Michelle Angela Ortiz is a visual artist/ skilled muralist/ community arts educator who uses her art as a vehicle to represent people and communities whose histories are often lost or co-opted. Through painting, printmaking, and community arts practices, she creates a safe space for dialogue around some of the most profound issues communities and individuals may face. Her work tells stories using richly crafted and emotive imagery to claim and transform "blighted" spaces into a visual affirmation that reveals the strength and spirit of the community.
For over fifteen years, Ortiz continues to be an active educator in using the arts as a tool for communication to bridge communities. As a highly skilled muralist, Ortiz has designed and created over 35 large-scale public works nationally (PA, NJ, MS, NY) and internationally. Since 2008, Ortiz has led community building and art for social change public art projects through the United States Cultural Envoy in Fiji, Mexico, Spain, Argentina, Venezuela, and Honduras. She also has led independent public art projects in Ecuador, Costa Rica and Puebla, Mexico.
In addition to her community arts work, she maintains her commitment to her own studio practice. She has exhibited her paintings and prints in numerous galleries and museums such as: Delaware Art Museum, George Washington Carver Center, The African American Museum, The Painted Bride, Ice Box Gallery, Penn State HUB Gallery and the Goldey Paley Gallery. She has work in permanent and private collections abroad such as the Rohm and Haas Company, Galeria Tonatzin (San Juan Bautista, CA) and Xicanoindio Gallery (Mesa, AZ). Ortiz continues to work with various nonprofit arts organizations in Philadelphia. In 2007, she joined the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation where she has developed programs and workshops to support the professional development of teaching artists. She is also an active member of "Las Gallas" a Philadelphia-based multi-disciplinary arts collective that gathers to share stories, inspire dialogue and debate about ideas of family, traditions, religion, education and gender roles.
Ortiz is a fellow of the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture Fund for the Arts (2011), recipient of the Leeway Foundation Transformation Award (2008) and Art & Change Grant (2012 & 2006.)