Joy Mboya

Joy Mboya

  • Executive director, GoDown Arts Centre


For her fellowship, Joy will explore new ways to strengthen connections between artists and build artistic capacity, and to fortify policies affecting Kenya’s creative sector.

Joy Mboya is a performer and cultural activist who currently directs the GoDown Arts Centre, the leading nonprofit multidisciplinary arts facility in Nairobi, Kenya. Educated as an architect, Joy has led the center’s development as a site for artistic experimentation, cross-sector partnerships, and creative collaboration—locally, within the region, and internationally. An outspoken advocate for artists, she has spearheaded a variety of ambitious projects, including the visual narrative Kenya Burning (2008) and the Nairobi-wide festival Nai Ni Who (2013), and developed programs showcasing artists’ work within the center’s facility as well as at other spaces in the city.

Widely recognized for both her programming vision and her managerial skills, Joy was appointed to serve on the Governing Council of the Kenya Cultural Centre, which oversees the Kenya National Theatre, and was also elected to serve on the continental steering committee for the Arterial Network, a pan-African consortium of individuals and organizations in craft, dance, film, literature, visual arts, and new media that supports the work of Africa’s cultural sector. Joy has received numerous awards recognizing her work. The Head of State Commendation Medal in 2009, for instance, marked her contributions to the development of Kenya’s creative economy, and the Order of the Golden Warrior State Commendation in 2013 celebrated her outstanding leadership in the field.