» The Creative Community Leadership Institute
Creative Community Leadership Network

2017 Southwest Minnesota Fellows

Abraham Algadi is an innovative, strategic thinker who understands the dynamics of service provision in a regulated free market. I was born in Jordan and grew up in Lebanon, completed my higher education in Jordan and the United States. My background gave me unique abilities to see things perhaps more objectively and gave me a clearer understanding of the similarities we share as humans. I have a B.A from the University of Jordan in Classic Archaeology (Amman Jordan), and Master in Urban Planning from Texas State University – (San Marcos Texas), LBJ’s school. Which may explain why everything in the Texas hill country was named after LBJ, including the local rock station. Currently I serve as Executive Director for community and economic development with Worthington Regional Economic Development Corporation, where I implemented programs to address some of the unique challenges in Nobles County. We also organize the annual Worthington Bio Science Conference to highlight the region’s strength as home to multinational and homegrown companies employing hundreds in animal health sector and value added agriculture.

Chelsea Alger is the Resource Development Officer of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, with areas of focus include planning and community development; grant writing; and the Partnership Art effort. Prior to joining SWMHP she spent over a decade in public sector community planning. Alger is currently working on her certification as a Housing Development Finance Professional through the National Development Council.

Mayuli Bales was born and grow in Oaxaca, Mexico on 1964, immigrate to USA in 1991. Graduate from Universidad Autonoma de Mexico with an undergraduate  on Elementary Education. She has numerous certificates in Hispanic pastoral ministries, Building intercultural communities of faith. She is the Director of the Multicultural Ministries with the Diocese of St Cloud, Worked for Catholic Charities directing a Parents Program in St Cloud, MN, she was the coordinator of the Hispanic Ministries at Saint Boniface, parish in the Diocese of St Cloud, and worked at a Non profit Organization like Executive Director, Casa Guadalupe Multicultiral Communities. Mayuli bring expertise building bridges between cultures.

Karla Beck is the Principal at St. James Middle/High School.  Her passion for Educational Leadership has been seen through her work at Northside Elementary in St. James as a School Improvement Principal and National Turnaround Arts Principal.  In her current position, she is working to revitalize the culture and climate of students and staff and bringing a new vision to engaging instructional work.Karla is married to Wes.  They raised their three sons on his family's Century Farm.  When not at school or working as her church's organist/pianist and choir director, Karla digs in her perennial flower beds and vegetable garden, reads historical fiction and leadership books, and enjoys beautiful Minnesota summer evenings on the pontoon.

Brenda Byron has been an Arts Administrator for 27 years and has served as the Executive Director of the Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council since 1993. She administers grant programs and services to artists, arts organizations, community groups and schools in the 9-county area of south central Minnesota.  She is responsible for technical assistance, public information, arts advocacy, planning and financial management of the council.  Brenda has a B.S. degree in Business Administration and M.A. in Counseling. She has been a Board member of Minnesota Citizens for the Arts, St. Paul for over 18 years. Brenda’s hometown is Waseca where she participated in choir and band (playing the drums) in High School.  She grew up dancing to waltz’s and polkas and her Grandpa played the fiddle and piano.  Brenda is married to Jim who farms and raises crops and Black Angus cattle and they have three children.  She enjoys singing, photography, spending time with family and attending lots of arts events in the area.

Arnold Carlson is an artist whose approach to is rooted in place, from his earliest childhood experiences in Africa and the United States.  Having lived in many places and having taught studio arts at Interlochen Center for the Arts (MI), Northwestern College (IA), University of Memphis and Memphis College of Art, he has experienced many creative cultures.   His persistent desire to challenge the way creativity is framed has led Arnold to a focus on the richness of experiential art within community and a renewed awareness of our material  environment.   His current creative efforts revolve around the practice of walking with strangers in public space, mining the simple performed task of walking for shared creative direction.  

Lauren K Carlson is a poet and spiritual director who lives in rural Dawson, Minnesota with her husband and three sons. She recently produced a web series for Pioneer Digital Studios entitled "Poems From the Field," which uses poetry to explore with richness and depth, the creative and spiritual lives of rural Minnesotans. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming from Blue Heron Review, Heron Tree, Windhover Review, Hermeneutic Chaos's Milkteeth Anthology and Fiolet & Wing, an anthology of fabulist poetry.

Bradley Chapulis is the Director of Community/Economic Development for the City of Worthington.  An employee with the City for the past 18 years, his responsibilities include planning/zoning administration, rental housing enforcement, economic development, floodplain management, and supervision of the City’s Building Official.  Brad is recognized by the National Development Council as a Certified Economic Development Professional and is a co-founder of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity.  He currently holds various leadership positions within several state, regional and local organizations (i.e., Minnesota Chapter – American Planning Association, Worthington Area Foundation, and Southwest Regional Development Commission). Brad is originally from Chicago, Illinois and obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Community and Regional Development from Iowa State University.  Prior to working for Worthington, he worked for the Cities of Mason City, Iowa and West Des Moines, Iowa.  Brad is married and has two daughters (ages 10 & 12).  Brad’s interests include basketball, football, swimming, and golf.

