Saturday Facilitators

 

Saturday | March 12, 2016

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Twelve Tribes Open Mic

1000029_10102257083403567_4195354165752027317_nCaroline Rothstein is a New York City-based award-winning writer and performer. She has been performing spoken word poetry, public speaking, and facilitating workshops at colleges, schools, and performance venues worldwide for over a decade. In sharing her personal story unfiltered, unabashed, and unashamed, Caroline’s motto is “From Adversity Comes Triumph,” empowering individuals to embrace self-confidence and authenticity. Encouraging audiences and readers alike to find strength in their vulnerability, her work ushers others to unlock permission in embracing the power of their own story and voice.

Caroline was a member of the 2010 Nuyorican Poets Cafe slam team, which placed second at the 2010 National Poetry Slam, and is a youth Mentor at Urban Word NYC. Her work has appeared in BuzzFeed, Narratively, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, Radius, Williams Magazine, and elsewhere. Her Narratively article “Legends Never Die” about what happened to the kids from the 1995 cult classic film Kids went viral. As a multi-media journalist, she is a producer on the forthcoming documentary “The Kids,” and was an Associate Producer on Andrea B. Scott’s “Florence, Arizona.” She hosts the YouTube series “Body Empowerment,” and sits as President Emeritus of the Board of Directors for Mental Fitness, Inc. Her award-winning one-woman play “faith” about her experience with and recovery from an eating disorder debuted as part of the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage 2012 Festival.

An alumna of and former Director for The Excelano Project, a nationally-acclaimed spoken word poetry organization at the University of Pennsylvania, Caroline was the 2004 and 2006 UPenn Grand Slam Champion, a five-time College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational finalist, and she helped coach the UPenn slam team to CUPSI championships in 2007 and 2009. Upon graduating in 2006, Caroline was honored for her work with an event in her name at the Kelly Writer’s House called “The Caroline Rothstein Annual Oral Poetry Event.” She has a B.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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Rose Gold

12510345_10205394519810444_7747793329946511401_n.jpgZhalarina H. Sanders is a Tampa, Florida native who is a graduate student of psychotherapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She serves as co-founder and Executive Director of The JVN Project, an organization that seeks to use Hip-Hop as a tool of empowerment. Zhalarina conducts research looking at how we use Hip-Hop as a psychosocial intervention for well-being, and has had the opportunity to travel and be awarded for her work as an emcee, actress, and poet. Appearing on stages such as the Apollo and the Queen Elizabeth theatre in London, England as part of the 2012 Olympic Games’ Cultural Olympiad. Her one-person show Rose Gold headlined the 2015 Women’s History Month celebration at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was selected to feature in the Wisconsin 2015 Line Breaks Theatre Festival, and had its southeast premiere in Atlanta, GA at the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam this summer. Recently, Zhalarina has had the opportunity to bring her show home to Tampa, FL for a sold out audience including family and friends.

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Latina Workshop & Reading

11205618_817308825024463_2147354307436203306_n.jpgYesenia Montilla is a New York City poet with Afro-Caribbean roots. Her poetry has appeared in the Chapbook For the Crowns of Your Head, as well as the literary journals 5AM, Adanna, The Wide Shore, Prairie Schooner and others. She received her MFA from Drew University in Poetry and Poetry in Translation and is a CantoMundo Fellow. Her first collection, The Pink Box is published by Willow Books and was long listed for the Pen Open Book Award 2016. She writes most of her poems while her boss is in meetings.

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Teaching Artists for Change Panel

hazSTILL2.jpgSofía Snow is an artist, educator, and community organizer who has the ability to see where there is lacking, and to create. In 2006, Sofía was titled the Spoken Word Artist of the Year by the Massachusetts Industry Committee Hip Hop Awards. This was just the beginning for Sofía, who at age 16, began teaching spoken word workshops for her peers as a tool to spread consciousness.

