Arleta M. Little joined the Loft Literary Center as executive director in late 2021. Prior, Arleta spent eight years directing the McKnight Artist Fellowships, a nearly $3M program providing unrestricted support for artists and culture bearers across 15 creative disciplines in Minnesota; before that, she served as the executive director of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, and she worked for more than 15 years as an organizational development consultant providing strategic planning, program evaluation, and grant writing services to Minnesota organizations. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English and psychology from Penn State University, a Master of Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/University of St. Catherine, and a Master of Public Affairs in public and nonprofit leadership and management from the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. She serves as a board member for Headwaters Foundation for Justice, TruArtSpeaks, and Common Ground Meditation Center.
Along with her professional titles, Arleta is a poet and writer. Her essay “Life and Death in the North Star State,” published in Water-Stone Review Vol. 24, was nominated for a 2022 Pushcart Prize. Her work is included in We Are Meant to Rise: Voices for Justice from Minneapolis to the World; This Was 2020: Minnesotans Write About Pandemics and Social Justice in a Historic Year; and Blues Vision: African American Writing From Minnesota. She also collaborated on writing and publishing Josie R. Johnson’s memoir, Hope in the Struggle.