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Meet the 2021 Cohort


Woman with long blonde hair; jewelry samples

Lisa Fowler (Charlestown)

Utilizing the traditional lampworking techniques, I have learned how to channel my creativity and develop my own whimsical style. Creating with glass is a very personal experience. I work primarily with soft glass, because the color palette is endless. Glass satisfies my inquisitive side with its many nuances and chemical reactions while feeding my creative side often incorporating colorful patterns and funky shapes into my work. I thrive on the challenge of translating what is in my head into something solid, something that can be held in the palm of one’s hand.

Women with long dark hair; fashion/textile art samples

Kimberly Innes (Anderson)

I am focused currently in fiber, specifically products I construct by sewing. I use a combination of purchased patterns I often modify to improve upon the design as well as patterns I have created myself. My favorite materials to use are cork, waxed canvas and high quality quilting cotton. I mainly make bags, purses and wallets. I strive to have a fairly cohesive look to my work, always attentive to detail and quality. I enjoy creating new products and love working collaboratively with customers to create something unique they've envisioned.

Woman with long dark hair; ceramics samples

Sadie Misiuk (Goshen)

I make utilitarian work that is fired in an electric kiln or a wood kiln. My style has changed drastically from graduating college to now. My work consists of stamping and altering forms that create a symmetrical look to the asymmetrical form and currently researching traditional Polish pottery. I'm hoping within the next couple of months to make more handmade floral stamps referencing the Polish traditional flowers to incorporate in my work.

Man with blonde facial hair; wood furniture samples

Thomas Monical (Lafayette)

I work with wood and a few other materials such as metal, rattan, and rope to create furniture and small functional home accessories. The inspiration for my work comes from a variety of styles including Shaker, Mid-century Modern, and Mission/Craftsman. I appreciate the simplicity and functionality in these styles. I enjoy the history of woodworking and incorporate many traditional methods into my craft. My work features strong joinery, the use of solid, beautiful wood, and attention to detail.

Man with dark short hair; pottery samples

Dylan Quackenbush (Nashville)

I create everything from mugs to large planters and urns. My medium consists of both stoneware and porcelain clays with a variety of glazes. I fire with wood and inject soda ash at the end to both create a unique finish as well as an additional flux. Recently I have also been working around a concept linked to the consequences of drug addiction in small rural towns. These vessels are less functional and focus more on a narrative.


Woman with long blond hair; ted talk stills

Heidi Fledderjohn (Indianapolis)

I am the only Board Certified Dance/Movement Therapist in Indiana. For the past 25 years, my work has explored the body and the "felt experience" as a playground, schoolroom, and the origins of personal and collective change. Like an Art or Music Therapist, I use the creative act (in my case dance and movement) therapeutically to uncover and generate emotional, cognitive, social, physical, spiritual, and interpersonal integration.

Woman with long dark hair; dancing performance stills

Mariel Greenlee (Indianapolis)

I specialize in dance, movement, choreography, and education. I consult, create, and develop movement as a language for purposes as broad as a language can be. In Indianapolis I am a teaching artist for IRT, The Phoenix Theater, Park Tudor and Stage One Dance Academy. I choreograph plays for IRT, The Phoenix Theater, Summer Stock Stage, Marion University, and The Indianapolis Shakespeare Company (where I am a member), Zach and Zach Productions and Park Tudor. I also choreographed two plays for the Pittsburgh Public Theater in 2019.

Design Arts

Man with dark facial hair; designs on fashion examples

Tony Jeffers (McCordsville)
Graphic Art

I am a graphic artist that is passionate about starting creative ventures that expand his network. I've worked as an art teacher, lead editor, brand developer, illustrator, digital artist, and now CEO. I'm no stranger to trying new things, flexing my comfort zone, and actualizing my ambitions. In 2019, I started a clothing brand called Tjers to expand my creativity yet again. The genesis of this new chapter in my life has allowed me to make many products, including t-shirts, mugs, hats, and more. My passion for creating has been ignited 10 fold as I have built an online network of 37k with the launch of his second business featuring trendy products.