In the following two short years, Sofía has shared stages with Rakim to Willie Colón to Raheem DeVaughn, in front of audiences of thousands, and was honored with a full page spread in the Boston Globe. By 18, Sofía was accepted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a First Wave Scholar – a ground-breaking program that recruits and awards young artists from across the U.S. with full-tuition scholarships as members of the First Wave Hip Hop Theatre Ensemble. In 2011, she graduated with a Bachelor’s in Social Work, and was named Top 15 Inspiring Young Female Activists by Generation Progress.

Sofía has taken her passions (youth work, arts, and social justice) across the US, UK and Carribean – performing and using Hip Hop to make change. In 2013, the City of Boston officially resolved  February 28th as Sofía Snow Day; Snow was acknowledged as Cosmopolitan Magazine‘s Fun Fearless Female for April 2013; and Muzzle Magazine listed her as top 30 writers under 30.  Sofía is the co-founder of the Not Enough Mics Collaborative, a nationwide network of womyn artists. She is currently the Associate Program Director of Urban Word NYC.

Sofía is looking forward to premiering her work in progress, for women who stay, for men who leave in Poetic Theater Productions’ 5th annual festival of new poetic theater Poetic License 2016: A Kind Of Now.


1446416248293.jpegChristina Olivares is the author of No Map of the Earth Includes Stars, winner of the 2014 Marsh Hawk Press Book Prize, of the chaplet Interrupt, published by Belladonna* Series, and of Petition, winner of the 2014 Vinyl 45 Chapbook Competition (forthcoming 2016). She is the recipient of a 2015-2016 LMCC Workspace Residency, two Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grants (2010 and 2014), a 2008 Teachers and Writers Fellowship, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is proud to call the Bronx her home.


haganEllen Hagan is a writer, performer, and educator. Her latest collection of poetry Hemisphere, was published by Northwestern University Press, Spring 2015.

Ellen’s poems and essays can be found in the pages of Creative NonfictionUnderwired MagazineShe Walks in Beauty (edited by Caroline Kennedy), HuizacheSmall Batch, and Southern Sin. Her first collection of poetry, Crownedwas published by Sawyer House Press in 2010.

Ellen’s performance work has been showcased at The New York International Fringe and Los Angeles Women’s Theater Festival. She is the recipient of the 2013 NoMAA Creative Arts Grant and received grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women and the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. National arts residencies include The Hopscotch House and Louisiana Arts Works.

Ellen recently joined the po­etry faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan in their low-residency MFA program. She teaches Memoir, Poetry & Nature, and co-leads the Alice Hoffman Young Writer’s Retreat at Adelphi University. She is Poetry Chair of the DreamYard Project and a regular guest artist at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts and Cold Spring Harbor Schools.

A proud Kentucky writer, Ellen is a member of the Affrilachian Poets, Conjure Women, and is co-founder of the girlstory collective. She lives with her husband and daughters in New York City.

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Youth Slam

3362319-3486718-thumbnailShanelle Gabriel does it all: soulful singing, awesome spoken word poetry, lyrics for days, and all while rocking with a collective of the most notable band members in the industry. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, she has toured both nationally and internationally, hitting cities from LA to Vancouver to Johannesburg, South Africa. Frequently compared to Lauryn Hill and the super duo Floetry wrapped-in-one, Shanelle effortlessly blends her soulful singing with elements of spoken word and hip-hop, as well as fusing original music and poems with familiar hit songs.

