Artists Elevated


Artists Elevated: Discussing Equity and Creativity in the Mountain West

We see this time of global crises, from COVID-19 to the uprisings for justice, as an opportunity to rethink, re-evaluate, and redesign systems that do not sustain artists of marginalized communities. While the Mountain West has been an incubator for artists in dance, theatre, music, visual and literary arts, and film, it is also a region that presents challenges and obstacles to creativity.

All panels run from 2 PM - 3:30 PM, Mountain Time. They will be recorded for later viewing and posted on this page.

This fall, UtahPresents will convene six panels focused on artists in these disciplines, beginning a conversation about equity and creativity.

During the spring of 2021, there will be two panels focused on the work of curators, presenters, funders, and critics.

The series is guided by the questions:

  • What are artists’ intentions and priorities and what obstacles get in the way of their creative work?
  • How do artists balance their own creative processes with requirements to teach and to promote their work?
  • Who is presented and funded by organizations in the Mountain West and why?
  • How do funding, criticism, and box office priorities influence curation and how can curators and presenters center artists’ needs?
  • What are strategies for making presenting, funding, and criticism more transparent and inclusive?

DANCE

The first panel session in our series features dancers from the Intermountain West.

View the recording of the panel here.

Panel Members

Joseph “jo” Blake (University of Utah, BFA ’03, & University of Washington, MFA ’17), Assistant Professor of Dance (Weber State University, UT), choreographer, director, and performer throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. Ten-year member with Salt Lake City-based Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, he performed internationally in works by such artists as Alwin Nikolais, Doug Varone, Wayne McGregor, Carolyn Carlson, Bill T Jones, Susan Marshall, Charlotte Boye- Christensen, as well as many other influential dance makers. As a graduate student, jo had the opportunity to perform in the recreation of works by Yvonne Rainer, Zvi Gotheiner, Anna Sokolow, Trisha Brown, and Shapiro & Smith. His interest in educational theory, community-based engagement and social justice have led him to work with community outreach projects such as Minding Motion for Graceful Aging, Yoga Behind Bars and Mark Morris’s Dance for PD. His work has been seen nationally in Washington (Men in Dance, Full Tilt, University of Washington), Utah (Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Alum’s Momentum, Municipal Ballet, The Penguin Lady), and Minnesota (St. Olaf College). jo is the Director of joBdance., an interdisciplinary movement-based experience. jo continues to perform with NOW-ID (SLC) and Stephanie Liapis and Dancers.


Lehua Estrada, originally from Kaua’i, is an independent artist and performer who has danced throughout the US, France, Italy, and Mexico with companies and artists such as The Nikolais Dance Theater, NOW-ID, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATRE, Bryn Cohn, The Utah Opera, Cie. Willi Dorner, Ishmael Houston-Jones and Stephen Koester through akaMOFO, and Tzveta Kassabova. Her choreography has been commissioned by Valley Dance Ensemble, SONDERimmersive, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Scottsdale Community College, the ON-SITE Mobile Dance Series, Dance Theater Coalition, and artist/activist Susan Kruger-Barber, and she has won notable awards for her work including her Cedar, Ash and Apple film collaboration with co-director Scott Cook. Prior to her freelance way of life, Lehua was a company member of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company where she was noted for her, “…special grace, ease of movement, and talent for communicating complex emotions.” Beyond dance, Lehua loves the mountains and the sea, and her four beautiful children; all of which inform her as a vulnerable and engaged artist, human, and educator.


Lezlie Frye is an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation. Her research concentrates on the cultural history of disability, race, and gender in the United States since the 1970s, with a particular emphasis on histories of state violence, citizenship, and social movements. Lezlie received her Ph.D. in 2016 from the American Studies Program, Department of Social at Cultural Analysis, at New York University and was the 2014-15 Predoctoral Research Fellow in the Fisher Center for Gender Studies at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is currently working on a manuscript entitled Domesticating Disability: Post-Civil Rights Racial Disenfranchisement and the Birth of the Disabled Citizen. Lezlie’s academic work is preceded by over a decade of popular education, activism, and organizing work that coheres around disability, racial, and economic justice.


