Tyehimba Jess’ first book of poetry, leadbelly, was a winner of the 2004 National Poetry Series. The Library Journal and Black Issues Book Review both named it one of the “Best Poetry Books of 2005.” Jess received a 2004 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was a 2004-5 Winter Fellow at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center. He won a 2000 – 2001 Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry and the 2001 Chicago Sun-Times Poetry Award. Jess is an Assistant Professor of English at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and a Cave Canem fellow.
Gloria Araya-Quinlan is an International Presenter and Choreographer, who has traveled the world teaching and educating other professionals in the field of fitness and dance. She has been nominated for Best Presenter in Switzerland and recognized by her home town as Best of Chicago by Chicago Magazine. She has also served as spokesperson for the American Heart Association, targeting the Hispanic Community, to increase public awareness of the risk of heart disease in women. One of Gloria’s trademarks is her ability to fuse art and health. She received “The Woman of the Year Award” by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for her efforts to raise funds on behalf of the foundation, and organized “Arts for Life”, a variety benefit concert which gave local Chicago-Area artists the opportunity to contribute to the community by sharing their artistic talents. She is also a passionate supporter of Literacy, the Arts and Education.
Her goal is to Spark Creativity and Inspiration through Movement, and she uses dance to maintain a healthy Mind, Body and Soul. Close to her heart is the work she does with children. She has worked as Artistic Director of Choreography for The Happiness Club, a multicultural not-for-profit children’s group where members write, sing, and perform their own material, and which has performed for former President Bill Clinton, General Colin Powell, Bill Cosby, and Tiger Woods, among others.
For More Information, Please Visit: www.glomundo.com
Will Sims II received his B.F.A. from North Carolina A&T State University and his M.F.A. from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in Theatre. He was last seen at Alabama Shakespeare Theatre Festival in SANTIFIED. Previous credits include Congo Square’s BLACK NATIVITY, SEVEN GUITARS (which won three Jefferson Awards for best director, best production and best ensemble), THE ISLAND, THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT (which won him a BTAA award for best featured actor), A SOLDIER’S PLAY, PIANO LESSON, BEFORE IT HITS HOME, and WEDDING BAND (which was a collaboration with the Steppenwolf). He also recently reprised the role of Avery in PIANO LESSON at Madison Repertory Theatre.
pioneer in the usage of light in sculpture, Scarff still incorporates illumination in large scale indoor and outdoor public works. Born in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, and a graduate of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Scarff began his career in advertising. After a three-year whirlwind tour as art director for the musical “Hair,” Scarff became a full-time sculptor in 1972. His early work focused on three-dimensional neon sculpture, gradually integrating welded metals. In 1976, Scarff was invited by the Museum of Science and Industry to do a three month, one-man exhibit entitled “Fragments of a Light Year,” for which he received a Hugo Award from the Chicago Film Festival. National recognition ensued and Numerous exhibits followed, including the “Chicago and Vicinity” shows at the Art Institute, and “Raw Light” at the State of Illinois building. Scarff has contributed to the permanent NEA archive documenting the Visual Artist Fellowship Program housed in the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art, participated in all Chicago’s Pierwalk exhibitions, completed a 12′ cast bronze memorial for the firefighters killed in the 1910 Chicago Stockyard Fire, and been featured in numerous exhibits, including “6 Scultori Americani Dall’illinois,” an exhibit in Rome, Italy.
Scarff has also curated a multitude of innovative exhibits, including sculptural works at Fermilab, “Neon for the New East Side” east of Michigan Avenue in Chicago, “Sculptural Energy,” a year-long public sculpture exhibition hosted by NiSource, and numerous exhibits as the curator-in-residence at Purdue University North Central in Westville, Indiana.
LILLIAN FRIEDBERG is a bilingual author with a PhD from the University of Illinois/Chicago and an MA from the University of Chicago. Lillian is also one of the first non-African students of Les Ballets Africains legend and Malinke master drummer Famoudou Konaté. Lillian is a writer and teacher, and has spent 20+ years as a Djembe soloist, group leader, and performer in Europe and the United States.
Learn More at: www.chidjembe.com
CHRISTINE ROJEK studied painting at the University of Illinois, and the American School of Fontainebleau (France) focusing on performance and installation, before moving to Chicago where she currently resides. When not pursuing sculpture she teaches at Columbia College, and serves on the Chicago Public Arts advisory board. Rojek creates interactive environments that are often provocative, humorous, or whimsical, and her works can be found throughout the US, including Northeastern Illinois University, EdVenture Childrens’ Museum (Columbia, SC), and Park Place (Tucson, AZ). She has received fellowship grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, and others.
Learn More about Christine at: www.christinerojek.com