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Arts Impact Ohio 2018  
December 5 - 6, Columbus

Featured Speakers

 

Tom Bishop
Tom Bishop

Tom Bishop

Tom Bishop is a partner at CauseImpact LLC, a social enterprise consultancy that works with nonprofit organizations on innovation, strategy, and social enterprise. Previously, he spent more than 30 years in media and media arts-based nonprofits – the last 20 of that as chief executive – and he created multiple social enterprises to support and amplify the mission of his organizations. Along with his work in social innovation, Tom works with nonprofits on strategic direction, governance, organizational development, and executive coaching.

 

Kofi R. Boakye
Kofi R. Boakye

Kofi R. Boakye

Kofi R. Boakye is a 19-year-old award-winning pianist born in Akron, Ohio. Kofi has gathered musical experience from myriad venues across the United States. Kofi has been interviewed by eight-time Emmy award winner Romona Robinson of CBS WOIO News, as well as appeared in multiple magazines, newspapers and broadcasts across Ohio. Though many of his experiences stem from within the U.S., Kofi has had the opportunity to refine his talents on the world stage, touring Germany and Prague with the Miller South Show Choir. At the age of 15, Kofi was accepted into the University of Akron School of Musicʼs Jazz Program, making him the youngest African-American pianist to ever be accepted into a collegiate-level jazz program at the UA. Kofi continued his upward path of music production and songwriting when musically producing the Emmy-nominated short-film Why Not Akron? While music remains at the core, Kofiʼs accolade extends beyond the big stage. In 2014, President Barack Obama and the White House awarded Kofi with the Presidentʼs Education Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence. In 2018, Kofi won the silver medal in the NAACP ACT-SO National Competition; making him the first person from Akron to ever win. Currently, Kofi is a newly minted high-school graduate and attends the University of Akron, studying integrated marketing communications. He will attend Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., in the fall of 2019.

 

Richard Duarte Brown
Richard Duarte Brown

Richard Duarte Brown

Richard Duarte Brown, known as Duarte, is a master artist with the TRANSIT ARTS Youth Arts Program and the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education's Art in the House Program. For more than 30 years, Duarte has dedicated his talents to helping young people in Columbus through countless programs including CAPACITY (CAPA's Youth Arts Program), the Short Stop Youth Center, the King Arts Complex, Ohio Alliance for Arts Education's (and formerly GCAC's) Artists-in-Schools program, GCAC's Children of the Future, Ebony Boys, Art Safe and VSA Ohio. Duarte has also worked as a high school art instructor at the Arts and College Preparatory Academy in Columbus. His murals can be seen throughout the city bringing comfort and inspiration to countless viewers. Many of his students have gone on to college and careers in the creative industries and many others have simply become important contributors to the well-being of our community by embracing their responsibilities as parents, audience members, arts consumers and more. Duarte has the special gift of engaging people from all backgrounds and bringing them together through his creative spirit.

 

Jennifer Coleman
Jennifer Coleman

Jennifer Coleman

Jennifer Coleman is the senior program officer of the arts at the George Gund Foundation in Cleveland, Ohio. She oversees the arts grantmaking of the Gund Foundation, which invests in primarily local arts-focused organizations that directly impact the City of Cleveland. Before joining the foundation, Jennifer followed her passion for the development of a more creative and vibrant Cleveland. She was president of her own architecture and design firm, Jennifer Coleman Creative, focusing on design and planning projects based in the city. She also founded CityProwl, a company that creates and distributes digital audio walking tours of downtown Cleveland and its neighborhoods www.cityprowl.com. Among her many civic endeavors, Coleman has served as chair of the Cleveland Landmarks Commission and the Downtown/Flats Design Review Committee. She also has been a member of the board of trustees of many organizations, including the Cleveland Arts Prize, the Cleveland International Film Festival, LAND studio, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance and the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Jennifer received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Cornell University. She was an American Marshall Memorial Fellow, voted as one of Cleveland Magazine’s Most Interesting People in 2013 and a speaker at TEDxCLE.

 

Alexandra Nicholis Coon
Alexandra Nicholis Coon

Alexandra Nicholis Coon

Alexandra Nicholis Coon is the executive director for the Massillon Museum and holds a BA in art history from Kent State University, an MA in art history through the joint program at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University, and a collections care certificate from the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies. She has been with the Massillon Museum since 2001 and served as its curator from 2003 to 2010. Alex is president of the Ohio Museums Association (2017-19); a trustee of the Cleveland Print Room and Massillon WestStark Chamber Foundation; secretary for the Stark County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (Visit Canton); and a member of the City of Massillon’s Community Improvement Corporation. Museum advocacy is near and dear to her heart. She has joined museum colleagues nationwide on Capitol Hill for six years now as part of the American Alliance of Museums Advocacy Day and communicates regularly with elected officials at the state and local levels. Her love of photography led her to curate Darkrooms in a Digital Age (2007) and Between Two Worlds: The Photography of Nell Dorr (2010) for the Massillon Museum, among numerous other exhibitions. In 2011, she was recognized with the YStark! “Twenty Under 40” award and was a 2012 inductee to the Canton YWCA Women’s Hall of Fame.

