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Meet the 2022 Cohort

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Aja Essex (Bloomington)
Film Writer, Podcaster, and Exhibitor


I am a film writer, podcaster, and exhibitor who focuses on bringing international and unique works of cinema to southern Indiana. As a writer, I co-founded the Indiana University Cinema blog where I focus my writing on works with strong authorial voices, “genre” cinema, film scores, and the importance of physical media. As a podcaster and producer for the Indiana University Cinema and Black Film Center and Archive, I record and edit podcasts with the intention of engaging the listener with casual conversation and barrier-free context about the world of film.
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Austin Day (Indianapolis)
Dancer and Choreographer


I am a dancer and choreographer by craft and a teacher by trade. My creative work aims build dancers and choreographers that are comparable to any industry standard, and create powerfully intriguing and entertaining pieces. I choreograph for theatre, commercials, music videos, and personal artistic commission.

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Bandy Russell (Morgantown)
Visual Artist

Although my work is becoming very diverse, creating unique art with animals has been a primary focus in the evolution of my work.  Upcycling slate roofing with acrylic painting, mounted to crafted burned pine wood plaques with horseshoe nails.  Subjects have been from commissioned memorials of animals to mermaids.  In addition to the slate paintings, I use wood to engrave, carve, and paint to capture the heart of animals as well as functional art. One of my favorite examples is the mustang guitar holder.  With a love for the art of rocks, I have also been expanding to include wire wrapped pendants. Currently I am working on multi media 3-D art using wood and rocks with foresight to start creating wall light with rocks and wood medium.

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Beatriz Vasquez (Indianapolis)
Papel Picado Artist

My creative practice began 16 years ago, from my own diaspora, a need to reconnect to Mexican culture and as a form of finding self identity, purpose, and meaning.  My creative practice is inspired by Papel Picado, an ancient Mexican craft created by indigenous Mexican people of Puebla and San Luis Potosi, Mexico where my family originates.  Papel Picado means cut paper in English, therefore, I am a paper cutting artist and I am considered a master of my craft by bringing an ancient craft with innovative imagery and visualizations of modern day social justice issues.
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Cecily Terhune (Carmel)
Musician


My main creative work involves communicating with audiences through the broad lens of music performance. I perform in several varied musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, fusion, rock, funk, ska, R&B, folk, pop, soul, and musical theater in order to experience all the emotion, vitality, and passion music has to offer.
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Celeste Lengerich  (Fort Wayne)
Painter


My most recent artworks are floral paintings that were exhibited in “Colors of Life: Latina Artists for National Hispanic Heritage Month” at the gallery Creative Women of the World in Fort Wayne from September to November 2021. The floral paintings use symbolic imagery to tell a story about the beauty of life, love, and death. These pieces were created after a long period of processing grief caused by the loss in 2015 of my husband during the winter and my mother in the late summer.
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Charles Gillespie (Bloomington)
Writer

I have been publishing satire and humor online for eight years, and I have enjoyed being part of this writing community and putting my work into the world. Some of the pieces I’ve written have achieved significant success—with a readership in the hundreds of thousands and coverage in the media—which has led me to believe that I can connect with a wide readership. Now I wish to use some of the skills I’ve developed with shorter work to pursue a more sustained effort in the form of a satirical novel.
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Christopher Box (Indianapolis)
Musician

I am a musical artist that creates songs through hip-hop, rap, and R&B influences. The creativity comes from life experiences as well as inner feelings. Being a recording artist has taught me a lot things far as having a voice and others being able to hear through the music that is created. I use my music to captivate a crowd through live performances, audio recordings, and visuals including photography and music videos. My main creative work is the music that I make expressed through lyrical songs. My songs can inspirational, fun, emotional or sad, or high-energy and uplifting. Creatively I seek to tell my story and share my experiences that connect to the youth who may share the similar experiences.

