About the Participants

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Jay Bolotin, Musician (Cincinnati, OH)
Workshop Performance: The Well

Jay Bolotin is a visual artist, filmmaker, and songwriter. His work is included in many public and private collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, and the National Museum of Australia, Canberra, Australia. Bolotin’s recent animated film, The Silence of Professor Tösla, a collaboration with writer Ilan Stavans, was awarded Best Animation and Best Story at the 2020 Prague Independent Film Festival. His songs have been the subject of a recent release from the Delmore Recording Society, with additional releases to include the music soundtrack from Bolotin’s upcoming feature animated film, The Jackleg Testament, part 2: The Book of Only Enoch. The film will premiere in January 2025 at the University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, KY, along with an exhibition of the sculptural sets, working and narrative drawings, and the portfolio of prints upon which the film is based. (Photo Credit: Saroyan Humphrey)

Cox Headshot Fredrick Douglas Williams Square
Aimee Meredith Cox, Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at New York University (New York, NY)

Aimee Meredith Cox is an anthropologist, writer, movement artist, and critical ethnographer. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at New York University, following her appointment as an Associate Professor in the African American Studies and Anthropology departments at Yale. Cox’s first monograph, Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke), won the 2017 book award from the Society for the Anthropology of North America, a 2016 Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing, and Honorable Mention from the 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize. She is also the editor of the volume, Gender: Space (MacMillan). Cox performed and toured internationally with Ailey II and the Dance Theatre of Harlem, and has choreographed performances in public and private spaces in Newark, NJ; Philadelphia, PA; and Brooklyn, NY. She is also a yogi of many decades, which is integral to her praxis, overall research, and pedagogical commitments. Cox is currently working on two monographs based on her experiences with growing up and living through the intersection of race, gender, and status in Cincinnati, Ohio. The sum of these projects is entitled, Living Past Slow Death. (Photo Credit: Fredrick Douglas Williams)

Daboiku Headshot  Amy Harper Square, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Omope Carter Daboiku, Musician (Dayton, OH)
Welcome Reception

Omope Carter Daboiku, known as Mama O, is a 2012 migrant to the Miami Valley. Originally from Ironton, in southern Ohio, she identifies as an Appalachian of mixed ancestry. Trained as a cultural geographer, Mama O has 30 years experience as an international performance artist, educator, and published writer. She is the founder of the local Dunbar Literary Circle, her storytelling is included in Dayton Metro Library’s new Dial-a-Story service, and is working with arts education ally, Muse Machine, to produce writing and theater resources for virtual learning. Since COVID-19, her work on Dayton’s west-side has shifted from academic tutoring to restoring agriculture as an African American heritage craft, supporting access to healthy food, and inspiring cross-town civic engagement through science education and the arts. (Photo Credit: Amy Harper)

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Charles Gaines, Artist (Los Angeles, CA)
10:30am Panel

Charles Gaines’ body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Working both within the system and against it, Gaines points to the tensions between the empirical objective and the viewers’ subjective response. The concept of identity politics has played a central role within Gaines’ oeuvre, and the radical approach he employs addresses issues of race in ways that transcend the limits of representation. His recent work continues to use this system with sociopolitical motivations at the forefront. Gaines’ work has been presented in numerous exhibitions at institutions including: Dia Beacon, Beacon, NY; San Francisco Museum of Art, San Francisco, CA; The Studio Museum, Harlem NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA; the 1975 Whitney Biennial; and the 2007 and 2015 Venice Biennale.

Gaines received his M.F.A from the School of Art and Design at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, and recently retired from the CalArts School of Art where he established a fellowship to provide critical scholarship support for Black students in the M.F.A. program. In 2019, Gaines received the 60th Edward MacDowell Medal. He was inducted into the National Academy of Design’s 2020 class of National Academicians and the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2022. (Photo Credit: Fredrik Nilsen)

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Nicholas Galanin, Artist (Sitka, AK)
Keynote Conversation

Nicholas Galanin’s work engages contemporary culture, is rooted in connection to land, and embodies critical thought as vessels of knowledge, culture, and technology. His work critiques the commodification of culture, while contributing to the continuum of Tlingit Art. Galanin employs materials and processes that expand dialogue on Indigenous artistic production and how culture can be carried. Galanin’s work is in numerous public and private collections and has been exhibited worldwide. He apprenticed with master carvers, earned his B.F.A. at London Guildhall University, London, UK, and his M.F.A. at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand. He lives and works with his family in Sitka, Alaska. (Photo Credit: Merritt Johnson)

Galindo Headshot  Michael Seeley Square, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Guillermo Galindo, Post-Mexican Visual and Sound Artist/Composer (Oakland, CA)

