Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba
The Honorable Chokwe Antar Lumumba, Esq. is the son of two life-long community activists—the late Mayor Chokwe Lumumba and Nubia Lumumba. Throughout his life and career he has maintained a consistent presence in community projects and displayed a genuine commitment to justice. Attorney Lumumba began his community work early on—serving as co-director of the Malcolm X Grassroots Day Camp and acting as an assistant coach for the Jackson Panthers Basketball Organization.
Jamie Bennett - @sarmoti
Jamie Bennett has been the Executive Director of ArtPlace America since January 2014. Previously, Jamie worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the Agnes Gund Foundation, Columbia University, The Museum of Modern Art, and the New York Philharmonic. Jamie lives, works, worships, and plays in Brooklyn, NY and has been sober since 2009.

Sarah Calderon - @SarahJCalderon
Sarah is the Managing Director of ArtPlace America. Previously, Sarah Calderon was the Executive Director of Casita Maria Center for Arts & Education in the Bronx. She also founded and ran Stickball Printmedia Arts. Prior to that she worked at the NYC Department of Education and MPR Associates working as a consultant, managing research and evaluation projects. Sarah has also worked as a teaching artist across the country. Sarah holds a BFA and a BA from the University of Michigan; and an M.Ed. from Harvard University.

Marcus Briggs-Cloud
Marcus (Maskoke) is a scholar, musician and endangered language revitalization practitioner. Along with Tawna Little, he co-directs Ekvn-Yefolecv Maskoke Ecovillage- an intentional community of Indigenous Maskoke persons, who after 181 years of displacement from their homelands, returned with commitment to practicing linguistic, cultural and ecological sustainability. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School, Marcus is currently a doctoral candidate in interdisciplinary ecology at the University of Florida.
Christa Drew - @Christa_DAISA
Christa is committed to advancing wellness and equity, with almost two decades leading work on health, food access and systems change, criminal and social justice. Prior to working with DAISA, she designed and directed community food access strategies, led policy efforts to establish the MA Food Policy Council, and directed engagement, research, and advocacy for a statewide food plan.
Derrick Ford
A native of Strawberry Mansion, Derrick (Rick) Ford wears many hats – he was appointed to Vice Chairman for Park and Recreation Commission by the honorable Mayor of Philadelphia, Founder of the Strawberry Mansion Athletic League, and talk show radio host of Recovery Hour on W.U.R.D. 900AM. Today, he serves as President of the Friends of Mander Recreation Center.
Laura Genes
Interested in the logistical poetics necessary to promote productive collaborations, Laura initiates projects that constantly transfigured her creative labor is in relation to ethical codes and public interests. She served as a Newburgh Community Land Bank Artist-In-Vacancy (2017), engaging local partners such as the Newburgh Elite Track Team and local non-profit real estate developer, RUPCO. Laura was born in Brazil and raised in New York City where she now lives.
Ashley Hanson
Ashley is the founder of PlaceBase Productions, a theater company that creates original, site-specific musicals celebrating small town life and founder of the Department of Public Transformation, an artist-led organization that collaborates with local leaders in rural areas to develop creative strategies for community connection and civic participation. She is also the Director of the Small Town City Artist in Residence program and The YES! House in Granite Falls, MN and was recently named a 2018 Obama Foundation Fellow and a 2019 Bush Fellow.
Jen Hughes@Jelllofer
Jen Hughes was appointed director of Design and Creative Placemaking for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in April 2018, having served as acting director since June 2017. In this position, she oversees grant portfolios that support the design and creative placemaking fields, as well as leadership initiatives that include the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.
Dan Kwong
Dan Kwong is an award-winning multimedia performance artist/director/playwright who has presented his work nationally and internationally. He is Associate Artistic Director for Great Leap Inc, a Resident Mentor Artist and one of the 2018 Artists-in-Residence for the Little Tokyo Service Center.
Aaron Leggett
Aaron Leggett was born in Anchorage of Dena’ina Athabascan heritage and currently serves as the president of the Native village of Eklutna. He works as the Curator of Alaska History and Culture at the Anchorage Museum. He also serves as an advisor to the Smithsonian’s Arctic Studies Center and is a member of the board of directors for the Cook Inlet Historical Society and the Alaska Historical Society.