Kristi Link Fernholz works as a senior planner at the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Commission where she coordinates a number of different programs in her region such as public art projects in Montevideo, the Meander Art Crawl, the Minnesota River Valley National Scenic Byway (history projects), and Clean Energy Resource Team (CERTs). Originally from Milan, Kristi received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She lives on a small farm near Appleton with her husband Brad and two children. She has been showing her photography as a featured artist on the Meander Art Crawl since 2004.  Most of her photos are of native prairie plants taken near her home, tucked away in the tall grass prairie along the ridges of the Minnesota River Valley.

Lisa Graphenteen works to oversee the program areas of SWMHP including Homeownership, Resource Development, Asset Management, Construction and Real Estate Development.  Our mission is focused around creating thriving communities that comes from not only affordable housing but also access to essential community facilities, vibrant downtowns, access to quality education, etc.  We continue to recognize that our impact can go well beyond the housing structure to impact multiple facets of a community.  This Artplace effort along with our other planning work will continue to broaden that reach.  As I have moved from a community coordinator/developer role to administration, a personal interest of mine is instilling leadership skills in our team related to community planning work.

Gail Holinka Is an Artist and Arts Educator.  She has been an active Arts Advocate for over 20 years.  She wears many hats that show her dedication not only to Arts Education but the benefits of the Arts in her community as a whole. Gail has served on the Worthington Public Arts Commission as Chair since it formed 2012. This commission was established from a grant she received from Forecast Public Arts.  This was the beginning of many great things for Worthington, in regards to the growth in Public Art education and project development. Gails mission is to do her part to make the world a better place! She not only educates her students about the importance of public art, she encourages them be actively involved in the process and projects created in Worthington. Students are involved by designing future project requests, or actual hands on work- creating with artist on our local projects. Through creating and sharing art together, they see how it connects to others and the world around them.  We all deserve to have a voice and for that voice to be heard.   

Agnes “Bobby” Alsgaard Lien has a Master’s degree in Painting, Art History and Adult Education. She is a retired college art instructor and is a practicing artist. She has traveled extensively exploring, interpreting and learning her craft. She has exhibited her paintings throughout the United States. One of her greatest honors is a Prairie Star Award, which is a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the arts.

Ms. Alsgaard Lien was one of thirty educators from the United States, invited to participate in a Round Table discussion, about Children at Risk in Oxford, England.  She is an advocate for art education and realizes that art is a universal language that all humans share and embrace. She has conducted Art Workshops for children for over forty years. Ms Alsgaard Lien has received Career Artist Grants, a Legacy Grant and several grants for working with children through the Southwest Mn Arts Council.

Her love of children keeps her actively involved in education and she is known in area schools for her secret art project bag,that she carries with her, whenever she is substituting.

Khou Lor, a young mother and leader within the Hmong community has always been passionate about positive community development. As the current Organizational Manager at Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership Khou truly believes in creating a positive community for all to live in. Her previous experience in administrative and clerical work has allowed her to gain knowledge in providing organizational staff support to SWMHP. As a third year student at Southwest Minnesota State University Khou hopes to graduate with a BA in Business Management with a focus in Human Relations. She finds inspiration in helping those in need and hopes that someday she will be able to be a resource to the community that she lives in.


Greta Murray has served as the Executive Director of the SW MN Arts Council since May 1998.  She served as their Administrative Assistant from June 1984 to May 1998. Murray began her career in nonprofit work as a bookkeeper/accountant at United Cerebral Palsy Association of San Francisco from 1974 through 1979. Murray plays the penny whistle, recorder and alto saxophone, along with some flute and piano and was a founding member of the Minneota Area Community Jazz Band.  Murray is a member of the Southwest Minnesota Weavers Guild and has been a basket maker since she was a child. She studied painting and pottery in college at Southwest Minnesota State University. Murray is a member of SWxSW, a Tourism and Resilient Communities Working Group the U of M Southwest Regional Sustainable Development Partnership.

Mónica M. Segura-Schwartz has worked as a program manager for Catholic Charities of the St. Cloud Dioceses since 2007. In her position she advocates for immigrants in this community with an emphasis in education. Monica is a native from Colombia, South America. She grew up in a household of only women, living with her mom and three aunts. She came to the USA on 2001 to Study English at St. Cloud State University where she later pursued a masters in Social Responsibility. Later, Mónica married Troy Schwartz from St. Cloud and made this city her home. During her time living in this community Monica has been part of several boards and committees such GREAT theatre and MN Latinos Affairs Council. Through these she works towards the betterment of the community and the enhancement of opportunities for people of color and immigrants. She believes in the strength of diversity and believes we all will be better when we all have access to the same opportunities. Monica deeply believes in community, art, culture and environment and would like to see all these themes enhanced in St. Cloud.

