Arthur Wright, after receiving his BFA from the Columbus School of Art and Design, relocated to New York where he found a position with the Caroline Jones Advertising Agency and served as Art Director. During that time, he received three prestigious CLIO Awards.
Since returning to Chicago, he has shown works at the National Black Fine Art Show in New York, a solo show at the Cook County Assessor’s Office, Gallery Guichard, Nicole Gallery and the Little Black Pearl Gallery. At Little Black Pearl, he created the outdoor mural across from the King Community Center showcasing the Jazz idiom on the South Side of Chicago.
Arthur has also shown as part of Chicago’s Artist Month in a solo show in 2012, “Oh, The Places We’ll Go!” at a pop-up gallery in Bronzeville, as well as solo and group showings at Faie African Art in Bronzeville Gallery.
An April 16th solo show at the Fulton Street Collective featured Arthur’s series: “One In a Million”, an ongoing series of one million pen and ink drawings, studies, paintings and collages of varies subject matter.
Arthur was served as one of the Inaugural Artists in the Fellowship Program at the Stony Island Arts Bank. He collaborated with two other artist Kenrick McFarlane and David Anthony Geary to create new work based on the 1975 Paintings by Artist Noah Davis.
Arthur’s current series of works “Music On My Mind”, consists of pen & ink drawings and paintings to be seen in a solo show at the William Hill Gallery late this Summer.
Asha Rosa is a Black queer writer and organizer who grounds herself in political and artistic communities in both New York City and Chicago. She currently serves as a National Organizing Co-Chair for BYP100, where she supports the organization’s direct action and campaign work. In 2014, Asha traveled with the We Charge Genocide youth delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland where she testified against police violence in Chicago. As one of the organizers of Columbia Prison Divest, Rosa helped launch and lead the first successful campaign to get a U.S. university to financially divest from the private prison industry. Her writing has been published in the 2016 anthology Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? by the editors of Truthout, and in StudentNation.Rosa is committed to movements that embrace the transformative potential of a radical/Black/queer imagination towards the abolition of police and prisons. Catch her awkwardly rambling at @ashapoesis on Twitter.
Coultrain, a poet; singer, songwriter; and multi-instrumentalist, is known for bringing deep, dark, love through his somber but intriguing soulful music. He self-released his debut solo album, The Adventures Of Seymour Liberty, which made Soulbounce.com's Best Of 2008 lists. Coultrain wrote and co-starred on heralded Detroit producers, PPP’s (Platinum Pied Pipers) critically acclaimed album, Abundance, released on Ubiquity Records.
Recently, Coultrain recorded a project with Waajeed for Universal Music Group for use in cinematic licensing. Previous song placements include shows such as MTV's The Hillsand Making The Band, and FX’s Damages;as well as compilations by BBE and Cornerstone/FADER’s Suite903 series.Coultrain has written for and appeared on songs by a variety of artists, including R&B sensation, Jazmine Sullivan (J Records/Sony), platinum-selling producer B Money (Jay-Z/50 Cent), for international indie acts like Sureshot Symphony, Proh Mic, and Jameszoo.
Coultrain has a strong online presence, and has prominently featured on the PPP Abundance Mixtape free download, which has clocked over 15,000 downloads to date with coverage on noteworthy sites/blogs like Okayplayer, Giant Step, URB, Fresh Selects, SoulCoulture, Ear Milk, Soulbounce, MOOVMNT, and more. Coultrain is a 2015-2016 Musician-in-Residence at Rebuild Foundation.
E’mon Lauren. Southside Chicago. Redline. Harold's Chicken. Mild sauce on the side. November 9, 1996. Early graduate. Slam poet. Louder Than a Bomb and victory. ’14. Indy finalist. ‘14. Brave New Voices. ’13 & ’14. Louder Than a Bomb College Slam and victory. ’16. Chicago’s Youth Poet Laureate ’16. Vocalist. Emcee. Teaching artist. Published artist. The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop. Performing artist. Non-binary. Agender. Woman. Human.
Ethan Michaeli is the author of The Defender: How the Legendary Black Newspaper Changed America (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016) …praised by Brent Staples of the New York Times as "An extraordinary history...deeply researched, elegantly written...a towering achievement that will not be soon forgotten."
