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Chinyere Oteh
Founder at The Cowry Collective

Chinyere E. Oteh is a St. Louis native who has also lived and worked in Detroit and Washington D.C. After graduating with honors with a B.A. in American Culture Studies from Washington University in 2002 she began a career in youth development and teaching, first serving with AmeriCorps St. Louis in the St. Louis Public Schools, and later as program director for several youth programs including America SCORES St. Louis.

Chinyere is a 2007 Fellow of RAC’s Community Arts Training Institute where she first began pairing community photography instruction with creative writing, modeled after Wendy Ewald. Chinyere has examined mixed-race identity through autobiographical writing and photographic self-portraiture and has taught photography for The Photography Project, Springboard and North Saint Louis Arts Council. She was a founding collective member of Yeyo Arts in 2010, attended Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute in New Orleans in 2011, and currently works at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Committed to creative community building, in 2009, she founded a local time bank called The Cowry Collective, a network geared toward forging economic equity and bridging racial divides. Chinyere is committed to improving the quality of life for people across the globe through timebanking and continually strives to balance the demands and joys of motherhood, career and self-care.