Sadia Nawab - @MsDiJa07
Sadia Nawab is a community organizer, youth and arts educator, artist and a mother. As the Arts & Culture Manager of the Inner-city Muslim Action Network (IMAN), Sadia has been organizing disconnected communities through concerts, festivals, youth programs, creative placemaking and a neighborhood ceramic arts studio.
Emmanuel Pratt - @SweetWaterFDN
Emmanuel is co-founder/Executive Director of the Sweet Water Foundation. Emmanuel's work has involved investigations in architecture, urbanization, race/identity, gentrification, and transformative processes of community economic development through intersections of food security and sustainable design innovation. Now his work explores the role of art and social praxis as a key component of urban design, farming, and sustainability concentrating on the creation of new paradigms for Regenerative Neighborhood Development. A 2017 Loeb Fellow, he has been a Charles Moore Visiting Lecturer at the University of Michigan.
Lori Pourier@LPLakota
Lori Pourier grew up on the Pine Ridge Reservation and is a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. She heads First Peoples Fund (FPF), a 17-year-old national Native nonprofit working with culture bearers and artists in Indigenous communities. FPF provides professional training workshops for Native artists and works with national community development finance institutions training business coaches to work with Native artists. FPF also provides fellowship for Native artists to help them grow their businesses.
Rip Rapson @RipRapson
Rip Rapson has served as president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation since 2006, transforming it from a foundation that funded building projects to one that seeks to improve opportunities for people living in America’s cities, including its hometown of Detroit. He previously served as president of the McKnight Foundation in Minneapolis, where he led early childhood development efforts. He served as the deputy mayor of Minneapolis designing a neighborhood revitalization program, and elevating the city’s commitment to children and families.
Daryl Shack Sr.
Daryl Shack Sr. is a proud member of the Zuni Pueblo Nation. Aside from being an Artist, he is a Cultural Interpreter who has various Religious Leadership roles in his community and a background in public services work. He’s been making Traditional Zuni Fetishes for over 17 years now and is the first ever President of the Zuni Pueblo Art Walk.
Carlton Turner - @solsta999
Carlton Turner works across the country as a performing artist, arts advocate, policy shaper, lecturer, consultant, and facilitator. Carlton is also founder of the Mississippi Center for Cultural Production. The MCCP uses arts and agriculture to support rural community, cultural, and economic development in his hometown of Utica, Mississippi where he lives with his wife Brandi and three children.
Nia Umoja
A designer and folk art’repreneur, Nia works as Lead Organizer in her West Jackson neighborhood, Co-op New West Jackson, an initiative she co-started in 2013. She works to change the look and feel of a blighted neighborhood, marred by poverty, crime and unemployment, and to restore self-reliance, purpose and vision within the people who live there now, and who face the prospects of being priced out through gentrification.
Nick Wallace
Gifted, talented, and inspired by nature -Chef Nick Wallace’s mission is to remain focused on the beauty of food. Chef Nick was voted one of 2017’s Best Chef Americaas well as the Food Network’s Chopped Champion. A recipient of the Bloomberg Art Grant Nick redefines the experience that Southern food has to offer. He is the founder and Executive Chef of Nick Wallace Culinary and Creativity Kitchen, working with local farmers and Jackson Public Schools. 
Primus Wheeler - @JacksonMedMall
Primus Wheeler, Jr. is the Executive Director of the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation in Jackson, MS. He graduated from Tougaloo College in 1972 with a B.S. in Biology. He also has an Associates Degree in Respiratory Therapy from Hinds Community College and a Masters Degree in Education and Administration from Jackson State University.
Willi White
A member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe—Willi grew up in Pine Ridge Village on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Willi is a 2016 Native Filmmakers Lab Fellow of Sundance Institute’s Native and Indigenous program. Before joining the Thunder Valley team as the Director of Communications, he was the communications coordinator and digital media producer for Red Cloud Indian School. Willi co-founded a digital media production company, helped create a film festival on the Reservation, and actively works to redefine the Indigenous narrative.