Evangelina Macias (Aamskapipikuni, Black, Mexican) is a Ph.D. candidate in Critical Dance Studies at the University of California, Riverside. Macias holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with a Modern Emphasis from Utah Valley University. In addition to her own dance practices and studies, Macias teaches Fancy Shawl and Hoop Dance for the Title VI program for Native American youth in the Wasatch area of Utah. She is grateful to have participated and traveled (some internationally) for a variety of professional dance projects, some of which include works with Dancing Earth since 2016, and the Dancing Earth and V'ni Dansi collaboration Michif Medicines for the Talking Stick Festival in Vancouver BC (2018). Macias has also served as a member of the UCR Graduate American Indian Alliance, and of the UCHRI multi-campus faculty working group on Indigenous Dance and the Academy. She is grateful to have had the opportunity to aid as an assistant coordinator in a variety of projects, which include: The special edition of Indigenous Dance Today in Dance Research Journal (2015), UCR Medicine Ways Conference (2015), Indigenous Choreographers at Riverside (2016),  and UCR Medicine Ways Powwow (2017). In her academic work, Macias’ primary interests are in Native American and First Nations Women's practices of dancing defiance and reclamation of self through sites of Fancy Shawl, Pole dance, and Burlesque.


Kate Mattingly (Moderator) is a white, ballet-trained dancer who has spent the last 20 years examining inequities in dance education and disciplinary formations. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Dance and Pointe magazines, and academic journals: Performance Research, Mapping Meaning, Dance Chronicle, Convergence, International Journal of Screendance, and Dance Research Journal. Her undergraduate degree is from Princeton University and her doctoral degree is in Performance Studies from University of California, Berkeley. At the University of Utah she teaches courses in dance histories, dance studies, and dance criticism. In 2019, she received a Dee Grant to organize Dancing Around Race: Whiteness in Higher Education, with colleagues Gerald Casel (UCSC), Rebecca Chaleff (UCSD), Kimani Fowlin (Drew University), and Tria Blu Wakpa (UCLA).


Jessica T. Pearson is an Associate Professor of Dance at Rhode Island College.  Ms. Pearson is a dancer, educator and choreographer who danced with the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Gesel Mason and Concepts In Motion (Bermuda).  An educator of the modern dance traditions has been invited to teach at Ballet West Summer Intensive, Brown University, Providence College, Urbanity Summer Intensive, University of Kentucky Lexington and has taught overseas. Her choreography has been selected to perform at Boston Contemporary Dance Festival, Southern Vermont Dance Festival and Collective Thread (NY).  Her choreography has been commissioned by Urbanity Next, Utah Regional Ballet, Rhode Island College, Salve Regina University, University of Kentucky Lexington, University of Utah and Providence College.  Prior to Rhode Island College, she was a Post MFA Fellow at the University of Utah.  She received her MFA in Dance from the University of Colorado Boulder where she studied dance pedagogy and choreography and BFA in Dance from Towson University in Towson, Maryland.


Gabrielle Salvatto, a New York native, is thrilled to be a new dancer with Tanz Company Innsbruck. Previously she was a demi-soloist with Ballet West and a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem, where she performed principal roles. She received her training on scholarship from the School of American Ballet, the Dance Theatre of Harlem and her BFA from The Juilliard School. She is a featured dancer on the Starz mini-series Flesh and Bone. She has done freelance work for Flatt Magazine, The Victoria Secret Fashion Show, Google Fiber, Pronamel, Calvin Klein, Just Kids from the Bronx and Cirque du Soleil. In the fall of 2019 Gabrielle was a guest artist for the Opera Ballet Vlaanderen in Antwerp, Belgium. She is also a blog contributor for Interview en L'air and a freelance writer. In 2020, Gabrielle Salvatto premiered as the female lead in CANON, the world's first “cineballet” - a full-length story ballet that was specially written, choreographed and staged by Jehbreal Jackson for film.