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Cynthia Frank (Anderson)
Fabric, Clothing and Textile Design

My art work has always come with a lot of color and inspired by nature! My current art form has been fabric, clothing, and textile design. Some of the fabrics I use are silk, cotton, rayon, and can be used in wall pieces, home furnishings, kimonos, or festival wear. The details in my work can be pretty amazing with the small intricate lines, along with the variety of patterns and mixtures of colors. As I am working on a piece, I decide where the lines around the sleeve or collar will go, applying a thin or thicker line and design. When applying the colors, I keep in mind the design that was created and how I hope the color mixture might look after it is done. Some pieces might have color discharged and then redyed at least one or two more times, producing many layers of different colors. Although it is not your traditional art form, the patterns, lines, designs, and colors still accent the space to create a beautiful piece. Each of the fabrics I use are natural fibers and take color very well, but differently. Whatever item I have decided to create is determined by the fabric, detail and layout of everything else.

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Daniel Swartz (Poneto)
Letterpress Printing

I practice hand Letterpress printing in my small studio in rural North-Central Indiana. Letterpress printing is an artisan craft-printing process using physical movable type (letters) cut from wood (or cast in metal, but I only use wood) which are then inked and pressed on paper to create an impression. The process is closely related to the traditional relief printmaking process. I use very little automation in my process, every print comes from a hand-inked design, which is hand-pressed before hanging to dry. For custom shapes or replacement letters I mostly carve pieces from linoleum, though I have had a complex piece laser cut by a friend and also purchased some pre-cut pieces from other sources in the name of expediency. The printing process is slow but generates a completely unique print every time with varying textures and character. I love the tactile and personal nature of this art form.
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Emily Bennett (Terre Haute)
Visual Artist

My main creative work is sculpture. While earning my MFA, I focused on large scale steel sculpture, and combined elements of fiber art. The hard and soft materials have always called to me, and when I had the space and freedom to work large scale, I took advantage of that. Now as a mother and full time Director of Education at the Swope Art Museum, I have a much smaller workspace and less time to create. I have transitioned to smaller scale steel frames and am focusing more on the fiber art aspect of my work now. These smaller pieces I can do while sitting in my living room, they don’t take up large amounts of space, and they sell successfully online to an audience that may not be ready for more large-scale abstract work. I am flexible in my processes and while I stay true to my creative vision, I am always thinking of the consumer when it comes to selling my artwork.

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Emily Franks (Indianapolis)
Dancer

Growing up I always dreamed of being a professional dancer but never believed that such risky hard work on my behalf would actually be realized. Consequently, during my time at the University of Oklahoma I continued to train as a dancer while working to receive my degree in business marketing. The innate artistic side of my brain fell in love with the creative opportunities hidden within such a business-centric field. Nevertheless, I continued dancing and moved to Indianapolis right after I graduated college to train under David Hochoy at Dance Kaleidoscope. It truly is an amazing feeling to do what you love every day and call it “work”. Dance, for me, is a language. It is when I use movement that I am able to communicate the most clearly. As a naturally soft-spoken person movement has always been my way of expressing myself, however, due to the plan God had in-store for me I have been able to explore other abilities that help promote the arts in our community.
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Erica Coffing (Rochester)
Visual Artist


I am a visual artist working in 2-dimensional media, including oil paint, pastel, charcoal, and printmaking. I explore the relationships we have to ourselves and to nature. The portrait, landscape, and the figure are all interwoven into my subject matter. My work is about bold color, expressive mark-making, and although realistic it leans strongly into abstraction.

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Hilary Cannon Anderson (Bloomington)
Textile Artist & Teaching Artist


I am a teaching artist dedicated to visually communicating my ideas and passions and helping others develop the skills they need to share their ideas. In teaching, I explore widely varied media and techniques. In my own art production, fabric is my preferred medium. I create art quilts for clients and to give voice to the images, ideas, and stories swirling in my own head. I create works with both narrative and geometric elements. My artwork is filled with bold colors and lush textures.
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Joanne Roeder (Carmel)
Visual Artist