Brendan Stermer is a new media producer from Montevideo, Minnesota. Much of his work uses online media to encourage offline conversation and reflection around a variety of rural issues. Most recently, he created an audio documentary for On Being with Krista Tippett on hip hop lyrics as sacred mantras. During the summer of 2016, he created the Pioneer Digital Studios web series, "Manhood in Rural America," an exploration of how local men are experiencing the rapid transformation of gender roles in rural society. The series, made with an iPhone and an old laptop, was featured on Upworthy and Minnesota Public Radio. Full portfolio available at www.brendanstermer.com

Lucy Tokheim: Lucy is an independent studio artist/designer.  Her paintings and drawings have been exhibited widely. With her husband Gene Tokheim founder of Tokheim Stoneware in 1973 she also collaborates on ceramic work drawing on their common interest in Scandinavian folk art.  Their studio collaborations are featured in the permanent collection of the Vesterheim Norwegian-American Museum and in regional and international exhibitions, most prominently in the New York Museum of Folk Art’s 1995 “Migration of a Tradition”.  

As a resident of rural Minnesota for over 40 years, Lucy has contributed to many local education projects, most notably organizing and directing the Marshall Summer Talents Academy.  Her community work is marked by her diligent integration of great teachers and artists in consequential roles for rural communities.

Sara Kathryn Udvig is a mother, process-of-being enthusiast, and an emerging public artist and accomplished muralist. Udvig works at the intersection of art and livability, encouraging viewers to break routine by getting active & trying something unfamiliar.She studied art formally at St. Catherine's University and the Minneapolis College of Art and Design but appreciates mentor artists, family, friends, neighbors, and the opportunity imbedded in the process of art & life as continuing education and source for inspiration.

With her work Udvig aims to support and strengthen communities, offering viewers or project participants the opportunity for self-realization and social benefit; she works to remind individuals that they are an essential part of a great whole.

Julio Zelaya is a recent graduate from Gustavus Adolphus College, where he studied political science and trained in Theater of the Oppressed.   His background in Boal and physical theater sparked him to continue working on stage, devising works with fellow artist in Minneapolis.  In the past, Julio has worked with the Minnesota Department of Education and taught within the Minneapolis School District. Most recently, he spent a year teaching in the festive city of Barranquilla, Colombia. Currently, Julio is the Coordinator of the American Civil Liberties Union Greater Minnesota Racial Justice Project . When not defending fundamental rights given by the constitution, Julio can be found in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes, swing dancing, or planning a bicycling excursion.

2015 Rapid City, SD CCLI Fellows

Jesse Abernathy is pursuing his Master of Social Work degree through the University of Southern California’s Virtual Academic Center as an advanced standing student with a concentration area of Community Organization, Planning, and Administration (COPA). As part of his Master of Social Work program experience, he is completing his practicum as a program consultant with A Positive Tomorrow, a regional nonprofit consulting organization with a Rapid City, S.D., office that primarily works with tribes in bolstering, expanding, and sustaining self-sufficiency through rightful sovereignty. Jesse previously served as the inaugural communications and outreach coordinator for Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, or GPTCHB, which is headquartered in Rapid City and has been in existence for almost 30 years. The agency addresses the public health needs of Indigenous (Native American) tribes in South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa through advocacy, education, outreach, technical assistance, and as a liaison. During his over-two-year tenure, he broke new ground for GPTCHB in the arena of public affairs and was instrumental in redefining and refocusing the agency’s longstanding brand. He is the award-winning former editor of Native Sun News, South Dakota’s largest weekly newspaper. NSN is Indigenous owned and focused and based in Rapid City. In addition, Jesse is the former volunteer vice president of the nonprofit First Nations Sculpture Garden, Inc., Board of Directors. First Nations Sculpture Garden is a visionary project to honor 20th-century Lakota, Dakota, and Nakota people from the region at Halley Park in the heart of Rapid City, in the hallowed Paha Sapa (He Sapa), or Black Hills. Jesse is also a Leadership Rapid City 2014 selectee; LRC is a 12-week program of the Rapid City Area Chamber of Commerce aimed at developing community leaders. Last fall, Jesse was appointed to serve a three-year term as a Board of Governors at-large member for the not-for-profit South Dakota 4-H Foundation/South Dakota Youth Foundation, which secures private resources to ensure South Dakota’s youth – including those living in tribal communities – have opportunities to learn leadership, citizenship, character, and life skills through 4-H and other community-based programs with a specific focus on youth. More recently, Jesse was appointed to serve a three-year term as an Arts Rapid City Board of Directors at-large member. Arts Rapid City specifically strives to promote art-powered community development; build connections for the creative industries that make our region a desirable place to live, work, and visit; encourage collaboration and provide marketing and educational tools to help creatives strengthen the value of the arts in everyone’s lives; and respond to our community’s arts and culture needs.