THEATRE

The second panel session in our series features theatre artists from the Intermountain West.

View the recording of this panel here. 

Panelists:

Adriano Cabral is a voice and dialect coach, intimacy choreographer, actor, director, and writer. Their goal as a creative artist is to help people connect to their authentic self through performance and communicate their truth in a way that engages and inspires those around them. Cabral's research focuses on training methods for the LGBTQ+ identified actor. Cabral is the co-author of the text Here’s How to Teach Voice and Communication Skills to Transgender Women and is serving this season as one of the Voice Coaches for TEDxCambridge. Cabral has coached professionally at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities (CO), the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis (MO), and the Stella Adler Studio of Acting (NY). Their queer solo-performance, To The Grind, was inspired by the works of Tim Miller and Dan Fishback, with roots in Wilhelm Reich's The Function of the Orgasm, and has been presented at Arizona State University (Tempe, AZ), Teatro Varasanta (Bogotá, Colombia), Millikin University (Decatur, IL), and virtually. Adriano is a certified teacher of Knight-Thompson Speechwork and Fitzmaurice Voicework and is a certified Master Reiki Healer and Teacher. They currently serve as Assistant Professor of Voice and Movement at the University of Nevada, Reno.


Micha Espinosa is an Arizona-based interdisciplinary performing artist, activist, teacher, voice, speech, and dialect coach who has performed and taught globally. Associate Professor (BFA, Stephens College; MFA Acting, U.C. San Diego) at Arizona State University; master teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework (F.V.) / Director of Global Outreach for F.V. Institute; award-winning editor for the books Monologues for Latino Actors & Scenebook for Latinx Actors; an affiliate artist with performance art collective, La Pocha Nostra. Her scholarship, artivism, and creative research all seek to challenge systems of inequity and eurocentrism. She is passionate about global and feminist perspectives and the cultural voice.


Idris Goodwin is a multidisciplinary arts leader and creative community builder. Across two decades he’s forged a multi-faceted career as an award-winning script writer for stage and screen, Break Beat poet, director, educator, and organizer. He is the new Director of The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. The author of Free Plays: open source scripts for an antiracist tomorrow, Goodwin is committed to using the arts to spark meaningful conversation.


Regan Linton, MSW, MFA, hails originally from Denver, CO, and is an actor, director, playwright, and artistic director of Denver’s disability-affirmative Phamaly Theatre Company. As a paraplegic theatre professional, Regan has become a nationally-recognized advocate for inclusive practices in the arts. Professional acting credits include Oregon Shakespeare Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, Mixed Blood (MN), the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Pasadena Playhouse, and Phamaly. Writing highlights include New Mobility Magazine, Theatre Forum, TCG Diversity Salons, and Chalk Rep (LA). Directing credits include Phamaly, Athena Project, and the Hollywood Fringe. Regan was honored with the 2017 True West Award for Colorado Theatre Person of the Year, and UC San Diego’s “Triton 40 Under 40” Award. Regan has taught and presented in countless academic and community settings, and consistently works with national theatre, film, and television communities around engaging disabled artists.


Camille Washington is the co-director of Good Company Theatre, and the Marketing and Box Office Manager for Onstage Ogden. Good Company Theatre is the only black-owned and administrated theatre in Utah. Before her current posts, she was Curatorial Fellow for Diversity in the Arts at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and also held positions at Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, and New Langton Arts (San Francisco). She received her BA in Art History from the University of Utah (2006), and her MA in Exhibition and Museum Studies from the San Francisco Art Institute (2009).

 

MUSIC

The third panel session in our series features musicians from the Intermountain West. Registration has closed. Please JOIN THE ZOOM at 2PM Mountain.

Panelists: 

Mezzo-soprano Kirstin Chavez has sung extensively around the world in opera houses and concert halls throughout Europe, Australasia, and North America.  She has offered her signature role of Carmen in countless productions and has gone on to co-create a one-woman version called “Carmen Inside Out” with Artistic Director Johnathon Pape.  Carmen Inside Out has had showings in North America, the UK and France, and will be given in Germany and Japan in summer 2021.   In 2016, Kirstin accepted the position of Artist in Residence at the University of Utah where she works with young, aspiring singers, passing on what she has earned through years of experience, as she continues to develop her performing career.


