JULIE 'AJ VIOLA' DOWNEY
Prior to moving to Detroit, AJ developed and facilitated arts curriculum in classrooms, after school programs, and community centers, integrating environmental education, science, and social science into art forms such as poetry, photography, printmaking, mural painting, photography, magazine production, and installation art.
In the past she worked with Columbia College Center for Community Arts Partnerships, Young Chicago Authors, After School Matters, Gallery 37 and the Snow City Arts Foundation at Rush Children’s Hospital. She earned a volunteer of the year award for starting a journal-healing workshop with the Chicago Abused Women Coalition, and helped found the Chicago Teaching Artists Collective. AJ holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago and a B.S. in Communications from Bradley University.
Now in Detroit, AJ led the Children’s Art Village at the U.S. Social Forum, co-curated a digital arts anthology with Change:: The Music and is a managing editor, producer and photographer with DetroitMusic.TV, a website and weekly live Internet TV show.
She brought the idea of Detroit Sees to Forward Arts and was developed through our Access Arts Detroit program. She is active in organizing support for Detroit’s parks like Rouge River and Belle Isle and loves volunteering with urban farms.