Patri Acevedo is [quite possibly the only Puerto Rican] licensed to practice architecture in the states of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming. Born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, she resided in New York, Florida and Texas before calling the Black Hills “home.” She holds a BS in Environmental Design from he Universidad de Puerto Rico in San Juan, PR and a Master of Architecture from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. In 2010, Patri started AcV2 architecture, an architecture and interior design practice here in Rapid City. AcV2 specializes in adaptively reusing and renovating buildings [commercial and residential], and creating infill solutions that catalyze smart growth and renewal. Patri’s varied background enriches AcV2’s design process and enhances their ability to partner with clients, collaborators and consultants. Her love of the region has motivated her to serve in various boards and committees: including currently serving as board President for the Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity, serving on the board of the American Institute of Architects South Dakota Chapter, several committees for the Rapid City Arts Council, SD CEO’s Women’s Business Conference, the Rapid City Innovation District steering committee, the Rapid City Cultural Planning Committee and she’s a very proud Buffalo Gal.

Sharmila Chandran, MHA, JD graduated with a Master of Healthcare Administration degree from Duke University and completed a one year post-graduate health administration fellowship at Ohio Valley Health Services.  Sharmila next worked at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas in the Strategic Planning department for 4 years during which time she was promoted from Financial Analyst to Senior Planning Analyst. While maintaining full time employment at Children’s Medical Center of Dallas, Sharmila completed her Juris Doctor degree at Wesleyan Law School by attending the night program.  After graduation from law school, Sharmila moved to Washington, D.C. passing the D.C. and Maryland bar exams.  While in the D.C. area, Sharmila performed contract legal work primarily for law firms to assist with large litigation cases.  Sharmila also contracted with a nursing home to build their compliance program. Sharmila then moved to California to work for Kaiser Permanente where she worked 7 years, starting in the Venture Development department as a Venture Manager developing new business ventures.  She then transitioned to the Corporate Compliance department as a Compliance Consultant and was later promoted to Executive Consultant.  Sharmila’s responsibilities included building and managing the compliance program, assisting compliance officers across the Kaiser Permanente system, and advising the Chief Compliance Officer regarding compliance strategies, goals, and objectives. Sharmila was then recruited by Daughters of Charity Health System to be the Director of Compliance, Loss Prevention, and Privacy.  She worked there for 7 years where she directed the compliance, HIPAA, and risk programs, leading teams in 6 hospitals across California. In 2013, Sharmila was hired by Regional Health to serve as the Vice President of Corporate Responsibility.  She leads the Compliance and Internal Audit departments for the system. In addition to her bar licenses, Sharmila holds certifications in healthcare and research compliance. Sharmila resides in Rapid City and enjoys travel and tennis.

Naomi Even-Aberle, originally from small town Lusk, Wyoming, grew up with four brothers and learned that a little dirt never hurt anyone. After high school she found herself living in Aberdeen, South Dakota attending college at Northern State University on a track scholarship. After three years of pole vaulting and two knee surgeries later, Naomi decided she needed a change. In 2006, she quit track and joined Strongheart Martial Arts Academy and started her training in the traditional Korean art form of Taekwondo. In 2010 Naomi completed her B.A. in Fine Art from Northern State University while finishing her 4th degree master black belt promotional test. Naomi currently lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with her husband, and two dogs. As the Art Education Director with the Rapid City Arts Council, she feels lucky to be able to continue working in the arts field with children and adults year round. Some of Naomi's current projects consist of running her own business Full Circle Martial Arts Academy, coordinating the Teaching Artist Program, pursing my master’s of fine arts degree and working on the Pine Ridge Reservation working with youth.

Chantel Evans is originally from Dell Rapids, South Dakota and moved to Rapid City, SD in December of 2013. Chantel is a Master’s degree candidate with previous education in Counseling, Human Development and Family Studies with experience designing and executing programs to provide students, youth and families with resources and strategies to succeed and improve the quality of their lives. Chantel works at the Rapid City Club for Boys. She have been employed at the Club since February of 2015. She has other previous experience working as a Program Manager and Case Specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters and working on grants in rural communities assisting with education and nutrition. Chantel has years of experience in management, customer service, sales, and social media. In Chantel’s free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and love to go hiking in the Black Hills, biking, kayaking, swimming and running.

Sarah Hanzel is a city planner, classical musician, and art enthusiast. In work and play Sarah is inspired by environments where individual parts gather and collaborate to form something lasting and meaningful. Sarah works as a Long Range Planner in Rapid City’s Community Planning and Development Services Division which aims to plan, develop, and build a better community. Sarah assists in the development and implementation of community plans and policies to provide for the growth and development of Rapid City. Her primary areas are focused on historic preservation planning, special district planning, tax increment financing, and annexation. Sarah is currently a section cellist in the Black Hills Symphony Orchestra. Her roots in Rapid City’s creative community have been growing since her youth.  Over the years Sarah has enjoyed working as an art gallery assistant and participating in live performance art through music and theater. In 2013, Sarah earned a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Nebraska –Lincoln. Sarah received a Bachelor of Science in Social Economics with an Environmental Emphasis from Northern Arizona University in 2009.

