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niki lopez

Niki Lopez: Founder of What’s Your Elephant®



The Westside Gazette – Niki Lopez challenges social injustice with new workshop: https://thewestsidegazette.com/niki-lopez-challenges-social-injustice-with-new-workshop

OutClique Magazine: What Makes Us Clique: Niki Lopez (June) – outclique.com/what-makes-us-clique-niki-lopez-june

Artscalendar.com: “What’s Your Elephant?” Workshop – with Niki Lopez – artscalendar.com/event/whats-elephant-workshop-niki-lopez

Voyage MIA Magazine: Art & Life with Niki Lopez – voyagemia.com/interview/art-life-niki-lopez

Observer Newspaper Online: Warrior Woman: Niki Lopez speaks her truth through art – observernewspaperonline.com/2019/07/03/warrior-woman-niki-lopez-speaks-her-truth-through-art

Miami NewTimes: Artist and Activist Niki Lopez Helps Trauma Survivors Through Art – miaminewtimes.com/arts/these-eyes-a-retrospect-exhibition-by-niki-lopez-at-ali-cultural-arts-10235157

Niki Lopez

About the founder:

Niki Lopez is an Afro-Latina, Queer – interdisciplinary Visual Artist, Activist, Social Practitioner and Cultural Programmer who’s best known for her vibrant color palette, masks and a collection of works dealing with some of her trauma and healing through the arts.  

Lopez is also an award-winning, independent graphic designer whose work has traveled to places such as New York, California and New Orleans; and who has worked with such luminaries as actor & philanthropist CCH Pounder.

Lopez’s signature curation is an avant-garde annual exhibition that combines art, performances and community outreach at the 1310 Gallery – Sailboat Bend Artist Lofts since 2008.  These exhibitions have been backed in part by grants from the Broward Cultural Division, Community Foundations of Broward and sponsorship from AHF- AIDS Healthcare Foundation.

Known for her community spirit and advocacy, Niki has donated artwork for fundraising initiatives to support various causes such HRC- Human Rights Campaign and Equality Florida. As well as using her skills for various private group exhibits within South Florida, including working with cultural groups, grassroots initiatives and nonprofits such as African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, Arts United, GLBX, Gay & Lesbian Business Exchange, HACFL – Fort Lauderdale Housing Authority, Drag It Out, LadyFest Miami, Spoken Soul Festival, LA Lee YMCA, and the World AIDS MUSEUM and Educational Center.

Her creative activism includes being a co-founder for Artists for Black Lives Matter, as well 1310 Bandits, a nationally recognized award-winning, a visionary team of female-led, predominantly LGBTQ  filmmakers.

Lopez was featured on the series People Magazine Investigates: Cults on the Investigation Discovery channel. Where she shares some of her story of having been raised in an abusive cult that thrived on secrecy until she and other survivors broke their silence, ultimately bringing down the cult and its leader. This experience inspired her to create a space in her art to share her “elephant” (an obvious truth that is ignored or otherwise unaddressed) and to passionately provide opportunities for others to do the same.

This sparked “What’s Your Elephant®,” a movement that creates a safe space for people to use expressive arts to address various unspoken topics. It includes visual and performing arts, creative community building, hands-on projects, workshops and talks.

Lopez is the 2004 recipient of the Louis E. Peters Memorial Service Award. (Highest civilian humanitarian award), 2020/2021 nominee for the Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow Recognition and a 2020 recipient of Broward County’s Arts & Culture Visionaries Award by ArtServe.

Niki Lopez produces and hosts “The Circle” a weekly Facebook live-video podcast sharing stories of our creative community, activists & social entrepreneurs since January 2018.  Tuesday 8:30-9 PM EST on: http://facebook.com/nikilopezcreative or Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/c/Nikilopez19. 

If you would like to check out some of the past episodes of The Circle, click YOUTUBE.

Lopez is also a teaching artist doing private contracts such as teaching arts to the City of Lauderdale Lakes seniors and for the past 8 + years with ongoing teaching artists residency with Arts 4 All Florida formally VSA Florida and goes into public schools for short teaching art residencies teaching children with disabilities and children within the DJJ – Juvenile Detentions Centers.  

In 2019, Arts 4 All Florida partnered with The Frank art gallery for a special teaching arts residency program that culminated into a student showcase.  


Connect with her online:

nikiartstudio.com | nikilopez.com


@nikilopez19 @whatsyourlelephant @nikilopezcreative_


@nikilopezart | @whatsyourlelephant | @nikilopezcreative


@nikiartstudio | @nikilopezWYE


Board Membership:

Executive Board Member – Island City Stage 

Creating quality professional theatrical experiences focused on the LGBT+ community for a universal audience.

Board Member: Diversity In Aquatics Masters Swimming & Triathlon Club

Adult Learn to Swim / Water as Wellness & Multi-sport-Aquatic Fitness Campaign, powered by the SWIMS Foundation    To promote “Diversity in Aquatics” and help to eliminate the swimming ability and aquatic sport participation disparity. To help achieve equity in swimming skills and aquatic activities participation for the underserved and underrepresented.

Board Member: Center for Sustainable Healthy Equitable Communities aka The SHE Lens

The SHE Lens is both a common community language and a process we use to help marginalized communities attain greater situational awareness.  SHE Lens as a platform for meaningful, durable, place-based change.  The mission: Sustainable, Healthy, Equitable future for all mankind. Our focus is on matters of place and the public realm.

Advisory Council – Women in Network (WIN)

Social and professional networking organization by, for and about lesbians in South Florida and their friends and supporters. Women in Network was launched in 1987 and is one of the oldest Lesbian organizations in Florida.