Shane Doyle, EDD, is an educational and cultural consultant who hales from Crow Agency, Montana.  Now based in Bozeman, Dr. Doyle is involved with curriculum design for groups like the National Park Service, Montana OPI, and the National Native American Hall of Fame.  He is an environmental advocate who works as a collaborative liaison between and among groups like the Montana Wilderness Association, the US Forest Service, and the Apsaalooke (Crow) Crow Nation.  Shane is also a researcher who is currently a co-PI on an NSF funded research project studying ancient ice patches in the Beartooth Plateau, and an ongoing partner with the University of Copenhagen, where he served as a post-doctoral researcher from 2014 - 1016.  As a singer of Northern Plains music, Doyle is also an assistant artistic director and performer for Bozeman-based Mountain Time Arts, having co-produced numerous performance art pieces during the summer season, including a 2020’s “The Creek Between Us”.


"Coco Garcia" was born in Barquisimeto, Venezuela. He began his musical career at the age of 7, performing and singing with his dad Eligio Garcia a Venezuelan harpist and competing at school singing events where at age of 8 he won the best voice of his home state. He was invited to United States, Salt Lake City, Utah in 1995, by his cousin Asdrubal Garcia and Craig Miller (Event organizer), to play for The Living Tradition Festival in Salt Lake City, UT with their group Venezuela Cantando. His decision to remain in United States to pursue his music career, proved to be an auspicious one when, two years later, he joined Salsa Brava, the primer band at that time in Salt Lake City.

Since living in Salt Lake City, “Coco” Garcia has performed and toured many States and performed with famous singers as Gloria Estefan, Lalo Rodriguez, Oscar de Leon, Tito Gomez, Maelo Ruiz, Poncho Sanchez, Guianko and recorded for Konami Studios; where he featured one of his songs (La Receta) in their video game; Dance Revolution “The Hottest Dance 3”. Coco also performed with Gloria Estefan in the 2002 Winter Olympic closing ceremonies in Salt Lake City and opened show for Dave Matthews Band at Olympic plaza with Mambo Jumbo Band and toured Europe in 2004 with Orquesta Latino as their main singer on a 30 days tour for the US Air force entertainments and performed in 5 European countries.

Coco Garcia has also lent his singer talents for many local bands in Utah starting with Salsa Brava, Ritmo Caliente, Mambo Jumbo, Orquesta Latino and now his own master piece; Rumba Libre Band, where he took the next step and started to write his own music. Rumba Libre Band has its roots planted firmly in Salsa, Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban music. With its formation in 2008, the group has developed into an extraordinarily tight and musically creative unit. With a home base in Salt Lake City the group has built a local fan base that attracts many salsa dancers. www.cocogarciasalsa.com


Liz Lambson is a string bassist, writer, visual artist, luthier, and mother of five boys. As a 2008 BYU School of Music graduate, she has performed with orchestras including the Vancouver Symphony (WA), Bach Cantata Choir and Orchestra (OR), SUNY Cortland Orchestra (NY), Utah Shakespeare Festival Pit Orchestra, and Orchestra at Temple Square, and is currently a member of the Ballet West Orchestra. Her alter-ego, Lizzy Luna, is the creator of a music and movement program called Yoga Storytime & Songs and released her first album of original children’s yoga music, Reach to the Sky, in 2018. Liz is also on the board of directors of the Utah Black Artist Collective. In her spare time she enjoys cross stitching, gardening, road trips, and Scrabble.