 

Omope Carter Daboiku
Omope Carter Daboiku

Omope Carter Daboiku

Omope Carter Daboiku hails from the small river town of Ironton, where Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia meet. She migrated to Cincinnati in 1972 and has lived in Dayton since 2012. A cultural geographer and award-winning teller of tales, Omope has been affiliated with the Ohio Arts Council since 1990 and with the Cincinnati Arts Association’s “Artists on Tour” program since its inception; she has performed for hundreds of libraries, museums, schools and cultural organizations across the U.S. and abroad. In 1993, she represented the United States at The Art of Survival conference (Nuremberg, Germany) addressing quilting as a cottage industry that women use to support families. In 2008, the U.S. State Department chose her for a 14-day, 7-city tour of Turkey, as part of the Adana Consulate’s English Proficiency Program. Her company, Homeside Cultural Programming, specializes in writing arts-based, multicultural academic curriculum. Omope’s writing has appeared in several volumes of the Southern Appalachian Writers Collective’s journal Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel; and in both the Frank X Walker and Nikki Giovanni editions of Shepherd University’s Anthology of Appalachian Writers, where her first published short-story, “The Power of Water Baptism,” was nominated for the prestigious small-press Pushcart Prize in 2014.Currently, Omope is a Core+ Steward for the Urban Appalachian Community Coalition and cast member of “Express Appalachia” – an UACC initiative on cultural identity, a volunteer for the National Park Service and poet Paul Laurence Dunbar’s historic home, vice-president of the Ohio Storytelling Network, and was community liaison for the Appalachian Studies Assn’s 2018 conference in Cincinnati.

 

Ceci Dadisman
Ceci Dadisman

Ceci Dadisman

Ceci Dadisman is a multi-faceted marketing professional with more than 10 years of experience successfully marketing the arts and nonprofits utilizing innovative and cutting-edge initiatives. Currently the digital marketing manager at FORM, she is nationally recognized as a leader in digital and social media marketing and specializes in the integration of digital marketing and technology into traditional marketing methods. Ceci has spoken at a variety of national conferences, including NTEN, National Arts Marketing Project, Arts Midwest, Opera America, and Chorus America. She has also presented at many other local and regional events. Ceci is passionate about empowering people through marketing and is a contributor to Arts Hacker where she regularly shares timely information and step-by-step tutorials. She also teaches the arts marketing course at West Virginia University’s College of Creative Arts. She is on the Arts Midwest Conference Professional Development Committee, the NTEN Conference Session Advisory Committee, is the Immediate Past President and Chapter Founder of Femfessionals West Palm Beach, the Immediate Past Chapter Leader and Chapter Founder of the West Palm Beach Chapter of Girl Develop It, the Immediate Past President of the South Florida Chapter of the American Marketing Association, and served for many years on the National Arts Marketing Project Advisory Committee and as the OPERA America Marketing Network Chair. She also serves on the West Virginia University College of Creative Arts Visiting Committee. Ceci was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Penn., and graduated from West Virginia University with a music degree in vocal performance. She currently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

 

Willis Bing Davis
Willis Bing Davis

Willis Bing Davis

Willis Bing Davis was born in Greer, South Carolina, but grew up in Dayton, Ohio, where he lives today. He attended DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana, and the Dayton Art Institute, and received his Master of Education degree in 1967 from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. His career as an educator includes: teaching in the Dayton Public School System; teaching at DePauw and Miami Universities; and 20 years at Central State University (CSU) in Wilberforce, Ohio. He served as an artist-in-residence for the School of Education at the University of Dayton, and visiting scholar at Wright State University. He is acting treasurer of National Conference of Artists (NCA). Mr. Davis’ record as an artist and a curator is equally illustrious, including exhibitions at Studio Museum of Harlem, American Craft Museum, Renwick Gallery, Maryland Institute College of Art, Savannah College of Art and Design, Anacostia Museum, National Museum of Art of Senegal West Africa, United States Embassy Accra, Ghana and Museum fur Angewandte Kunst (Museum of Applied Arts, Frankfurt, Germany. Mr. Davis’ 40 plus years of teaching art included elementary, high school, and universities. His creative and innovative approach to teaching, learning, and human development through the arts resulted in his receiving state, national and international acclaim, including Ohio Art Educator of the Year, Individual Artist of the Year, Ohio Designer Craftsman of the year, and the Ohio Governor’s Irma Lazarus Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009, the highest art award given in the state of Ohio.

 

Sogbety Diomande
Sogbety Diomande

Sogbety Diomande

Sogbety Diomande is a professional drummer and dancer and has been performing since he was a child. A native of the Ivory Coast in West Africa, Sogbety has been a member of Ballet National de Cote d’Ivoire, Kotchegna Dance Company, and has been featured with many troupes in NYC and around the U.S. These days, Sogbety spends most of his time performing solo and conducting workshops at schools, libraries, festivals, and community events all over Ohio and surrounding areas.

 

Knot Duo
Knot Duo

Knot Duo

Knot Duo is an atmospheric acoustic project formed by Mark Gonzalez and Chris Swanson – two multi-instrumentalists and singer songwriters from the band Knot Brothers. The Duo combines the best elements of jazz, rock, classical, and bluegrass. Having shared the stage for more than three years, Mark and Chris continue to write original music and stay active in a wide variety of projects while remaining close friends. Mark grew up in the California bay area and received a Master’s degree in music performance, focusing on classical guitar and composition from California State University Chico. There, he released two albums with his band Chingus and won local awards in the Chico News and Review for “best guitarist” in 2008. Mark moved to Columbus in 2010 and has been performing as a solo artist as well as with The Deeptones, Perennial Rye, The Resisters, and Jumbo Chimps. Chris has been performing in central Ohio for more than 20 years as a solo artist and with bands that include Cornbread and the Cookers, Lemuria, Alton & Friends, 710 Ashbury, and The Mighty Troubadours. He is a graduate of Capital University in music performance on both nylon and steel string guitars. He also is a highly regarded vocalist and his chops on the fiddle are sure to put a smile on every listener’s face.

