Curtis Browder was appointed by Governor George C. Wallace as Alabama's first African-American Chaplain for the Alabama Prison System. Today, “Chap” Browder is the force behind the Faith Crusade Montgomery Rescue Mission. Since 1992, the Mission has led the effort to permanently alleviate hunger and homelessness within Montgomery and abroad. The mission has been at the forefront of nearly every major disaster within the southeastern region of the United States and currently runs countless mobile pantries for the Montgomery Area Food Bank. Chaplain Browder also runs a prison ministry program, employs and houses formerly incarcerated men, and operates a shelter for homeless women veterans.
The land, museum house and the travel center house have all been generously donated by the Mission for The More Up Campus project.
EXECUTIVE & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
For 30 years, Michelle has been an advocate and activist for the at-risk and marginalized. Her heart is especially tender toward disenfranchised youth.
She noticed that young people needed someone to listen, encourage, and provide a safe space for them. She created a place that immersed students in history, "real talk," spoken word and visual art. This experience birthed an arts-centered diversion program that was used by juvenile detention centers in Alabama and Georgia.
In the spring of 2012, Michelle and a group of chaperones took 56 students to Washington, DC to see Attorney Bryan Stevenson argue a case before the United States Supreme Court. The case focused on the constitutionality of youth being sentenced to death in prison. This encounter changed both the students’ and Michelle’s lives exponentially and birthed the I Am More Than Youth Empowerment Initiative. This initiative expanded into a non-profit that hosted community conversations, arts-centered programs for
schools and youth-led conferences.
Michelle owns and operates More Than Tours, a social enterprise that provides educational and interactive tours to students and tourists exposing the rich and sometimes haunting history of Montgomery, Alabama. More Than Tours has bridged the racial divide by reaching nearly 10,000 students and tourists.
Deborah Shedrick’s work is vibrant, colorful and full of texture. Utilizing a palette knife, rollers and assorted objects, she shapes color and builds texture in rhythmic patterns and brilliant eruptions. Stylistically she combines realism and abstraction as she forges a unique and distinctive expression that has found tremendous resonance with her audience. She lets the vivid tints take over, leaving her figures elongated and suggested in her vertical canvases with some collaged materials.
Shedrick lives and loves art. Honing her artistic skills in 1986 through workshops with other prominent artists, has developed into a career of her artwork being used nation-wide in hotels, on book covers, television shows, film and for fundraisers. Articles have been written about her work in several newspapers and magazines.
She defines her paintings as free-style, uniquely her own. Her passion for art shines through her work. She captures the nuance of a moment, with the celebration of color and energy. Her artwork strikes a harmonious cord from a universal perspective and she is part of private and public collections throughout the United States and abroad.
Shedrick states, “As I create, I reflect on the Master, the Author of Creativity, God. I share with you the spirituality of which my art is born. Hear the art speak to you of love, inner peace, strength and joy.
SCULPTOR & KEY CONSULTANT
Dana Albany will serve as a key consultant and collaborate with Michelle Browder, Deborah Shedrick and a team of artists in the physical creation of the Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey Monument. Her art work emerges from a mixed palate of recycled and discarded materials that are either symbolically representative as a whole concept or evoke new meaning by transforming materials out of their original context. She has exhibited for the San Francisco Arts Commission, San Jose Arts Commission, SOMAR Gallery, the de Young Museum of Art, San Francisco Airport, Exploratorium, California Academy of Sciences and has produced several large-scale sculptures for Burning Man. In addition to sculpture, several of her community-based murals can be found on the walls of hospitals, clinics and schools in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, Nevada . She has assisted and collaborated on numerous permanent public art installations in the United States.