Ariel Luckey is a nationally acclaimed interdisciplinary artist who blurs the lines between performance, ritual and political action. Born and raised in Oakland, California, and mentored by June Jordan at Poetry for the People, Wavy Gravy at Camp Winnarainbow and Corey Fischer of A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Ariel has dedicated his life to an artistic practice rooted in community-based storytelling, hip hop aesthetics, Jewish mysticism and street theater.
As a poet, public speaker, scholar and actor, he has performed and presented at hundreds of theaters, universities, conferences and community centers across the country. Commissioned by the National Performance Network, La Peña Cultural Center, the White Privilege Conference and the Hewlett and Gerbode Foundation’s Playwright Commissioning Award, Ariel plays Free Land and Amnesia embody his interdisciplinary methodology of sourcing family history to investigate social justice themes and catalyze the staging of personal and ancestral narratives as a public platform for dialogue and civic engagement.
Ariel has worked as an educator and teaching artist in public and private schools, juvenile halls and retreat centers, and with a wide range of exemplary arts organizations including Destiny Arts Center, the East Bay Institute for Urban Arts and Youth Speaks. He has been an Artist-in-Residence at June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at U.C. Berkeley and was named a “Visionary” by the Utne Reader.
Ariel is the producer and co-host of Thangs Taken: rethinking thanksgiving, an annual cultural arts event that brings Native American and non-Native artists, activists and communities together to celebrate Indigenous resilience, now in its 10th year. He is also an Advisor of the Sogorea Té Land Trust, the first Indigenous-women led urban land trust in the country, working to reclaim traditional Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone land in the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 2009, Ariel published a book of poetry and lyrics, Searching for White Folk Soul, and in 2010 a DVD of his play Free Land and the accompanying Free Land Curriculum Guide, an interactive art-based curriculum for developing racial justice literacy. In 2014, he earned an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and was the 2016 Butler Koshland Arts and Civic Engagement Fellow. He is currently the Director of Operations at Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Walnut Creek. Ariel’s new hip hop klezmer band Waystation released its debut album rememory at the end of 2017.