Featured Presenter& Performers Bio’s for the Urban Creative Arts Healing and Creative Arts Symposium

“But…. I’m an Artist”: Cultivating Joy during the 9 to 5 by Barbara Fant

Barbara Fant has been writing and performing poetry for 13 years. She has represented Columbus, OH in 9 National Poetry Slam competitions and placed 8th out of 96 poets in the 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is a TEDx speaker, a Columbus Makes Art Campaign artist, and was named a 2017 Columbus Alive People to Watch. Her first poetry collection, Paint, Inside Out, was published by Penmanship Books in 2010 when she was awarded the Cora Craig Award for Young Authors. She is the author of several chapbooks, the co-author of two stage productions, and has been commissioned by over ten national organizations. She has received residencies from Idyllwild Arts in Idyllwild, California and Connect Arts in Havana, Cuba. She holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles and a Master of Theology from the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. Her work has been featured by Button Poetry and Def Poetry Jam, and published in Electric Literature, Harness Magazine, and The Ohio State University Press. Installations of her work can be found in the Columbus Museum of Art and The Columbus Foundation. The founder of Bloom Barb Fant, LLC., she teaches poetry in correctional institutions and schools. Currently, she is the Artistic Director for Harmony Project, the Replication and Training Manager for the Arts for Healing and Justice Network, a teaching artist at Transit Arts, and co-curator of the reading series Paging Columbus. Barbara believes in the transformative power of art and considers poetry her ministry.

Storytelling is Content Creation by Mama “O, Omope” Carter Daboiku

Known affectionately as Mama O, Omope Carter Daboiku is a 2012 migrant to the Miami Valley. Originally from Ironton, in southern Ohio, she identifies as an Appalachian of mixed ancestry. Trained as a cultural geographer, Mama O has 30 years of experience as an international performance artist, educator, fiber artist, and published writer. Commissions include batik fabric masks for master quilter Carolyn Mazloomi and“storyweaving” scripts for Dr. Catherine Roma. Founder of Dayton’s Dunbar Literary Circle, Omope’s stories are included in Dayton Metro Library’s new Dial-a-Story service, and she works with arts and culture organizations to produce storytelling workshops, writing and theater resources for virtual learning. Acknowledged as an OAC Traditional Artist in 2019, Mama O was inducted into OAC’s arts education program in 1990. Her community work on Dayton’s west-side has shifted to restoring agriculture as an African American heritage craft, supporting access to healthy food, and inspiring cross-town civic engagement through science, education and the arts.

The Healing Power of Science and Art by Moriba Jah

Moriba Kemessia Jah is an American space scientist and aerospace engineer known for his contributions to orbit determination and prediction, especially as related to space situational awareness and space traffic monitoring. He is currently an associate professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin. Jah previously worked as a spacecraft navigator at the NASAJet Propulsion Laboratory, where he was a navigator for the Mars Global SurveyorMars OdysseyMars ExpressMars Exploration Rover, and his last mission was the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. He is a Fellow of the American Astronautical Society, the Air Force Research Laboratory,[1] the International Association for the Advancement of Space Safety and, the Royal Astronomical Society. Jah was also selected into the 10th anniversary class of TED Fellows. He also was selected into the AIAA class of Fellows and Honorary Fellows in the year of the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11. The AIAA “confers the distinction of Fellow upon individuals in recognition of their notable and valuable contributions to the arts, sciences or technology of aeronautics and astronautics.

Music for Healing and Dialogue by Shaw Pong Liu

Violinist, erhu player and composer Shaw Pong Liu activates dialogue, community-building and healing through multidisciplinary creative collaborations centered on listening. From playing in wintry bus shelters, to inviting people to share their “songs from home” and migration stories, Liu seeks to connect people to one another through music and dialogue. As 2016 City of Boston Artist-in-Residence she created Code Listen, an ongoing project which uses music to support healing and dialogue around policing, racism and community violence. Other projects include Sing Home, a community songsharing project in Boston’s Chinatown; Traces, an oral history- based composition exploring residents’ stories in Providence, RI; and composing music for Anikaya Dance Theatre’s Conference of the Birds. Liu performs with the Silkroad Ensemble, Soul Yatra Trio, and Castle of Our Skins and her compositions have been commissioned by Silkroad Ensemble, A Far Cry, Lorelei Ensemble, Anikaya Dance Theatre, Community MusicWorks, Hub New Music and the Celebrity Series of Boston. A 2018 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow, and a 2020 Boston Celtics’ “Heroes Among Us” honoree, Liu has a Bachelor’s degree from U. C. Berkeley and a Masters in Violin Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music.

