As a writer and poet, community-based artist, and coach, Michelle utilizes creative expression and storytelling as the basis for organizational development and positive social change. Her process of engaging individuals and communities through the expression of shared story has found a wide range of applications, from helping environmental organizations understand the priorities of traditional land-based communities to helping people heal from trauma.
Originally from Deming, New Mexico, Michelle holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College
Michelle is the author of Malinche's Daughter, an essay collection based on her work with women survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault in Oaxaca, Mexico as a Fulbright Fellow, and Bosque: Poems (University of New Mexico Press, 2021), a collection written during her tenure as Albuquerque Poet Laureate. Her memoir, Vessels is forthcoming from FlowerSong Press. She is a member of the Macondo Writers Workshop.
Michelle is a professional coach, certified through Leadership that Works, Coaching for Transformation.
As a racial equity and healing practitioner, she led the facilitation team for Albuquerque's Race, History and Healing Project, which engaged city residents in meaningful dialogue about race, culture, and how the community should represent its history. She has worked with fellow artists and local farmers to implement the Community Table project, which combines art, local agriculture, and economic development as a platform for neighborhood revitalization. Michelle served as a coach/mentor for the inaugural class of W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Leadership Network Fellows. She is a founding member of the TIASO Artist Cooperative. racial equity & healing
artesana – artisan, one who creates with her hands
arte - art
sana - from the Spanish, sanar, to heal
I believe in the healing power of art and story. I believe in our capacity to thrive. I believe in the power of creative expression as a force for social good.