Photo of Rasheena Fountain

Rasheena Fountain

Rasheena Fountain’s work is multidimensional. She grew up playing southern gospel and blues on lead guitar in church. You can catch her spitting a verse on an experimental beat she has produced and performed under her hip hop alias. You might find her riffing over a slow Mississippi delta blues bassline. For two decades, she has sought to transcend colonial boundaries through a turntable and a mixer as a DJ, with drum and bass, UK grime and 2-step, hip hop, dancehall, and house music as her transports. As a PhD student, she focuses on blues music, mood, and logic as a way to reorient notions of environmental imagination and advocacy. Through that work, she hopes to connect with her ancestral ways of knowing, to help welcome communities traditionally left out of mainstream environmental advocacy, and to fight myths about Black people and the environment.

Fountain has centered creativity in her decades-long work in environmental advocacy and social justice. Her artist interviews, creative nonfiction, poetry, and essays have been published in ZORA, HuffPost, swamp pink, You Are Here: The Journal of Creative Geography, Black Embodiments Studio Journal, Mountaineers Magazine, and more. She is  a former Walker Communications Editorial fellow with the National Audubon (2017). Fountain received a 2021 Honorable Mention from the Trillium Arts “Miss Sarah” Fellowship for Black Women Writers and was a top five finalist for the Solstice Magazine 2022 Stephen Dunn Poetry Prize for her poem “Not an ‘other’ climate poem.” She has partnered with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) to highlight Black environmental stories through interviews and writing and performing eco-poetry. Through a partnership with NRDC and #Ham4progress, Fountain’s poem “Hope isn’t a vacant lot” was performed by Hamilton cast member Lencia Kebede in a visual production and distributed on Hamilton and  #Ham4progress social media accounts. She wrote and performed her poem, “A Mother’s Justice” celebrating Hazel M. Johnson, the Mother of Environmental Justice, for NRDC’s National Poetry Month celebration in 2022. Fountain has taught nature writing workshops at the Henry Art Gallery and TreeSong Nature Awareness Retreat Center. She co-produced a poetic mixtape to Henry Art Gallery for their publication series on artistic responses to the Packaged Black art exhibit (2022). She was awarded a Barclay Simpson Scholars in Public fellowship through the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington for her digital storytelling series Sustaining For Us (2023). Her first book Starfish Blues: A Memoir will be released in Spring 2024 with Chin Music Press.

Fountain earned a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a MA.Ed. in Urban Environmental Education from Antioch University Seattle in partnership with IslandWood. Fountain has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Washington Seattle, where she is currently a Ph.D. student in English literature and culture.

Photo by Amy L. Piñon

Artist Support Program 2024: Dropped Down Blues, a speculative blues poetry audio-visual project and companion album