BalletMet is committed to being a leader in collaborative arts education efforts designed to enlighten and inspire today’s young people. It believes that dance is most valuable to the community when it is supported by quality educational initiatives. BalletMet’s Education and Community Engagement programs positively affect the lives of children and adults throughout Central Ohio. The organization makes available to a large and diverse population the opportunity to learn about dance as a viable subject for intellectual growth, health and well-being, social development, and lifelong learning. As the need and demand for arts education programs and services has increased, schools and community organizations have been forced to reduce or eliminate programs due to funding challenges.…
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.…
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.…
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, Illiinois. 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.…
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.…
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).…
Visual Arts, Textiles, Mask Making, & Collage
Heavily influenced during the early part of her artist career by the work of Romare Bearden, Wendy Kendrick has applied her years of work with collage and mixed media to her current work with quilted portrait masks. In 2010, Wendy was selected by the Arts Council Lake Erie West to travel to the East African country of Tanzania as a U.S. delegate for a women’s artist exchange. In addition, she was invited to speak to college students regarding her artistic journey at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam.
Wendy received her BA in visual studies from Dartmouth College and has furthered her studies through additional coursework taken at the Dayton Art Institute, Columbus College of Art and Design, and Quilt Surface Design Symposium.…
Visual Arts, Painting, Sculpture, Jewelry, & Recyclable Materials
Eric Marlow is a visual artist: painter, sculptor, jewelry designer, craftsman, and inventor. He has his mother to thank for her encouragement early in life in making him the artist he is today. Eric remembers painting his first watercolor when he was six years old. Art was his favorite class in school.
In 1960 Eric attended the Ohio State University where he received his BFA 1964 and while in graduate school, taught beginning drawing and sculpture. After working as an art director in advertising, Eric started making jewelry full time because of his love for working for himself and seeing his ideas come to life from his imagination.…
Eric Paton (MM) is a world percussionist fascinated by the intersection of movement and music. He accompanied Afro Caribbean dance classes for ten years, including technique and Dunham techniques classes with April Berry Burkey. He founded the Hiuchi Taiko Ethnic Percussion Ensemble featuring the music of Cuba, Haiti, Brazil and Japan, the KataBomba Drummers, co-directed Sambateria (a community samba percussion ensemble), and directs Yumbambé Salsa Jazz.
He specializes in percussion from the African Diaspora and Japan and is dedicated to providing interactive learning experiences for all learners and educators.
Paton has performed with national and international artists including Aretha Franklin, Tito Puente Jr., Sir Roland Hannah, Bobby Shew-Salsa Caliente, Earl Klugh, Milano La Scala (Italian National Opera), Eitetsu Hayashi, and Burnadette Peters.…
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.…