The Art of a Movement by Daj’za Demmings

2020’s Class of 40 under 40, Daj’za Demmings knows first hand the importance of community and the impact of giving back. As a native of Dayton, OH Demmings has taken pride in her hometown and makes a point to consistently support local initiatives and businesses, especially within the African American community. Demmings studied Manufacturing Engineering & Business Management at Central State University and Management Information Systems & Organizational Management at Wilberforce University, the only two Historically Black College/Universities (HBCUs) in the state of Ohio. Through her collegiate tenure, Demmings was able to cultivate a range of skills and credits that contribute to her professional development in leadership, education, activism, empowerment, and service. Demmings is the Executive Director of Dayton Young  Black Professionals. Through this role she has worked to create a network that is a safe haven for young, African American career men and women to unite, network, cultivate their resources and thrive, together. Demmings is committed to a life of service and philanthropy for minority groups and marginalized people everywhere.

Entrepreneurship Hacks & Tips by KeAnna Daniels

 KeAnna M. Daniels, also known as Ke, is a proud Dayton native and a boomeran transplant. Ke is also an Entrepreneur, Empowerment Coach, Change Agent, Super Connector, Ecosystem Builder and a Servant Leader in her community. KeAnna is a Project Manager at Parallax Advanced Research, an innovation and research hub. In her role, KeAnna creates and develops programs, events and resources to support aspiring and existing entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their business with an emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion and eliminating barriers to entry for black and brown founders.

Radio: Talking The Listener Through A Pandemic by Faith Daniels

Faith Daniels, Radio and Television Personality has been living her dream  for the last 37 years! Faith began her radio career at just 14 years old, after college Faith furthered her knowledge while working all over the country at 1350AM WLOU, 1370 AM WABD, WQQK 92Q,  KALA 88.5, WPXR 98.9, 1480AM WCIN, WVMX 94.1, WKFS 107.1, WIZF 100.9, WMOJ 94.9, WARM 98.5 and WMOJ “Mojo” 100.3 and is in her 10th year at 92.1 WROU Dayton’s R&B Leader.  Faith is Program Director/Music Director/ Community Affairs Liaison and On-Air Personality 10-7pm. Faith is also a Professional Voiceover Artist, Concert Hostess/Mistress of Ceremonies, Event Producer and Licensed Minister. Faith and her husband Kent have been married 23 years and have 3 beautiful children, Trinity 18, Matthew 20, and Brandon 32.

Verb, Pure Verb by Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas is the author of Weather (VQR / Georgia, 2011), which received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry.  From 2018—19, he served as the Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio.  A co-founder of Cleveland Book Week and Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery, he lives in Cleveland, where he was born and raised.

Dave Lucas was born and raised in Cleveland.  He studied literature and poetry at John Carroll University (BA, 2002), the University of Virginia (MFA, 2004), and the University of Michigan (PhD, 2014).  His first book of poems, Weather (VQR / Georgia, 2011), received the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry.  Named by Rita Dove as one of thirteen “young poets to watch,” he has also received a “Discovery/The Nation Prize and a Cleveland Arts Prize.  From 2018—19, he served as the Poet Laureate of the State of Ohio. A co-founder of Cleveland Book Week and Brews + Prose at Market Garden Brewery, he lives in Cleveland, where he teaches at Case Western Reserve University.

UCA 2021 Symposium: DJ Basim Blunt

 Basim has worked in the media for over twenty years, as an A&R rep with Capitol Records and as a morning drive show producer. He is a filmmaker, media arts adjunct, and also a digital editing teacher in the Dayton Metro area. His work has earned him a “New Voices” Scholar award by (AIR) Association of Independents in Radio. Basim has produced the award-winning documentary Boogie Nights: A History of Funk Music in Dayton. He also served as Project Manager for ReInvention Stories, a multimedia docu-series produced by Oscar-winning filmmakers Steve Bognar and Julia Reichert. In 2020, Blunt received a PMJA (Public Media Journalists Association) award for his WYSO series Dayton Youth Radio, for which he is the founding producer and instructor. Basim spins an eclectic mix of funk, soul, and classic R&B every Friday night from 10:00 pm to midnight, as host of the 91.3 FM music show Behind the Groove.

