LaToya Ruby Frazier

LaToya Ruby Frazier was born in 1982 in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and currently lives and works in Chicago. An artist and activist, LaToya Ruby Frazier uses photography, video, and performance to document personal and social histories in the United States, specifically the industrial heartland.

Having grown up in the shadow of the steel industry, Frazier has chronicled the healthcare inequities and environmental crises faced by her family and her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania. The artist employs a radically intimate, black-and-white documentary approach that captures the complexity, injustice, and simultaneous hope of the Black American experience, often utilizing her camera and the medium of photography as an agent for social change. Her 2016 Flint is Family project traces the lives of three generations of women living through the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

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Teaching with Contemporary Art

Teaching Love in Times of Unprecedented Instability

  Life as an educator during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an emotional journey. I remember having a little sob when we found out we’d be closing for 2 weeks in March 2020, and then bursting into tears when we found out we wouldn’t be returning later that spring at all. I cried when I […]

Conversation Starter

What role does art play in protest?

Protesting policy, war, or social norms, artists challenge the status quo and give voice to a movement.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Stuck at Home

During the long, odd, Zoom-filled first days of the pandemic’s arrival in Seattle, I thought about how the traditional art classroom is not always the most ideal place for making art, especially contemporary art. Students usually come to the art room and find traditional art-making tools and materials: paints, brushes, pencils, pens, paper, canvas, and […]



LaToya Ruby Frazier describes the external factors at play in her work and the rapidly changing socio-economic landscape of her hometown of Braddock, Pennsylvania.

Deep Focus

Access to Healthcare: A Conversation Led by LaToya Ruby Frazier

At Gavin Brown’s enterprise in Harlem, LaToya Ruby Frazier leads a panel discussion with a scholar, a minister, and a doctor on the state of access and equity in healthcare, the history of artists and intellectuals who have fought for these rights in the past, and change-makers who are leading the charge today.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Scenius, Inspiration, and Invention

Educator-in-Residence Todd Elkin reflects on the ways in which his classroom embodies the concept of “scenius,” in which creative inventions emerge from social contexts, as the students working near each other riff off one another’s strategies and ideas.

Teaching with Contemporary Art

Rust, Decay and Decomposition: Four Artists to Teach With

Art21 Senior Education Advisor Joe Fusaro shares four artists who use rust and decay to tell stories, illuminate histories, and prompt us to think about beauty in new ways.