Photo of Ray McNiece

Ray McNiece

Drama/Theatre: Performance Poetry & Storytelling
Home Cuyahoga Cleveland Ohio Work Phone: (440) 918-0878

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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? Talking Across America, the Star-Phoenix said, “His thoughtful writing combines with perfectly timed delivery to create a powerful wordscape that owes as much to jazz as drama.”

He has worked for both the Ohio Arts Council Arts in Education programs as well as doing presentations and workshops for The Center for Arts-Inspired Learning. He was consultant and curriculum development artist for WordForward in Singapore and for the nationally touring Poetry Alive. He is an adjunct professor at John Carroll University. Ray was recently certified on the Young Audiences National Teaching Artist Roster. Highlights of past tours include a keynote shared with Robert Bly at the First Coast Writer’s Conference and a featured reading at the opening of City Light’s Italia in Florence with Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Ray toured Russia with Yevgeny Yevtushenko where he appeared on Good Morning, Russia and performed at the Moscow Polytech, the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame.

He has received numerous awards for his writing and performance, most recently a $20,000 Creative Workforce Fellowship from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture and a residency from Cuyahoga Partnership for Arts and Culture/Arts Collinwood to facilitate an oral history of Collinwood, his ancestral neighborhood where he currently resides. Ray was selected as Cleveland Heights Poet Laureate, a two-year post, in 2020 and was awarded the Cleveland Arts Prize Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021. Additionally, Ray was recently awarded an Academy of American Poets Poet Laureate grant for his “Poem for Cleveland” project that paired youth and young adults with elders to create poems about Cleveland.

The award of this badge shows that the artist participated in a two-day workshop at the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning that focused on understanding arts integration, domains of youth development, behavior management, academic and fine arts standards, outcomes and indicators, and learning strategies and activities. The earner developed a program plan to apply these concepts in their work with students, earning a score of 75% or greater related to specific scoring criteria.The award of this badge, “Program Implementation,” is the second module in the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning's (CAL) teaching artist professional development series and allows teaching artists the opportunity to apply their program created in Module One to students with one of CAL’s partner schools. Module Two takes the skills learned in Module One and sets them in a typical classroom the teaching artists would face in an arts integrated classroom setting.

The award of this badge, “Behavior Management: A Guide to Creative Chaos,” is the third module in the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning’s (CAL) teaching artist professional development series that provides attendees an understanding of the ages and stages of all learners and adaptation skills for arts activities using the Universal Design for Learning. The earner has recognized physical, cognitive, social, and literacy development benchmarks specific to the different ages of students and has demonstrated an understanding of the students they will likely encounter to help determine ways to help manage their behaviors through the arts.

Grade Levels/Age Groups

  • PreK-Kindergarten
  • Grades 1-3
  • Grades 4-5
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Young Adults
  • Adults
  • Older Adults

Facilities and Resources Required

  • Audio system
  • Electrical outlets
  • Tables
  • Performance space
  • Chairs
  • Backstage area/dressing room


Upon request






Video courtesy of the teaching artist from Arts Cleveland on Vimeo.