Michaeli is an award-winning author, publisher, and journalist based in Chicago. He was a copy editor and an investigative reporter at the Chicago Daily Defender from 1991 to 1996. He left the Defender to found the Residents' Journal, a magazine written and produced by the tenants of Chicago's public housing developments; and an affiliated not-for-profit organization, We The People Media. Residents' Journal/We The People Media won national awards for its journalism and for its programs, training youths and adults in the skills of modern journalism. In addition to "The Defender," Michaeli’s work has been published by Oxford University Press, the Nation, the Forward, In These Times, and the Chicago Tribune among other venues.
Kristiana Rae Colón
Kristiana Rae Colón is a poet, playwright, actor, educator, Cave Canem Fellow, and the co-director of the #LetUsBreatheCollective. Her play but i cd only whisper had its American premiere at The Flea in New York. Her play Octagon, winner of Arizona Theater Company's 2014 National Latino Playwriting Award, and Polarity Ensemble Theater's Dionysos Festival of New Work had its world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London in September 2015. Her work was featured in Victory Gardens' 2014 Ignition Festival, and in 2013 she toured the UK with her collection of poems promised instruments published by Northwestern University Press. In autumn 2012, Colón opened her one-woman show Cry Wolf at Teatro Luna in Chicago, while her play but i cd only whisper had its world premiere at the Arcola Theater in London. Colón is a part of the Goodman Theater's Playwrights Unit, a resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and one half of the brother/sister hip-hop duo April Fools. She also appeared on the fifth season of HBO's Def Poetry Jam.
Nadia Sulayman is a cultural worker from Chicago. She currently serves as the Associate Director of Community Arts and Programs at Arts + Public Life. Prior to joining the APL family, she worked in education for over ten years, including her work with Chicago Public Schools where she helped to develop a comprehensive wellness initiative for the district. Sulayman has curated various art exhibitions, showcasing the works of local artists. She earned a Master of Arts in International Studies from DePaul University where she focused on women using art as resistance in liberation movements. Sulayman is a poet, recently published in the Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, and at times a visual artist.
For 16 years, Peter Levavi has been a Senior Vice President with Brinshore Development, responsible for the redevelopment of public housing sites in Chicago and across Illinois and the Midwest. Brinshore’s accomplishments include completion of more than 2,000 mixed income units, with thousands more in various stages of development and numerous awards for work on Chicago’s largest and most interesting public housing developments including: Robert Taylor Homes (Legends South), Henry Horner Homes (Westhaven Park), and parts of Cabrini Green (Clybourn 1200). Brinshore partnered with Rebuild Foundation and Theaster Gates on the transformation of Dante Harper into Dorchester Art + Housing Collaborative, the nation’s first mixed income public housing redevelopment with integrated artist housing and an arts center. Levavi lives by Bob Dylan’s words in Love Minus Zero/No Limit: “There’s no success like failure, and failure is no success at all.”
Rebirth Poetry Ensemble
Rebirth Poetry Ensemble is a literary organization committed to nurturing artistic development and social justice in young people. They are a collective welcoming students ages 8-18 from across the City of Chicago. Rebirth is the winner of the 2016 Louder Than a Bomb (high school) and Half-Pint Poetics (elementary) city-wide poetry slam competitions. This summer they are excited to represent Chicago at Brave New Voices. Rebirth is coached by Avery R. Young, Quraysh Ali Lansana, and Emily Lansana.
Stacy Patrice is an ARTivist, Speaker and Healing Arts Director creating community-focused journeys in her global movement for Self Love & Soul Healing. She guides intergenerational audiences through the practice of wellness and re-imagined living. In 2012, Patrice birthed her signature lifestyle practice, Soul Healing Yoga™ in her birthplace on Chicago's South Side, to impart more emphasis on empowered healing, within an activated collective.
Patrice has been called to serve thousands, leading lifestyle practices during organizational retreats, national conferences, neighborhood based programs and yoga festivals while enthusiastically offering her signature workshops within her created platforms to fill in the gaps connecting movement and mind for embodied souls. She has since innovated in partnership with Chicago's Rebuild Foundation, creating robust original programming in cultural wellness education and engagement in movement, diet and entertainment, while facilitating her lifestyle practice nationally and internationally for extended journeys in soul-based living.
