Janette Yiran of Yiran African Arts & Designs talks with Sprout after organizing the performances at the Sprout Growers & Makers Marketplace as well as Fred Yiran African Arts Day 2019. Janette shares with us the legacy of her late husband, Fred Yiran, a master painter, instrumentalist, carver, sculptor, jewelry-maker, poet, singer, performance artist, and an arts and culture educator. Yiran’s legacy continues to expand knowledge and understanding of African arts and cultures today. For more information on Fred Yiran visit www.yiranarts.com.
Buddy King studied Community Development at St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and is a playwright, percussionist, and teaching artist. As Unit Director for the Roosevelt Boys and Girls Club in St. Cloud, MN, Buddy is engaged in numerous youth arts initiatives in the community and through the Club.
Proskuneo Dance Ministry of Higher Ground Church was established in 2015. The name Proskuneo is from the Greek which means worship. The group is lead by choreographer Keshia Anderson King. This powerful dance expression pulls from a variety of dance forms including sign, mime, lyrical and African movements, to express the gospel through music and dance.
Debra Leigh is a dance artist and choreographer who has been creating dance in Central Minnesota since 1989 when she accepted the position as the Director of Dance at St. Cloud State University. Debra founded the Repertory Dance Theater and the Summer Dance Institute at SCSU, and the Multicultural Children’s Art Connection and the Full House Children’s Dance Company. Debra has choreographed for several shows at GREAT Theater in St. Cloud, including West Side Story, The Wiz, The Little Mermaid, Adams Family, Nunsense, and Ragtime. Debra earned her undergraduate degree at University of Missouri, Kansas City Conservatory of Music and Dance and a MFA from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana in Dance Performance and Pedagogy. Debra was a Fulbright Scholar in Indonesia and has taught at the Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Janette Yiran is an educator and has a strong passion for community. She has been very dedicated to and engaged in enriching her community and many others over the years through her deep knowledge of symbolic African arts and tales. She loves sharing, and teaching African values through folktales, stories and symbols, to inspire and strengthen communities in our diverse and changing world. As Managing Director of Yiran African Arts and Designs, and the Fred Yiran Legacy Project, Janette is dedicated to the mission of Yiran Arts of connecting with the community by sharing Fred Yiran’s art work expanding the knowledge and understanding of African arts and culture.
Valeria Evans is a visual artist, born in Joliet Illinois in 1979 to Dorothy May Evans, a beautiful southern soulful gospel singer and community advocate. Being the youngest of five children, Valeria spent a lot of time in her imagination. "Since I can remember I have found freedom in the arts. To dance, sing, draw, decorate, stimulate the artistic growth of a peer, indulge in the beauty and or uniqueness of something or someone and to create has always fulfilled me in a way I can’t describe with words." Throughout her school career at SCSU, Valeria participated in the arts at every stage. As a mother of four, she has used the arts to broaden the minds of her children, their peers, and community. Valeria uses art to express herself and to create memorable moments for all who care to see. "After years of unknowingly limiting my artistic ability, I was blessed with an opportunity that opened my mind in many ways. It has ultimately unlocked my gift and shown me a level of potential that I never knew I had. I am blessed and extremely excited at every opportunity that presents itself because I see them with
new eyes and I experience a level of freedom that I for long lost. I find great pleasure in the sharing of my art and from the reactions of all who partake in it with me. I pray to touch the lives of everyone that I or my art comes in contact with. Thanks to everyone who supports my purpose, motivates my growth and shares my gift."
Danielle Daniels has a career that includes a wide variety of theater projects, storytelling programs, and workshops. Her tour shows, The Incarceration of Annie, and The Magic of Laughter, Spirit of Our Ancestors and Connecting through Stories, have been presented at the Southern Theater, Pillsbury House Theatre, Purdue University, Northwestern University, University of Louisville, Southern University, the Paramount Theater, St. Cloud, the University of Minnesota, and in Europe. She is the author of "Ghost of Old Man Willie", a children’s book. Danielle is a recipient of a LIN Grant, Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, Jerome Fellowship and Many Voices from the Playwrights’ Center. She has a B.A. degree in Communications from the University of Minnesota, and completed The Kennedy Performing Arts Center’s “Artists as Educator” program through Northern Iowa University. In addition to collecting and sharing stories, Danielle is a teaching artist, helping students of all ages find and develop their own creative voice and style.
Habso J. Mohamud is author of "It Only Takes One Yes!," a children’s book to inspire and ignite passions for positive change, no matter one’s age or background. A proud Somali American and first-generation graduate of St. Cloud State University, she holds a bachelor's degree in Geography Travel & Tourism and a masters in Global Education, Gender & Leadership Development. As a youth champion, social activist, and community advocate, she has traveled around the globe to speak on the importance of women and children’s education.