Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld
Multidisciplinary Creative Writing
Born and raised in New York City, Mimi Brodsky Chenfeld has been teaching people of all ages and backgrounds for her whole teaching life—through programs such as Headstart and Upward Bound—from early childhood programs to senior communities, from prisons to hospitals, elementary schools, high schools, and higher education institutions. She has presented programs in creative education in 45 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Great Britain. She has written numerous poems, stories, articles, and books. Her children’s novel, The House At 12 Rose Street, was adapted for a TV special and nominated for an Emmy.…
Richard Duarte Brown
Visual Arts, Design, & Creative Writing
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, Ohio, 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.…
Wordsmith & Storyteller
An Appalachian of mixed ancestry, Omope Carter Daboiku hails from the Ohio River town of Ironton. She migrated to Cincinnati in 1972 and to Dayton in 2012. A cultural geographer and award-winning teller of tales, Omope became affiliated with the Ohio Arts Council in 1990 and the Cincinnati Arts Association at its inception in 1997 and has performed and led story circles across the U.S. and abroad. In 1993, she spoke at the Art of Survival (Nuremberg, Germany), addressing quilting as a cottage industry used by African American women to support families.…
Music, Singing/Songwriting, & Guitar
Diana Chittester has been building a reputation as one of the area’s most gifted guitar players, intimate songwriters, and forceful vocalists over the past decade, releasing a series of albums that display her growing confidence and ability to communicate feelings that are deeply personal yet universal. Diana has shared the stage with Lyle Lovett, Gin Blossoms, The Accidentals, Joan Osborne, Peter Mulvey, Chris Trapper, Lisa Loeb, and Colin Hay; performing at performing arts centers (PACs) and venues across the eastern U.S. and Canada including Kent State PAC, Stocker Arts, Showplace Centre, Evening Muse, Music Box Supper Club, and The Ark.…
Visual Arts, Comics & Graphic Novels
Jerzy Drozd leads cartooning workshops for children and teens in libraries and schools, as well as for teachers who want to bring comics to the classroom. He wrote and drew Science Comics: Rockets with his wife, Anne Drozd, and is one of the artists of The Warren Commission Report. He also podcasts about comics and how to make them.
Jerzy has drawn special projects for Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, Marvel Comics, VIZ Media, and others. He is currently creating a webcomic with writer Dan Mishkin about a magical school called Amazon Academy.…
Storytelling & Spoken Word
Fourth-generation storyteller Lynette (Lyn) Ford is a teaching artist with the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education, a Thurber House mentor to young writers, a storytelling and story-writing coach, a Certified Laughter yoga teacher, and a great-grandma.
For more than 25 years, Lyn has provided stories for libraries and schools, keynote and closing presentations, workshops at universities, education and literacy conferences, and featured programs at some of the most prestigious storytelling conferences and festivals in the United States, Australia, and Ireland.
Lyn is the author of two story collections from her family’s heritage of tales.…
Pushcart Prize-nominated poet, Ohio native Jennifer Hambrick won First Place in the Fall 2020 Sheila-Na-Gig Press Poetry Competition and First Place in the 2018 Haibun Award Competition of the Haiku Society of America; has been selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser to be featured in his newspaper and online column, American Life in Poetry; was appointed the inaugural Artist-in-Residence at historic Bryn Du Mansion, Granville, OH; authored the poetry collection Unscathed (NightBallet Press).
Hundreds of Jennifer’s poems appear in The American Journal of Poetry, Chiron Review, the Santa Clara Review, The Main Street Rag, POEM, The San Pedro River Review, Maryland Literary Review, Third Wednesday, Mad River Review, Modern Haiku, The Haibun Journal, Frogpond, the major Japanese newspapers The Asahi Shimbun and The Mainichi, and many other literary journals and invited anthologies.…
Gary Harwood has worked as a photographer and teacher for more than 30 years. He teaches Visual Storytelling and other photography courses at Kent State University and is also an Artist in Residence with the Ohio Arts Council. He is the co-author of Tiger Legacy: Stories of Massillon Football and Growing Season: The Life of a Migrant Community. His work has appeared in the Communication Arts Photo Annual, the Graphis Photo Annual, The Sun Magazine, Double Take/Points of Entry and has twice won the James R. Gordon Ohio Understanding Award from the Ohio News Photographers Association’s Pictures of the Year competition.…
Nancy Kangas is a poet and teaching artist based in Columbus. She has poetry in books and journals, including Rattle (Poetry Prize Finalist), East Bay Review (Pushcart Prize nomination), and Cap City Poets. Her work springs from play and experiment and a desire to collaborate. In the early 1980s in San Francisco she launched Nancy’s Magazine, a collection of comics, literature, and advice–her own and others–as part of a project to cultivate a community of artists. Helping kids create their own magazines was the theme of her first workshop (Thurber House); others focused on upcycling clothing paired with expressive writing (Wexner Center for the Arts) and responding to visual art in poetry (Columbus Museum of Art).…
Entrepreneur, Poet, Wholistic- Urban Creative Arts & Theatre
Poet, producer, activist, educator, and entrepreneur Sierra Leone captivates audiences with her unassuming ingenuity, profound insight, and comedic sense of “knowing.”
A Governor’s Award winner and writer, Sierra is the president and artistic director of OFP Theatre and Production Company. For more than a decade, Ohio has benefited from Sierra’s vision of creative urban arts as a powerful artistic medium to bring communities together across racial, cultural, ideological, and economic divides. Her project “The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show” presents a hybrid of urban poetry, music, dance, and visual arts from local, regional, and international talent.…
Performance Poetry & Storytelling
Ray McNiece is the author of eight books of poems and monologues, most recently Breath Burns Away, New Haiku. He has created two solo theatre works: Dis – Voices From a Shelter and Us? Talking Across America; two music/poetry collaborations: “Mouth Music” and “A Rust bowl Hootenanny;” and an autobiography on stage: The Lives of A Poet. The Orlando Sentinel reporting on Ray’s solo show at the Fringe Festival called him “a modern day descendant of Woody Guthrie. He has a way with words and a wry sense of humor.” In a review of Us?…
Matt and Nicolette Swift
Nicolette Swift is the founder and owner of Nicolettecinemagraphics. Her roles include general business operations, production management, cinematography, color grading, editing, and much more. Her background includes a Bachelor of Arts in both Film Studies and Art History from the Ohio State University and a Masters in Library and Information Science with a focus in digital collections preservation and access from Kent State University. Since 2003, Nicolette has been providing an array of media production services to businesses, non-profits, and residents of the Central Ohio area. Nicolette is a well round digital and analog media specialist handling film photography, digital photography, videography, web and media installation and consultation, as well as producing her own projects which have shown at festivals and competitions across the US and abroad.…