Artist Profile - Gilda Sheppard
“The role of the artist is like a lover. If I love you, I have to make you conscious of things you don’t see.”
― James Baldwin
As a child growing up in Detroit, Gilda often sat in a closet with a mirror and flashlight watching shadow and light create shapes in darkness. Her grandmother encouraged her to discover stories from these shapes. Her discoveries, where stories take shape, inform her filmmaking. Her documentaries uncover stories of triumph.
Gilda is an award-winning filmmaker who has screened her documentaries throughout the United States, and internationally in Ghana, West Africa, at the Cannes Film Festivals in France, and in Germany at the International Black Film Festival in Berlin. Sheppard is a 2017 Hedgebrook Fellow for documentary film.
Her documentaries include stories of resilience of Liberian women and children refugees in Ghana; three generations of Black families in an urban neighborhood; and a film ethnography of stories from folklore started by Zora Neale Hurston in Alabama’s AfricaTown. She is currently in post-production of her documentary Since I Been Down on education, organizing, and healing developed and led by incarcerated women and men in Washington State’s prisons. Sheppard’s recent book is titled Culturally Relevant Arts Education for Social Justice: A Way Out of No Way. Sheppard is a volunteer teacher in prisons. In addition, she is a Sociology Professor at Evergreen State College in Tacoma WA.