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Ryan Pearson

Aleesa Searcy

Administrative Manager

Executive Artistic Director

Aleesa brings with her over 10 years experience in the non-profit arts administration and youth development fields. She's excited to make this career transition into the film space and looks forward to supporting DNA and participants in creating art!

She spends her spare time reading, weight lifting, taking long walks, spending time with family, and volunteering with her sorority. She is a freelance graphic designer who has worked on several social media campaigns for local and national organizations She is also a certified yoga instructor and has a passion for fat acceptance, joyful movement, fashion and art.

Ryan Pearson, a native Detroiter and acclaimed Executive Artistic Director of Detroit Narrative Agency (DNA), brings a wealth of creative expertise and leadership to her role. With a B.A. in Theatre Arts from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and an M.A. in Theatre Arts Administration from the University of California-Santa Cruz, Ryan has honed her skills in the arts industry. As a fervent advocate for body liberation and fat acceptance, she dedicates her efforts to dismantling ingrained body image issues among Black women, girls, and femmes, addressing their roots in white supremacy and patriarchy. Through her powerful work, Ryan also redefines societal norms by creating content that celebrates plus-size Black feminine bodies as sensual, erotic, and desirable.


In her current role as Executive Artistic Director at Detroit Narrative Agency, Ryan demonstrates her prowess in program development and community engagement. Her leadership has shaped DNA into a hub for showcasing the rich artistic tapestry of BIPOC Detroit artists and culture. Beyond her organizational duties, she actively participates in conferences, film festivals, and public engagements, solidifying her presence as a respected figure in the national arts landscape. This accomplished professional seamlessly blends her commitment to advocacy with a love for artistic expression, embodying a unique blend of expertise and warmth.


Off duty, Ryan's passion for holistic healing practices, diverse art forms, and community involvement reflects her well-rounded character. A dedicated mother to her young son, Ryan balances her career with a nurturing family life. Her journey as a Program Manager at Performing Arts Workshop in San Francisco, coupled with extensive freelance experience in Film and TV production, showcases her versatility and adaptability. As a Co-Artistic Director at UCSC’s Barnstorm Theater, she not only directed impactful productions but also supervised the theater's operations, emphasizing her multifaceted leadership skills. Ryan Pearson stands as a beacon in the arts community, embodying expertise, empathy, and a commitment to fostering radical change.


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