Diane Williams
Diane Williams is an oral historian, performance artist and storyteller. Her book is Mississippi Folk and the Tales They Tell: Myths, Legends and Bald-Faced Lies (The History Press). Williams traveled across the Magnolia State to gather these local legends and has compiled them into an inquisitive, laugh-out-loud collection. Williams also serves as the director of grants for the Mississippi Arts Commission. She teaches at Millsaps College and at Jackson State University.



Todd Breyfogle - @ToddBreyfogle
Todd Breyfogle is Director of Seminars for the Aspen Institute, overseeing a number of seminar offerings, including the Aspen Executive Seminar on leadership, values and the good society—since 1950 the heart of the Aspen Institute’s humanities-based executive leadership development programs.
Kalissa Hendrickson 
Kalissa (Kali) Hendrickson oversees the Executive Leadership Seminars department at The Aspen Institute. Prior to joining the Institute, Kalissa taught literature at Arizona State University where she earned her Ph.D. in English literature with a concentration in seventeenth-century drama. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music performance from Northwestern University.
Joseph Kunkel - @jfkunkel
Joseph, a Northern Cheyenne Tribal Member, is the Executive Director of SNCC. A passionate community designer, planner, and educator, his work has encompassed several community housing projects, and 22 case studies and best practices highlighting exemplary Native housing processes He’s also delivered dozens of workshops and studios to build the design and technical capacity of students and practitioners in Indian Country.
Hanmin Liu
Hanmin Liu is president of Wildflowers Institute in San Francisco, a nonprofit organization dedicated to harnessing the will of the community for social good. He is the author of Sustaining Change in a Market Economy: Community, Creativity, and Transformation, Wildflowers Institute (2018); “In Search of the Informal Capital of Community,” Jossey-Bass (2011)
Irfana Noorani - @DCBridgePark
Irfana is the Deputy Director of the 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Building Bridges Across the River in Washington D.C. Along with fundraising, she works closely with locals to plan community-driven programs like the Anacostia River Festival and other placekeeping initiatives in the adjoining neighborhoods.
Lori Severens - @AspenAscend
Lori Severens manages Ascend’s national and Colorado-focused fellowship programs for diverse leaders with big ideas to help children and families reach their full potential. Previously, she spent almost 15 years in international development in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. She loves traveling, hiking, painting, and spending time with her family and dog.



Angelo Baca (Dine/Hopi) - @UtahDineBikeYah
Angelo serves as Cultural resources Coordinator at Utah Dine´Bike´Yah. He is a New York University PhD candidate. He conducts community outreach by documenting and organizing information, conducting interviews and writing. Angelo is a filmmaker whose interests include wellness and food, Native youth and indigenous international repatriation.
Widya Batin
Widya Batin joined the Buchanan Mall Youth Leadership Team as a high school sophomore, when she began interviewing older residents about neighborhood history. Now a college student, Widya is dedicated to sharing the community’s stories of struggles for ownership and survival, and spreading awareness among her peers about local issues. WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Megan Bullock
Megan Bullock is the Creative Director and Founder of MESH, a design/tech studio using participatory creative practices to build communication tools for socially driven organizations, working with clients like ACLU. As a SAPPI ‘Ideas That Matter’ grant recipient, she is the designer of the Columbia People Building Better Cities inclusive urban planning exhibition. With a BFA from RISD, she has served as an NEA grant panelist and a National Arts Strategies Fellow. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Rebecca Chan
Rebecca Chan is a Program Officer for the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) National Creative Placemaking Program. She alos manages LISC’s Creative Placemaking Technical Assistance program.

Dave Conine - @UtahDineBikeYah
Dave Conine is Economic Development Director for Utah Dine´Bike´Yah. He served as USDA Rural Development Director during the Obama Administration. Dave’s academic background is in architecture, fine arts, and urban and regional planning. Southern Utah’s landscape is Dave’s source of inspiration.
