Alice Blumenfeld fell in love with flamenco at age 12, and since then it has been the driving force in her life. Blumenfeld is a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts, a YoungArts Silver Award winner in World Dance, a Fulbright recipient in Dance, and an Individual Excellence Awardee in Choreography from the Ohio Arts Council (FY 20). She is the founder and artistic director of ABREPASO Flamenco and she holds an MFA in dance from Hollins University and a BA in comparative literature from New York University, where she graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.…
Terry Boyarsky, pianist, is a movement specialist, singer, and ethnomusicologist who believes that every person is musical. Her search for musical collaboration has led her into chamber music, choral singing, folk dance, coaching, accompanying dance, and creating ceremony.
Terry holds a BA in experimental psychology from Reed College, a BM in eurhythmics from the Cleveland Institute of Music, and an MA in ethnomusicology from Kent State University. Terry has taught and created events for institutions such as the Dalcroze Society of America; American Orff-Schulwerk Society; Society for Ethnomusicology; the Cleveland Institute of Music; University of Hawaii; Rowe Center in Massachusetts; Kasetsat University in Bangkok, Thailand; Los Hipocampitos in Carrizal, Venezuela; Bard College Conservatory of Music; and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.…
Suzan Bradford Kounta
West African Dance/Movement & Music
As creative director of the Thiossane Institute, Suzan Bradford Kounta is loyal to the mission of presenting and preserving traditional dance, music, and culture and perpetuating its significance to future generations while promoting physical and mental wellness. Through authentic presentations and detailed instruction, Thiossane is an asset to the Columbus community and has many collaborations in the arts. The institute will celebrate 20 years next year with the debuts of restaging theatrical African folktales such as “Allandar: The Epic of Sundiata,” the ancient Malian story that inspired the “Lion King” (2015); “Mufaro’s Most Beautiful Daughter” (2016); “Kirikou and the Sorcerer” (2017); “Spider Weaver, The Legend of the Kente Cloth” (2018); and “Mbenktel Khaleyi (Happiness of the Children)” (2019).…
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.…
Music, Dance/Movement, & Storytelling
Joanie Calem has been a performing musician and music teacher since 1983. She graduated from the Rubin Academy of Music in Jerusalem, Israel, with a major in piano and went on to study music education at the Levinsky Teaching Seminar in Ramat Aviv, Israel. She studied composition with composer Hagar Kadima in Tel Aviv, Israel, and completed her degree, music in community building, at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Having lived overseas for 23 years, Joanie is well versed in multi-cultural experiences and cross-cultural interchanges. Joanie moved to the Columbus, Ohio, area in 1998 and has been teaching music and performing all over the Midwest ever since.…
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, Multi Instrumentalist & Songwriting
Sheela Das is the artistic director and founder of Creative Concepts in Music. With more than a decade of teaching through the arts, she has directed, produced, and delivered thousands of workshops and original stage productions with students, community members, and professional musicians alike. From live or virtual songwriting workshops and camps to classroom residencies, Sheela brings her multi-instrumental talent to the joy of hundreds of audiences each year. She has composed more than 300 original, interactive songs to teach the curriculum in grades K-12 which are instrumental in teaching English language learner subjects ranging from language arts to science.…
West African Drumming & Dance/Movement
Sogbety Diomande, (Sow-beh-tea Gee-oh-mahn-day) was born in the village of Toufinga, a small farming community located in the northwest region of the Ivory Coast near the border of Guinea in Africa. He is a professional drummer and dancer and has been performing since he was a child. He has been a member of Ballet National de Cote d’Ivoire and Kotchegna Dance Company, and he has been featured with many troupes in New York City and around the U.S. Sogbety spends most of his time performing solo and conducting workshops in schools, libraries, festivals, and community events all over Ohio and surrounding areas.…
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.…
Tom Evert has been a creative force in creating and performing original choreographic works with a company of dancers, working intensively in arts-education programming and creating festival-like community events in Ohio for 33 years.
Tom currently serves as artistic director of DANCE EVERT, which he founded in 1986. He holds BFAs in both painting and dance from Ohio University and has enjoyed a world-class touring career with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City. He has created a major body of work for which he has received eight Individual Excellence Awards in choreography.…
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.…
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).…