Crystal C. Mercer
Leo Rising

 Ledger Bentonville
“The Mercer”
Meeting Room 271


Black, Queer, Create(her), businesswoman and conduit for culture and community, Crystal C. Mercer is a celebrated fiber artist, activist, published author, playwright and poet. She utilizes her craft to communicate ancestral messages and tell social justice narratives with an emphasis of uplifting voices of color and making marginalized populations visible. She holds a BA in Theatre Arts and Dance from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Master’s Degree from the Clinton School of Public Service. Her last name “Mercer,” means “a merchant in textiles.”

In every thread of her being she is weaving a tapestry of her ancestors, draped in Afro-futurism.


LEO RISING is about a fearless star-child making their way to the fertile ground of Arkansas by way of her earthly mother after many failed attempts to carry a baby to term. Having suffered through 6 agonizing miscarriages, LEO RISING, is a clarion call to send for the child I wish to have and highlight the need for concentrated care with maternal health. Parallel with my Zodiac Sign, Leo, and my beloved late grandmother, Leola Strong Brown, affectionately known as “Memaw,” by stitching this longing into the cloth, I hope to mend those broken places into my flesh by producing a child and having this piece to live as their introduction to their rich heritage in The Natural State, by way of The Middle Passage, and their legacy… a reminder that a love for them so deeply existed that they could come to be.


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