Noelle Lorraine Williams

Noelle Williams, wearing all black, poses outdoors in front of a statue.
Recorded by:
Interview Date(s):Thursday, May 26, 2016
Location:New York
Transcript(s):PDF icon transcript

Noelle Lorraine Williams is an artist whose life's work exemplifies her continued interest in engaging individuals in conversations about community and spirituality using art, history and contemporary culture.


She was born in Jersey City in 1975 and moved to 16th Avenue and 21st street on the borderline between Newark/Irvington in 1987.  She lives, works and studies in Newark currently.


Over the past thirty years, Noelle Lorraine Williams life’s work as a volunteer, organizer and artist has been culturally empowering individuals as a vehicle to empower communities.  

Serving as a student committee worker and volunteer 


In high school, she co-founded with her teacher one of Massachusetts first Gay Straight Alliances (GSA) called BRIDGE to bring LGBT, and straight students together to fight and elevate awareness about homophobia in the school and community.  In college, she worked on the New School Mobilization and E.N.D. (Education Not Domination) to address homophobia, unfair labor practices with contracted security guards and professors of color.  After college, she served as the chair of the Audre Lorde Project’s (Brooklyn, NY) Working Group on Women’s Organizing and led the group as a  program chair of New York City’s first 

LBTQ Women of Color organizing conference Arms Akimbo.


In Newark, she served several years as a volunteer and committee chair for Newark Gay Pride including organizing programming, outreach and volunteer coordination. She co-curated the first Newark LGBT and straight exhibition in 2006 at the Liberation in Truth Gallery (Newark LGBTQ Center) entitled To (Not) Be Seen as well as other exhibitions around gender, sexuality, and race.


Her work has been highlighted in New York City Gay Pride Guide as a “Young Activists to Watch Out For,” Go NYC magazines “100 Women We Love” and also served briefly as the first national student organizer of GSA’s for GLSEN’s headquarters in NYC.


Her work as a visual artist has been mentioned and critiqued in the New York Times, Art News, and other publications.  She has exhibited in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Louisiana. She is a recognized artist and was accepted in the Aljira Emerge program, received two best in show awards, profiled in The StarLedger as a part of their profile on “The Newark School” and invited to speak at Jersey City Museum, Newark Museum, AIR Gallery and Rutgers University amongst other places.  She currently continues to make art, teach and write about history, African American women’s lives and liberated communities in the United States.


Her website is 

Photo Credit: Image by Colleen Gutwein O'Neal 

From the Newark Arts Photo Documentary Project