Denise Delgado writes fiction, critical essays, and hybrid works. She makes art in the form of socially engaged and collaborative projects, collages, photographs, and installations. Her projects often adapt material culture like bodega signs and fotonovelas, vernacular forms like salsa dancing, popular music and oral storytelling, and social spaces like backyard barbecues, zine culture, and workshops to experiment with language, center stories that have been marginalized, and strengthen community relationships. She teaches creative writing, literature, and interdisciplinary topics. As a consultant, she has particular expertise in innovative public programming, curatorial work, program development, grantwriting, and capacity building for public libraries and nonprofit arts organizations.
Denise’s fiction and critical essays have appeared in Inch, Dossier, Hinchas de Poesía, the anthology Florida Flash, edited by Lynne Barrett; Gean Moreno & Ernesto Oroza's Tabloid Project, Jai-Alai Magazine, the artist’s monograph Frances Trombly: Paintings, Fiction Writers Review, and NPR affiliate WLRN Miami. She is Neighborhood Program Fellow and instructor at GrubStreet, a Boston literary arts center. Denise was the first Writer-in-Residence for Girls’ Club, a South Florida exhibition space and foundation dedicated to contemporary art by women. She has an MFA in fiction writing from Warren Wilson College and is a proud alumna of the Voices of Our Nations writing workshop. She is completing a collection of short fiction set in Miami. It is about voicey women, archives, Operation Peter Pan, suicide, families, and duplexes.
Denise has read, exhibited and performed her multidisciplinary work at events, museums, galleries and other venues throughout the U.S. She is the recipient of grants from the New England Foundation for the Arts' Creative City Program, Alternate ROOTS/The Ford Foundation, Tigertail Productions' Artist Access Program, and Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs. Since 1998, facilitating workshops, community projects and residencies with schools, museums, and organizations has been an important part of her practice. In 2003, she founded First Person Projects as a vehicle for interdisciplinary, community-based projects such as YardCorps, History and Barbecue, and Dream of a Red Fringe Dress in collaboration with performing artists, educators, schools, nonprofit organizations, and community participants. Her current project, Bodega Signs + Wonders, collects neighborhood stories from residents and merchants in Jamaica Plain/Roxbury's Egleston Square and transforms them into poetry, public art, and business signage in the Washington Street / Columbus Avenue commercial district.
Since 2010 Denise has organized the Free School for Writing, conceived as an itinerant, welcoming classroom for free writing classes, workshops, and collaborative experiments. Free School classes have taken place at the Egleston Square Branch Library and Urbano Project in Boston, MA, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, the O, MIAMI Poetry Festival, and Bas Fisher Invitational in Miami, FL. From 2012-2014 she was a Fellow of the Honors College of Florida International University. She has also taught courses in writing and literature at Miami-Dade College, GrubStreet literary arts center, and Emerson College in Boston, MA.
From 2005-2013, she worked with the Miami-Dade Public Library System, first as Curator of Art Services and Exhibitions overseeing a permanent art collection, exhibitions program, and branch art installations for a 49-branch library system; and later as Project Director for the Vasari Project, an archive documenting Miami's art history from the 1940s to the present. As the Bass Museum of Art’s Curator of New Media in the early 2000s, she started up a public access multimedia lab with drop-in hours, community classes, and a youth media arts program.
Delgado received a BHA in Art and Applied Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University; an MA in Media Studies from The New School and an MFA in fiction from Warren Wilson College. Denise is a native Floridian, a Cuban-American, and a recent Miami expat acculturating to life in Boston. She speaks English, Spanish and Spanglish everywhere and especially at home in Jamaica Plain with her husband and her daughter. Sometimes she secretly wishes she had chosen to be a Zumba instructor.