Woman with dark afro; film stills

Korie Pickett (Noblesville)

I describe myself as an overall creative committed to creative movements that save lives. I pursue a lot of different mediums in my creative living journey. I created an online magazine in 2018 called Queen Spirit Magazine that showcased my photography, design, and writing abilities. In 2019, I was able to move the magazine into a print publication. Each issue features creatives that submit their works of poetry, visual arts, storytelling, etc. in order to have an opportunity at being published ever quarter.

Woman with long blond hair; printmaking

Megan Sheetz (Fort Wayne)

I am a multidisciplinary visual artist working in printmaking, papermaking, and natural dyeing to create sculptural forms and installations. I use natural dyes and flora imagery to explore how paper sculpture and print media can be transformed into familiar objects. Nostalgic memories of my childhood inform my ideas: quilts decorating walls, decorative figurines and china behind glass curio doors and elaborate tile designs in the sun room. My formal education in ceramics influences how I alter flat sheets of paper into three dimensional sculptures and installations. Printmaking, papermaking and dyeing processes allow direct influence on the paper’s form, fiber, and surface and creates a personal, hand crafted object. Working in this manner allows me to impart my own memory and experiences to invoke a sense of familiar connection with newly created sculptures.


Woman with long dark hair; cover art of a book

Sara Noë (La Porte)

I independently published my first science-fantasy novel in 2018. The book, A Fallen Hero, is the first in a series. As an artist, I created my own book cover and did all of the print formatting and layout myself. I worked with two separate editors and an ebook formatter. The sequel's publication date is set to be July 8, 2020.

Woman with dark hair; stills from poetry readings

Manon Voice (Indianapolis)
Poetry/Spoken Word

I am a poet and spoken word artist, using my writing and performance as a medium for social practice. Much of my work confronts social justice issues such as homelessness and housing, mass incarceration, police brutality, sexism, racism, and discrimination of marginalized populations. However, as much as I see my own work as a form of activism, it is also a courageous attempt at beauty making, which I also see as revolutionary. In this spirit, I also write and create work that illuminates the nobility of the human life force. Ultimately, I consider the ethos behind my work as that of being a poetic documentarian; exploring the intersections of our past, present, and future selves, while underscoring the possibilities of our astounding human potential and capacity. I am interested in exploring and interpreting both the silent and outspoken features of our social language, in a discovery of what makes us most and deeply human. I seek to use my art and activism to create a communal space where dialogue, transformation, discovery, and inspiration can occur.

Media Arts

Man with dark facial hair and hat; film stills

Ira Mallory (Indianapolis)

I am a film director, writer, and producer. In December of 2019 I released my highly anticipated Hanukkah film, The Dreidel on irafilms.com and YouTube. The goal of the film was to present an educational, emotional, and entertaining piece while highlighting the presence of Jews of African descent. My present goal is to continue this work and push for greater visibility within and outside of the Jewish community. This vision of greater visibility of Jews of African descent aligns with groups like Jews of Color, Kulanu, and many others.


Woman with glasses; script sample

Allison Ballard (Fort Wayne)

I am the founding director of Fort Wayne Taiko, the first performing taiko group in Indiana which began in 2000 as a program of the Fort Wayne Dance Collective. During 2019, I finished writing a one-woman show that tells the story of how (and why!) Fort Wayne Taiko was born. This biomythography portrays my healing journey from a dissociative disorder and the important role taiko drumming and the expressive arts played in my recovery. Using the transformative powers of love, anger, forgiveness, humor, a good therapist, and empty whiskey barrels, I created Fort Wayne Taiko as a coping mechanism for challenging emotions, as a healthy outlet for creative self-expression, and as a  way to connect to self, others, and my community.

Man with dark hair in a suit; still from a performance and in the studio

Idris Busari (Goshen)

I am an independent singer-songwriter in the Afrofusion sub-genre. I have been writing songs since 1999. I released my first serious musical work for global distribution in physical and digital form on the 22nd of January, 2009. I released another body of work for global public consumption in April of 2011 and my latest effort was released over three years ago with a couple of professional crafted videos online to promote it. My last project took me back to Nigeria, West Africa where I worked with a seasoned music producer in my sub-genre to make one of the best albums in that musical space.