Anna Huntington, director of Arts Rapid City and outreach coordinator for The Sculpture Project, comes to her work as a champion for the arts with a background in women’s sports as an athlete and writer. Anna has a degree in English from Harvard University and Masters in Journalism from Columbia University and is a two-time Olympic rower and bronze medalist. She was a member of the first women's team to compete for the America's Cup, an experience she chronicled in the book Making Waves. Her freelance journalism has appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times to Glamour. A Kansas native, Anna moved to Rapid City in 2008. She is a volunteer board member for the Performing Arts Center of Rapid City and Destination Rapid City and is a former board president for the Rapid City Arts Council. Anna is an avid hiker, mountain biker, and swimmer. Her proudest achievement by far is still in the works—raising two amazing children with her husband, Stewart. 

Originally from Minnesota, Corissa Krueger traveled east to earn a Masters degree in Intercultural Communications from Boston University.  Having lived in and studied conservation impacts on communities in England, India, Tanzania, New Zealand, Mexico, and Haiti – Krueger decided to return home. In 2008 she moved to the Black Hills where she had already fallen in love with the area’s vast landscapes and small town communities – as well as her husband William Busse whose family is rooted in SD. From private landowners to public agencies, Krueger specializes in working with people from different backgrounds to find commonalities and build partnerships for communities and for conservation. Located in Rapid City, Krueger serves as the Western SD Conservation Manager for The Nature Conservancy.  The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit conservation organization whose mission is to, “Conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends”.  For the Conservancy, supporting and fostering working landscapes for both communities and wildlife is the key to conserving our natural resources for future generations.

GiGi Lage is a seasoned fundraiser, who has provided leadership and advocacy for nonprofit organizations and the public schools for more than fifteen years. She has extensive experience in the development of education and cultural programs and is a strong believer in building positive working relationships and collaborative supportive teams. As a lifelong learner, GiGi Lage enjoys the challenge of creating innovative strategies to improve the organizations with which she is associated. Her interest in education encouraged her active participation in the annual public school Rushmore Bowl as a Board member. Along with other Rushmore Bowl volunteers, Lage was part of the efforts which raised more than $63,000, helping fund sports and other student activities, including arts and culture. Responsible for afterschool activities, scheduling and parent trainings at South Park Elementary, she was able to establish several new programs for South Park: Hot Shots Dance Camp, Cribbage Club, Spanish Club, Martial Arts Club, Stamp Collecting Club, Drama Club, First Tee Golf Club, Creative Minds Science Club, and many more. GiGi Lage coordinated PTA fundraisers that raised over $12,500.00 for these afterschool activities. She organized Eagles Club and Kases for Kids donations to benefit children in our community. GiGi Lage brought in corporate funding and staffing for events that contributed to additional funds for our students, teachers, and school. "My father was an officer in the Air Force," GiGi added, "We moved every two years, this experience made me appreciate how very fortunate we are to live in Rapid City. We truly have a wonderful City and I wouldn't have wanted to raise my children anywhere else." GiGi and her husband Jeff Lage are very active in the Rapid City Community and have enjoyed building their lives here. Fulfillment, for GiGi, lies in helping others. Early in her career, service opportunities began coming her way. Usually, the topics concerned a community issue that she felt was important, which made it important to her to get involved. Over the years, GiGi has devoted even more time to these worthy projects. GiGi looks forward to a bright future for Rapid City and South Dakota, and she is honored to be a participant in that growth.

Katie LeClair is passionate about investing in her community and the powerful impact that can be made through establishing and fostering meaningful connections across different groups that might not typically interact with one another. She believes in creating stronger, better work through collaboration and that connecting these groups of people, with seemingly disparate interests and distinct skill sets and perspectives, can create something amazing. Through her work for Stanford Adelstein, a philanthropist and leader in her community, Katie is fortunate to have day-to-day work which positively impacts peoples’ lives—from facilitating a symphony concert sponsorship to helping a ninety-year-old song-writer realize his dream of professionally recording one of his songs—her work is fulfilling and never boring. Her previous experience working in the Rapid City Mayor’s Office, on candidate’s campaigns for local office, and creating strategic plans and leadership development programs—and even growing up working on her family's campground—help her in her work and volunteerism today. When not at work, Katie and her husband, Jeff, are busy enjoying their 15-month-old son, Henry. Henry often joins Katie as she volunteers for political campaigns (he was the “inspiration captain” for a recent effort to increase funding for education), in her work as vice-president of the Black Hills Area Habitat for Humanity, and as she takes part in pop-up efforts like the Frontier Fund which raised $125,000 then gave it all away in small grants to celebrate South Dakota’s 125thanniversary of statehood.

