Marlène Ramírez-Cancio is a Puerto Rican cultural worker, artist, and educator based in Brooklyn. She is Director of Practice Lab at Brooklyn Arts Exchange and of EmergeNYC, an incubator and network for emerging artists-activists in New York City and beyond, focused on developing the voice and artistic expression of BIPOC, women, and LGBTQAI+ practitioners. Offering varied entry points into art and activism, EmergeNYC prioritizes process, discovery, and reflection, fostering a brave space for experimentation and risk-taking, building solidarity across differences, and challenging dominant narratives through artistic cultural resistance.
She originally created the program in 2008 at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute, where she was Associate Director of Arts and Media, forging spaces of creative inquiry and critical practice that enlivened struggles for justice in the Americas. In her role, she led the curation and production of Hemi’s large-scale, biannual Encuentros, which gathered about 700 participants in different cities throughout the Americas; curated HIDVL, a groundbreaking digital video library that archives and circulates the work of politically engaged artists; created and directed Hemi’s Artist Residencies for local NYC artists; and co-created initiatives like the Helix Queer Performance Network, supporting queer artists of color and fostering intergenerational mentorship.
Marlène is also co-founding director of Fulana, a Latina satire collective, and the Director of Implementation of the Latinx Arts Consortium of New York, a network of arts organizations dedicated to knowledge exchange, resource sharing, and collective action. Through Mujer Que Pregunta, she works as a Process Doula for artists, scholars, and cultural workers seeking to bring their projects into the world. Marlène serves on the Board of Directors of the National Performance Network and the Board of Advisors of The Action Lab and the Center for Artistic Activism.