Shanelle is widely known for both opening and featuring on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam alongside Jill Scott and DMX and has also shared the stage with artists such as  Eric Benet, Talib Kweli, Nas, Erick Sermon, and more. Shanelle was spotlighted on the Rachael Ray Show, HuffPost Live, Fox News and KAYA 95.9 FM- Johannesburg, and was recognized by Listerine and Wal-Mart in the “Your Mouth Matters” campaign. She appeared in a promo for the NFL Draft and competed in both the National and Individual World Poetry Slams. You can hear her voice as the narrator for Jennifer Hudson’s “I Got This” audiobook and also catch her acting in Q-Tip’s video for “ManWomanBoogie.”
In the summer of 2004, Shanelle was diagnosed with SLE Lupus. Using that as her fuel, she decided that she would pursue her dreams and encourage others who have obstacles in their path to do the same. She states, “My battle with Lupus has been tedious, but God has a plan. I want to be a testimony to others that no matter what, faith and determination can accomplish any goal.” Since then, she’s performed at numerous walks for Lupus, spoken at the National Press Room for the National Institute of Health, performed at Capital Hill, and been featured in several publications regarding her life as an artist with Lupus.
Shanelle Gabriel presently tours the US and abroad, stays active with her sorority (Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc), facilitates creative writing and professional development workshops, and is a resident artist in Lincoln Center’s Meet the Artist Series for kids. Since the release of her second album, Aim High, Shanelle has been profiled by many blogs and been named one of the Top 10 R&B/Soul Artists on Reverbnation. This follow-up to her amazing debut album, Start Something (winner of the 2008 Atlantic City Alternative Soul Best CD Award) is propelling Shanelle Gabriel to even greater heights in her career.
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The Academy of American Poets

tumblr_static_large-blue-rgb-academy-of-american-poets-logo.pngThe Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. For over three generations, the organization has connected millions of people to great poetry through programs such as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world; Poets.org, one of the leading poetry sites online; American Poets, a biannual magazine; an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and its education programs.

The Academy was founded by twenty-three year-old Marie Bullock in 1934 in New York City and it was officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1936.

Marie Bullock founded the organization after returning to the United States from her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris. Concerned about the lack of financial support given to poets in America, she decided to take action. With the advice of friends such as poets Edwin Arlington Robinson and Joseph Auslander (the first Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress), Mrs. Bullock drew up the plans and started raising funds to advocate for the importance of poetry and support poets.
Marie Bullock served as the president of the Academy of American Poets for the organization’s first fifty years. During the first thirty years, Mrs. Bullock operated the organization out of her apartment, centering on a core program of awards to poets. The Academy of American Poets awarded the very first cash prize in the United States recognizing a poet.
When Mrs. Bullock passed away in 1986, poet Anthony Hecht said: “It is impossible to convey the unflagging buoyancy and enthusiasm with which Marie Bullock met every challenge during the long course of her brilliantly successful crusade on poetry’s behalf. She was a gallant, devoted, and generous champion of a cause that had few champions before her, and none so successful. American poetry and their readers are all in her debt.”
In 1963, Elizabeth Kray was hired as the organization’s first executive director. Betty Kray was a legendary promoter of poetry, especially through poetry readings; during her tenure at the Academy of American Poets she was instrumental in putting both the organization and the art of poetry on the cultural map. Under Betty’s leadership, the organization launched a groundbreaking reading series at the Guggenheim Museum (1963), the first national touring circuits for poets (1965), the first Poets-in-the-Schools program (1966), the Walt Whitman Award (1975), and the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award (1976).
Today, the Academy of American Poets is supported by the financial contributions of more than 8,000 individuals members nationwide, and funding from private foundations, corporations, and government sources such as the National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

patricia-smith.jpgPatricia Smith has been called “a testament to the power of words to change lives.” She is the author of six books of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah (2012), which won the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets; Blood Dazzler (2008), a chronicle of the human and environmental cost of Hurricane Katrina which was nominated for a National Book Award; and Teahouse of the Almighty, a 2005 National Poetry Series selection published by Coffee House Press. Her work has appeared in Poetry, the Paris Review, the New York TimesTriQuarterlyTin House, The Washington Post, and in both Best American Poetryand Best American Essays. Her contribution to the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir, which she edited, won the Robert L. Fish Award from the Mystery Writers of America for the best debut story of the year and was chosen for Best American Mystery Stories 2013. Smith also penned the critically acclaimed history Africans in America (1999) and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings (2003).  She is a 2014 Guggenheim fellow, a 2012 fellow at both MacDowell and Yaddo, a two-time Pushcart Prize winner, recipient of a Lannan fellowship and a four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition’s history. She is currently working on a biography of Harriet Tubman, a poetry volume combining text and 19th century African-American photos, and a collaborative novel with her husband Bruce DeSilva, the Edgar-Award winning author of the Liam Mulligan crime novels.


