Artists with Impact

Art on the Block and NOIS envision economic power for the people in Southwest Detroit

Amelia Duran was born into a family with a strong heritage of activism in Southwest Detroit, a predominantly Latin American neighborhood. Her mother’s family has roots in the area that date back to…


A celebration of Afro-Cuban dance and culture in Little Havana

While Corinna Moebius isn't a native of Miami, she is deeply rooted in Little Havana, her home of the last decade. She is the owner of Little Havana Tours, and was previously the Interim Executive…


Mariachi Femenil Detroit combats machismo and promotes female musicians

Maria Contreras-Cantu didn't necessarily set out to become a business owner or cultural organizer when her children began attending Detroit Public Schools. With a background in social justice,…


Ifrah Mansour finds light in the darkness of civil war

Ifrah Mansour bubbles over with energy when she talks. She is so cheerful and positive, it's all too easy to forget the nature of her work as a mixed media artist and theatre maker. Confronting…


Tana Hargest's wide-ranging work addresses issues of surveillance, policing, and public policy

As a long-time arts organization leader and cultural producer based in the Twin Cities, Tana Hargest says now that she is "mid-career" she has made a shift to focus on three different, yet…


Lucas Koski sees lawn art as a vehicle to diversifying funding sources

Lucas Koski, Asset Manager at Minneapolis-based Artspace, has always enjoyed a good spectacle. In high school he got into event production because he wanted to see bigger and better events than those…


"Miss Neighbor Lady" Kathy Mouacheupao hosts "Gatherings" in her St. Paul neighborhood

Kathy Mouacheupao has worked in arts-based nonprofits her entire professional career, working as the Executive Director for the Center for Hmong Arts and Talent in Saint Paul for ten years and as…


Emmett Phillips is a hip-hop artist, teacher, organizer, and Army vet who encourages people to just talk to each other

Emmett Phillips is a hip-hop artist, poet, teaching artist, and United States Armed Forces veteran based in Des Moines. It would be hard to say which of these he would list first on his life's…


Ryan Romer tells visual stories of where the modern world collides with traditional culture in the Alaskan bush

Ryan Romer considers himself a "late bloomer" as an artist, not having delved into the professional art world until he was already in his 30s. Prior to that, he was "one of those artists who would…


Honoring Inuit culture through traditional tattoos

Holly Mititquq Nordlum is an Inupiaq artist born in Kotzebue, an Inuit village in the Northwest Arctic Borough of Alaska. As an artist, she has followed a lifelong call that has led her to painting,…


Leon Wang designs posters with impact

It was the Philando Castile shooting in July 2016 that ultimately drove Leon Wang to action. "It happened in my community, on the streets I drive on, in the area my kids are growing up in," Wang…


Rosalia Torres-Weiner brings magic kites to children impacted by deportation

Rosalia Torres-Weiner is a multi-media artist, muralist, and activist, but she prefers to call herself an ARTivist. Through her Charlotte, North Carolina-based Red Calaca Studio, Torres-Weiner uses…


ARROW Public Art welcomes one and all to Monroe...AND West Monroe

Brooke Foy is an artist and sculptor originally from West Monroe, Louisiana. She moved away from Louisiana for 10 years but came back when she got assistant professorship at the University of…


Tennessee Ukulele Lady Kelle Jolly continues the legacy of Affrilachian music

Kelle Jolly is a singer, musician, actor, TV and radio personality, and community organizer. She is also the Tennessee Ukulele Lady. "'Tennessee Ukulele Lady' is a song I made up for Ukesophere just…


Heidi Brandow documents definitions of "home" for Native peoples, refugees, and normalized residents

Santa Fe artist Heidi K. Brandow came by her creative practice somewhat naturally – on her mother's side, she comes from a long line of Native Hawaiian singers, musicians, and performers; and on her…


Ehren Kee Natay works in the rhythm of creation

Ehren Kee Natay has been a drummer for 20 years and refers to rhythm and percussion as his "principle art form." But at age 23 he began to shift his focus more towards visual and traditional arts. He…


The Arnaudville Experiment: Creative placemaking and economic development in rural Louisiana

George Marks moved back to his tiny hometown of Arnaudville in Louisiana prior to Katrina in 2005, after 15 years of living as a successful working artist in Baton Rouge. He left home in 1989, earned…


Ori Alon spreads positivity through paperwork

Ori Alon's inspiration for the Center for Supportive Bureaucracy began ten years ago when he was an art student in West Jerusalem. He started a performance project by sitting in outdoor markets with…


Spencer Merolla uses ashes and the visual language of mourning in her post-election art

Spencer Merolla says she has been interested in art for as long as she can remember, having grown up with a mother who was an artist herself. But when she attended Wesleyan University she pursued a…


Ian Trask transforms one man's trash into another's treasure

Ian Trask didn't study art in school. Instead, he studied science, with the intention of pursuing a career in research and being able to "pursue something novel and new every day for the rest of my…


The Center for Media Justice addresses inequality in our media-saturated digital world

At a time when legitimate news sources are decried as "fake news" by our country's political leadership and fear-mongering partisan websites that specialize is sensational stories with no basis in…


Free Music for Free People builds a community for youth musicians in Denver

When Mona Magno – aka "Monalicious" – first had the idea to form Free Music for Free People in Denver, it was because, as a musician with many musician friends, she wanted to be involved in the music…


Theatre artist Haley Honeman works to break the silence around suicide

Haley Honeman is a theatre artist who grew up rural Fergus Falls, Minnesota. She attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities where she earned a degree in theatre arts with a minor in Spanish,…


Photographer Tom Kiefer documents the things that are carried across the border

In Tim O'Brien's short story "The Things They Carried," the items each of the soldiers choose to carry with them through the grueling jungles of Vietnam become an allegory for the human cost of the…


Jaclyn Roessel is Grownup Navajo

For nearly a year now, members of the Standing Rock tribe located in North Dakota along with other supporters of environmental protection have protested the construction of the Dakota Access…


Artist Hassan Nor draws old world vision of Somalia for new generation

In a high-rise tower located on Portland Avenue lives Hassan Nor, a Somali immigrant. Most of the residents in the building, like Nor, are seniors. He lives in a one-bedroom apartment by himself and…


Singer-songwriter Mayyadda explores new sound and shows Black musicians ‘are not a monolith’

Two years ago, if you had told Mayyadda Munkunjae that she would be performing at Minneapolis’ Dakota Jazz Club, where the likes of Prince, Esperanza Spalding and Vusi Mahlesela have graced the…


The Mexican Woman's Post Apocalyptic Survival Guide in the Southwest and other stories of life on the border from M. Jenea Sánchez

Photographer M. Jenea Sánchez grew up in Douglas, Arizona, a city that shares a border with Mexico. She remembers crossing the border to and from Agua Prieta multiple times every day as a child – to…


Warren Montoya has created something that Rezonates

Santa Ana Pueblo/Santa Clara Pueblo artist Warren Montoya knows a little something about resilience. Though he has been an artist since childhood, drawn to the art of comic books and surrealism – he…


Poet Ursula Rucker uses rage to find humanity

On April 21, 2016, the world collectively mourned in purple as we learned of the death of one of pop music's most enigmatic icons, Prince Rogers Nelson. Philadelphia poet Ursula Rucker was among…