Songwriting 101: A Fantastic Voyage Umvikeli G. Scott Jones

Umvikeli G. Scott Jones is an educator, performer, and creative. He serves as Director of Bands at Thurgood Marshall S.T.E.M. High School and Wogaman Middle School  in Dayton Public Schools. He teaches music courses at Central State University. Jones is also an endorsed XO Brass artist. Dr. Jones’ compositions blend Jazz, Gospel, Classical, and Funk. He performs with the Nasty Nati Brass Band, Soul Pocket, and his Quartet, “Speaking of Peace.” Additionally, Jones has performed and recorded with artists including Kim Kelly  Orchestra, Eddie Brookshire Big Band, Colour of Music Orchestra, Miami  Valley Symphony Orchestra, Steve Arrington, The Funk Brothers, and more. Jones is passionate about providing high quality fine arts education to underrepresented youth. Internationally, he has contributed to Wright State University’s Wright-LEAD Youth Leadership Institute in  Durban, South Africa for four years. 

Stage Your Story by Michelle Hayford

Michelle Hayford, Ph.D. is the Director of the Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program and Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Dayton. Michelle holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies  from Northwestern University. Her original creative scholarship combines her passions of creating live plays with utilizing the craft of theatre as a necessary response to community and civic engagement.  Michelle’s passion for progressive leadership in academic theatre prompted her to write the forthcoming Undergraduate Research in Theatre, published by Routledge (2021). Previous original works include Spectacle (with Nick Cardilino, 2018), Sustenance (2016) created in collaboration with the Hanley Sustainability Institute, Dog Wish (2013) commissioned by The Humane Society of the United States and Suit My Heart (2011) created in collaboration with Footsteps to the Future, a foster youth non-profit. She is co-author and co-editor (with Susan Kattwinkel) of Performing Arts as High-Impact Practice, published by Palgrave MacMillan (2018) and Arts and Humanities Division editor of the journal SPUR: Scholarship and Practice of Undergraduate Research.

You Gotta Do Some Work – Funding Opportunities for Community Artists by Chiquita Mullins Lee

Chiquita Mullins Lee won individual artist/excellence awards in fiction, non-fiction, and playwriting from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). She serves as an arts learning coordinator for the OAC and oversees
Ohio’s Poetry Out Loud and Arts Partnership programs. Published in literary anthologies including Fifth Wednesday, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, and Falling Star Magazine, Chiquita was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, is featured on
Columbus’ Long Street Cultural Wall, and hosted the Emmy award-winning program, Traditions – Ohio Heritage Fellows. She writes and performs with Wild Women Writing and Word Warriors creative writing ministry at New Covenant Believers
Church. Her critically acclaimed play, Pierce to the Soul, premiered at CATCO, toured Ohio with A Portable Theatre Company, and appeared in the 2019 History in ACTion Playwright’s Festival, along with her dramatic monologue, Ms. Morrison
Speaks to Pilate from Song of Solomon.

Self-Healing, Conditioning and History by Jonathan Pattiwael

Join Jonathan Pattiwael to investigate movement practices based on your body materials. This workshop begins with a 15 minute guided Qi Gong practice, tapping into the Chi energy that makes us, surrounds us and binds us together. We will then explore methods of movement creation inspired by street dance forms such as Hip-Hop and we will round out the course by practicing a 10 minute guided meditation to center our breath, bodies, and mind to the present moment. We’ll use imagery, hands-on work, and structured movement explorations as starting points. No dance or movement experience necessary, just need a little bit of standing and sitting space to participate.

Creative Yoga Flow by Jennifer Turpin Stanfield

Jennifer Turpin Stanfield, is a professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. She received her master’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion from The Ohio State University and is a certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. Jennifer is a Registered Yoga Teacher (E-RYT 200) and a continuing education provider through Yoga Alliance. She is also a yoga faculty member and fitness presenter for NETA – The National Exercise Trainers Association. Jennifer is passionate about helping others live healthier lives through the adoption and maintenance of positive health behaviors and believes that yoga is for everyone.

Conscious Parenting: Healing Students in a Pandemic by Nate Leone

Playwright and Clarity Coach Nate Leone’ became a fixture of the Midwestern revival of the Black Arts Movement and Urban Creative arts, thanks to productions like Livingroom of the Mind and critically acclaimed works like “The Corner.” He is also an outstanding Educator and Speaker who recorded transformational education, as illustrated by his book Success You. Upon receiving the 2018 Ohio Governor’s Award for the arts, Leone’ has worked diligently to eliminate the limited artistic box Black plays and musicals are placed. Nate Leone’ is an innovative creative regarded as a highly insightful playwright with works like Eunice: Star Shine and Clay. Through his company OFP Theatre and Productions he continues to be an arts advocate in Dayton, Ohio and throughout the country. Nate obtained his B.S. degree in Special Ed, from The Central State University. He taught for 10 years and worked with at-risk youth in corrections, treatment, and chemical dependency for 12 years. He also holds a M.Ed. in curriculum and instruction from Wright State University, with over 15 years’ of experience as a trained facilitator.