Man with short blond hair; percussion performance stills

Micah Detweiler (Wakarusa)

I am a percussionist striving to create engaging performances of contemporary music in spaces where this music is not typically heard. My main work is in chamber music and solo repertoire. The goal of my work is to make contemporary music accessible and available to people who might not have been exposed to it in the past. I am also a dedicated music educator. I spent four years working within a high school and middle school as a percussion director and assistant band director. I love being able to share the music and the technical skills that I am passionate about with the next generation of musicians.

Man with dark hair playing a drum

Julian Douglas (Bloomington)

I facilitate community oriented rhythm experiences and compose, produce, arrange, and perform rhythmically-driven contemporary world music. As a percussionist, my influences include contemporary and traditional music from the African diaspora, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, India, as well as jazz, and new music. My vision is to create and share music that draws on the global pallet of human music in a way that communicates something intimate and exotic, foreign, yet familiar to a broader and more diverse audience. In a time where some are talking about building walls, I seek to build bridges.

Woman with short brown hair; film stills, many with a violin

Victoria Griswold (Indianapolis)

I am a violinist in the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and since 2014 I have been hired by the ISO through my LLC, Concert Adventures for Early Childhood, to design programs for the ISO Teddy Bear Series. My programs introduce young children, ages 3-7 to music and instruments of the orchestra through story, movement, and live music. Each program uses five musicians and a narrator. I write the stories, arrange the music, and choose appropriate movements. Two of the programs have been made into children's books and published through the Macy's Gives program.


Woman with blonde hair and a camera; photography samples

Susan Alterio (Valparaiso)

I focus mainly on nature photography and tying art with ecology. In my photography I am trying to show an organisms behavior, a landscape from a new perspective, or enlarge a small object through macrophotography to show an audience the stunning details of the everyday life that surrounds us. Photography is meant to be shared, and I try to do this in a way that is easily accessible to a wide variety of people, both online and in person.

Man with dark hair; performance photography

Tony Vasquez (Columbus)

I photograph mainly architecture, concerts, events, and portraits. I have been working on an art series for several years entitled Nocturnal Luminosity, which includes both medium format film and digital long exposures of the urban landscape that I explore at night time. The series of artwork endeavors to find and capture the dynamic nature of light in the darkness. These photographs are my observations of the nighttime and have become my escape from the trivialities of the day. They are studies of how time can manipulate the light captured and the way it alters one’s perception of these environments. I am awed by the way the nocturnal hours can be still and eerie and silent, yet at the same time, they can be full of sounds and serenity. Shooting public spaces during the night leaves them feeling void and tranquil as nature acts upon them instead of people. The darkness can appear as a distorted reality where one is surrounded by mysterious beauty. 
In the process, I employ long exposures to distort the colors and shapes of the light that creates and defines empty space. The resulting color palette draws one into these surreal environments. It's inviting quality is contrasted by the starkness of the space and the sensation of being alone. These images are steeped in an aura of mystery, beauty, serenity, and isolation.

Man with hat and camera; performance/texture photography

Leonard White (Indianapolis)

I intend to create that empowers Black communities in the US and abroad. I create photographic art of African cultures, giving me the ability to bridge cultural boundaries that have separated Black Americans from their ancestral lands across the Ocean. I have a strong desire to depict the strength of Black women in my art, working to use the Black female form as the center of political statements in a society that typically leaves them out of conversations on race, class, and feminism. I believe women should be heard especially on matters concerning their own bodies, and to assist this, the women dictate how they would like to be seen in their photoshoots, allowing them to create their own stories and allegories that create a new myth of black womanhood and all of the history and potential that that embodies.


Woman laughing in nature; performance stills

Evren Wilder Elliot (Indianapolis)
Improvisational Theatre

Using theatrical play and kinetic exercise, I facilitate workshops for trans people. These workshops involve yoga and improvisational play, and heavily draw from techniques in Boal's Theatre of The Oppressed. As a Trans person, I know that safe space is vital to our communities in order to pursue wellness, and these workshops help to examine who we are within our own bodies and how those bodies are impacted by systems of oppression - and what we can do to claim our power within those systems.

