Rachel O'Rourke is an artist, social activist and an art therapist who has been practicing arts based restorative justice with youth for 15 years. Rachel's parents, her two most important life mentors, met while working on the War on Poverty Program launched by Lyndon Baines Johnson in the 1960s. Rachel's mother went on to become Mayor of her hometown and her father worked as a public health doctor with migrant farm workers in California.
After graduating from Humboldt State University with a specialty in photography and installation, Rachel went on to collaborate to create photo action projects with youth while living in Morocco and Israel.
After receiving her Master's Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rachel continued her photo action practice with refugee and immigrant war survivors and gang involved youth in Chicago, Illinois. In response to the rise in gun violence, Rachel launched her first social practice project inviting thousands of people worldwide to make art in response to gun violence in 1999.
Rachel moved West to Oregon in 2001. She has taught courses at Portland State University, Marylhurst University and the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Rachel has also collaborated as a social practice artist with youth and adults in East Multnomah County. Rachel has co-created social practice projects addressing issues including gender, racism, poverty, community violence, legal status and forced migration.
Rachel's children Eli and Twyla are also art social activists and collaborated with her in the Summer of 2017 on Migration Patterns: Mapping Our Journey.