8224150Poet, sound artist, and multimedia performer Tracie Morris is the author of three full-length poetry collections: handholding: 5 kinds (Kore Press, 2015), Rhyme Scheme (Zasterle Press, 2012), and Intermission (Soft Skull Press, 1998), and her sound installations have been presented at the Museum of Modern Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Whitney Biennial, among others. The 1993 Nuyorican Grand Slam Champion, Morris is also the recipient of grants from the Asian Cultural Council and the New York Foundation for the Arts, among others. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, and The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation. Morris teaches at the Pratt Institute, where she also serves as the coordinator of Performance and Performance Studies.


tumblr_inline_nxm9enF6oH1rxxrfg_500Angel Nafis is the author of BlackGirl Mansion (RedBeard/New School Poetics, 2012). Her work has appeared in FOUND magazine, Requiem for a Paper Bag, Decibels, The Rattling Wall, Union Station magazine, GirlSpeak Webzine, The Bear Rivers Writers Review, and MUZZLE magazine. In 2011, she represented the LouderArts Project at both the Women of the World Poetry Slam and the National Poetry Slam. She is Cave Canem Fellow, an Urban Word NYC Mentor, and the founder, curator, and host of the quarterly Greenlight Bookstore Poetry Salon reading series.

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Asian American Workshop & Reading

Eugenia Leigh author photo.jpgEugenia Leigh Eugenia Leigh is the author of Blood, Sparrows and Sparrows (Four Way Books), the winner of the 2015 Late Night Library Debut-litzer Prize in Poetry. The recipient of fellowships and awards from The Frost Place, Poets & Writers Magazine, Kundiman, Rattle, and the Asian American Literary Review, Eugenia received her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Brooklyn.

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Activism Panel

tumblr_lt30ytJBoX1r4vhsho1_1280.pngAja Monet is a Cuban-Jamaican poet originally from East NY, Brooklyn. At 19 years old, she was the youngest to ever win the Grand Slam Champion title of the Lower East side’s legendary Nuyorican Poet’s Café in 2007. Her work is classically surrealist, engaging altogether Hip Hop, Soul, and literary audiences.

She dedicates her time and energy working with inner-city adolescence, providing performance poetry workshops and opportunities. Aja Monet received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in Creative Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Aja Monet’s first book of poems, The Black Unicorn Sings, was independently published with Penmanship books (2010). She recently collaborated with poet/musician Saul Williams to edit a book of poetry due out on MTV Books/Simon & Schuster Publishing in Fall 2012 called, Chorus. She is currently working on a book of science-fiction and new music.


unnamed.jpg Seema Reza is the author of When the World Breaks Open, a memoir in essays and poetry (Red Hen Press, 2016). Based outside of Washington DC she coordinates and facilitates a unique hospital arts program that encourages the use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care and socialization among a military population struggling with emotional and physical injuries.  Her work has appeared on-line and in print in Bellevue Literary Review, The Beltway Quarterly, HerKindDuende, Pithead Chapel and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency among others.  She was awarded the 2015 Col John Gioia Patriot Award by USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore for her work with service members.


