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’s work has now expanded to online videos and Zoom sessions for classroom presentations in grades PreK-5 and family night Zoom gatherings, with enrichment information to guide reflection and discussion before and after watching videos.…
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 a resident teaching artist supported by the Ohio Arts Council’s TeachArtsOhio program. 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.…
Theatre, 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?…
Visual Arts, Comics & Graphic Novels
Carol Tyler is an influential pioneer of American Comics, known for her beautifully written and drawn by hand autobiographical stories.
Carol was born and raised in Chicago, received her Masters from Syracuse in 1983. After some years in NYC, she moved to San Francisco and began getting her comics published in R. Crumb’s Weirdo. In 1988, Tyler received the Dori Seda Memorial Award for Best New Female Cartoonist.
Tyler has many books.There’s the graphic masterpiece “Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand my WWII Veteran Father, A Daughter’s Memoir” (2015) which began as the “You’ll Never Know” trilogy.…