 

Amanda Everitt
Amanda Everitt

Amanda Everitt

Amanda Everitt currently serves as executive director of Destination Downtown Lancaster. She previously served as campaign manager for The United Way of Fairfield County, serving more than 24 health and human service agencies before taking on a leadership role at The Fairfield Medical Center Foundation. Amanda was one of the founders of AHA! A Children's Museum, has served on the board of the Robert K. Fox Family Y, and currently serves on the boards of Lancaster Friends of the Parks, Lancaster Sherman Rotary, and Equality Ohio.

 

Barbara Fant
Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant has been writing and performing for 12 years. She has represented Columbus, Ohio, in nine National Poetry Slam competitions and placed 8th out of 96 poets in the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is featured in the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Columbus Makes Art Campaign and Columbus Alive named her in their 2017 People to Watch. She is a TEDx speaker, an author of three poetry collections, and has been commissioned by more than 10 organizations. She holds a BA in literature, a Masters in theology, and is currently pursuing her MFA in poetry. She works at The Columbus Foundation and teaches poetry at Transit Arts. Barbara believes in the transformative power of art and considers poetry her ministry.

 

David Griesmyer
David Griesmyer

David Griesmyer

David Griesmyer worked for 13 years gaining expertise in fabrication as a representative for a medical company making, repairing and fabricating surgical instruments—but his passion has always been the arts. He recently developed a unique welding sculpture technique that allows him to use a welding torch like a print brush, creating one-of-a-kind pieces in stainless steel. David also created The Ohio Art Corridor, a nonprofit dedicated to providing public art to small towns and communities throughout the southeast Ohio region.

 

Deborah Griffing
Deborah Griffing

Deborah Griffing

Deborah Griffing has two degrees from The Ohio State University: a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and Master of Fine Arts in painting. She has been a visiting lecturer at OSU in the Fine Arts Program and taught through the Ohio Arts Council as a resident artist in the Artist in Education program (AIE). Through this program, Deborah worked at Passion Works Studio in Athens, Ohio, where she made art dolls in collaboration with artists with disabilities. In 2005 Deborah joined Goodwill Columbus to develop an art studio for individuals with disabilities. The Goodwill Art Studio & Gallery is now a recognized arts program providing income and support for many artists with disabilities and other barriers. Deborah has shown her work in many galleries including The Dairy Barn Arts Center, the Vern Riffe Gallery, The Zanesville Museum of Art, and the Cultural Arts Center of Columbus. Deborah has won various awards for her work including the prestigious Ohio Arts Council Individual Fellowship in 2002 and 2013. She is published as a featured artist in the book, Cold Wax Medium, Rebecca Crowell and Jerry McLaughlin. Her work is included in the Permanent Collections of The Greater Columbus Convention Center. She has been a keynote speaker at: The Quilt Surface Design Symposium, 2016, The Columbus Cultural Arts Center, 2015, and The Ohio State University, Urban Arts Space, 2013. When not working with artists with disabilities at the Goodwill Art Studio & Gallery, she works in her studio at home.

 

Jessie Glover
Jessie Glover

Jessie Glover

Jessie Glover is a collaborative theatre artist, teacher, and advocate for the arts. She is the founder and lead facilitator for the Ohio Prison Arts Connection, a coalition that brings people and art together inside and outside of prisons. She teaches theatre and arts administration at Otterbein University and Ohio State University, and in collaboration with Healing Broken Circles she leads Theatre of Conviction, a company of men making theatre at Marion Correctional Institution. She is also a founding board member of Wild Goose Creative, a nonprofit community arts organization in Columbus. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

 

Daniel Gray-Kontar
Daniel Gray-Kontar

Daniel Gray-Kontar

Daniel Gray-Kontar is a poet, teacher, rapper, journalist, and the founder/executive artistic director of Twelve Literary Arts in Cleveland. He has worked as an advocate for social transformation in the city of Cleveland for more than 25 years. Daniel is an education consultant for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; writer-in-residence at MOCA Cleveland; and a former graduate school fellow at UC Berkeley's College of Education. His work in arts education has been showcased on PBS Newshour. Daniel has lectured at universities, public schools, arts organizations, and scholarly conferences across the U.S.

 

Baba Jubal Harris
Baba Jubal Harris

Baba Jubal Harris

Baba Jubal Harris is a drummer and a pioneer in the field of Arts Integrated Education. He has taught extensively in a vast range of academic and cultural settings, including universities, professional companies, K-12 grade schools, populations with special needs, and teacher professional development. He is the founder and facilitator of the “Inner Peace Drum Circle,” an intergenerational multicultural drum circle that encourages vibration healing, transcendent joy, and inner peace; and The Heart Beat Drum Circle, Ohio’s largest annual outdoor drumming event – currently in its seventh year. For 25 years he has conducted artist residencies, performances, workshops, teacher in-service and professional development, that has made a substantial contribution to the cultural and educational life of communities throughout Ohio and the United States. Baba has served on numerous Ohio Arts Council advisory panels and is a roster artist with many organizations, including: Ohio Arts Council Arts Learning Program, Roots of American Music, Karamu House, and Foluke Cultural Arts Center. In 2015 he received the Ohio Heritage Fellowship for Material Culture and in 2012 and 2013 he was selected for the Traditional Arts Apprentice Fellowship, both from the Ohio Arts Council.