Brandie MacDonald began work at First Peoples Fund in 2015 and has 7 years experience working within the nonprofit field. She developed and manages the First Peoples Fund youth-track programming centrally grounded on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Brandie also co-manages the National Native Artists Professional Development Training programs and technical assistance with First Peoples Fund. Additionally, she is an enrolled member of the Chickasaw Nation with ancestral ties to the Choctaw Nation, both located in Oklahoma. Brandie comes to First Peoples Fund from The Heritage Center at Red Cloud Indian School, as their Museum Educator. She has worked for The Charlotte Museum of History as their Manager of Education, and as an ongoing mentor and community builder within the nonprofit Native Explorers. She has also received the Smithsonian Affiliate Internship at the National Museum of the American Indian; the Diversity Fellowship for the American Association of Museums; and was named one of Charlotte, North Carolina’s, most Prominent Community Leaders under the age of 40 by Charlotte Building Initiative in 2011. Brandie’s passion is creating diverse spaces that weave installation art, social justice pedagogy, poetry and spoken word together. For Brandie, art is a universal language that permits communication among all peoples, regardless of background. She believes the arts are an essential component of a community's cultural and economic anatomy.

Jessica Miller is Arts Rapid City's Good Design Goddess, aka Collaborative Strategist. Everything from the ArtsRapidCity.org website, newsletters, and advertisements to event preparation and office space formation has received the touch of her talented eye and intellect. She merges this skill with her experience as a values-based problem solver and grassroots organizer who enjoys building sustainable solutions. Jessica is a Rapid City native who travelled about and returned to the hills she loves. She has a degree in Interior Design from South Dakota State University and a Certificate in Permaculture from The Permaculture Institute. Jessica is chair of Art Night Downtown, a volunteer board member for the Rapid City Nikko City Sister City Association, advisory committee member for Suzie Cappa Art Center, Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Creative Industries Committee member, a graduate of Leadership Rapid City 2014, and will soon be a Rushmore Honors recipient in January 2016. Jessica is admittedly obsessed with all things local from food to art but won't admit that she knows almost everyone in Rapid City. Her files are color-coded and her markers are poised to creatively encourage others to achieve greatness! 

Kenny Putnam grew up in Rapid City, South Dakota and his love for Country music goes back to childhood when he would listen to the recordings of Homer and Jethro, Ray Price, Lefty Frizzel and Burl Ives. He remembers the first time he heard an electric guitar at a Stonewall Jackson concert in the early 60’s. A musician and graphic artist, Kenny Putnam has studied, lived and worked in many locales. As a professional musician he performed on stages big and small both internationally and all over the US. Including The Grand Ol' Opry, The Tonight Show, Hee Haw the JFK Center for the Performing Arts, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas and the Oktober Hall in St. Petersburg, Russia. He performed with Country Music Hall of famer, Roy Clark for eight years. He is a two-time South Dakota Fiddle Champ who began touring and recording with The Red Willow Band in 1975. He was invited by the Smithsonian Institution in 1975 and 1976 to participate in The Festival of American Folklife, demonstrating violin-making and playing. With Red Willow he toured coast-to-coast for over six years. He quit to return to college and an art degree but within a year was offered a position with The Roy Clark Show. Putnam toured and recorded with Clark for over seven years appearing on The Grand Ol' Opry, The Tonight Show, Hee Haw regularly and many other programs. He performed in 48 states, Canada, Bulgaria and The Soviet Union. He quit in 1989 to study art at the University of Iowa. Putnam earned a B.F.A. in painting and a Masters of Journalism by 1992. Since returning to South Dakota in 1993, Putnam has worked in marketing and the graphic arts and has performed and recorded with a South Dakota Acoustic Christmas for all of its 19 years. This group has raised more than one million dollars for many non-profits organizations across the State. In 2001 Putnam released a solo recording in entitled “Sure Beats Me”. He has played on many recordings and appeared on stage with many more performers. Highlights include sharing Faded Love fiddle parts with Roger Miller on the stage of the Grand Ol’ Opry and performing with everyone from Bob Hope, Senator Byrd in the hall outside the Senate Chambers, Glen Campbell, Jimmy Buffet, Jimmy Dean, Floyd Cramer and Minnie Pearl, to name a few. Kenny and Linnea, his wife of 33 years have a 23 year old son Lee and a 19 year old daughter Layne. Putnam currently owns Image Up Creative Services at the Fairmont Creamery in Rapid City, specializing in photo and historical document restorations as well as the imaging and reproduction of original artworks and photography. He currently freelances with about nine different groups ranging in styles from Country, to Folk, from Celtic to Rock n Roll.

