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ArtLab@LightCity presented by France-Merrick Foundation
Supporting Sponsor: MICA

Friday, April 20

Features some of the most inventive designers, artists, entrepreneurs, storytellers and thinkers convening to explore how emerging creative practices shape our world and create change.

• It’s an early start but prepare to be inspired. ArtLab kicks off with Mohamed Tall, former Baltimore City Poet Ambassador, and the two-time Muslim Interscholastic Tournament spoken word champion. Now a Political Science major, with a minor in African American studies at Morgan State University, Mohamed is a powerful voice for change.

• MICA president, Samuel Hoi, is re-imagining the prestigious college’s relationship to Baltimore. He will talk with Maggie Villegas and Sharayna Ashanti Christmas about "How an urban art college thrives with its city and communities."

• What is an Art Space? Admired graffiti artist, Adam Stab, will sit down with Julia Marciari-Alexander, the President of The Walters Art Museum for a discussion about art, artists and art spaces in 2018.

• Yoruba Richen is a TED speaker and documentary filmmaker who has directed and produced films in the U.S. and abroad. Sonja Sohn is an actor – best known for her portrayal of Detective Kima Greggs on The Wire – and filmmaker of Baltimore Rising, a documentary that offers a powerful look at her adopted hometown of Baltimore. In a discussion moderated by Shelonda Stokes, these two artists will explore film as a medium for community narrative.

• Art and activism are the subject of a discussion with Aaron Maybin, a former NFL player, artist and author, and Kyle Pompey, ‘organic’ photographer and author of the recently released book, Perspective: Baltimore.The panel will be moderated by Sharayna Ashanti Christmas, an artist and social entrepreneur who currently runs programming for BCAN - Baltimore Creatives Acceleration Network.

• Wide Angle Youth Media (WAYM) will present screenings and host a discussion entitled, “Stories for Change: Reenvisioning Baltimore through Youth Media.” The panel will feature Tia Price, WAYM Workforce Manager. Destiny Brown, a current student, and Shewana Skinner, a WAYM board member.

• The day will close with a talk and performance from one of the country’s most acclaimed, unique, vibrant artists: Baltimorean and MacArthur “genius” awardee, Joyce J. Scott.

Wide Angle Youth Media

Through media arts education, Wide Angle Youth Media cultivates and amplifies the voices of Baltimore youth to engage audiences across generational, cultural and social divides. Their programs inspire creativity and instill confidence in young people, empowering them with skills to navigate school, career and life.

The panel will feature Tia Price, WAYM Workforce Manager. Destiny Brown, a current student, and Shewana Skinner, a WAYM board member.

Sharayna Christmas

Sharayna Christmas is a self-starter, social entrepreneur, creative and producer. Over the last 15 years, she has served in many capacities [ from performer, creative director, facilitator, collaborator, etc]  bringing individuals and organizations together to maintain an interest in developing and sustaining ecosystems to support the creatives and the communities they live/serve. She has been fearless in audaciously creating opportunities, like the one her mother and the Dance Theater of Harlem created for her in ballet, through a nonprofit she founded in 2004, Muse 360 Arts. While leading Muse 360 Arts, she has been able to develop, serve and change the lives of over 500 youth and their families annually, taken over 60 youth to study the arts and culture abroad in 8 countries, and partner with dozens of artists and institutions to maximize resources for our community. Muse 360 Arts was recognized by Baltimore Magazine as one of the best arts institutions for youth.Sharayna currently runs programming for Baltimore Creative Acceleration Network (BCAN) for creative entrepreneurs in the city. She is also the creator of Necessary Tomorrows a new monthly series featuring work from local & national artists at Ida B's Table Restaurant.

Samuel Hoi, President, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Samuel Hoi is the president of Maryland Institute College of Art, the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art in the United States. He is an experienced and innovative higher education leader, as well as an advocate for art and design education and creative professionals as drivers in social, economic, and cultural advancement. Prior to arriving at MICA, Hoi was president of Otis College of Art and Design. Under Hoi's leadership, enrollment at Otis increased as much as 34 percent, operating resources more than doubled, and the endowment more than tripled, attributable in part to a 200 percent increase in individual donors.

Julia Marciari-Alexander, Executive Director, The Walters Art Museum

Julia Marciari-Alexander served as Deputy Director of curatorial affairs at the San Diego Museum of Art from 2008 to April 30, 2014. Ms. Marciari-Alexander joined the San Diego Museum in 2008. She spent more than 10 years at the Yale Center for British Art, first as assistant/associate curator of paintings and sculpture and later as associate director of programmatic affairs and associate director for exhibitions and publications. She has been an Executive Director of The Walters Art Museum since April 1, 2013.