Leta Harris Neustaedter, LCSW is an arts educator, musician, actor, activist and clinical social worker. She earned her BA in Psychology from Occidental College and her MSW from Boise State. She has minors in Philosophy and Compositional Writing and is just a couple credits shy of a minor in Music. She owns Metamorphosis Performing Arts Studio, LLC where she maintains a private counseling practice and weaves personal growth and life skills into music and acting classes. She contracts with schools and organizations throughout the Treasure Valley to create curriculums and facilitate performing arts programs that correspond with the class curriculum. She was a recipient of a Feast crowd-sourcing grant to complete a playwriting program with incarcerated youth at the Department of Juvenile Corrections, a recipient of the Covid Cultural Commission grant to compose a song, and an Alexa Rose grant for music education. She is a member of the Western States Arts Federation Emerging Leaders of Color Professional Development program and she is currently co-facilitating the creation of an antiracism coalition of arts, culture and history organizations across Idaho. In the "before-times" she sang with Opera Idaho and the Boise Philharmonic Master Chorale as well as many other music projects and solo performing throughout the valley including dueling pianos downtown at the Brickyard. She has appeared on three Idaho Ho Ho Christmas CDS, most recently creating a big-band style arrangement for her original holiday song which will be available on iunes and spotify if she ever gets it uploaded.


Courtney Smith was born in 1983 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  He picked up the piano at the age of three and was playing full on by the age of 6.  In High School he played in the East High orchestra ’till his graduation in 2002.  In fall of 2002, he was accepted to the University of Utah where he commenced his studies of composition under the tutelage of teachers such as, Steve Roens, Morris Rozensweig, and Igor Iachimcuic.  He also studied Jazz piano under Steve Keene and Dan Waldis, as well as Jazz Big Band and Orchestration under Henry Wolking.  He graduated from the University of Utah in May of 2010.  He met David Halliday around 2004 during his tenure at the University.  The two became fast musical friends and allies, and when Rev. Tom Goldsmith saught personnel to fulfill the need for music for the Jazz Vespers series, David and Courtney were engaged as co-directors.  With addition of mutual friend, Dr. Denson Angulo and Courtney Smith’s high school friend, Steve Lyman, the Jazz Vespers Quartet was formed near the end of the early 2000’s.  They have since carried on the Jazz Vespers musical tradition while expanding and conjoining the worlds of pop and jazz into nights of musical exploration.  Courtney has a bachelor’s in music composition and also plays organ, drums, and a little bass.  In 2010, three songs composed by Courtney Smith were featured on the Salt Lake City Mass Choir album “All Praise,” which is the first gospel music album to be recorded in Salt Lake City in Utah history, using only people from the greater Salt Lake valley.

He has played with such bands as, The Joe Muscolino Band, Changing Lanes, Voodoo Box and many others.  He has also had the privilege of sharing the stage with high profile artists and legends such as David “Fathead,” Newman (Of Ray Charles Renown), Wynton Marsalis, and Ogden’s own Joe McQueen.  Currently, he is teaching Jazz piano at Utah State, Weber State, and was just accepted interim at the University Of Utah as an adjunct professor. In 2017, with vocalist Jazmín Olívó, he co-formed the Latin-Fusion band, The Mix.

Most recently, Smith participated with Jazzy Olivó in the TED X, Ted Talk series in Salt Lake City at Kingsbury Hall as a co-performer and has been working on music for the Jazzy Olivo EP project as well as for his forthcoming solo project.

FILM

The fifth panel session in our series features filmmakers from the Intermountain West.

Registration has closed. Please join the ZOOM link directly.

Panelists:

 

Angela Rosales Challis, a Dance Educator and a Filmmaker, originally from Cochabamba, Bolivia. She studied dance at Instituto Eduardo Laredo in Bolivia and in Cuba at Escuela Nacional de Arte in Havana. She holds a BA in Dance Education from BYU, and an MFA in Film and Media Arts with a Screendance certification from the U of U. Her films have screened all over the US as well as in Argentina, Bolivia, Greece, Italy, Scotland, Mexico, and Ireland. Her films have won awards from Audience Choice Award, to 2ndPlace, to Best of Fest. Angela received the “Best Cinematography Award” at the Utah Film Awards. Currently Angela is a Visiting Professor at BYU. She directs “Kinnect” an outreach dance company at BYU. Together with her husband, they have two daughters and two dogs.