Guillermo Galindo is a pioneering post-Mexican composer and artist known for his groundbreaking fusion of experimental music, visual arts, and socio-political consciousness. His multifaceted body of work encompasses orchestral compositions commissioned by prominent ensembles, operas, instrument crafting, and immersive installations. Galindo’s innovative graphic scores and sonic sculptures have graced international museums and biennials, including documenta 14 and Pacific Standard Time. His creations are housed in collections like Crystal Bridges Museum, Bentonville, AR, and LACMA, Los Angeles, CA, and his presence extends to global media outlets and events like CTM Festival and San Francisco Jazz Festival. (Photo Credit: Michael Seeley)

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Kathryne Gardette, Musician (Cincinnati, OH)
Workshop Performance: The Well

Kathryne Gardette is an artist, musician, and self-described Positive Broker. For over thirty years, she has worked for the hospitality company Prestige AV & Creative Services, performed in the band Drums for Peace, and has advocated for one neighborhood (#WeAreWalnutHills). She has been recognized by her peers with the Spirit of Cincinnati U.S.A. Awards 2013 Pinnacle Award for Outstanding Service, was awarded third place by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society for her original hooked rug design, Symbol of Knowledge, is a 2014 Cincinnati Enquirer Woman of the Year, and received the Meeting Professionals International (MPI) Potomac Chapter 2019–2020 Distinguished Leader Award. Gardette holds a Master of Science in Positive Organization Development and Change.

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Gee Horton, Visual Artist (Cincinnati, OH)
10:30am Panel

Gee Horton is a Cincinnati-based artist. A recipient of ArtsWave’s Truth and Reconciliation grant, he pioneered The Baobab Project, an ongoing collaboration designed to provide a platform for Black men to explore their vulnerability while reflecting on their coming-of-age experiences. Horton has garnered recognition through his involvement in HBO’s Insecure and Amazon Prime’s Harlem, and has received an Emmy in short-form content for his participation in an artist-residency at The Mercantile Library of Cincinnati, which resulted in a six-foot portrait honoring renowned Black abolitionist and writer, Peter H. Clark. Horton completed a 2022 artist residency with DiasporicSoul in Senegal, and was named a 2023 40 Under 40 awardee by the Cincinnati Business Courier. His works are represented in private and public collections, including The Mercantile Library and the Cincinnati Art Museum. He earned his Master of Social Work from the University of Louisville, Kent School of Social Work. (Photo Credit: Jon Medina)

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Anissa Lewis, Artist and Executive Director, Wave Pool (Covington, KY)
11:30am Panel

Anissa R. Lewis is an artist based in Covington, KY. Lewis holds a deep belief in community and identity, and understands that there is power in place, access, and stories. This view has led her to teach, to activate community-based projects, and to make art for the past 20 years. Select projects include: arts-based women empowerment classes for a Philadelphia County prison drug and alcohol abuse unit; a rites of passage program for black and brown teenage girls; interactive murals aimed to address neighborhood voice and relationships; and site-specific installations and videos capturing stories and histories of a neighborhood experiencing disenfranchisement and divestment. Lewis became the Executive Director of Wave Pool in 2023.

Ludwig Headshot  William Jess Laird Square, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Justine Ludwig, Executive Director, Creative Time (New York, NY)
10:30am Panel

Justine Ludwig is a curator and writer. She currently serves as the Executive Director of Creative Time in New York and has previously held curatorial roles at Dallas Contemporary and the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati. She has curated projects with many artists including Shilpa Gupta, Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Pedro Reyes, Jill Magid, Laercio Redondo, Paola Pivi, and Pia Camil. Her research interests include the intersections of aesthetics and architecture, violence, economics, and globalization. Ludwig has an M.A. in Global Arts from Goldsmiths University of London and a B.A. in Art with a concentration in Art History from Colby College in Waterville, ME. (Photo Credit: William Jess Laird)

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Ibtisam Masto, Chef and Owner of Olive Tree (Cincinnati, OH)
Wave Pool/The Welcome Project Lunch

Ibtisam Masto, a Syrian refugee who fled her war-torn country with her children for Lebanon before making her way to America, is now the proprietor of a small catering outlet called Olive Tree, which operates out of Findlay Kitchen. With a challenging journey to the United States, Masto has always wanted to showcase the cuisines of her family lineages, bringing people together through the flavors and dishes she grew up with.