 

David Hassler
David Hassler

David Hassler

David Hassler directs the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State University. He is the author of two books of poems, including Red Kimono, Yellow Barn, for which he was awarded Ohio Poet of the Year 2006. A forthcoming book, Speak a Powerful Magic: Ten Years of the Traveling Stanzas Poetry Project, will be published in March 2019 by The Kent State University Press. His play, May 4th Voices, based on the Kent State Shootings Oral History Project, was published in 2013 by The Kent State University Press along with a Teacher’s Resource Book. A filmed version of the play, which he co-produced, received the 2014 Oral History Association’s Nonprint Format Award. With photographer Gary Harwood, he is the author of the documentary book, Growing Season: The Life of a Migrant Community, which received the Ohioana Book Award, the Carter G. Woodson Honor Book Award, and was a finalist for the Great Lakes Book Award. With Maggie Anderson, he is co-editor of Learning by Heart: Contemporary American Poetry about School and After the Bell: Contemporary American Prose about School. With his wife, Lynn Gregor, he is co-editor of A Place to Grow: Voices and Images of Urban Gardeners. He received an Individual Artist Fellowship and an Artists and Communities grant from the Ohio Arts Council. He received a B.A. from Cornell University and an M.F.A. from Bowling Green State University. His TEDx talk, “The Conversation of Poetry,” conveys the power of poetry to strengthen communities. He speaks widely at state and national conferences on issues of poetry and education.

 

Jacqueline Hatcher
Jacqueline Hatcher

Jacqueline Hatcher

Jacqueline Hatcher, M.Ed., B.A., A.B, resides in Toledo and has taught art for 17 years. In 1994 and 1997, two pieces, “In My Mind” and “Sunday Best,” were selected by a juried show and displayed by the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo. In 2001, ten of her pieces hung in the mayor’s office during Black History Month. She was chosen as artist of the month for Catharine S. Eberly Center for Women located at the University of Toledo in 2016. Her most recent piece titled “Beautiful” gained the honor of being displayed in the governor’s mansion in Columbus Ohio representing visual arts for women veterans August of 2018. Her entrepreneurial spirit prompted her to create Art by Jacqueline, a freelance illustrating company specializing in a variety of artistic services. She attended Capella University, American Intercontinental University, Lourdes University, Davis Junior College, and has completed research toward an EdD graphing the connection of technology, fine arts, and core subjects.

 

Sarah Danner Hebdo
Sarah Danner Hebdo

Sarah Danner Hebdo

Sarah Danner Hebdo teaches art at Whitehall Yearling High School. She has 16 years of teaching experience – 15 years at the middle level in urban and rural settings. During the course of her career, she has been professionally dedicated to the Ohio Art Education Association (OAEA) through various leadership capacities, namely president, conference coordinator, parliamentarian and ARTline editor. She holds BS (2003) and MA degrees (2008) in Art Education from Ohio University. Sarah was named OAEA’s Art Educator of the Year in 2016, her sixth award recognition. Additionally, in 2017, she was 1 of 362 international educators to attend Harvard University’s Project Zero Classroom, a lifelong professional goal. Sarah’s passion for the arts in education is present in every aspect of her life. She prides herself on her creative leadership journey, a professional mission that highlights art education as integral to schools and essential for every student’s learning.

 

Jonathan Juravich
Jonathan Juravich

Jonathan Juravich

Jonathan Juravich is the 2018 Ohio Teacher of the Year and was one of four finalists for 2018 National Teacher of the Year. Over the past year, Jonathan has been able to advocate for high-quality art education at a state and national level, as well as the importance of intentional character education within K-12 school settings. This year he is piloting a Teacher in Residence position at the Ohio Department of Education, focusing on teacher voice, teacher leadership, and teacher recognition. Jonathan, known as Mr. J, is in his 14th year in education. He is an art educator in the Olentangy Local School District and a middle school track and cross-country coach. As the district elementary visual art department chair, he facilitates professional development, advances curriculum, and advocates for arts education best practices. His belief is that by taking advantage of seemingly small moments we can make a big impact for others. Mr. J reaches out to the community locally and statewide by developing art programs at the Columbus Zoo, the Columbus Arts Festival, the Ohio Association for the Developmentally Disabled, and the Ohio Art Education Association. He mentors future art educators as an adjunct instructor at Otterbein University, his alma mater.