Building Our Temples for Tomorrow by Furaha Henry-Jones

Furaha Henry-Jones has enjoyed sharing her work with audiences domestically and abroad for over twenty years. In recent years, she was presented the Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award for Poetry in 2018 and she is currently the Poet Laureate at Sinclair College. Her travels, study abroad at the University of Salamanca in Spain and her teaching experience with the international program Wright Lead Youth Leadership Institute in Durban, South Africa have led her to enthusiastically connect students to global experiences. She was proud to co-found the Ubuntu South Africa Study Abroad program and to present her reflections on visiting South Africa in Shea Butter Epiphanies at TEDxDayton’s inaugural session. Her favorite performances in recent years have included Four Women: A Tribute to Nina Simone and the Black Arts Movement, Sundowners at the Durban Playhouse, Harriet: Navigation, Live and Thrive and her role in the play A Song for Coretta.

The Medicinal Creativity of Crochet Arts by Erin Morgan Smith Glenn

Erin Morgan Smith Glenn is an assistant professor of art, advisor of the Visual Arts Club and proud alum of Central State University. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Cincinnati with a concentration in 2D drawing and painting, working in a variety of media. Erin has exhibited works in Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, respectively, including numerous solo exhibitions, with three solos in 2019 alone. Among her lifelong pursuits is to continually practice her artwork and overall creative experiences, vowing never to stop “growing as an artist and individual”, while always striving to instill this concept in her students and her three children, as she does within herself.

The House of Healing Arts Panel Darsheel Kaur, Shon Curtis, Mariah J., and Leroy Bean

Darsheel Kaur

(she/they) As a child of diaspora and citizen of mother Earth, Darsheel Kaur lives her life as a lifelong student of the natural elements and of Sikhi. She is a cultural worker who infuses radical healing and revolutionary love into being an educator, coach, creative writer, community builder, and circle keeper. As a wellness practitioner, she centers in mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual work and guidance for her intergenerational and multicultural community. She offers community healing circles sharing tools and practices to support us in healing ourselves individually and collectively from isolation, toxic stress, cycles of violence, and legacies of trauma.

Shon Curtis

BIO: Shon Curtis is a photographer born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. Focusing on academics and family, Shon attended Sinclair Community College majoring in English with the aptitude of being an educator. Working, studying, and teaching, Curtis was laid off in 2017 shortly after changing his degree field to Visual Communications. Having gone to the preeminent Stivers School For the Arts for six years before attending college, the seed that was planted in art burst forth when Shon secured his first grant-based project with Ohio Student Association and Midwest Culture Lab as a lead photographer in Issue One campaign throughout the Midwest Area. Shon went on to attend The Art Institute of Pittsburgh studying Digital Photography before he ended his program to pursue full-time freelance photography. Creating images for commercial corporations and both local and national organizations such as Gem City Market, Five Rivers Metro Parks, and The Wilderness Agency to name a few, Curtis developed a sense for portraiture and storytelling. Focusing on the exploration of culture and society, Shon’s portraits are intended to be an earnest experience between two people. He currently works and resides in Dayton, Ohio.

Mariah J 

BIO: Mariah J is an artist disrupter, cultural strategist, dancer, singer/songwriter, poet, music producer and spiritual herbalist apprentice under the direction of Karen Rose.

Mariah released her debut EP, When You Call On Freedom’s Name, in December of 2019 now available on Soundcloud.  Mariah can be found showing her love and support for all mediums of art and healing, often helping to cultivate peace, culture, and love through organizing artists and activists via creative projects.  She has a deep and passionate love for Afro-indigenous culture and history and consistently uses her platform to address issues affecting our society, especially those concerning black, indigenous and of color women. Mariah is an artist disrupter who helps co-create the world we all deserve through art, culture, healing, and enlightenment.

Leroy Bean

BIO: Leroy Bean is an author, poet, and co-founder of Underdog Academy and Baldwin Cafe Bookstore from Dayton, Ohio. For 4 years he has taught an original creative writing workshop suitable for elementary to adult for the purpose of healing, emotional intelligence, development of one’s writing process and exercise for the creative muscle


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