In 2013, a group of ethnically-diverse alumni from Northern Virginia Community College's theater certificate program, joined together with the goal to produce a play for International Commedia dell'Arte Day, and to create spaces for marginalized artists, while reaching underserved audiences in both Washington, D.C. and Virginia.
Then in 2015, a group of Two-Spirit Artist organized an open community forum, urging the DC theatre community to stop erasing Indigenous artists, traditions, and histories; and to uplift the Two-Spirit and Transgender Indigenous communities resisting in Washington, D.C. From that forum, Two-Spirit-focus was given to the theatre troupe to celebrate their Ancestors, and themselves, working with Indigenous youth and elders to create new plays, that would tell the narratives of diasporic Indigenous people. The collective produced many artist revues, workshops, an arts festival, and several short plays, plays for young audiences, and adult audience plays. The group took speakers to various universities, benefits, and special events.
In 2017, another Two-Spirit centered group, formed as a way to create physical spaces and mobilize resources for Two-Spirit and QueerTrans Black Indigenous People of Color. Members from both groups organized togethere in order to form tighter community bonds, and in 2018, they merged to become Nelwat Ishkamewe, a Two-Spirit Family of artists, healers, farmers, educators, and advocates; and is doing the work of both organizations: creating art and safe spaces for Two-Spirit Nation.
On December 12, 2019, a collective member, community member, sister, daughter, and friend, lost her life. Her name was Angel Rose. Her passing impacted everyone in the collective communally and independently. Since then, we have gone by the name Angel Rose Artist Collective. Our work is in honor of Angel Rose, our Ancestor.