Aaron Maybin, Art-Activist & former professional football player

Aaron Maybin is a 27-year-old art-activist and former professional football player from Baltimore City, Maryland. Maybin was selected as the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills as a former All-American defensive end at Penn State University. Aaron went on to play in the NFL for the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals in his 5-year career. Aaron also played professionally for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL before making the decision to walk away from the game of football to pursue his career as a professional artist, activist, educator and community organizer.  His art, photography, and writing deal with many socially relevant themes and issues, drawn from his own personal experiences as a former pro athlete and growing up as a young Black man in America. Aaron uses his platform and gifts to advocate for racial and economic equality, arts education, and programming in underprivileged communities across the country.

Kyle Pompey, Owner, Nice Shot Media, LLC.

Kyle Pompey, owner of Nice Shot Media, LLC. considers himself an "organic photojournalist." Whether collaborating in his studio or documenting throughout his travels, Kyle avoids posed or planned pictures. Instead, he perceives the energy of his subject, which he allows to define the story of the moment. Breaking the mold of perceptions is the goal of his debut photography book “Perspective: Baltimore.” Designed to promote freethinking every image will deliver a different narrative from the reader.  A Baltimore native, Kyle is featured in a variety of publications such as The Huffington Post, GQ, Essence, Japan Magazine, and The Baltimore Sun Dark Room. His images are used in a collection of artistic works such as  Tariq Toure's "Black Seeds: The Poetry and Reflections of Tariq Toure," and Aaron Maybin's "Art Activism." He has curated exhibits at John Hopkins University and volunteers as a mentor to aspiring photography students in Baltimore public schools.  

Yoruba Richen, Filmmaker

Yoruba Richen is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work has been featured on PBS, New York Times Op-Doc, Frontline Digital, New York Magazine’s website, The Cut and The Atlantic.  Her last feature documentary, The New Black won multiple audience awards, won best documentary at the Urbanworld Film Festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award.  It was broadcast on Independent Lens. Yoruba’s previous film Promised Land, received a Diverse Voices Co-Production fund award from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and won the Fledgling Fund award for social issue documentary.  It aired on POV.  Yoruba recently won a Clio award for her short film about the Grammy-nominated singer Andra Day.  She won the Creative Promise Award at Tribeca All Access and was also a Sundance Women’s Fellow and Producers Fellow.  Yoruba is a featured TED Speaker and a Guggenheim Fellow and a 2016 recipient of the Chicken & Egg Breakthrough Filmmaker Award.  She is director of the documentary program at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. 

Joyce Scott, Jewelry Maker and Sculptor, 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant winner

Joyce J. Scott received a B.F.A. (1970) from the Maryland Institute College of Art, an M.F.A. (1971) from the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and training from her mother, Elizabeth T. Scott, who was an internationally recognized fiber artist. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others, and it is held in the public collections of numerous national and international museums.

Sonja Sohn

Best known for her starring role as Detective Kima Greggs on all five seasons of the renowned drama series, The Wire, Sonja Sohn’s love for writing took over while in college, which sent her on an unexpected trajectory towards the entertainment business. In 2008, Sohn was inspired to start the nonprofit, ReWired For Change, by her own life’s journey and her participation in the voter empowerment efforts that took place just before the 2008 presidential election. Sohn’s work in entertainment over the years includes projects such as The Good Wife, Brothers and Sisters, Cold Case, Body of Proof and Burn Notice, as well as the feature films, Shaft and Bringing Out the Dead.  She also directed and executive produced the full-length documentary Baltimore Rising

Adam Stab, Artist

Shelonda Stokes, President/CEO GreiBO Media

Shelonda is greiBO's influential leader and responsible for the development of its global brand and successful position in the marketplace. Known throughout the industry as a strategic and creative visionary with a very strong business acumen, she is the President and CEO of greiBO entertainment. 

This sought-after thought leader and businesswoman is the recipient of over 75 community related awards and numerous professional awards such as Innovator of the Year and Maryland's Top 100 Women. She is on speed dial and key advisor for an elite list of Fortune 100 CEO's, elected officials, and other dignitaries. Greibo's growing impressive client list is the result of her management and greiBO's culture of engaging people to look, listen and believe. Just ask Under Armour, Hewlett Packard, Smithsonian, the State of Maryland and Visit Baltimore to name a few. 

Perhaps best known in production and entertainment circles for her expertise, Shelonda is the executive producer of the Baltimore's African American Festival, This event has broken record attendance of 500,000 over its annual weekend. Shelonda is a graduate of Morgan State University's Electrical Engineering program and currently serves as co-chair of The LEADERship, a program of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Mohamed Tall, Baltimore City Youth Poet Laureate

Mohamed Tall is Baltimore City’s current Youth Grand Slam champion, former Baltimore City Poet Ambassador, and the two-time Muslim Interscholastic Tournament spoken word champion. In 2015, he was a member of Baltimore’s Youth Poetry team that competed at Brave New Voices. A Political Science major, with a minor in African American studies at Morgan State University, who also works with Dew More, Mohamed plans to help establish poetry workshops in different masajid across the DMV. Mohamed believes that art is at the forefront of every revolution.

Maggie Villegas