1000029_10102257083403567_4195354165752027317_nCaroline Rothstein is a New York City-based award-winning writer and performer. She has been performing spoken word poetry, public speaking, and facilitating workshops at colleges, schools, and performance venues worldwide for over a decade. In sharing her personal story unfiltered, unabashed, and unashamed, Caroline’s motto is “From Adversity Comes Triumph,” empowering individuals to embrace self-confidence and authenticity. Encouraging audiences and readers alike to find strength in their vulnerability, her work ushers others to unlock permission in embracing the power of their own story and voice.

Caroline was a member of the 2010 Nuyorican Poets Cafe slam team, which placed second at the 2010 National Poetry Slam, and is a youth Mentor at Urban Word NYC. Her work has appeared in BuzzFeed, Narratively, The Huffington Post, The Jewish Daily Forward, Radius, Williams Magazine, and elsewhere. Her Narratively article “Legends Never Die” about what happened to the kids from the 1995 cult classic film Kids went viral. As a multi-media journalist, she is a producer on the forthcoming documentary “The Kids,” and was an Associate Producer on Andrea B. Scott’s “Florence, Arizona.” She hosts the YouTube series “Body Empowerment,” and sits as President Emeritus of the Board of Directors for Mental Fitness, Inc. Her award-winning one-woman play “faith” about her experience with and recovery from an eating disorder debuted as part of the Culture Project’s Women Center Stage 2012 Festival.

An alumna of and former Director for The Excelano Project, a nationally-acclaimed spoken word poetry organization at the University of Pennsylvania, Caroline was the 2004 and 2006 UPenn Grand Slam Champion, a five-time College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational finalist, and she helped coach the UPenn slam team to CUPSI championships in 2007 and 2009. Upon graduating in 2006, Caroline was honored for her work with an event in her name at the Kelly Writer’s House called “The Caroline Rothstein Annual Oral Poetry Event.” She has a B.A. in classical studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


BK-Nation-Logo-300x298.pngBK Nation is a new national organization based in New York City (the “BK” stands for “Building Knowledge”). It is a movement of people from all backgrounds, combining grassroots activism, pop culture, technology, and social media to spark projects and campaigns led by the people, for the people. We embrace the motto “The leadership is us” to convey that any real and lasting change in our America, and on our planet, will happen because of our voices, our ideas, and our actions.

With the desire to bring people of all communities and backgrounds together, BK Nation holds quarterly Live Music and Culture sessions featuring up and coming artists and performers, monthly forums on topics such as education, immigration, youth, financial literacy, health, and political engagement, and an annual holiday party and clothing drive for homeless youth in New York City. In the past BK Nation has sponsored the 50th Anniversary March on Washington and held fundraisers, including a 2013 benefit for victims of the Philippine’s typhoon.

BK Nation is a blog space for diverse voices and writers both within the U.S. and internationally. Please read our Dr. King package which features 30 blogs from writers in America all the way to Wales and Japan:

http://bknation.org/2014/01/looking-martin-dr-king-dream-still-relevant/

Beginning with New York, BK Nation will build chapters across America. Each chapter will feature the following 5 projects:
1. The Education Project
2. The Leadership and Civic Engagement Project
3. The Health and Wellness Project
4. The Job and Small Business Project
5. The Art and Culture Project

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Queer Open Mic

cropped-cropped-cropped-cropped-11411648_10153381444451763_204905592296884944_oAs a 1st grader, who had just learned the art of “Beginning Middle End,” Imani wrote a story about a tiny elephant, named Tinka, who felt different because she was smaller than all the other elephants. At the time, Imani had no idea that this short story would go on to be the debut work of a poet.

Much later in life, as a high school student, she didn’t know that a pesky moment of curiosity would lead to her first performance poem. As a nosey little sister, she would regularly bother her older brother as he was doing his homework. On a fateful fall day he taught her to write poetry, and she instantly knew poetry was a great way to alleviate teenage angst around being younger and smaller than everyone else.
Since then, she has developed an infinitely rippling love for poetry in all of its forms. She believes in the healing power of words and the transformational nuance of the human story.

