The Artist Mother Studio (AMS) Conference seeks to elevate the voices of artist mothers/caregivers and continue important conversations about communal labor and how mothers can leverage their experiences for positive societal change. The AMS Conference is a part of an artist-driven project organized by DC-based artist Amy Hughes Braden and marks the culmination of a nine week artist-in-residence for artist mothers at WPA .The conference is free to attend and includes lunch and childcare (provided on a first come first serve basis).

“And because we coexist on a planet long defiled by habits opposite to love, it seems to me that the task of surviving and/or the task of providing for the survival of those who are not as strong as I am, is a political undertaking: Vast changes will have to be envisioned, and pursued, if any, let alone all, of us will survive the destructive traditions of our species.”

—June Jordan

The AMS Conference includes:
  •  A discussion about AMS with original participants Mariah Anne Johnson, Tsedaye Makonnen, and Amy Hughes Braden led by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Supervisory Public Programs Specialist with Smithsonian American Art Museum. 
  • A zine workshop and talk with China Martens, author and editor, and creator of the longest running zine on raising kids titled, The Future Generation. 
  • The launch of the AMS zine, Maternal Journal, compiled and edited by Amy Hughes Braden and Raina Martens, with an introduction by China Martens.
  • Open studios with current AMS artists-in-residence Leah Lewis, Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, and Anne Smith.
  • Support Artist Mothers! The following will be available for sale at the conference: T-shirts by Tyra Mitchell, creator of @artmomproject, a platform for artist mothers to connect and support each other, and copies of The Future Generation, an anthology of China Marten’s zines.

Lunch will be provided for kids and adults, with peanut-free and vegetarian options. If you have more specific dietary restrictions we encourage you to bring your own lunch. Please indicate any dietary restrictions on your registration form.

Video archive 

Watch experts from the conference including the first discussion about AMS with original participants and zine workshop with China Martens.


Free childcare is provided for kids ages 0-7, but space is very limited! We are reserving childcare for ages that require more attention and typically make more noise. If your kid(s) are older than 7, they are welcome to join us in the conference space. Since childcare is limited, please be mindful of allowing space for those that really need it. Childcare will be led by Dani Simms, AMS caregiver, and two assistants. Kids will play in the AMS childcare space at WPA, one block from the conference location. If it’s a nice day, small groups of kids may go out to the park with one of the caregivers.


10:00-10:30am   Coffee and donuts

10:30am-12pm — Discussion about AMS with Mariah Anne Johnson, Tsedaye Makonnen, Amy Hughes Braden, led by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell

 12:15-1:15pm — Lunch

1:15-4:00pm — China Martens Talk + Zine Workshop

4:00-6:00pm — Studio Visits at WPA 


Discussion about AMS

Original AMS participants Mariah Anne Johnson, Tsedaye Makonnen, and Amy Hughes Braden will discuss the origins of AMS, its importance in the broader context of society, and it's goals for shifting the paradigm around work/life balance. The conversation will be led by Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell.

The Future Generation: Zine Workshop with China Martens

In this workshop, China will share stories from starting her first zine in 1990 and raising her daughter as a single mother writer on welfare, to editing book anthologies and collaborating to create collective radical childcare at community events and national conferences. Participants will discuss the importance of community support for mothers, particularly marginalized mothers, as well as caregivers and others in order to access media making. They will walk away with concrete ways to gain more support as well as support others. There will also be a hands-on component to create a zine together that participants will take home with them. Mother’s and children’s issues are everyone’s issues and if we want to build a better future we cannot afford to leave anyone behind!


Amy Hughes Braden, AMS Creator, Panelist, Organizer, and Maternal Journal co-editor

Amy Hughes Braden is a DC-based artist, who graduated from the Corcoran College of Art & Design in 2011. In 2017 she was the Artist-in-Residence at the Cafritz Foundation Arts Center at Montgomery College, which followed her residency and exhibition at VisArts in Rockville, MD. Braden has worked extensively with the arts non-profit Transformer, including being selected to travel and present her work in Rome in 2016. She has been awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities for the past 3 consecutive years. The DCCAH has also funded two cycles of Artist Mother Studio, a program Braden created to support caregivers who are artists, and highlight their invisible labor. She maintains her painting practice at Red Dirt Studios, in Mount Rainier, MD.


Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell, Moderator

Kayleigh Bryant-Greenwell is a Washington, DC native and cultural programmer with extensive experience working in galleries, libraries, archives, and museums. She is devoted to engaging marginalized audiences through art, museum, and social justice practice. As a DEAI [diversity, equity, accessibility, inclusion] facilitator, Kayleigh is a contributor to national initiatives on equity and inclusion in museums. Recently, she moderated the keynote conversation on education and equity for the American Alliance of Museums 2018 Annual Conference, served as education specialist with the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of African American History and Culture, and launched the Women, Arts, and Social Change initiative at the National Museum of Women in the Arts. She has curated ten contemporary art exhibitions exploring race, gender, politics, and social issues. She is a frequent juror, guest lecturer, panelist, and moderator of national and international art exhibitions, conferences, and initiatives. Kayleigh is excited to begin her new role as Supervisory Public Programs Specialist with Smithsonian American Art Museum in October 2018. She will be responsible for an extensive calendar of art engagements at SAAM and the Renwick Gallery.