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Nate May, Composer (Oakland, CA)
Welcome Reception
Workshop Performance: The Well

Nate May is a versatile American composer, keyboardist, and educator whose music has been heard across four continents: in jazz clubs and D.I.Y. spaces, on national television, in museums and modern dance venues, and on mainstage classical events at New York’s Sheen Center and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. His chamber, choral, and orchestral music, characterized by textural intricacy, rhythmic drive, and repurposed sounds, has been performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, Ensemble Dal Niente, Wild UP, the Yale Philharmonia, Patchwork Duo, and Quartetto Indaco. Raised in Huntington, West Virginia, much of his work is inspired by the people of Appalachia, including his oratorio State, the result of interviews he conducted with Appalachian migrants on a fellowship from the Berea Sound Archives, and “Licorice Parikrama,” a networked performance featuring West Virginians affected by the 2014 Elk River chemical spill.

Also an award-winning educator, he has served as a teaching artist with the American Composers Orchestra and taught courses at Yale University, Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, Montclair State University, the Walden School, and the Thurnauer school. In 2021, he founded Synthase, a school that nurtures musical creativity for young people through online lessons, classes, and interactive technology. He holds a doctorate in composition from Yale, supported in part by a Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and earned degrees from Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music, M.M. in Composition, and the University of Michigan, B.F.A. in Jazz and Contemplative Studies. (Photo Credit: Fjóla Evans)

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Baba Charles Miller, Musician (Cincinnati, OH)
Workshop Performance: The Well

Baba Charles Miller is a lifelong student of percussive folkloric traditions of Africa, Brazil, and Cuba, and has traveled to study with the cultural masters of the genre. As a performing artist and arts education advocate, with a concentration on percussive traditions of the African Diaspora, Baba Charles knows the rhythms of the drums inspire compassion for humanity. As a presenter, Baba Charles has collaborated with organizations to host cultural masters Afrocuba de Matanzas from Matanzas, Cuba; The Cepedas from Puerto Rico; and YaYa Diallo from Mali, West Africa as artist-in-residence in Cincinnati, OH. He has shared his knowledge of percussive traditions through tours in Singapore for the World Trade Organization and the Armed Forces Entertainment European Tour.

KevinMoore Headshot Photo Credit  Wilson Reyes Square, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Kevin Moore, FotoFocus Artistic Director and Curator (New York, NY)
11:30am Panel

Kevin Moore, Ph.D., is the Artistic Director and Curator for FotoFocus as well as Curator of the McEvoy Collection, San Francisco. His recent exhibitions and publications include Elaine Mayes: Haight-Ashbury Portraits (Damiani); On the Line: Documents of Risk and Faith (Contemporary Arts Center/Gnomic Book), with co-curator Makeda Best; Ian Strange: Disturbed Home (Art Academy of Cincinnati/Damiani); Old Paris and Changing New York: Photographs by Eugène Atget and Berenice Abbott (Taft Museum of Art/Yale University Press); and Mamma Andersson: Memory Banks (Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati/Damiani). He is also the author of Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970–1980 (Cincinnati Art Museum/Hatje Cantz) and Jacques Henri Lartigue: The Invention of an Artist (Princeton University Press). (Photo Credit: Wilson Reyes)

Rael Headshot  Minesh Bacrania Photography Square, FotoFocus Cincinnati
Ronald Rael, Designer and Professor of Architecture and Chair of the Department of Art Practice at the University of California Berkeley (La Florida, CO and Oakland, CA)
Keynote Conversation

Ronald Rael’s creative endeavors blur the borders between architecture, art, technology, land-based practices, and social justice. He writes books, forms startup companies, advocates for human rights at the U.S.-Mexico border, creates software, invents novel materials and new forms of construction, and designs buildings as an applied research enterprise. His studio is known globally for the project, Teeter Totter Wall, a forty-minute guerilla event that took place on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border wall to bring families and communities together. He co-founded the startup company, FORUST, which rematerializes wood waste via 3D printing to produce beautiful end-use products and has innovated the processes for the robotic construction of raw earthen buildings. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, NY; Design Museum, London, U.K.; LACMA, Los Angeles, CA; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. He is the Chair of the Department of Art Practice and Eval Li Memorial Chair in Architecture at the University of California Berkeley. (Photo Credit: Minesh Bacrania Photography)

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RaMell Ross, Liberated Documentarian (Providence, RI)

RaMell Ross is an artist, writer, filmmaker, and liberated documentarian. His work has appeared in places such as Aperture, New York, NY; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, U.K.; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, GA; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN. He has been awarded an Aaron Siskind Foundation Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, was a 2020 U.S.A. Artist Fellow, and a 2022 Solomon Fellow at Harvard University. His feature experimental documentary Hale County This Morning, This Evening won a Special Jury Award for Creative Vision at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and a 2020 Peabody Award. It was nominated for an Oscar at the 91st Academy Awards and an Emmy for Exceptional Merit in Documentary Film. Ross holds degrees in Sociology and English from Georgetown University, and is an associate professor in Brown University’s Visual Art Department. His work is in various public and private collections, and he is a member of the Directors Guild of America and Writers Guild of America. (Photo Credit: U.S. Government)