Tyler "Siamese" Read is a graffiti artist, and the Arts Education Engagement Coordinator for the Rapid City Arts Council.
Tyler has been a staple in a public art space in Rapid City called Art Alley for the past decade, painting, giving tours, and advocating for the space. In an effort to change some of the negative connotations that exist about graffiti culture, Tyler began to mentor area youth in the art form, gaining commissioned walls for them to work on and donating the money to charity.
As Arts Education Engagement Coordinator, Tyler's goal is to get more people comfortable with accessing their own creativity, with a focus on teen, young adult, and at-risk youth. He has helped develop two popular annual community art shows that replace the traditional canvas with more familiar, less threatening pop culture items. He has also designed classes, workshops, and unusual creative events. Recently, Tyler worked with the Cheyenne River Youth Project to help create a public art park, and graffiti art internship program for their community. The culmination of this project was an event called RedCan Jam, a festival that fused graffiti art and Lakota culture together. This event was the first of its kind in the region bringing in artists from across the country.
Tyler is also on the Board of Directors for AAF Black Hills, and served as their 2014/15 Programs Chair, bringing in speakers from across the country as part of their monthly luncheon series.

Charles Rencountre: "Collaboration and fearless reflection of states that humanity endures seem critical for me to address as an artist responding to (and including) community. I look at the world around me, and see given situations or moments as opportunities to reflect back through the creation of art with my hands and heart.  Recently, I have felt the need to respond to states of the human condition as an offering of opportunity: for the viewer to consider or reevaluate circumstances through the pieces I make. Originally I was self-taught, moved by a hunger to express myself.  Artistically it is fortunate to live in this time with the wealth of information and materials that were developed over time and are newly at hand. As an accomplished sculptor in the mediums of clay, wood, stone, cement, and bronze, I am also an artist who explores the newer mediums refined by 20th & 21st century technologies. I see how all mediums are useful depending upon the context needed—(form follows function). Yet I am a Lakota artist because my peoples’ creation stories and celestial stories are something that I think about and reference in my process of art making. --- Like my ancestors who carved in pipestone two hundred years ago, I study what I perceive of the universe and cultures: its forms and our cultural and societal interfacings with each other. Growing up during the civil rights era in South Dakota I was influenced by the plight of my own Lakota people; the struggle to gain the rights to self identify, to tell stories, to live in freedom with equality.  Injustice and considering what is more sustainably balanced is a focal point in my work. I see all creative process as a gift from "the Great Mystery" that also provides us with the capacity to honor and in turn give back to the world—and this relationship with that compels and propels me as I make art. From the very beginning of my own life art making is a way that I’ve experienced harmony and balance in what I experienced as fragmented and often-chaotic world. It is a practice that connects me to my own life, to my peoples’ lives, and to the larger circle of engagement that I have with people and communities with which I am somehow also linked."

Alicia Marie Rencountre-Da Silva was born and raised in New York City, NY. She is the first generation of her families to be born in the States as her father and mother came to the US when they were kids from Guiana and from Colombia, S. A. respectively. She is a social practice artist. As a teaching artist from the Academy for the Love of Learning for the past four years she’s taught creative practices with children of different cultures. She helps them to share each other’s ways via art making and writing/ self-expression modalities, and to celebrate their stories. Currently she is close to receiving a certificate in Museum Studies and she works to find ways to interface with community via art education, projects, symposiums and exhibitions. In 2011 as the Salutatorian, she earned two BFAs in Studio Arts and Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts. In 2008 she met her husband to be, Charles Rencountre, and it was through him she is connected to Rapid City, South Dakota. It was in 2009 when she fell in love with South Dakota when Charles introduced her to the region. In 2011 Alicia and Charles were married at Pathways, an art walk/contemplative place envisioned by Dave Snyder in the heart of the Black Hills (near to Pe’sla). At that moment she inherited eight grandchildren (now 10), five wonderful adult kids, and a plethora of extended family via Charles.  According to him between his mother’s and his father’s lineages we are related to everyone in North Rapid, so it is a learning curve to all of a sudden find that everyone is a Prima or Tahansi or Auntie. Alicia is honored and looks forward to learning and working alongside the fellows accepted into the program in the fall of 2015.


Callie Tysdal is regional geographer with a passion for studying the shifting futures of rapidly urbanizing but historically rural places. Callie spent her childhood as one of only one hundred residents of Vale, South Dakota. At 16, she left the state to spend a year working full time as a Congressional Page in the U.S. House of Representatives. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree with honors in Geography and Art History from Macalester College in Saint Paul. While at Macalester she spent a semester studying in Florence, Italy and London. After graduating, Callie journeyed to Seoul’s largest satellite city, Yongin, to teach kindergarten and elementary English at a Korean Haegwon. A data miner for the South Dakota Dashboard and project coordinator of the Black Hills Knowledge Network, Callie currently spends her working hours aggregating and disseminating local news, digital archive collections, and statewide data. Throughout her fledgling career, Callie’s focus has been fixed on western South Dakota. She has authored and presented work on the importance of the Red Cloud Indian Art Show and the revitalization of downtown Rapid City. In her spare time, Callie volunteers with the Teaching Artist Program with the Rapid City Arts Council, is a Rushmore Rotary Club member, and works part time at the Legendary Buffalo Chip to help coordinate their annual Freedom Celebration to honor all those who have served or are serving in the U.S. Military.