Ramona Emerson is a Diné writer and filmmaker originally from Tohatchi, New Mexico. She received her degree in Media Arts in 1997 from the University of New Mexico and her MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) in 2015 from the Institute of American Indian Arts. She has worked as a professional videographer, writer and editor for over twenty years and is currently working on her 8th film project, Crossing the Line. She is an Emmy nominee, a Sundance Native Lab Fellow, a Time-Warner Storyteller Fellow, a Tribeca All-Access Grantee and a WGBH Producer Fellow. In 2020, Ramona was appointed to the Governor’s Council on Film and Media Industries for the State of New Mexico. Ramona just finished her first novel, Shutter the first of a trilogy, which is working toward publication and adapting the series into a screenplay. Through her storytelling, Emerson looks at contemporary stories about her people and aims to question and redefine the expectations of Native cultural identity, highlighting stories that are not a part of mainstream media. She currently resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico where she and her husband/producer, Kelly Byars run their production company Reel Indian Pictures.


Cajardo Lindsey is an actor, filmmaker, screenwriter, and attorney. He has maintained a vibrant acting career, acting in over 40 stage productions and over 15 film and television productions including, but not limited to, “Shot Caller,” “Infinity Chamber,” “Independence Day: Resurgence,” “Force of Execution,” and “Silver City.” He’s written, directed, acted, and produced the short films “The Minstrel and the Bard, ” and “The Dance,” both premiered at Colorado’s Color of Conversation Film Festival.  He is also an award winning screenwriter with his screenplay “BLACKFACE: the story of nobody” achieving semi-finalist status in 2019’s Austin Film Festival Script Competition and finalist status for WeScreenplay’s 2019 Feature Screenwriting Lab. He is also an attorney, practicing as a civil litigator fighting against corporate giants and making sure his client’s voices are heard. Cajardo is the co-founder of 22eleven Productions.


Amy Marquis is a Colorado-based film director and editor whose documentaries celebrate people's diverse, complex journeys to find meaning and growth in struggle. She began her career as a magazine editor, where she honed her storytelling skills for 13 years before turning to filmmaking full time in 2013. She's currently editing a feature doc, finishing a short magical realism doc about her daughter, and recently shot and directed for the Biden-Harris campaign and the Oscar-winning production company Fine Films. She's a proud member of Film Fatales and Brown Girls Doc Mafia.


Sarah E. S. Sinwell is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Film and Media Arts at the University of Utah. She has published essays on Kickstarter, Green Porno and Mysterious Skin in A Companion to American Indie Film, Women’s Studies Quarterly and Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives. Through analyses of such topics as YouTube, web series, art house cinemas and queer and female independent filmmaking, her research investigates the intersections between contemporary American independent cinema and new media platforms. Examining shifting modes of independent film distribution and exhibition on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix and SundanceTV, her current book project redefines independent cinema in an era of media convergence. Sarah teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in Media Arts, Film History, Film Theory, Independent Cinema and Convergence Cultures.


Holly Tuckett is a documentary and narrative film director, cinematographer, and producer. In 2018, her documentary Church & State was awarded Best Feature Documentary at the American Documentary Festival and Nice International Film Festival. The film was also awarded Best Documentary by the Association for Mormon Letters at Berkeley. As a cinematographer she has collaborated with Chain Camera Pictures, Realhouse/Time Magazine (Blumhouse), National Geographic, Discovery, American Idol, and NBC Olympics. In 2018-9 she shot for Academy Award winning directors, Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (State of Pride); the two-time Sundance Grand Jury Prize documentarian, Ondi Timoner (Coming Clean); and Oscar shortlisted director, Daniel Karslake (For They Know Not What They Do). She is currently in postproduction on her second feature-length documentary Anchor Point which has recently received the 2020 American Documentary Film Fund Pitch award, and will be premiering at the 2021 American Documentary Film Festival.