My main creative work in the arts up until this year has involved my style of fundamental realism. I have studied fine arts for the last 30 years using the mediums of watercolor and oils. I first featured botanicals in my work and gradually included landscapes reflecting visual memories of vacations and extraordinary holidays.
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Jonathan Southern (Indianapolis)
Visual Artist


I am an heirloom portrait artist. My artwork is a synergy of photorealism with simple elegance and sophistication. Family, music and pop culture inspire my artwork. I use color pencil, graphite pencil, and mixed media as my medium of choice. The overall body of my artwork features a thread of color and positive imagery. Collectively, I want people to see my portrait art to capture the memory of a person or period they hold important. My goal or vision is to provide affordable quality heirloom portrait art people can pass down as a gift from generation to generation.

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Kathaleen L Wessel (Anderson)
Abstract Artist

Presently, I am working as an abstract artist.  Even as I lean toward more realistic pieces there is still an element of abstraction.  I like the freedom of being more intuitive and playing as I create my abstract works.  Abstraction allows me to pursue many combinations of colors, shapes, and placement of materials. I am especially drawn to bright colors and contrast.  My work allows me to express myself while responding to my environment.  Many times my titles will also be abstract.  In fact, being able to be obscure my intent is significant to me.  Abstract creations allow me to explore how others perceive my art and get a true response from the viewer.   So in actuality, even my titles may be abstract.
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Katie Lee (Mishawaka)
Composer


As a musical theater composer, I write the story, lyrics and music for shows. My background is in classical piano music studies and in film writing.  My most recent work “Irish Catholic” is a 90 minute full musical theater coming of age show about Shavon O’Brien, the black sheep of her very large Irish Catholic family. Containing puppets and surreal comedy influenced heavily by The Young Ones and The Second City comedy traditions, the show celebrates the unique qualities of South Bend, Indiana.

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Kierra Ready (Indianapolis)
Visual Artist


The goal of my work is to allow people to share the experience of art with me. I create paintings inspired by my own internal reflections and messages of hope I would like to share with the world. My preferred medium is acrylic paint on canvas however I often create mixed media pieces using oil pastel and cutouts.
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Lavinia Hale (Greencastle)
Visual Artist


Working mostly in oils, en plein air, I seek to distill the beauty of the natural world into loose expressive strokes of color and value. Inspired by the works of the American Tonalist and the current Impressionism movements, especially George Inness and contemporary artist Bato Dugarhapov. I seek to transmute the complex into semi-abstract passages of luscious paint.
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Leanne McGiveron (West Lafayette)
Textile Designer and Photographer

My main creative work is in textile design and photography. I bridge the two together via color.  This is done selecting fabric colors from my images and bringing them to life textiles pieces. My current work is also influenced by travel. For example, my Ireland Inspired project translates Celtic knots from Ireland's Book of Kells into appliqué pieces; colors are based upon my travels to Ireland.  A new project revolves around an upcoming travel to Antarctica in 2023.  The first half is Antarctica: Anticipating the Adventure, which includes designs around questions around Antarctica, such as 'how many hours of daylight?', 'how is climate change affecting the continent?' or 'Is Drake's Passage really a storm at sea?'.  Once returning, I will create another set based upon the colors of Antarctica into new textile designs.

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Leslie Noel Jr. (Fort Wayne)
Musician


I am a true music artist who specializes in rap, singing, and songwriting mostly in the Hip-hop and R&B genres. While my main expertise and brand is in Hip Hop and R&B, my songwriting reaches across even more genres. I provide music that contains, depth, energy, emotions and lyrics that can be felt throughout every record. I also provide show performances and appearances to connect with my fans and even more people on a more personal level so that my brand can continue to grow.

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Lyndy Bazile (Fort Wayne)
Visual Artist

Since  2019, my art practice has been focused on creating images that reach beyond the dominate culture to support the historically marginalized, celebrate multiplicity, and evoke pride in diverse identities. I work with acrylic, watercolor and oil paints as well as with block printing and screen printing to create these visual representation. As a multiracial woman of color as well as a single mother, this work has been meaningful in my own personal healing and growth. I have been honored to realize that this work has also had a similar impact on others, particularly those who have felt unseen and ignored by the leading narratives that comprise the society in which we live.