 

Becky Keck
Becky Keck

Becky Keck

Becky Keck is the executive director and one of the founders of SMARTS, Students Motivated by the Arts. She has been an advocate for quality arts education for children for over 25 years. As one of the founders of SMARTS, Becky nurtured it from its inception at Youngstown State University in 1997 and successfully transitioned it to the community as a stand-alone not-for-profit community art school in the past five years. SMARTS’ transition to the community was complete when it moved into its new home in downtown Youngstown, spring 2017. SMARTS received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education in 2017. Becky currently serves on the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) Board of Directors, the Mahoning Valley Historical Society Board, the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley’s Success After 6 Steering Committee, and the Taft Promise Neighborhood Education Committee. She is past president of the Rotary Club of Youngstown, Emeritus on the Mahoning County Salvation Army Advisory Board, and has served on other boards and youth organizations. She is a co-founder for the Power of the Arts Initiative that strives to create and sustain a collaborative structure for the Arts and Culture community to participate in the Mahoning Valley’s economic revitalization. She brought the John F. Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative to Warren, Ohio, and for the past four years, she has served as the Liaison to the Kennedy Center with SMARTS as the Lead Arts Organization.

 

Jody Kerchner
Jody Kerchner

Jody Kerchner

Jody Kerchner is Professor of Music Education & Director of Pedagogy/Advocacy/Community Engagement (PACE) at Oberlin College & Conservatory of Music. She is founder and conductor of the Oberlin Music at Grafton (OMAG) Prison Choir. Her research interests include children’s focus of attention and multisensory responses during music listening, choral music education, empathetic leadership, teacher identity development, and the psycho-social impacts of participating in prison choirs. She is the co-editor and author of Musicianship: Composing in Choir (2016) and Musical Experiences in our Lives (2009) and Prelude to Music Education (2002), and author of Music Across the Senses: Listening, Learning, Making Meaning (2014). She has also contributed chapters in several research and pedagogy texts and published in various research and pedagogy professional journals. She is a frequent honor choir conductor, keynote speaker, and presenter nationally and internationally. She is a board member of the International Society for Music Education (ISME).

 

Piper Kerman
Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman

Piper Kerman is the author of the bestselling memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison, which was adapted into an original television series for Netflix. She is a frequent invited speaker to students of law, criminology, gender and women’s studies, sociology, and creative writing, and also to groups that include the American Correctional Association’s Disproportionate Minority Confinement Task Force, federal probation officers, public defenders, justice reform advocates and volunteers, book clubs, and formerly and currently incarcerated people. In 2014 Piper was awarded the Justice Trailblazer Award from John Jay College’s Center on Media, Crime & Justice. She serves on the board of the Women’s Prison Association, and teaches writing in two prison in Ohio, Marion Correctional Institution and the Ohio Reformatory for Women.

 

Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone is a writer and the president and artistic director of OFP Theatre Company. Her work with youth arts organizations, schools, and community organizations has been ongoing through her company’s educational arm, Signature Educational Solutions. Groups in Dayton, Toledo, and Columbus such as Muse Machine, Springfield Arts Council, Dayton area schools, Hope Road Youth and Community Theatre, Wesley Community Center, The Lincoln Theatre, and Toledo Boys and Girls Club have benefited immensely from her passion, collaborative spirit, and artistic expertise. Her project, The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show was birthed in the Schuster Center’s Mathile Theatre and cultivated at The Loft Theatre in Dayton. It presents a hybrid of urban poetry, music, dance, and visual arts from local, regional and international talent. The show expanded to include an energetic poetry competition called The Last Poet Standing held at the Aronoff in Cincinnati. Through her I Am Moon Power initiative she led a fall retreat for Polly Fox Academy, a school for teenage mothers in Toledo. She is continuing girls’ empowerment work through the Dayton Public Schools’ Girls in Girl program by co-designing and implementing the district’s first comprehensive program dedicated to the improvement of girls’ academic and social success. Sierra was commissioned by the Dayton Metro Library to write and perform the poem “Gathering Space” at the ribbon cutting for their beautiful, 64-million-dollar main library opening. The National Breaking Silences Disabilities Conference also recognized her gift of using poetry to open doors for voices that are too often silenced, and they commissioned her to write and perform original work. In recognition of her work, Sierra was a 2018 Ohio Governor's Award recipient.

 

Jaron M. LeGrair
Jaron M. LeGrair

Jaron M. LeGrair

Jaron M. LeGrair is a singer, voice pedagogue, voice teacher, voice researcher, and music director. He is the proud founder and owner of the Jaron M. LeGrair Studio, a studio that specializes in providing voice training for singers and speakers. Though Jaron is a teacher and an entrepreneur by trade, he is a singer at heart. He has been featured as a soloist in many productions with Akron Symphony, Opera Columbus, Opera Project Columbus, Tuscarawas Philharmonic. He is also the only male alto in Ricky Dillard and the New Generation Chorale, a Grammy-Nominated gospel choir based out of Chicago as well as the only male soprano in Justin Powell and Adoration, a gospel group based out of Philadelphia. A workshop facilitator and mentor, Jaron also provides a voice for arts in the community by serving in various arts organizations, including being a founding Board member for ArtsNow in Summit County, and Board member for Akron Public School’s College and Career Academies. Outside of his artistic and entrepreneurial efforts, he serves as an Assistant Professor of Theater at Point Park University and an Adjunct Professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. He has also completed coursework in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Jaron obtained his Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Akron and earned his Master of Arts in Voice Pedagogy from The Ohio State University.