Literary Arts

The sixth panel session in our series features literary artists from the Intermountain West.  Panelists

Tacey M. Atsitty, Diné (Navajo), is Tsénahabiłnii (Sleep Rock People) and born for Ta'neeszahnii (Tangle People). She was born in Logan, UT, grew up in Kirtland, NM but is originally from Cove, AZ. Atsitty is a recipient of the Truman Capote Creative Writing Fellowship, the Corson-Browning Poetry Prize, Morning Star Creative Writing Award, and the Philip Freund Prize. She holds bachelor’s degrees from Brigham Young University and the Institute of American Indian Arts, and an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in POETRY; EPOCH; Kenyon Review Online; Prairie Schooner; When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry; and other publications. Her first book is Rain Scald (University of New Mexico Press, 2018).
She is the director of the Navajo Film Festival, poetry judge for the Eggtooth Editions Chapbook Contest, a member of Advisory Council for BYU’s Charles Redd Center for Western Studies, a member of the boards for Lightscatter Press of SLC and the Intermountain All-Women Hoop Dance Competition at This is the Place Heritage Park.


Dr. Michael Sawyer is an assistant professor of Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies and the Department of English at Colorado College. Sawyer completed a Phd (2015) in Africana Studies from Brown University.  He also holds a B.S. in Political Science from the United States Naval Academy (Annapolis, Maryland), and Master's degrees from the University of Chicago's Committee on International Relations (International Security Policy) and Brown University's Department of Comparative Literature.

Michael takes an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the revolutionary potentiality, aspirations, and praxis of subaltern political subjects.  His work is primarily in political philosophy and he employs political theory/philosophy, critical race theory, literary theory, history and aesthetics to assemble analytical tools that seek to resolve the mystery of subjects in transition.  The central intellectual genealogy he employs takes up the work of thinkers that range from W.E.B. Du Bois, Frantz Fanon, Sylvia Wynter, Herman Melville, Toni Morrison, Malcolm X, G.W.F. Hegel, Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Angela Davis.  He has completed the co-editing of a text entitled A Reader on Black Political Thought with Professor B. Anthony Bogues that is forthcoming from Pluto/University of Chicago Press (Spring 2016). His single-authored manuscript Homo Liminalis: The Tears of the Caterpillar as well as a text co-written with Jamal al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown), The Book of the New School (H.) Rap (Brown) Game is currently under review.


Aaron Timm is 41 years old, and a graduate of Utah State University in 2015. Timm is a member of the National Federation of the Blind of Utah, and has served in a variety of leadership positions in this organization since 2012.

PUBLIC & VISUAL ART

The fourth panel session in our series features visual and public artists from the Intermountain West.  More info on panelists coming soon.

OUR TEAM

Joseph “jo” Blake (University of Utah, BFA ’03, & University of Washington, MFA ’17), Assistant Professor of Dance (Weber State University, UT), choreographer, director, and performer throughout the United States, Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia. Ten-year member with Salt Lake City-based Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, he performed internationally in works by such artists as Alwin Nikolais, Doug Varone, Wayne McGregor, Carolyn Carlson, Bill T Jones, Susan Marshall, Charlotte Boye- Christensen, as well as many other influential dance makers. As a graduate student, jo had the opportunity to perform in the recreation of works by Yvonne Rainer, Zvi Gotheiner, Anna Sokolow, Trisha Brown, and Shapiro & Smith. His interest in educational theory, community-based engagement and social justice have led him to work with community outreach projects such as Minding Motion for Graceful Aging, Yoga Behind Bars and Mark Morris’s Dance for PD. His work has been seen nationally in Washington (Men in Dance, Full Tilt, University of Washington), Utah (Weber State University, Utah Valley University, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Alum’s Momentum, Municipal Ballet, The Penguin Lady), and Minnesota (St. Olaf College). jo is the Director of joBdance., an interdisciplinary movement-based experience. jo continues to perform with NOW-ID (SLC) and Stephanie Liapis and Dancers.