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Talon Silverhorn, Cultural Educator (Yellow Springs, OH)
Welcome Reception
Workshop Performance: The Well

Talon Silverhorn is a Citizen of The Eastern Shawnee Tribe and has been an interpreter since 2007. He grew up on the Shawnee Reservation in Oklahoma and participated in traditional aspects of his culture such as ceremonies, hunting traditions, and material arts. Talon has interpreted at historic sites and museums across the U.S. and Canada, with a focus on material culture and its connection to deeper cultural beliefs. He was the Keynote speaker for the 2022 National Association for Interpretation conference, and has been a featured speaker for Archeological organizations such as the Pennsylvania Archeological Society and Experimental Archeological Association. Native American Studies programs at Wright State University, Ohio State University, West Virginia University, and the College of William and Mary have utilized Talon for resources and educational programs.

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Chip Thomas, Photographer and Public Artist (Flagstaff, AZ)
11:30am Panel

Chip Thomas, a.k.a. jetsonorama, is a photographer, public artist, and physician who has been working in a small clinic on the Navajo Nation since 1987. There he coordinates the Painted Desert Project, a community building dialog which ultimately manifests as a constellation of murals painted by artists from the Navajo Nation and around the world. Thomas’ public artwork consists of enlarged black and white photographs pasted onto structures along roadsides across the country, but primarily on the Navajo Nation. Thomas was a 2018 Kindle Project gift recipient and, in 2020, was one of a handful of artists chosen by the United Nations (UN) to recognize the 75th anniversary of the UN’s founding. He has no formal artistic training, but identifies strongly with the D.I.Y. energy of punk and hip-hop. (Photo Credit: Scott Sady)

Wave Pool’s blue and white organizational logo
Wave Pool/The Welcome Project, Art Center (Cincinnati, OH)
Wave Pool/The Welcome Project Lunch

Wave Pool is a socially-engaged art center that acts as a conduit for community change through artist opportunities and support. The organization provides a structure whereby contemporary art and artists can be integral contributors to the fabric and success of our city, country, and beyond, by helping build relationships and collective knowledge around complex issues, centering the insights and experience of those most intimately affected.

Wave Pool includes an art gallery, studios, artist residency program, wood shop, ceramics studio, and community gathering space. They are best known for initiating and supporting artist driven social practice projects and exhibiting work that stretches beyond our gallery walls through interactive projects that proactively support our neighbors, such as The Welcome Project.

The Welcome Project empowers Cincinnati’s refugee and immigrant population while connecting, assisting, and inspiring all through art and food. Listening deeply, and collaborating broadly, they work with neighbors and partner organizations to problem solve as artistic practice.

Well Logo Square, FotoFocus Cincinnati
The Well, Arts and Wellness Organization (Cincinnati, OH)
Welcome Reception and Performance
Workshop Performance: The Well

The Well is a Cincinnati-based, national nonprofit providing programs, practices and, connection at the intersection of arts and wellness. Its signature program, Mindful Music Moments, combines contemplative and creative prompts with world-class music for daily use in schools, often over the announcements. Mindful Poetry Moments centers poetry for contemplation and writing. The Well’s first program, True Body Project, is an award-winning, trauma-sensitive program that helps youth and adults find cohesion and connection within their own bodies and one another.

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Tania Willard, Artist and Curator (Syilx Territories, British Columbia, Canada)
11:30am Panel

Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation and settler heritage) works within contemporary and traditional art, utilizing the knowledge and skills at the intersection of Indigenous and other cultures. Willard’s curatorial work includes the touring exhibition, Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012–2014), co-curated with Kathleen Ritter. In 2016, Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hnatyshyn Foundation, as well as a City of Vancouver Book Award for the exhibition catalogue, Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun (Figure.1). Willard’s artistic projects have been exhibited widely and are included in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, B.C., Canada; Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, B.C., Canada; Burnaby Art Gallery, Burnaby, B.C., Canada; and more. Her public art projects include Rule of the Trees (2019) located at the Commercial Broadway sky train station in Vancouver, B.C., and If the Drumming Stops (2021) with artists Peter Morin and Cheryl L’Hirondelle on the lands of the Papaschase First Nation in Edmonton, Alberta. In 2020, the Shadbolt Foundation awarded her their VIVA Award for outstanding achievement and commitment in her art practice. Willard’s ongoing collaborative project, BUSH gallery, is a land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledge. She is an Assistant Professor at The University of British Columbia Okanagan in the Syilx territories, and her current research intersects with land-based art practices. (Photo Credit: Billie Jean Gabriel)

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