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Marcie Couet (Franklin)
Painter


I’m a Franklin, Indiana-based abstract painter. My work took off when I developed my personal process for creating bold and energetic abstracts. It grew again when I honed a process for creating abstract florals where I pursue a “hidden harmony“ that conveys floral images in a subtle and not so obvious manner.
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Margaret Beeler (Michigan City)
Visual Art

My main creative work involves the writing and production of novels, specifically in the fantasy genre (while I am also working on a side project that is in the romance genre). I write the books, which take several months to draft and ensure that the plot is comprehensive. I also scout out professionals to help with editing, cover design, formatting, and interior illustrations/cartography, and work with them to bring the book up to the industry standard--something I really value as an independent author is to ensure that my books are indistinguishable from those that would come out of a traditional publishing house (because there is a stigma around self published works that they are "home-made" and therefore not as worthy, I want to ensure that my readers know they are receiving a quality product). Writing has been something that has been a part of my life since I was 12 years old. I have worked on my writing consistently over the years and have grown significantly since the first draft was penned in 2012. This June, I published my first full length novel, which was the culmination of the drafts from over 10 years. I promptly began working on Book 2 of that series, which I am currently working on at this moment, as well as another short story that takes place in the same universe.

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Matt Scutchfield (Plymouth)
Musician

My main creative work focuses equally on traditional folk music (often bluegrass) and avant-garde, or sometimes the combination of the two.  My work, and background, is rooted in bluegrass music and American fiddle styles, but shortly before college I was drawn to music that falls under the large umbrella term of "avant-garde" or experimental, after wanting to work in an idiom with fewer stylistic restrictions and interpretation rules.  Later, I realized that my work could not be one or the other, but both styles, though far apart, would be part of my main work.  Though usually presented separately, sometimes my work does combine the two seemingly disparate styles, often through free-form style improvisations based on fiddle tunes.  Both genres often see me performing spontaneously, by ear, but I do regularly perform composed works. For the majority of the aforementioned work, I am performing on violin or viola, but I also perform on numerous other instruments, primarily focusing on guitar and banjo for my own work, and offering mandolin, bass, dobro, cello, and ukulele for accompaniment or sideman roles.
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Michael Shannon (Indianapolis)
Writer


The main body of work that I am currently dedicated to is a series of fantasy novels titled "The Zephyr Saga." I aim to publish and cultivate a series of fantasy novels unlike much of what one might see in mainstream literature and art, featuring story elements and cultural influences that will set a new mainstream in popular fiction. I want to create worlds, and I want to find beauty in the mundanity of everyday life and infuse that essence onto the canvas of my choosing.

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Ngozi Rogers (Fort Wayne)
Media Arts

I am a visual recorder and promoter of artists and local not-for-profit organizations. As a writer, producer, photographer and videographer I teach creative ways to promote art, document processes, and share artist works to the world. Currently I work with artists, small businesses, and local organizations to raise their profiles and missions to increase awareness and their viability. I also teach creative ways to use their existing or 'old' photos, videos to create new content/programming. I believe one of my best talents is in the art of brainstorming. I speak with clients, listen to their ideas, ask questions and help to visually communicate their ideas and programs. I am their storyteller or griot. They know their art, audience, and importance to the community and I interpret/translate for them to listeners or viewers through technology, social media, and local media outlets. Many artists, elders, and people of color are unfamiliar or without the equipment/resources to create with technology. I am a creative resource for them.
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Norah Amstutz (South Bend)
Ceramicist


My creative work consists of artful functional ceramic pieces for everyday use. My line consists of everything from kitchenware to dinnerware to barware to homeware. All of my pieces are wheel-thrown and hand carved or hand painted. I work with high-fire clay: commercial porcelain and stoneware and an iron rich clay body that my coworker harvests from a family plot and processes himself.
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Tammeron Jonesfrancis (Muncie)
Visual Art

