July 31, 2021
by: Tiara Hughes, NOMA

NOMA National is excited to celebrate one of our very own – Wisco NOMA! As one of our newest chapters, Wisco NOMA was established in the Fall of 2019 in order to foster communication and fellowship among minority architects through educational, social, and charitable programs and projects across the State of Wisconsin. They are furthering NOMA’s Mission as they fight discrimination and other selection policies being used by public and private sector clients to unfairly restrict minority architects’ participation in design and construction, build meaningful connections among professionals, serve as mentors to collegiate students pursuing design, and provide design experience and exposure to K-12 youth. A few of our Wisco NOMA chapter projects, program events and collaborations include:

  • UW-Milwaukee NOMAS Mixer Event
  • Women in Design Panel – Built Exclusion: The Effect of Systemic Racial Practices on Architecture
  • Stuart Elementary School Day in the Life of an Architect Presentation Series
  • Pan African Museum Exhibition at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies – University of Addis Ababa
  • UW-Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning (SARUP) – Speed Mentoring
  • NOMAS / SARUP Portfolio Workshop
  • NOMAS Her Story Panel Discussion
  • Design services to support victims of police brutality
  • Women in Design Presentation – Making My Mark
  • Student Scholarship Development
  • EABIC Women Freedom Liberation League – Empress Office & Tabernacle – Jamaica, West Indies
  • DEI Challenge in collaboration with AIA Wisconsin

Tiara Hughes: Can you reflect of the past few years as a new chapter and tell us about your experience?

Wisco NOMA: Establishing Wisco NOMA in 2019 was a feat in and of itself as it took 10 years to obtain the necessary numbers to form our chapter. We kept pushing because we understood the importance for us to create a safe space where open communication and fellowship among minority architects in Wisconsin could be fostered. Wisco NOMA strives to lift up minority voices, talents, and achievements in the building design and construction industry. Our chapter has had a busy two years focused on implementing initiatives that provide a solid foundation on which our members are empowered to promote justice and equity in communities of color through outreach, professional development, design excellence and community advocacy.

TH: How does it feel to be selected as a featured NOMA Spotlight?

WN: As a young and growing chapter, we are honored to be spotlighted for the work that Wisco NOMA is doing. To paraphrase one of our members, “Sometimes it feels like we’re flying and building the plane at the same time.” The work is rewarding as it is inspiring to collaborate with our members who are using their voices, skill sets and vision to shape the changes we want to see in our communities and profession.

Marion Clendenen-Acosta, Wisco NOMA President
Wekeana Lassiter, Wisco NOMA Vice President