Sophie Constantinou - @CitizenSophie
Citizen Film co-founder Sophie Constantinou has won acclaim for over 25 years of documentary storytelling tackling complex, place-based issues with artistry and sensitivity. Her collaborations have shown on PBS, HBO and at many festivals. An ArtPlace awardee, Sophie is active in creating landscapes that transform the environmental health of San Francisco. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Rachel Engh - @MetrisArts
Rachel Engh is a researcher/planner at Metris Arts Consulting, a firm that provides research, evaluation, and planning services to reveal arts’ impacts and help communities improve their cultural vitality. She holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Sociology from Grinnell College. Originally from Minneapolis, Engh and her cat, Harriet, currently call Easton, PA home. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Stephanie Fortunato
Stephanie Fortunato, Director of Providence's Department of Art, Culture + Tourism leads the Department at the intersection of cultural planning and urban development, collaborating with local communities on creating policies and partnerships to strengthen neighborhoods and transform public spaces.
Alexis Frasz - @HeliconCollab
Alexis leads Helicon’s work at the intersection of culture, the environment and social justice–including research into how culture can help us address our environmental challenges and transition to a more just and regenerative society.
Emily Fuerste Swanson
Emily Fuerste Swanson moved to Carlton, MN with her jazz musician husband in 2017 to help care for his mother. For forty-five years, she led women and children’s health and human service organizations. She uses her advocacy, organizing and fund-development skills to build Carlton County’s rural creative ecosystem.
Frandelle Gerard
Frandelle Gerard is the Executive Director of CHANT (Crucian Heritage and Nature Tourism, Inc.) a non-profit dedicated to promoting heritage and nature tourism as the lead tourism product for St. Croix. She has spearheaded a Historical Tour Program highlighting the authentic African Caribbean history of St. Croix and the introduction of “Creative Placemaking” as an approach to community revitalization and to challenge gentrification.
Nansi Guevara - @LasImaginistas
Nansi Guevara is a border artist and activist from Laredo, Texas. As part of a Fulbright in Mexico she co-authored /illustrated a children’s book for pediatric cancer patients, currently used in the Hospital General de México Federico Gómez and Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. She studied Arts in Education at Harvard. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Jen Hughes - @Jelllofer
Jen Hughes was appointed director of Design and Creative Placemaking for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in April 2018, having served as acting director since June 2017. In this position, she oversees grant portfolios that support the design and creative placemaking fields, as well as leadership initiatives that include the Mayors’ Institute on City Design and the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design.
Judi Jennings
Judi Jennings, now retired, worked at Appalshop, media arts center, was Founding Director of University of Louisville Women’s Center, and directed the KY Foundation for Women for 16 years. She earned a Ph.D in 18th century British History from the University of Kentucky and is the author of three books. WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Theodore Jojola, PhD - @unm_idpi
Theodore (Ted) Jojola, PhD, is a Distinguished Professor and Regents’ Professor in the Community & Regional Planning Program, School of Architecture + Planning, University of New Mexico (UNM). He is the founder and Director of the Indigenous Design + Planning Institute.
Hakeem Khaaliq- @manuia_samoa
Hakeem Khaaliq is an award-winning American cinematographer, visual anthropologist, film director, photographer, and multi-media activist. Khaaliq is the co-author of the award winning exhibition “Invisible Mexico” a collection of photographs documenting the lives of isolated descendants of the African diaspora in Mexico using augmented reality technology.
Eric Kornacki - @ReVision_coop
Eric Kornacki grew up revering Colorado’s natural beauty, developing a deep-sense of environmentalism. Coupled with a background in alternative economics and social justice, Eric developed a hunger for creating a more just, equitable, and sustainable economy. This quest led him to co-found Re:Vision in 2007.
Jen Krava - @JRKrava
Jen Krava, Director of Programming + New Initiatives, sets the vision and strategy for all programming at Forecast, facilitates artist selection processes, writes master plans, manages the artist grant program, and creates curriculum for workshops and trainings. Jen holds a MDES from Harvard GSD and a MLA from the University of Minnesota.
Susannah Laramee Kidd - @SLarameeKidd
Metris’ Susannah Laramee Kidd, PhD, is an evaluator and arts and culture policy researcher who specializes in helping organizations develop learning processes to meet their artistic and social change goals. She recently evaluated public art, social practice, and public engagement projects at parks and libraries in LA County. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Karen Mack - @LACommons
Karen Mack founded LA Commons to promote diverse neighborhoods through locally based, interactive, artistic, and cultural programming. She researched culture in community building as a Public Service Fellow at Harvard and earned a MPA there. She serves on the LA Neighborhood Initiative board and the City’s Board of Neighborhood Commissioners.