 

Elizabeth Like Lokon
Elizabeth "Like" Lokon

Elizabeth "Like" Lokon

Elizabeth "Like" Lokon, MGS, Ph.D., is the founder and director of Opening Minds through Art (OMA), an intergenerational art program for people with neurocognitive disorders based at Scripps Gerontology Center, Miami University in Ohio. OMA has been replicated in over 150 sites throughout the USA and Canada. As an artist (BA-UC Berkeley, BFA-California College of the Arts), gerontologist (MGS-Miami), and educator (Ph.D.-Miami), she frequently speaks on the intersection of the arts, dementia, and intergenerational service learning. She has presented her work in North America, Europe and Asia. Dr. Lokon has published in journals such as Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Journal of Applied Gerontology, Dementia: The International Journal of Social Research and Practice, Journal for Gerontology and Geriatric Education and LeadingAge Magazine. She served as an associate editor of The International Handbook on Aging. She is also a fiber artist.

 

Dave Lucas
Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (VQR / Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. In 2018, he was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio. A co-founder of Cleveland Book Week and Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery, he lives in Cleveland, where he was born and raised.

 

Elaine Grogan Luttrull
Elaine Grogan Luttrull

Elaine Grogan Luttrull

Elaine Grogan Luttrull, CPA-PFS, AFC® is the founder of Minerva Financial Arts, a company devoted to building financial literacy and empowerment in creative individuals and organizations. Her workshops and presentations have been featured nationally by the DeVos Institute of Arts Management, Americans for the Arts, the Arts & Business Council of New York, the College Art Association, Playwrights of New York, the Lark Play Development Center, Theatre Communications Group, the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, the Juilliard School, the New England Conservatory of Music, Rhode Island School of Design, the Ohio Art League, the Ohio Arts Council, the Indiana Arts Commission, the Greater Columbus Arts Council, the City of Bloomington, and the Foundation Center. Elaine teaches at the Columbus College of Art & Design, where she served as the Department Head for Business & Entrepreneurship from 2014-2018. Previously, Elaine served as the Director of Financial Analysis for The Juilliard School and in the Transaction Advisory Services practice of Ernst & Young in New York. Elaine is the author of Arts & Numbers (Agate, B2 2013), and a regular contributor to Professional Artist magazine. She is based in Columbus, Ohio where she serves on the boards of the Short North Alliance, Social Ventures, and the Financial Therapy Association.

 

Ian MacKenzie-Thurley
Ian MacKenzie-Thurley

Ian MacKenzie-Thurley

Ian MacKenzie-Thurley is a producer, writer and stage director from Sydney, Australia. He has a degree in music and post-graduate study in theatre directing. He has worked in artistic, programming and administrative roles that include productions at the Sydney Opera House, the 2012 London Olympics Cultural Olympiad and also as a producing artistic director. Ian’s wife, Kelly, grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and his extended family has deep roots in the local arts community. Ian is on the advisory board of the Fitton Family YMCA, the Business Advisory Council of the Hamilton City Schools and the Rotary Club of Hamilton. Ian took over as executive director of the Fitton Center for Creative Arts in May 2015, and has overseen a successful expansion in the Fitton’s community outreach and engagement, season programming, street art projects, and branding.

 

Tracie McCambridge
Tracie McCambridge

Tracie McCambridge

Tracie McCambridge has been manager of Gallery Teaching and Engagement at the Wexner Center for the Arts since 2006. In this role, Tracie explores ways that the contemporary art gallery space can function as a laboratory for learning and center for wellness, radical access, and inclusion. As an adjunct faculty member in The Ohio State University’s Department of Arts Administration, Education, and Policy, she teaches university students and members of the broader Columbus community to engage the public using inquiry-based methodologies in the Wexner Center’s galleries. She conceived and began facilitating Art on the Brain in 2013. Offshoots of the original Art on the Brain program include Vets at the Wex for military veterans, in collaboration with the Columbus VA hospital; a version for survivors of human trafficking, in collaboration with Franklin County’s CATCH Court program; and a newly forming iteration called Art Unlocked. Offered in partnership with the Mt Carmel Crime and Trauma Assistance Program, Art Unlocked provides healthy community and gallery-based engagement for the growing demographic of women recently released from prison. A member of Wexner Medical Center’s Medicine and The Arts Board, Tracie received her Master’s Degree in Museum Education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and completed her undergraduate degree in Art and Design, emphasizing art history and with a minor in Entrepreneurial Studies, from Iowa State University. Tracie is also a member of Ohio State’s STEAM Factory, a university community network that facilitates creative and interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, and dissemination.

 

Kenyona 'Sunny' Matthews
Kenyona "Sunny" Matthews

Kenyona "Sunny" Matthews

Kenyona "Sunny" Matthews is a motivational speaker focusing on issues of diversity, inclusion, and anti-racism. She is a University of Akron School of Law graduate who focused civil liberties. She earned her Bachelors from Guilford College majoring in Political Science, Philosophy, and African American Studies. She was an active college student helping to start an Anti-Racism team at Guilford College, responsible for organizing city-wide diversity/inclusion events, and developed coursework focusing on race and racism. After college, Ms. Matthews served as an AmeriCorps Vista North Carolina Campus Compact Multicultural Service Coordinator. Her focus was facilitating, organizing, and training students to work in multicultural communities. In 2016, Ms. Matthews co-founded Dimensions of Isms with Ginger Bakos. What started out as a three-part workshop on diversity issues (racism, classism, sexism) became a grassroots organization. The vision for Dimensions of Isms is to bring awareness and progression to societal issues through training in corporate environments, church workshops, speaking engagements, and other civil and social organizations. Ms. Matthews continues to speak with various organizations throughout Northeastern Ohio including: Indivisible, Big Love, local elementary and high schools, and Women’s March on Washington.

