Alayna N. Pernell is a visual artist, writer, and educator from Heflin, Alabama. In her work, she examines the harsh realities and complexities experienced by Black American women and simultaneously creates space for productive dialogue by enacting an ethic of care, respect, and grace. As MARN’s Program Manager, she is committed to building upon the strengths of MARN’s programming and expanding them. Utilizing her knowledge as an artist and fellow human being, she seeks to foster an ever-evolving environment of creativity, community building, and shared learning for artists from all walks of life and disciplines.

In May 2019, she graduated from The University of Alabama where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography and a minor in African American Studies. She received her MFA in Photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2021. Her work has been exhibited in various cities across the United States, including FLXST Contemporary (Chicago, IL), Refraction Gallery (Milwaukee, WI), JKC Gallery (Trenton, NJ), RUSCHWOMAN Gallery (Chicago, IL), Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Denver, CO), Griffin Museum of Photography (Winchester, MA), The Sheldon (St. Louis, MO) and more.

Pernell was named the 2020-2021 recipient of the James Weinstein Memorial Award by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Department of Photography, the 2021 Snider Prize recipient by the Museum of Contemporary Photography, and a 2023 Mary L. Nohl Fellowship recipient. She was recognized on the Silver Eye Center of Photography 2022 Silver List, Photolucida’s 2021 Critical Mass Top 50, 2021 Lenscratch Student Prize Honorable Mention, and more. She also serves as the Associate Lecture of Photography and Imaging at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.