Woman with short dark hair and hoop earrings; film stills

Kimberly Janelle (Indianapolis)

I am a print and commercial model, playwright, director, singer and actor. I am the CEO and owner of Kimberly Janelle Inc. (KJI), the parent company for KJI Institute for the Arts, a non-profit organization which serves as the training ground where young people can champion their skills in acting, dance, modeling, vocal instruction, and more; and the newly formed KJI Talent Agency, which serves as a bridge between the young, trained artists and opportunities that are in the industry. I began to see my gift of guidance with the youth during my time working in the school system and, as a result, I became a Certified Life Coach.

Visual Arts

Woman with short blue hair and glasses; textile samples

Susan Atwell (La Porte)

I am a textile artist. For the past two years I have been focused creating one-of-a-kind and limited edition hand-spun and dyed yarns. I intend to continue to create, develop and market my new products. Creating one-of-a-kind hand-dyed and hand-spun yarns has really sharpened my knowledge of various fiber types, dye combinations and the creative possibilities of  working with a large range of materials. I have worked with spinning on a small scale, experimenting with different processing approaches incorporating various materials, colors, and combinations.

Woman with short dark hair and glasses; jewelry samples

Kay Bae (Carmel)
Visual Art

I am midwest-based creative exploring organic, deeply textured, and delicate beauty while drawing inspiration from Eastern and Western cultures. My creativity is fueled by the beauty of lines, shapes, colors, and space in both the natural and manmade world. Most of my work can be characterized by its linear rhythm, dynamic movement, and use of varied materials that, along with vibrant colors, create bold compositions. Something I find that distinguishes my art is the attention paid to time, color, and methodology. Because of my wide-ranging interests, my work explores a number of mediums including acrylic, oil, watercolor, silk painting, collage, mixed media, drawing, ceramics, jewelry, textiles, sewing, crochet, and felting.

Woman with long dark hair; painting samples

Boxx the Artist (Indianapolis)
Visual Art

I'm a self taught artist, painter, body painter, instructor, and all around creative. My visual artwork uses acrylic, digital, and mixed mediums to capture different elements of blackness from past African civilizations to current day African American Culture. With this strong sense of influence from the African diaspora, it is used as an element to address current social issues, social climates, religion, sexuality, politics, body image, and more. Although I use people of color/people of African descent in imagery, it is cross cultural and offers perspectives open to interpretation. I focus mainly on people and experiences, and often use black and brown faces to document history as I see it being created. People are used as metaphors to address relevant social issues and create a dialogue for change.

man with dark facial hair and glasses; varies visual art samples

Joshua Bronaugh (Evansville)
Visual Art

I use representational painting to explore the way one senses, understands, and translates the presence of another person in space and time. Portraiture and figurative painting is necessarily interested in identity. I use the process of painting to contemplate the psyche of another person. Works of art, for me, become a prolonged meditation on the ability to attribute mental states (beliefs, intents, desires, emotions, knowledge, etc.) to the subject, and to understand the subject's perspectives in contrast to my own. My current body of work, which will, ultimately, consist of dozens of paintings of one individual, thus accentuating the sympathetic exploration of identity. Instead of considering narrative as a literary device (with iconography, etc.), I am interested in the narrative of the construction of a painting. I spend months carefully building the structure of a painting, e.g., re-measuring, rebuilding, sometimes even deconstructing several weeks or months-worth of work in order to find a more honest representation.

Woman with short blond hair; glass art examples

Paige Kissinger (Sellersburg)

I am glass artist with a broad range of skills including kiln formed, slumped, and fused techniques. Warm worked glass is my most desired artist expression. I have completed small to large installations. I've worked with residential and corporate clients. Residential projects include glass vessel sinks, shower enclosures, countertops, lighting, entry doors, side lights, partition walls, and artwork. Commercial projects include furnishings; fountains; glazed walls; lighting; handrails; and large scaled artwork in hospitals, libraries, schools, churches, and corporations. Since beginning my personal studio, I've focused on gallery exhibitions. These smaller scaled pieces feature saturated color through fusion or layered mediums of wood, watercolor, and clear textured plate glass. I'm inspired to create a body of work, not only an aesthetic piece but a piece which unites the client to a sentiment, memory or theme. My artwork encompasses movement, light, and vibrant color.