 

Patty Mitchell
Patty Mitchell

Patty Mitchell

Patty Mitchell is the Executive Director of Passion Works Studio (PWS), a collaborative community arts center in Athens, Ohio and CEO of Creative Abundance Group, a consulting company supporting organizations interested in interpreting a Passion Works-like model. She has been working through the arts since 1992 developing collaborative approaches encouraging connection and purpose that provide visual evidence of the power of creativity that resides in us all. PWS is an example of this approach of collaborative community art making where artists with and without developmental differences have worked together building works of fine art and quality product lines. Since 1998, PWS has been a center of discovery, cultural identity and creative economy for the larger community of Athens, Ohio. Patty is the co-author of “Upcyling Sheltered Workshops” with Susan Dlouhy, and her work is featured in the PBS film documentary “Creative Abundance.” Among Patty’s awards and honors are: the Distinguished Alumna Award from Ohio University’s College of Fine Art, “Tremendous Attainment” Award from the Ohio State Senate, Ohioana Citation for Art and Education, Individual Artist Award from the Ohio Arts Council, Citizen of the Year from Civitan, Eusebia Hunkins Award for Outstanding Service in the Arts, The Keystone Award Ohio University for outstanding community service, the Bryant True Local Hero award and 2016 Athens Rotary Club Community Member of the Year. Patty received her BFA and MFA from Ohio University.

 

Bill O'Rly
Bill O'Rly

Bill O'Rly

Bill O'Rly is an American contemporary artist, gallerist, curator, and arts advocate, who resides in Youngstown, Ohio. He is a co-owner at The SOAP Gallery, and manager at NEXT Best Art. Bill also consults or provides support for multiple other galleries and organizations in the Mahoning Valley.

 

Howard Parr
Howard Parr

Howard Parr

Howard Parr is the executive director of the Akron Civic Theatre and has more than 25 years of professional experience in management and consulting for nonprofit arts, development and social service organizations in the public and private sectors. His work includes organizational development and strategic planning, as well as program management and event production. Howard served as the Civic’s director of development and planning from 1999–2004, during which time he directed the capital campaign for the theater’s $22.5 million expansion and restoration project. He became the theater’s executive director in May 2008. A leading community advocate for and founding board member of ArtsNow, the Summit County arts and culture initiative that began in 2012, Howard currently serves as the organization’s board president. In 2016, he was honored with an Impact Award for Excellence in Arts by Peg’s Foundation (formerly the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation). In 2018, Howard received the prestigious Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in the category of Arts Administration. The Governor's Awards for the Arts in Ohio is a statewide program that showcases and celebrates Ohio artists, arts organizations, arts patrons and business support of the arts. The awards are presented by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation.

 

Steve Patterson
Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson

Mayor Steve Patterson was as an associate professor of Health Psychology at Ohio University, and is currently the mayor of Athens, Ohio. He served in the United States Air Force and the Air National Guard for more than 20 years. Mayor Patterson serves on the Board of Directors for the National League of Cities, the Athens County Foundation, the Athens County Regional Planning Commission, and numerous other boards and commissions. He was also a charter member of the Athens Areas Citizens for the Arts.

 

Heather Pennington
Heather Pennington

Heather Pennington

Heather Pennington was elected to the Massillon Museum’s board of directors in July 2015. She has worked for Marathon Petroleum Company for the last eleven years as an accountant; eleven of those years have been spent at the Ohio Refining Division in Canton. She graduated with her master’s in business administration from Walsh University, her bachelor’s in accounting from the University of Findlay, and an associate’s degree in accounting technology from Owens State Community College in Toledo. Heather says she looks forward to the opportunity to be an involved member of the community in which she lives and works. A graduate of the 28th class of the Leadership Stark County Signature Program, Heather also serves as a trustee for the board of Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Services. She lives in Massillon with her husband, Emmett, and sons Myles and Mason.

 

Michael Reese
Michael Reese

Michael Reese

Michael Reese is a graduate of Ohio University in interior design and has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Cuba, Ukraine, and the United States exploring the many galleries, museums and private art collections over the course of 30 years. With a broad-range of experience from the classics of Europe to the modern elements of New York and Los Angeles, Michael has been able to combine his observation of fine art and expertise of design to create exceptional art collections. Michael has been involved in the arts through his leadership in multiple charitable fundraising events involving the combined collaborative effort of the arts and business communities including Art for Life, Ohio Cancer Research, and Bienal De La Habana.

