1. Louis Alemayehu
Louis Alemayehu is a poet, musician, educator and community elder. Born in Chicago of African and Native heritage, he developed artistically during the Black Arts Movement of the 1970s. Now a Minnesota resident, Louis is a founding member of Twin Cities music group Ancestor Energy—a group he’s performed with for more than 25 years.
2. Douglas Ewart
Composer, improviser, sculptor, mask and instrument maker, Douglas R. Ewart is also an educator, lecturer, consultant and visionary. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, he immigrated to Chicago in 1963, and moved to Minnesota in 1989. He traveled to Japan in 1987 as part of a U.S.-Japan Creative Arts Fellowship, where he studied both modern Japanese culture and the traditional Buddhist shakuhachi flute. He has performed around the world in several ensembles, including the Nyahbingi Drum Choir, the Clarinet Choir, Douglas R. Ewart & Inventions, Douglas R. Ewart & Quasar and Douglas R. Ewart & Stringnets. As an instrument-maker, Ewart creates unique varieties of winds and percussion. He also handcrafts masks that have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and elsewhere.
3. Andrea Jenkins
Andrea Jenkins is a poet, writer, performer, educator, and activist. She has been a part of the local poetry community for several years, earning awards, fellowships and commissions during that time. She currently works full time as a Senior Policy Aide to the 8th Ward City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden and serves on the boards of OutFront Minnesota, Forecast Public Art, and SMARTS. Andrea co-curates the Queer Voices Reading Series with John Medeiros at Intermedia Arts. Most recently she was selected to be a Naked Stages Fellow, supported by the Jerome Foundation, to produce a one-woman show loosely based on her manuscript Black Pearl. As a transgender woman of color, she has committed herself to improving the condition of LGBT people and the broader community through extensive volunteer service and leadership roles in community organizations
4. Rabi Sanfo
West African native Rabi Sanfo immigrated to Minneapolis in 2004. Since then, he’s used his welding background to create metal sculptures. As his artistic techniques have evolved over the years, the core theme of his work remains: to share the history and culture of his native Burkina Faso. Rabi Sanfo has received numerous art awards, and supports local organizations by donating his work special events. He lives and works in the Northeast Minneapolis Arts District.