Woman with short blue hair; mixed media art samples

Tanya Kryder (Waterloo)
Visual Art

I am a whimsically dark, surreal, constructed reality artist. My work is emotionally charged as I create images dealing with my own healing, mortality, female empowerment, and the dark side of the human condition. I also work with alternative processes, traditional darkroom, and experimental photography. Many times, all of my creative processes layer up to create one work. For example, I will create a work in the digital darkroom with the intention of moving it to the traditional darkroom or vise versa.

woman with long brown hair; work samples

Toni Ridgway-Woodall (Roachdale)
Visual Art

My most well-known works explore the way various factors contribute to (wo)man's perception of the natural world, and the way our brains respond to places by building an emotional connection through memory. I continue to build my overall body of (individual) work based on this theme because of my experiences growing up in a time of major environmental and technological chances, as well as my connections to nature through my rural community. Historically, I am inspired by the classical sculpture, abstract expressionist movement, and Medieval/Renaissance engravers and book binders. My current body of work draws attention to social and cultural issues that are repeated time and time again throughout history. My choice of mediums varies because I am seeking to share information through storytelling more so than emphasizing a specific material. I repeatedly create art based in Book Arts techniques/processes (papermaking, printmaking, bindings, etc.), various forms of metal smithing (bronze, copper, etc.), and rethinking and reusing recycled materials.

Woman with short brown hair; painting work samples

Christina Robinson (Evansville)
Visual Art

I work intuitively and introspectively and take much care in creating my art. What I create is the result of a continual striving for personal growth as well as a reach for a way to establish a creative career. My hope is that my work can be both visually pleasing as well as inspirational to those who view it. I currently work in a variety of mediums and love to explore new ways of expressing myself. I have experienced transformative benefits by allowing myself to create in a variety of ways without restraining myself to one particular medium or style. My hope is that one day I can find a way to share with others what I have learned so they may benefit in their own personal way.

Woman with sunglasses on; abstract artwork

Rachel Speer (Tipton)
Visual Art

The main body of my work is abstract and explores such topics as nature, spirituality, and individuality. I do this through the expressive means of color, mark-making, and movement. My main art medium is printmaking, more specifically monotype printing. Each monoprint offers up a view into my emotional, internal states at the time they were produced. So in a way, each monoprint is a nontraditional self-portrait, but also has links to external forces that make up the world and which we are all intrinsically a part of, like nature or spirit.

Man with dark hair; metal work

Zachary Will (Evansville)

I mainly specialize in creating unique custom-made metal art pieces for indoor decor as well as outdoor. I have had about 4-5 years of continual experience with all shapes and sizes of metal artwork from miniature art show pieces, to indoor and outdoor Christmas ornaments, trophies, decorative pieces, and even large outdoor structures as part of landscape designs and outdoor furniture pieces.

Woman with brown hair; realistic drawings, mainly black and white

Sarah Wolfe (Vincennes)
Visual Art

I am fascinated with anatomical drawings, specifically the heart, and am exploring medical and anatomical drawings opportunities with a local physical therapist who is looking for an artistic bend to their social media posts. I also create sculptural pieces that reflect on the fragile nature of our environment and fertility. These seemingly disparate works allow me to speak from both sides of my creative mouth; the sculptural pieces fulfill a need to create a home, over and over, and keep it safe for whomever may reside there. The anatomical drawings are part of a long reaching series (over the last 5 years, I have drawn close to 60 hearts in various media). We ascribe great emotional power and vision to our emotional hearts, and these pieces often intersect those moments of feeling heart heavy, lighthearted or weary. Some are bright and joyful, ready to leap out and hug you; others withdraw and shelter in place.