Lehua Estrada, originally from Kaua’i, is an independent artist and performer who has danced throughout the US, France, Italy, and Mexico with companies and artists such as The Nikolais Dance Theater, NOW-ID, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCETHEATRE, Bryn Cohn, The Utah Opera, Cie. Willi Dorner, Ishmael Houston-Jones and Stephen Koester through akaMOFO, and Tzveta Kassabova. Her choreography has been commissioned by Valley Dance Ensemble, SONDERimmersive, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, Scottsdale Community College, the ON-SITE Mobile Dance Series, Dance Theater Coalition, and artist/activist Susan Kruger-Barber, and she has won notable awards for her work including her Cedar, Ash and Apple film collaboration with co-director Scott Cook. Prior to her freelance way of life, Lehua was a company member of the Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company where she was noted for her, “…special grace, ease of movement, and talent for communicating complex emotions.” Beyond dance, Lehua loves the mountains and the sea, and her four beautiful children; all of which inform her as a vulnerable and engaged artist, human, and educator.


Brooke Horejsi, the Assistant Dean for Art & Creative Engagement in the College of Fine Arts and Executive Director of UtahPresents, has more than 20 years of experience in the field of creativity. In her role, Horejsi oversees a non-profit, campus based arts presenter, is a member of the leadership team at the University of Utah College of Fine Arts, and focuses on embedding the arts and creativity broadly across campus and the region. Horejsi has Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Spanish, English, and Theater from the University of Minnesota, and received her Master of Arts degree in Arts Administration from the University of Oregon. She serves as adjunct faculty and has a variety of grant panel, project advising, and board service experience with a host of organizations across the country and abroad. Her passion for the role creativity plays in building and sustaining community is apparent in her daily work and also in her participation in research cohorts and funding programs supported by organizations such the American Express Foundation, the Wallace Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brooke almost never pronounces her last name with linguistic accuracy, but does manage to spell it correctly 98% of the time. She is thrilled that the responsibility of teaching it to her two boys, Jack and Kolya, falls mainly to Michael, her husband, who is far better at Czech pronunciation.


Liz Ivkovich hails from a farming community in rural Michigan. She is the Development Director for UtahPresents, the multidisciplinary arts presenter at the University of Utah. Her research explores dance and environmental justice, with articles in the Journal of Environmental Studies & Sciences, Local Environment, and Performance Research. Liz received her BS in Sustainable Business (Aquinas ‘07) and MFA in Modern Dance (Utah ’16). She has performed with Maya Taylor Dance and NOW-ID, as well as producing her own work in Omaha and SLC. In addition to adjunct teaching at SLCC and UU, she has also directed several high school dance companies including Afro-Nation Dance Crew in SLC, and La Fuerza Dance at Omaha South High. Currently, Liz is finishing an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability from the U, and serves on the boards of loveDANCEmore, tbd dance collective, and the Riley Elementary School Community Council.


Kate Mattingly is a white, ballet-trained dancer who has spent the last 20 years examining inequities in dance education and disciplinary formations. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Village Voice, Dance and Pointe magazines, and academic journals: Performance Research, Mapping Meaning, Dance Chronicle, Convergence, International Journal of Screendance, and Dance Research Journal. Her undergraduate degree is from Princeton University and her doctoral degree is in Performance Studies from University of California, Berkeley. At the University of Utah she teaches courses in dance histories, dance studies, and dance criticism. In 2019, she received a Dee Grant to organize Dancing Around Race: Whiteness in Higher Education, with colleagues Gerald Casel (UCSC), Rebecca Chaleff (UCSD), Kimani Fowlin (Drew University), and Tria Blu Wakpa (UCLA).


Darby Mest was born and raised in Salt Lake City and has been performing in Utah since age 8. She was most recently seen in Plan-B Theatre Company's Radio Slam, and touring throughout Utah in FEST - Free Elementary School Tour with the play Flora Meets a Bee. Darby is a local artist enthusiast and has been working with UtahPresents for just under a year. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2019 with a BA in Theatre, during which she received an Outstanding Performance award from the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Darby is passionate about amplifying diverse voices and is excited to be helping with Artists Elevated.

 

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