Kleaver Cruz

Artist in Residence – Winter 2024

Pronouns: they/them

Photograph by Tara Geyer, Courtesy of ALMA | LEWIS 


A lover of words and their meanings across languages, Kleaver Cruz (they/them) was born and raised between The Bronx and Washington Heights in Uptown, NYC with their twin brother and close knit Dominican family. Kleaver is a Black queer creative, writer and educator who has presented and conducted work across the African Diaspora and continent in places like Brazil, South Africa and The Netherlands, among other countries. 

Kleaver is the creator of The Black Joy Project, a digital and real-world affirmation that Black joy is resistance. Kleaver is also a member of We Are All Dominican–A U.S.-based grassroots collective that works in solidarity with movements led by Dominicans of Haitian descent fighting for inclusion and citizenship rights in the Dominican Republic.  Kleaver believes in the power of words to write the stories that did not exist when they needed them the most. 

They are the author of The Black Joy Project (Mariner Books/Harper Collins), which was published in December 2023. 

Kleaver Cruz has been nominated for the 55th NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Debut Author in the literature category for “The Black Joy Project.”

Words of Wisdom

“Continue to pursue what calls your spirit and do so with dedication because you never know when the opportunity will come to share what you’ve found with the world to push that calling further.”

Find The Black Joy Project on Instagram: @theblackjoyproject

Find Kleaver on Instagram: @mypensouls

Learn more about Kleaver Cruz