Monica Marin
Monica Marin is an independent curator, artist, educator, and arts administrator. For more than fifteen years, Marin has worked at the intersection of art and community in the Virgin Islands, curating numerous art exhibits, residencies, performance series, and cultural exchanges while forging partnerships to performance festivals, employment opportunities, and increased funding for arts-based development to the region. Her current grant writing for the Virgin Islands Government partners with local NGO’s to support arts and culture initiatives that drive community development. 
Ann Markusen
Political economist Ann Markusen’s work explores artists' livelihoods and engagement with communities. Lead author of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Placemaking study, she lives in Red Clover Township, Carlton County, her ancestral home, continuing to research, write, advise, lecture, and foster local creativity. www.
George Marks
George Marks is an artist who works on wood and canvas using a variety of media including acrylic, oil, resin, and tar. He is intrigued by how we impact the world we live in. The stain of our existence... He's also interested in community development and social and cultural capital.
Lynne McCormack - @LynneMcCormack
As head of the creative placemaking program, Lynne, an artist by training, oversees LISC’s many projects that bring arts and culture into the work of comprehensive community development. Before joining LISC, Lynne served as the director of Art, Culture and Tourism for the city of Providence.
Laura McDaniel - @NeighborWorks
Laura McDaniel is the manager of Creative Community Development within Community Building & Engagement (CB&E) at NeighborWorks America. During her tenure there she has worked on grant programs including the NeighborhoodLIFT, UrbanLIFT, and most recently Project Reinvest: Neighborhoods. Before coming to NeighborWorks she worked as a caseworker for immigrant and veteran constituents. She is a current master's degree candidate in public management at Johns Hopkins University.
Jennifer Mei
Jennifer Mei oversees the administration and documentation projects at Wildflowers Institute. For more than thirty years, she has organized conferences, exchange programs, and site visits for over a thousand leaders, scholars, and community members from all over the world. Jennifer also develops written and video materials that tell the story of the strengths of communities and how they apply these strengths to grow and change over time. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Queen Muhammad Ali - @manuia_samoa
Director, television producer, and visual anthropologist. Queen Muhammad Ali's Great Grandfather served the people of American Samoa as Paramount Chief (King). In continuing the tradition of serving the Island, Ali is an advocate for revitalizing the knowledge of indigenous foods and ancient Samoan pharmacopeia to combat diabetes and obesity through creative placemaking. WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Gavin Noyes @UtahDineBikeYah
Gavin Noyes, Executive Director, Utah Diné Bikéyah Gavin holds degrees in natural resources and public policy, studied ceramic arts in Japan, and has worked with Tribes in the SW for 10+ years. He has experience in land planning, grassroots organizing, facilitation, and program evaluation.
Christina Patino Houle - @LasImaginistas
Co-founder and co-director of art collective Las Imaginistas, Christina is an artist, activist, ethnographer and educator working along the US Mexico border in Brownsville, Texas. Her creative practice uses art as a tool to decolonize the public imagination and re-envision equity in public space.  Her work on "Taller de Permiso" campaigns to demystify, decode and rethink municipal permitting policies for micro-economies.  She is the Network Weaver for a coalition of nonprofits working on immigrant rights, economic justice and racial equity - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Gina Rodríguez-Drix
Gina Rodríguez-Drix (she/hers) is the Cultural Affairs Manager for Providence’s Department of Art, Culture + Tourism where she manages the ACT Public Art program, facilitates creative placemaking projects and develops cultural policy. Gina served as project manager for the Art in City Life Plan, the City’s first master plan for public art, and currently manages the planning process for Creative Providence 2020, the City’s second cultural plan. Gina is also a multi-genre writer and birth-doula.
Maria Rosario Jackson
Maria Rosario Jackson is senior advisor to the Arts & Culture Program at The Kresge Foundation, and an Institute Professor at Arizona State University where she holds appointments at both the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, and the College of Public Service and Community Solutions. In 2013, President Obama appointed Maria to the National Council on the Arts. Maria is the former director of the Culture, Creativity and Communities Program at the Urban Institute, where she was based for 18 years.
