Who are we?
Mesa Fronteriza is run by three women with the invaluable collaboration of people in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands. As three core organizers, we are eager to learn about the many perspectives on life in the borderlands, from people who inhabit the region. As we journey with Mesa Fronteriza we hope to explore what it means to collaborate with one another, as two artists and a social worker, and how our approaches to social engagement evolve based on the people and communities we meet along the way.
Isabel Ball was a 2016-17 Henry Luce Foundation Fellow in Thailand where she worked with the Migrant Assistance Program (MAP) Foundation. She graduated from Lewis and Clark College in 2015 with a major in Psychology and minors in Ethnic and Latin American Studies. Isabel has done extensive research on border enforcement, migration policies and trends, and networks of migrant support in North and Central America, at the Migration Policy Institute and as a research assistant to journalist and writer Todd Miller, author of Border Patrol Nation.
Roni Chelben is an Austin based artist who creates work as a direct conversation with the social realities around her. She is the founder and director of the Am I Invisible, a theatre ensemble made up of people who experience homelessness in Austin, TX, producing performances that express the realities of homelessness and the structural circumstances that affect it. Originally from Tel Aviv, Israel, Roni discovered her passion for creating politically engaged art as a member of Combatants for Peace, an Israeli-Palestinian peace movement, where she had the chance to practice Theatre for the Oppressed as a means to sparking dialogue as a protest between 2009-2011. Roni graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016 with an MFA in Transmedia.
Gracelee Lawrence spent this past year as a Visiting Artist at Chiang Mai University in Chiang Mai, Thailand on a 2016-17 Luce Scholars Fellowship. Gracelee graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2016 with a MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media. She is a Co-Founder of Pig & Pony Gallery and the Founder of the Virtual Studio Visit Network. In 2017 she recently had solo exhibitions in Thailand and has held solo exhibitions across the US. She is the recipient of the 2015 UMLAUF Prize, the 2014 Womack Fiber Arts Scholarship, 2013 Eyes Got It Prize, and the 2011-12 Ella Fountain Pratt Emerging Artist Grant.