 

Catherine Roma
Catherine Roma

Catherine Roma

Catherine Roma founded and directed MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir for 30 years until 2013, and is a longtime activist, artist, and leader in bringing music and the arts to prisons. Dr. Roma recently retired from Wilmington, a small Quaker college, where she was professor of music for 25 years. Through her association with Wilmington College and their dedication to prison education, she founded UMOJA Men’s Chorus at Warren Correctional Institution in 1993. In additional to her extensive work within the choral community, Dr. Roma is also a member of the Arts and Culture Commission in Yellow Springs, Ohio

 

Larry Smith
Larry Smith

Larry Smith

Called "On a quest to spark self-expression in everyone" by Oprah Magazine, Larry Smith is the creator of the Six-Word Memoir project, a bestselling series of books, board game, live event series, and global phenomenon. Larry first launched Six-Word Memoirs in November 2006 with a simple online challenge: "Can you describe your life story in six words?" Now, more than one million short life stories have been shared on SixWordMemoirs.com, and countless more in classrooms, boardrooms, churches and synagogues, veterans’ groups, and speed-dating sessions. His ninth book of Six-Word Memoirs, Six Words Fresh Off the Boat: Stories of Immigration, Identity, and Coming to America, published last fall. Larry is a frequent speaker at companies such as ESPN, Levi’s, Nationwide, OhioHealth, and Shutterfly, and leads workshops in classrooms of all ages. Prior to launching Six Words, Larry was a journalist whose work can be found in The New York Times, ESPN Magazine, Popular Science, Men's Health, Slate, and other publications.

 

Mindy Staley
Mindy Staley

Mindy Staley

Mindy Staley studied art education at The Ohio State University, with almost 20 years of experience in Whitehall City Schools. She strives to encourage students in their creative pursuits, and promote arts and culture in the community. Staley has consistently been a member of the Ohio Art Education Association, (OAEA) serving on the executive board since 2016, and winning the Central Region Outstanding Art Educator award in 2017. She is a creative, and the images of bridges and rhinos in her acrylic paintings speak of overcoming fears, being tough and developing positive relationships despite problems and disadvantages.

 

Anoo Vyas
Anoo Vyas

Anoo Vyas

Anoo Vyas is the founder and president of PechaKucha Akron, a series of quarterly talks featuring local creatives, and the co-director of the EXL Center for Experiential Learning at the University of Akron. He also is an attorney who previously taught at the University of Akron School of Law, where his courses included Business Planning Law, Cyber Law, and the Small Entrepreneur & Economic Development Legal Clinic. Prior to academia, he served as supervising attorney for a domestic violence clinic, where he represented victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. He is a past member of Leadership Akron, and was a recipient of the Greater Akron Chamber’s 30 For the Future Award. He has been named “Who to Watch in Law” by Crain’s Cleveland Business, and “Who to Watch” by Smart Business Magazine. He is currently in the midst of writing his first novel, so if you have advice, feel free to pepper him with it.

 

Susan Washam Witten
Susan Washam Witten

Susan Washam Witten

Susan Washam Witten is an arts educator who has worked as a K-16 art educator, district and state level educational administrator, arts education advocate, and artist. Susan led successful school improvement initiatives as an Assistant Superintendent, receiving many federal and state grants to fund the work. She has developed curriculum models and served on the creative and implementation team for the Ohio Arts Assessment Collaborative. Susan has been an OAC grant panelist and was the external evaluator for the OAC TeachArtsOhio pilot program. She has a Ph.D. in Art Education from The Ohio State University.

 

Bruce Weigl
Bruce Weigl

Bruce Weigl

Bruce Weigl is an American contemporary poet who teaches at Lorain County Community College. Weigl enlisted in the United States Army shortly after his 18th birthday and spent three years in the service. He served in the Vietnam War from December 1967 to December 1968 and received the Bronze Star. When he returned to the United States, Bruce obtained a bachelor's degree from Oberlin College, and a Master of Arts degree in Writing/American and British Literature from the University of New Hampshire. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in 1979. He has taught English at the University of Arkansas, Old Dominion University, and Pennsylvania State University. Among Weigl’s collections of poetry are: A Romance (1979), The Monkey Wars (1984), Song of Napalm (1988), Archeology of the Circle: New and Selected Poems (1999), and After the Others (1999). Many of Bruce’s poems are inspired by the time he spent in the U.S. Army and Vietnam. In 2000, he published a memoir, The Circle of Hanh: A Memoir. In addition to writing his own poetry, Bruce worked with Thanh T. Nguyen of the Joiner Research Center to translate poems of North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers captured during war. Bruce and Nguten accepted an invitation from the Vietnamese Writers Association and traveled to Hanoi to receive assistance in translating the poems. His poems are featured in American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006) and many other anthologies.

 

Sheri 'Sparkle' Williams
Sheri "Sparkle" Williams

Sheri "Sparkle" Williams

Sheri "Sparkle" Williams is now in her 44th season dancing with DCDC! She’s also an original member of the New York-based Complexions Contemporary Ballet. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the JOSIE Award, Fisk University’s Excellence in Artistry Award, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District, New York Dance and Performance Award (the Bessie) and Ohio Governor’s Award for the Arts in the category of Individual Artist, to name a few. As a nationally certified fitness professional, Sheri also serves as DCDC’s fitness trainer. She credits the late choreographer Ulysses Dove as an important artistic influence. “He demanded a level of virtuosity that I was vehemently challenged to deliver.” Her most memorable moment in her long career: “Performing the work Growth in Merida, Spain in a theatre built in 15 A.D.! When I finished, the crowd stomped their feet and repeatedly called out my name.”

 

Donte Woods-Spikes
Donte Woods-Spikes

Donte Woods-Spikes

Donte Woods-Spikes is a known for various forms of work such as professional speaking which landed him on the TEDx stage, community work all throughout Columbus, and award winning video documentation. For his work he has been interviewed by various news sources, included on panels, and involved in a multitude of projects. Donte's overall goal is to educate and connect the world beyond perceptions and stereotypes with authentic experiences through documentation and storytelling.