Carolyn L. Rubin
Dr. Carolyn L. Rubin is a social scientist trained in theories of racial and ethnic inequality, immigration, community development and qualitative methods. Her research agenda focuses on using collaborative community research partnerships to address health disparities in underserved communities in Boston.
Jomahal Sanes
Jomahal Sanes is an apprentice in the CHANT Building Arts Program (BAI). During the past year under the tutelage of master artisans, Jomahal has become an accomplished woodworker experimenting with different mediums and expanding his creative outlets. Jomahal and the BAI apprentices have participated in the Emancipation Celebration, Mango Melee, the Limpricht Park Vintage and Collectibles Fair and Christmas Spoken Here.
Joanna Taft - @JoannaTaft
Joanna Taft’s professional history has revolved around using her entrepreneurial skills to build community in diverse settings—government, corporate, non-profit, and grassroots community-based organizations. She is Founding Executive Director of the Harrison Center for the Arts (HCA), a leader in grassroots cultural development.
Elizabeth Turner
Elizabeth Turner is the Operations and Project Manager for MESH and a practicing contemporary visual artist in West Virginia. As co-director of Apartment Earth Gallery, she curates exhibits that push the expected ideas of art and the artistic experience in a rural town. A graduate of Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia, Liz has recently shown work at the Juliet Art Museum (Charleston, WV) and at Art Fields (Lake City, SC). - WATCH THEIR VIDEO 
Tosa Two Heart - @TosaTwoHeart
Tosa comes from the Oglala Lakota Nation, specifically Pejuta Hutka Haka. She is a descendant of Thunder Hawk, Jealous of Him and Cloud Horse. Tosa was born on the Pine Ridge reservation and raised by her mother Iris Gay, a fluent Lakota speaker. Tosa completed her B.A in Psychology in 2012 and Masters of Business Administration in 2017 from Bentley. Tosa has worked with Native non-profits serving native communities since 2008. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Deanna Van Buren - @DeannaVanBuren
Deanna Van Buren is co-founder of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, a nonprofit harnessing the power of design and development to transform people and communities. After starting her first company in 2011, she became a national leader in formulating and advocating for restorative justice centers, a radical transformation of justice architecture.
Meghan Venable-Thomas
Meghan is the Cultural Resilience Program Director for Enterprise Community Partners’ Culture and Creativity team, completing her Doctorate in Public Health from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Her dissertation is entitled, “Creative Placemaking a tool for Community Resilience?” Meghan focuses her career on supporting creative community-based interventions promoting health equity across the country. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Brady Walkinshaw - @BradyWalkinshaw
Brady Walkinshaw is the CEO of Grist and the son of an agricultural educator and a school teacher who immigrated from Cuba. He earned a degree in public policy from Princeton and a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Honduras, where he founded a nonprofit that fosters youth leadership and prevents urban violence. He brought that dedication for racial justice and sustainable food policy to various roles at the Gates Foundation.
Margy Waller - @MargyArtGrrl
Margy Waller is an advisor to national initiatives on creative placemaking. She is a Senior Fellow at Topos Partnership and former Vice-President at ArtsWave. Previously she was Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution and Senior Advisor on domestic policy in the Clinton-Gore White House.
