About Kesa

kesaKesa Kivel is a Los Angeles-based educator, artist and activist engaged in social justice issues. From 2003 to 2014 she volunteered to teach feminist and racial justice issues to middle and high school girls at the YWCA in Santa Monica, California, offering a broad-based curriculum in an interactive format.
Overview of Kesa’s feminist curricula.

2015 “Road to Racial Justice” Board Game Launched!
2012-2014 “Road to Racial Justice” Board Game
(developed game, facilitated focus group, created curriculum)

2012 YWCA “Stand Against Racism” Rally (co-organized)

2012 “Never Give Up! Ama’s Journey to Freedom on the Underground Railroad” Film (directed and produced) “Never Give Up!” website

2010 Underground Railroad Interactive Project (co-organized)

2008 Moon Magic Workshop on Puberty
(facilitated workshops and created curriculum)

Moon Magic Workshop on Puberty Facilitator’s Guide

2007 Taking Our Place in the Art World (created curriculum)
The curriculum was developed in conjunction with the exhibition “Multiple Vantage Points: Southern California Women Artists, 1980-2006,” which was on view at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery in Barnsdall Park from February 25 through April 15, 2007. The curriculum was created to help students explore gender stereotypes and gender discrimination in their own lives and in the lives of others, especially women artists from the Middle Ages to the present.
Taking Our Place in the Art World curriculum

2006 Girl House Art Project (facilitated workshops, created curriculum)
The Girl House Art Project was inspired by Judy Chicago and Miriam Schapiro’s 1972 “Womanhouse” art installation. The purpose of Kesa Kivel’s Girl House and Beyond curriculum is to create a safe environment in which students can explore the topic of sexual harassment through ten engaging activities, many of which include artwork. The intention is for students who have been sexually harassed to begin the healing process, and for all students to learn some critical thinking skills and gain an understanding of the social/cultural factors that affect girls’ and women’s lives.
Girl House Project curriculum

Prior to teaching a feminist arts curriculum, Kesa taught poetry to foster teens in a residential facility, as well as to youth incarcerated in juvenile halls and at a probation camp. For over a decade Kesa worked with Families to Amend California Three Strikes (FACTS), a non-profit prison reform organization that helped change the unjust Three Strikes law. She also worked as a social worker in London, England.


2011 “YWCA Focus Award” honoring exceptional women who inspire and empower women. Videos of Kesa at Focus Awards Gala

2002 “Friends of FACTS Award” for activism with Families to Amend the Three Strikes law.

2000 “Operation Read Award” in recognition of outstanding service in support of education and literacy for probation youth.