My creative practice is centered around Ceramic Arts and decorated functional ware. The themes of the decorated pottery fall into three categories: humorous, en plein air,and glazed functional ware. All pots that I make have a 'functional' place in the home or at festive occasions. My pottery vocabulary includes: bottles, plates, tumblers, bowls, pitchers and sauerkraut crocks. Pottery made with humorous images often take the most time but it is the work that I enjoy the most. Example images have included: roosters and grain elevators, midwestern wildlife including raccoons and rabbits and horo and chorus (people holding hands in a round dance). Pottery decorated en plein air, in a wilderness setting,  is normally completed using mishima. My functional glazed pottery leans toward simplicity with two contrasting glazes on the interior and exterior. Functional pottery seems a natural match for my architectural education. It is with both pottery and architecture that the thing becomes alive when it is in the atmosphere of use or everyday ritual. Likewise, if pottery is done well it will ignite the function of the pot.
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Tania Wineglass (Indianapolis)
Visual Art

Currently my primary medium is painting and mixed media. I have been working on a body of work I call the Legacy series since 2017. This body of work focuses on African American women, past and present, who have made significant contributions to American history. I started this series because I wanted to present the contributions of African American women in an impactful and yet compact way to a younger generation. Each painting has the historical figure as the central focus and is then surrounded by symbolism and imagery that depicts the crux of that individual's story I see this as an ongoing body of work, it never ends. My most recent concept is a body of work I began in 2021 called Curiouser and Curiouser. This body of work is based upon fairytales reimagined using traditional African American symbolism and imagery. In the Curiouser series I am using large un-stretched canvas up to 7 feet tall . My current fairytale is my interpretation of Alice in Wonderland. The goal is to create a walkthrough interactive experience where the patron can literally walk through and "experience" the grandness of the work and immerse themselves in the experience.

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Timothy Stephenson (Indianapolis)
Musician

Music inhabits all facets of my life and work. The creative aspects of my career range from a concert schedule of classical and jazz performances to community music education to arts advocacy and entrepreneurship. I have been a performing artist in the field of classical music for the past ten years, having won numerous competitions and performed as a soloist, chamber musician, and collaborative pianist on stages across the country, including Carnegie Hall and Aspen's Harris Hall. As a musician, I highly value a diverse set of skills and have pursued my passion for all genres of music: establishing an award-winning jazz combo, engaging the music of living composers, performing regularly with local musicians in casual settings, playing sacred music in church, and collaborating with artists, dancers, and others. My passion for music is only matched by my love of teaching. While I have taught students of all skill levels, ranging from university-level music students to elementary-aged beginners, I believe that the value of music education as a tool for growth and self-improvement should be accessible to all.
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Tracy Burns (Connersville)
Visual Artist

My work falls into a few different categories.  Traditional Hand Hooked Rugs is a craft and a folk art or traditional art and for the last 8 years I have entered my work in art galleries as a visual art.  I have enjoyed working in the medium of fiber now for 22 years.  I learned many rug hooking and other rug making techniques that work well together over the years to make artistic wall hangings and mats.  I make my own designs and have shown minimalist abstract, and geometric abstracts in 9 different art galleries across Indiana, Ohio and Illinois. I have had my work displayed in the Indiana State House as honoree of the Hoosier Women's Artist Competition 2017 and 2018.  I really enjoy hooking rugs/mats.  There is something about the feel of the fibers in my hands as well as the creative process.  I use many textures (fibers, plaids, antique paisleys, stripes, hounds tooth, checks, honeycomb, herringbones, solid colors and hand dyed) of wool.  Each has a unique quality and look, that work well to create abstracts.  I have made realistic animals and flowers,  but it is just something about the way the textures will combined to make a one of a kind abstract.

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Victoria Williams Steen (Indianapolis)
Visual Artist

I work primarily in Visual Arts as a painter. I am currently publishing a card deck that includes my paintings with my inspirational words. Additionally, I work with autistic children at Autism Companion Services to continually develop their Art Program and Art Shows for the children's work.