Jun-Li Wang
Jun-Li Wang is a connector of people, places and ideas, with extensive experience in asset-based community development and place-based organizing. Jun-Li has received multiple grants for her projects Saint Paul Hello, an initiative welcoming newcomers, and Board Repair, a network supporting people of color on nonprofit boards. She holds a BA from Vassar College and an MPS in International Development from Cornell University. WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Cynthia Woo - @BCNCInc
Cynthia Woo has been the inaugural Pao Arts Center Director since Jan 2017. Cynthia holds a Master’s in Art History from Tufts University with a certificate in Museum Studies. Before coming to BCNC, Cynthia worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Center for the Arts and LynnArts Inc. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Gus Yellowhair
Gus is an Enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne/Oglala lakota. He lives in Allen SD on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. He is a Master Artist in Northern Plains Traditional Art Forms Lakota Cultural Bearer with expertise in Lakota history, and culture. He is the Co-owner and founder of ‘Tatanka Rez Tourz’ with Tianna Yellowhair and a First Peoples Fund Program coordinator for Rolling Rez Arts. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Tianna Yellowhair
Tianna Yellowhair, (Lakota name Cheyenne Woman) is a student at Oglala Lakota College going for her AA in Lakota Studies, with an emphasis In Lakota Language. She is an enrolled member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, but resides in Lakota Country. She co-owns “Tatanka Rez Tourz” with her father Gus Yellowhair and works with the Pine Ridge area chamber of commerce as an Artist in residence. Art continues to be therapeutic and healing for her family. WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Jonah Yellowman
Jonah is Diné from Halgaito in Monument Valley, UT. He is of the Many Arrow Bitterwater clan and born of the Redhouse clan. He was a founding Board Member for Utah Diné Bikéyah (UDB) in 2011 and serves as the Spiritual Advisor for the non-profit organization, promoting healing among people and across ancestral lands. As a Roadman, he is a traditional practitioner who helps the medicine people and herbalists to protect Mother Nature through offerings.
Laura Zabel - @LauraZabel
Laura Zabel is a frequent speaker on arts and community development at convenings such as the Aspen Ideas Festival, Urban Land Institute and Americans for the Arts. She was a 2014 Bush Foundation Fellow, was named one of the 50 most influential people in the U.S. Nonprofit Arts, and received the 2012 Visionary Leader award from the MN. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO



Lorena Andrade - @MujerObrera
Lorena Andrade is director of La Mujer Obrera a local independent organization located in El Paso, Texas dedicated to creating communities defined by women. Since 1998, Andrade has helped organize women displaced from the garment industry as a result of the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). She is also a Rural Coalition Board member.
James Arentson - @swmhp
James Arentson is a registered architect and an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow with the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership based in Slayton, Minnesota. His current work focuses on affordable housing and community development across a 27-county rural region. James’ personal and professional background includes extensive experience in both urban and rural contexts.
Lisa Bellanger
Three Fires Ojibwe Spiritual and Educational Society & Rural Coalition Board Member Lisa Bellanger is a lifelong American Indian traditional harvester and Educator. Community organizer and International representative on Indigenous issues.
Darnella Burkett-Winston
Darnella Burkett-Winston is a fifth generation African American Farmer and cooperative leader. She has led the youth of her communities to become leaders, and to connect within and between communities including as youth representative on the Rural Coalition Board. Her local activities include holding a regular rodeo in her community.
Esther Calhoun
Esther Calhoun was born into a family of sharecroppers in Uniontown, Alabama. Since 2014 she has been president of Black Belt Citizens Fighting for Health and Justice, leading fights against economic exploitation, environmental racism, and political suppression. Esther has three sons, many grandchildren, and several adopted and god-children.
Joseph Claunch
Joseph Claunch is a member of the Puyallup Tribe in Tacoma, Washington and graduated with his Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Psychology from University of Kansas. Joseph is ZYEP’s youth development specialist and his interests include being with his wife and three children, sport, exercise, being in nature, and reading.
Maura Cuffie
Maura Cuffie joins the ArtPlace team as the Senior Program Officer. As a facilitator and program designer, she strives to create space for interdisciplinary practices alongside champions of change. Previously, she worked with EmcArts to manage the implementation of cohort-learning programs across North America. She is a co-founder of the multi-disciplinary collective, The Free Breakfast Program and was a Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project in 2015.
John Davis - @lanesboroarts
John Davis is a Bush Fellow and Senior Policy Fellow at the Rural Policy Research Institute. Davis has over 30 years experience in creative placemaking in rural America and is the founder of Lanesboro Arts, and architect of the Lanesboro Arts Campus Vision which was mentioned in The 2019 National Governors Association publication: Rural Prosperity Through the Arts & Creative Sector.
