister’s high school graduations. I bowed as the attendees gave me a standing ovation. The freedom and joy of a child.

I am the youngest of nine children raised in Washington, DC. Kid janet experienced DC in the 1980s and 90s, oftentimes staying indoors due to incessant violence throughout the city. Despite the local wars going on outside, my family always made sure to give thanks for life by relaxing in DC’s beautiful national parks, taking road trips, and having Sunday breakfast together. As my young free-spirited entertainer-self grew into the teenage years, I began volunteering at The Children’s Defense Fund in Washington, DC and interning at The Afro-American Newspaper. Any time you saw me anywhere, I had my point-and-shoot camera, documenting family, friends, my neighborhood, and different happenings around DC, and wherever I wandered. Me and my friends attended protests, went to Hip Hop beat battles, and walked the city for fun. With my mom, I attended concerts, ate international cuisine, and visited museums around the city. When I attended university in New York City, I decided to study abroad in Alicante, Spain, and that experience shifted how I viewed my position in the world. It was while I was away, my Daddy died, and it made me ponder on life like I hadn't done before.

In undergrad, I studied film and television. Post graduation in 2002, I was brought to Los Angeles to work production on television shows. I worked in the Film and TV industry as an editor and transcriber, and later as an actress. The unjust labor practices and sexist experiences working in the industry, as well as other profound experiences in life, led me to focus more on how I can utilize activism within my art. I attribute my drive, steadfastness, empathy, and creativity to my mom and dad, children of the segregated 1930s/40s USA, whose wisdom was shared with pure unconditional love.

in progress

janet e. dandridge. Mother, Interdisciplinary Artivist, Arts & Activism Educator and Consultant, Liberator, Listener, Empathy Sustainer.

In my artworks, I intersplice theatrical performance, photography, empirical data, identity politics and whimsy into a keen reflection on social constructs. Primarily using performance art, interactive installations, and abstract photography, I explore trauma, resilience, empathy, and the power of Black women. Spirituality, the personal empirical, and collective actions are key components that guide me in my creating. In the ongoing participatory performance work, Amendment: Knell of a Nation (AKN), I use my body as a beacon of strength to physically remove the dehumanizing and marginalizing weight of greed embedded in the symbolism of the American flag. While simultaneously gathering and sharing participants’ ideas for a new social contract via postcards planted into a ‘garden’ to nurture and grow.

my work, Chronicle on Choice and Consequence, was featured alongside fellow knitwork collective artists (Ibe Ananaba, June Edmonds, Yrneh Gabon, Michael Massenburg, and Maxine Walters) in the 14th Edition Dak’Art Biennial of Contemporary African Art in 2022. In November 2020, I was awarded an inaugural Washington Project for the Arts Wherewithal Research Grant funded by The Andy Warhol Foundation, to explore Perpetual Traumatic Stress Disorder in American Black women. This is ongoing research. My work has been featured as part of national campaigns to combat racism and misogyny on media outlets including CNN’s Black in America with Soledad O’Brien in 2013, and TV One’s Justice By Any Means in 2016. In 2017 and 2018, I was named Artist Laureate by Institut Français, Paris. I was a keynote speaker for Population Connection Action Fund’s 2019 Capitol Hill Days in Washington, D.C., supporting their initiative #Fight4HER. My work has been exhibited at national art institutions including the Abrons Arts Center New York, LA Louver Los Angeles, photoLA Los Angeles, Consortium for Research of Women, DC Arts Center, and National Steinbeck Center. I have performed internationally at Esplanade de La Défense for FLUX CONTROL, facilitated my fluidity experience at Cité Internationale des Arts and at Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Arts Paris – Cergy. My work is included in the collection of The Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles.

In 2017, I formed fluidity, an art-centered educational experience that guides the public in artistic development of collaborative projects that positively æffect social and political change. To participants, I pose the question, “What are you actively doing to activate space as an Activist; as an Artist; as an Advocate?” Since 2013, I have been a volunteer consultant and organizer for the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders, a Los Angeles grassroots organization drawing attention to the serial murders of black women and girls in South Los Angeles. At present, the Coalition is working to build a permanent memorial to honor the victims and provide the families and South Los Angeles community with a “dignified space for reflection and healing.” For more information and to donate to the memorial fund, please visit

I am a 2023 Arts and Humanities Fellow for the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts & Humanities. I'm the co-host of Re – Flect / Calibrate, the podcast on The Genealogy of Artivism. I earned my Master of Fine Arts from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, and my Bachelor of Science from St. John’s University in New York City. I have worked as a panelist and consulting artist for artist grants and exhibitions in Washington, DC, Vermont, and Los Angeles. I am an Adjunct Professor in the School of Art for George Mason University instructing students on Artivism practices via New Media in the Creative Arts. I exhibit, perform, lecture, and teach nationally and internationally.

I enjoy wandering by the water, exploring different lands, practical and impractical iridescent objects, dancing whenever the Spirit moves me, and basking in the amazable (yes, I said ‘amazable’) joy of my toddler son. 

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