karenne wood

Karenne Wood Residency

In November of 2021, The Humanities Research Center launched the Karenne Wood Native Writer/Artist Residency program, providing an opportunity for Indigenous writers and artists to spend time at VCU, connect with local tribes, give public talks and readings, and enrich VCU students’ learning experience.

The program honors the legacy of Karenne Wood, Ph.D., who was a member of the Monacan Indian tribe and a poet, activist, tribal historian and educator who lectured at VCU on many occasions. Wood, who died in 2019, was director of the Virginia Indian Heritage Program at Virginia Humanities, led a tribal history project for the Monacan Nation, conducted research at the National Museum of the American Indian, and served on the National Congress of American Indians’ Repatriation Commission. Her two books of poetry, “Markings on Earth” (2001) and “Weaving the Boundary” (2016) are taught widely throughout North America. In 2015, she was named one of the Library of Virginia’s Virginia Women in History.

This residency is made possible in part thanks to Virginia Humanities and VCU Foundation. We'd also like to thank the School of the Arts for providing studio space for our Karenne Wood Native Artists-in-Residence.

Alicia Aldaz

Current Artist: Alicia Aldaz

Alicia Aldaz is a textiles and beadwork artist and designer from the Monacan Indian Nation of Virginia. Growing up in Amherst County Virginia, she traveled with her family and tribe dancing and singing at powwows and native performances all over the east coast.  At the age of 15, she started exploring her passion in art, and her drive to design, and create dance regalia for herself and her family for powwows.  She became eager and enthralled in learning every type of traditional native sewing, beading, and textile techniques she could get her hands on, and never stopped. She has spent decades traveling all over North America learning and researching many different native artists’ divergent forms of craftsmanship and techniques, adapting them into her own contemporary design ideas.  While continuously creating and designing dance regalia for her family and her tribe, Alicia’s creative passion has shifted into creating unique native-inspired contemporary wearable art for daily life to allow cultural connectiveness and representation to empower her clients.  She debuted her line of Native inspired punk/street wear collection in the 2022 Virginia Tech Indigenous Community Center Fashion Show.  She has been asked to return for the 2023 Opening of the Virginia Tech’s fall Community Cultural Centers’ Welcome Back Fashion Event.

Alicia has made it her own personal mission to give back the knowledge she has acquired, and she travels the country teaching classes on beadwork and sewing techniques she has learned to encourage the next generations of artists to carry on.  Alicia’s sewing and beading specialties include, but are not limited to: two needle applique, one needle applique, lazy stitch, peyote stitch, bead wrapping, loom beading, rosette work, various edging/finishing techniques, quillwork, parfleche work, machine applique, southern style patchwork, and ribbon work.  Alicia’s work can be found at powwows all over the country.  She has shown her contemporary designs in multiple fashion shows, craft shows, and design classes.

Previous Artists