Imani lives in Seattle, WA where she continues to share her story and collect the stories of other QWOC. Her book Twisted Oak is available on Requiem Press and her second collection Beloved:Collision is available via Amazon.  Her third book (A)live Heart is forthcoming on Sibling Rivalry Press.


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Linette Reeman is a poet and hot mess from the Jersey Shore. They’ve represented Loser Slam (Red Bank, NJ) at multiple regional and national slams and this is their second year representing Rowan University at the college national slam (CUPSI), where they are also pursuing a BA in history. Linette’s work has been published in places like Words Dance, great weather for MEDIA, Voicemail Poems, among others, and they probably want to high-five you.

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Final Stage

Host

ebonibandw.jpgEboni Hogan is an award-winning performance poet, author, and teaching artist, who often moonlights as a Vargas girl, albeit a heavily tattooed one. Born in the Bronx to an emcee and a choir girl, Hogan studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She is the 2010 Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, 2010 Underground Indies Slam Champion, the 2008 Urbana Grand Slam Champion, and a two-time representative of the Nuyorican Slam Team. She has performed and facilitated workshops in over thirty US cities, as well as abroad in Ghana and Germany. She is the author of Grits, a collection of poetry that was nominated for a 2010 Pushcart Prize. She believes in the healing properties of bargain shopping, globe-trotting, and good whiskey. What follows is a transcript of her recent chat with poet Andrea Henchey.


Showcase by Youth Poetry Slam Champ (TBD)


Features

1440458747718.jpegJennah Bell is an Oakland-grown singer/songwriter whose ravenous musical curiosities inspired her own creative wonderland; her quirky songwriting and undefinable genre is a direct product of her proud Bay Area roots. As the architect of all aspects of her musical endeavours, Jennah pulls from a colorful palette of Folk, Soul, R&B, Hip‐Hop, and Bluegrass.

     Jennah was selected by the Grammy Foundation to participate in the summer program under the tutelage of Jimmy Jam, Paul Williams, and David Foster, all of whom embraced her unorthodox writing style. This experience encouraged Jennah to further her studies at the prestigious Berklee College of Music, where she immersed herself in a community of artists, and found much inspiration in her peers and professors. Included in her supporters is the legendary Paul Simon who extended his expertise and mentorship to the burgeoning artist.

     In 2011, Jennah released her first self-produced EP, the experimental “Early Bird,” and set out for New York City where, she’s been warmly welcomed into NYC’s renowned music scene. Since moving to New York, she has performed at The 2012 BET Awards as a independent artist, CMJ’s Music Marathon, SXSW Music Festival, Blue Note Jazz Festival, the main stage of The Roots Picnic, and the prestigious 2013 North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam, where she received a standing ovation. She released a 3‐piece acoustic set “Live at Mother,” EP December of 2012 which was profiled on Okayplayer.com. She has shared the stage with artist such as Hiatus Kaiyote, Cody Chesnutt, Gregory Porter, Alice Smith, KING, and Eric Benet. Bell is currently working on her debut studio album titled, “Anatomy”  with contributions from Grammy winning mix engineer and producer, Russell Elevado, Neal Pogue — and multi‐Grammy winning songwriter, musician and multi‐platinum producer James Poyser.

     Haunting as the blues, gritty as rap verse, and enchanting as only folk can be, Jennah Bell is the sum of music’s best parts.


IMG_1049Leslie Lissaint is from Minneapolis, MN and has called Brooklyn her home for the past three years. Leslie started out as an intern with Hi-ARTS and currently serves at the Project Manager. She is a world traveler and international performance artist, actress, dancer, and playwright. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Madison where she was a First Wave Scholar. Mrs. Lissaint has studied at the Eugene O’Neil National Theater Intensive and  The Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theater. Recently she toured “Redbone: A Biomythography” written by Mahogany L. Browne and currently is the choreographer for the Journal to Journey Program that is presented by Urban Word, New York Live Arts, and Hi-ARTS.

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