Patrice knows her SOUL mission is guiding our larger populace into expanded realities reclaiming the inspired, soulful and unbelievable, as the new normal...and is creatively making this shift an accessible reality. #healyoursoul stacypatrice.com
Dan S. Wang
Dan S. Wang (王念華) is a writer and artist who splits time between Madison and Chicago. His critical texts have been published internationally in journals, exhibition catalogues, and book collections. He has lectured at many vanues, including the Salzburger Kunstverein, Art Institute of Chicago, Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Documenta 12 (Kassel), the Central Academy of Fine Arts (Beijing), and the Third Creative Time Summit (New York). Wang produces traditional print media for circulation through art networks and for use in functional activist situations. He was a co-founder of Mess Hall, an experimental cultural space in Chicago, and named a 2013 Fellow in Arts and Culture Leadership by the Rockwood Leadership Institute. Currently, he works with Madison Mutual Drift, a group that writes about race, development in Madison, and movement politics.
Naomi Davis is an urban theorist, attorney, activist, and proud granddaughter of Mississippi sharecroppers. She is the founder/CEO of BIG™—a national sustainability network and community wealth building initiative based in West Woodlawn, born to advance “green-village-building.” Naomi authored and teaches BIG’s course in Grannynomics™ and The 8 Principles Green-Village-Building™ in lectures and workshops around the country. She trains activists and everyday neighbors to lead where they live in establishing “walkable-villages” within ‘The City of Villages’—where every household can walk-to-work, walk-to-shop, walk-to-learn, walk-to-play. Calling My Children Home is their campaign to resettle middle class black families, empty nesters, millennials, and returning citizens into urban center legacy communities to buffer the nationwide trend of city gentrification. Through advocacy, programs, and BIG’s emerging Urban Homestead Lifestyle™ developments, Davis works to usher in an “Age of the Neighbor Investor” where residents own, develop, and manage the property in their community, live the conservation lifestyle, and thus narrow America’s racial health/wealth disparity. She is a Van Jones/Green For All Fellow and lives in the shade of BIG’s West Woodlawn Botanic Garden & Village Farm.
Shirley J. Newsome
Shirley J. Newsome has been a resident of North Kenwood-Oakland since 1979. She began community involvement work in 1981 with the organization of the Lake Park-Berkeley-Ellis-Drexel Block Club Association. Newsome has been involved in the overall development and revitalization of the community area since 1988, and has participated in the 80 planning meetings that led to the designation of North Kenwood-Oakland as a Conservation Area, with Historical/Landmark designation. She also served as the Planning Committee Co-Chair, and was later appointed Chairman of the Conservation Community Council, following City Council designation.
Newsome is a former Director of the University of Chicago Charter School Network Governing Board; Juror on selection team for design and architects/engineers of the Downtown and Lake Shore Drive Traffic Bridges and Pedestrian Overpasses; member of Burnham Lakefront/South Lake Shore Drive Planning Committees; member CPS Mid-South Planning and Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) MINCS Coordinating Council and City of Chicago Empowerment/Enterprise Zone Committees; member 2016 Chicago Olympics Planning Committee and Mayor’s Tech Park Task Force (Michael Reese Site); member City of Chicago Affordable Housing Reform Task Force, and Alderman (Retired) Fourth Ward, City of Chicago.
Presently serves on the 002d (formerly 021st) Chicago Police District Advisory Committee (DAC); is a member of the Williams-Davis Park Advisory Committee, Ida B. Wells Commemorative Art Committee and Oakwood Boulevard Neighbors Association (OBNA); is the North Kenwood-Oakland community legacy representative of the Lakefront (Sullivan Station), Washington Park, and Oakwood Shores Working Groups for the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) Plan for Transformation; Board Director, Oakwood Shores 3750 Senior Apartments; Board Chair of the Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) and South East Chicago Commission (SECC; Commissioner of the City of Chicago Community Development Commission (CDC) and member of the Obama Presidential Library (OPL) Community Advisory Committee.