Meet Elaine Kessler

My mother comes from the Udon Thani province of the Isan region of Thailand. My father was raised in the Spring Grove Borough of York County, Pennsylvania. I reside on the historical land of the O’odham, Akimel O’odham (Upper Pima), and Hohokam people. (Currently known as Gilbert, AZ.)

My parents met during the war in Southeast Asia, known to Americans as the Vietnam War. My parents, differing in language, culture, religion, and race, created me. I see myself as a product of juxtaposition, intersection, and dissonance.

I am a woman with a foot in both worlds; and I refuse the split. I feel the necessity for dialogue. Sometimes I feel it urgently.
– Cherríe L. Moraga

Navigating Mixed-ness

Ask any mixed-race individual, and they will likely tell the story of what it is to be a pioneer: the negotiating, the navigating, and the enduring of people’s questions, judgments, and presumptions. The encounters with profound loneliness, misunderstanding, and aggression. The promise of new, but perhaps convoluted, landscapes filled with marvels springing from identity, passion, hope, and history.

I have found inspiration in the stories of mixed-race and mixed-heritage artists, and, like them, I have learned to navigate my mixed-ness in a world often hostile to the ambiguous.

A purveyor of perspective, I seek to learn, grow, share, and ultimately lift up that which has been glossed over, dismissed, or diminished. As an artist, educator, writer, parent, partner, and peer, it is both my duty and my privilege to do so.


Awards + Accolades

  • ASU Alexander Astin Spirituality Award for Creative and Insightful Thinking in Higher Education
  • Gilbert Chamber of Commerce 2019 Businesswoman of the Year
  • Arizona Center for Civic Leadership 2019 Flinn-Brown Fellow

Work with Elaine Kessler

Professional Photographer, Keynote Speaker, Arts Event Producer



Creative photography that compels people to connect with you and your business.

Elaine Kessler keynote speaker


When you are unlike the people who made you, you learn to lead and you learn to negotiate.


Pop Up Exhibits

Our pop up exhibits generate many thought-provoking discussions and unique outcomes.



3651 E Baseline Rd
Suite e223
Gilbert, AZ 85234
Map + Directions

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