Ben Fink - @Appalshop
Ben Fink leads Roadside/Appalshop’s Performing our Future project. He has organized with faith, labor, and homeless organizations in Minnesota and Connecticut; directed youth theater and creative writing programs in rural southern New Jersey; served as dramaturg on the German premieres of several Broadway musicals; and served on the board of directors of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc. Ben holds a Ph.D. in cultural studies from the University of Minnesota. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Savannah Hall - @aachindman
Hailing from Hindman, KY Savannah Western Kentucky University, earning a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation. Seeking to preserve her heritage, she became Curator of the International Bluegrass Music Museum for two years. She could not be more ecstatic to be back in the Appalachian Mountains for a cause as dear to Culture of Recovery. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Jamie Hand - @JamieOwenHand
As Director of Research Strategies, Jamie Hand designs and leads cross-sector knowledge and network building for ArtPlace America. Jamie’s background in landscape architecture, program design, and federal grantmaking affords her a unique approach to research, where on-the-ground applicability of learnings and large-scale systems change are equally prioritized. Prior to ArtPlace, Jamie worked at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she managed the Our Town grant program.
Lizzie MacWillie - @LizzieMacWillie
Lizzie MacWillie is an Associate Director at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. Lizzie manages [bc]’s multi-year creative placemaking initiative, Activating Vacancy, an initiative focused on bringing people together to share food, stories, art, experience, and histories to talk, learn, and organize. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Abdurrahman Mahmud - @Mixed_Blood
Abdurrahman Mahmud brings 10 years of management experience in various areas, including public health, water, sanitation, and community-driven development initiatives. He serves as Project 154 coordinator at Mixed Blood Theater while holding dual degrees including a B.S. in Nursing from the Universal Univ. college in Addis Ababa and B.S. in Health care and Human service management from the Saint Mary University of Minnesota. - WATCH THEIR VIDEO
Donna Neuwirth - @WormfarmInstitu
Donna Neuwirth is co-founder and Executive Director of Wormfarm Institute whose mission is to integrate culture and agriculture to build thriving communities across the rural/urban continuum. After many years in art in Chicago, Neuwirth and co-founder Jay Salinas moved to a small farm in Wisconsin. Struck by the parallels in process between farming and art making, they formed the Wormfarm in 2000 and began an Artist Residency program.
Rachel Parish
Rachel Parish works focus on performance and social practice, developing interdisciplinary artworks for stage and public spaces. She led the Little Five Arts Alive Creative Placemaking initiative as Artistic Director and serves on the Arts Advocacy Committee for C4 Atlanta. She is the Resident Artist at CUNY's Dispute Resolution Centre working with members of the NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Team to develop an arts-based compassion-training course.
Adela Park - @myphillypark
Adela Park joined Fairmount Park Conservancy in December 2016, where she works primarily to facilitate the organization’s Arts & Culture program. Under this program, she focuses closely on East and West Fairmount Park, working on various projects like a community-based artist residency in Strawberry Mansion and the annual West Park Arts Fest in the Centennial District.
Lorette Picciano
Lorette Picciano has served since 1992 as Executive Director of the Rural Coalition,a Washington, DC-based alliance of more than 60 culturally diverse community based organizations representing small producers and farmworkers in the US and Mexico. Her education includes a BS in Agriculture and Life Sciences from Cornell and an M.Ed. from the University of Hawaii, where she was a participant in the Food Institute of the East-West Center.
Erica Reed
Erica Reed is a native of Jackson MS, where she serves various community and civic organizations. She currently serves as the Chief of Staff at the Jackson Medical Mall Foundation. She is a graduate of Belhaven University and is happily married to Lance and together they have two children.
Tyler Robinson
Tyler is the Vice President, Community Development, Real Estate, and Planning at Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA), the largest of Alaska’s regional housing authorities. Tyler manages pre-development planning for CIHA’s developments, manages its commercial real estate portfolio, and is a key member of the organization’s senior leadership. From 2015 to 2018 he co-led the organization’s ArtPlace America Community Development Investments grant and now works to incorporate creative placemaking and artist partnerships into CIHA’s work.
Chandra Williams
Chandra Williams, Executive Director of Crossroads Cultural Arts Center in Clarksdale, Mississippi is an artist, educator and activist. She teaches, organizes and speaks about natural processes of creating change with a focus on the role of arts in creating social and cultural change. Her work empowers change despite institutional obstacles.