Mariah Anne Johnson, Panelist

Mariah Anne Johnson is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas, where she spent her childhood studying dance and attending art classes at the Arkansas Arts Center. She focused on art and English at Rice University and was a member of Rice Dance Theatre. She earned her MFA from the University of Illinois in 2006. Her work has been exhibited around the USA, from Los Angeles to New York, Houston, Chicago, and Washington, DC, where she lived and worked from 2009 until 2018. While in DC, Mariah was a painting and drawing professor at George Washington University and an artist-in-residence at Montgomery College. Her recent projects include a 2016 solo exhibition at BlackRock Center for the Arts, and a year-long site specific artwork in her backyard, titled Backyard Sublime: Meadow Project, involving gardening, performance, drawing, and social media. She recently participated in a series of international artist residencies in Viborg, Denmark; Berlin, Germany; and Hafnarfjörđur, Iceland. 2017 marked Mariah’s return to dance, as she began performing with darlingdance company. In 2018 she relocated to Los Angeles and looks forward to the shifts in her practice that new surroundings will bring.


Leah Lewis, AMS artist-in-residence

Leah Lewis is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in Washington, DC.  Originally from Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, Ms. Lewis has used humor and her interests in anthropology as a point of interest in her work.




. . .

Tsedaye Makonnen, Panelist

Tsedaye Makonnen is an Ethiopian-American interdisciplinary artist. Other titles she bears and which inform her art practice are mother, educator, and birthworker. Her work attempts to convey the African Diaspora's creative responses to forced migrations and our attempt to assimilate and recreate the Self within new territories. Through sculpture, prints, performance, photography, video and installations she explores the universality, resilience and contradictions found in blackness across borders. Tsedaye is the 2018 DC Public Library Maker-in-Residence, recipient of the 2018 DCCAH Arts Fellowship grant and a former Artist-in-Residence at Artist Mother Studio. In 2018, she co-curated a multidisciplinary exhibit titled Hyphen American at Gallery 102 featuring 20 artists. In the past she has performed at Art Basel Miami, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, El Museo del Barrio, Pratt Film Institute, Queens Museum, Festival International d’Art Performance in Martinique, Chale Wote Street Art Festival and more. This summer, through the support of her residency with DCPL, she completed a residency at El Anatsui Studios in Nsukka, Nigeria and traveled to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia for a cross-cultural exchange among artists and institutions. Currently she is showing sculptural work in Pittsburgh at the August Wilson Cultural Center, in a group exhibition, Familiar Boundaries, Infinite Possibilities, curated by Kilolo Luckett.


Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann, AMS artist-in-residence

Katherine Tzu-Lan Mann received her BA from Brown University and MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the recipient of a Fulbright grant to Taiwan, the AIR Gallery and Lower East Side Printshop Keyholder Fellowships in New York, NY, and the Individual Artist Grant, Arts and Humanities Grant, Mayor’s Award and Hamiltonian Fellowship in Washington, DC. She has attended residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Blue Sky Dayton, Vermont Studio Center, Salzburg Kunstlerhauss, Triangle Workshop, Anderson Ranch Art Center, Bemis Center for the Arts, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, Facebook, and the Jaipur, India Carbon 12 Residency. Some of the venues where Mann has shown her work include the Walters Art Museum, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Rawls Museum, the US consulate in Dubai, UAE, and the US embassy in Yaounde, Cameroon. Mann is currently an instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.


China Martens, Panelist and Author

China Martens is a zinestress extraordinaire based in Baltimore. Her first book, The Future Generation: The Zine-Book for Subculture Parents, Kids, Friends & Others, is a compilation of sixteen years of her first zine. She is also the co-editor of Don't Leave Your Friends Behind: Concrete Ways to Support Families in Social Justice Movements and Communities and Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. Since 2003, China has facilitated workshops to support for parents and children in activist and radical communities. In 2009, she co-founded Kidz City, a radical childcare collective in Baltimore.



Raina Martens, Maternal Journal co-editor

Raina Martens is a multidisciplinary artist based in Washington, DC. Trained as a ceramicist, they make artifacts that dramatize the entanglement of social and material worlds. They also play guitar in the band Ultra Beauty and study philosophy and theory. Recent accomplishments include the release of Ultra Beauty’s self-titled EP on Sister Polygon Records, Soil Lab, a collaboration with Margaret Boozer and environmental justice activist, Glenn Ross, which appeared at MICA, and the opportunity to show a ceramic and research-based work, “A Geology of Hauntings,” at the abolitionist convergence, Fight Toxic Prisons, in Pittsburgh, PA.



Tyra Mitchell, Creator of @artmomproject

Tyra Mitchell is a visual artist and curator born and raised in Washington, DC. Her work focuses on marginalized communities and showcasing the beauty often overlooked within them. After having her twin girls in 2018, her personal projects began to center around documenting families and motherhood.





Dani Simms, Lead Caregiver for AMS

Dani is a massage therapist, textile artist, and a professional nanny. She's provided care for families, community events, and art festivals. This past summer, Dani facilitated a two-week art camp for kids in Montego Bay, Jamaica where she taught kids how to weave a tapestry using recycled materials. Dani says that though she has a lot of experience working with kids, AMS is unique and a project that she really believes in.




Anne Smith, AMS artist-in-residence

Anne Smith is a visual artist based in Washington, DC. Her art practice includes drawing, sculpture and printmaking, often along themes of space and ideas of home. Places such as her childhood and ancestral homes, the Potomac River, the side of the road, and other spaces entirely imagined are featured in her work. Smith is also a Teaching Artist at the National Gallery of Art and was Master Printmaker on a large-scale silkscreen book project at George Mason University’s Navigation Press. She studied silkscreen printmaking with Master Printmaker Lou Stovall, for whom she was a studio assistant for several years. Smith is represented by Adah Rose Gallery.

Photos by Yassine El Mansouri 

Nike sneakersNike


2201 Georgia Ave NW, Ground Floor
Interdisciplinary Research Building, Howard University




Saturday, November 3, from 10am-6pm

Photo gallery