Jason Ward is a business owner, web designer, and musician. He grew up in Rapid City and became active in the local music scene in high school. Jason’s interest in the technical aspects of music making eventually led him to a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering, taking a circuitous route from Minneapolis, MN to Portland, OR and back to Rapid City. For the last ten years Jason has worked as an engineer while recording music and playing shows in his spare time. Last year he started his own web design company Aux Design Co. in an effort to better utilize a better balance of his creative and technical skills. Jason envisions Rapid City as a place where young people don’t feel they need to abandon to pursue their music-related endeavors.  Key to that vision is a vibrant music scene that embraces youth participation, and presents avenues of involvement that allow for the development of professional skills and community relationships. 

Paula Wilkinson Smith is the creator and founder of Lifeways, Inc., a non profit state accredited prevention, intervention and outpatient counseling agency for adolescents and their families.  Lifeways works to build connections with youth to inspire wellness and health so they achieve their life goals.  Paula is the executive director and clinical supervisor. She works with 7 Lifeways Counselors and Administrative staff to help teens discover and choose their passion during the challenging times of change in their lives. 
Paula loves spending time with her husband, family and friends. She enjoys the outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking and gardening.


2015 Twin Cities CCLI Fellows
D.A. Bullock has been an award winning and leading cinematographer, writer and director for over 15 years. In 2003, his diligence and commitment to excellence was rewarded with the opportunity to write and direct his feature film debut - "dark ". This film was the inaugural project of the State of Illinois' - "Lights, Camera, Illinois" program. The film was a selection of The Toronto International Film Festival, The Chicago International Film Festival, The American Black Film Festival, Winner/Best Film 2003 Urbanworld Film Festival and The Houston International Film Festival where it won Best First Feature. “dark” was acclaimed in Variety  - “A contemplative, raw and moving piece …D.A. Bullock could turn out to be a major underground American filmmaker.” His keen eye for “urban expressionism” was cultivated from a dynamic breadth of influences. He has been described as “transcendent” and “unencumbered by cliché and genre limitations.” Utilizing an extensive repertoire of creative and visual styles, D.A Bullock has continued to impact the media landscape as a voice to be reckoned with. Bullock’s stories represent the voiceless, those surviving on the margins of society.In 2011 Bullock founded BULLY CREATIVE SHOP in Minneapolis, MN. Currently his cinematographer’s eye is on display in the critically acclaimed “VANISHING PEARLS” ; the story of the black oystermen of Point a La Hache, Louisiana and their trials and tribulations after the BP oil disaster. The film is in current limited theatrical distribution and available as a streaming title on Netflix through AFFRM Releasing. Bullock was named a 2014 McKnight Foundation / IFP Minnesota Media Arts Fellow.
Sam Carlsen: “It became clear to me that community-based decisions must be made throughout a project, from conception and location, to financing and operation, to design and implementation, in order to make community-driven architecture truly effective.” 

For Minneapolis native Sam Carlsen, community design is inextricably linked to civic contribution. He has been able to further explore this holistic approach through his work at the Saint Paul Riverfront Corporation (SPRC), where he engaged citizens in planning, urban design and placemaking for transit-oriented development.

As an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow (2012-2014), Sam worked in a design assistance capacity with the city to integrate and advance the work of city planners, community organizers, architects and landscape architects into affordable housing and other spaces being proposed all along the University Avenue Light Rail Corridor – a rail line opened in 2014 that links the downtowns of the Twin Cities. As Sam says “For me, the goal was to create neighborhoods of opportunity which are more sustainable, healthy, and equitable through the integration of affordable housing and accessible jobs into transit-oriented development and planning.”

After earning a Master of Architecture from the University of Minnesota in 2008, Sam joined the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, working directly with residents who had lost their homes in Hurricane Katrina, helping them rebuild safer and more sustainably. 

Sam continues to work with the SPRC and its partners to connect planning and development through community engagement and by championing design excellence at all stages. 
Kimberly Carpenter is a community health advocate, activist, and educator. She holds a Masters of Education in Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Kimberly was appointed to and serves on the City of Brooklyn Park Recreation and Park Advisory Commission where she has been instrumental in helping the department identify service gaps in the city, attend to issues of social and health equity, and create solutions identified in the strategic plan. Kimberly has recently pledged to be a Park Champion. In this role of citizen advocate she will serve as a year-round ambassador for her agency and community. With the support of the NRPA Public Policy Team, she will learn how to be a more effective advocate by engaging elected officials with phone calls, letters, sign-ons, and events. Kimberly is  championing Health Equity for the Homeless - HeH, it's No Laughing Matter. Kimberly organized a listening session that led to policy changes in the city's youth scholarship program - homeless youth will now have full access to programming because fees will be waived. Kimberly facilitates a high school Girls in Action group. Kimberly is very excited about ABCD. Kimberly enjoys leading a Girl Scout troop and she is learning how to knit. 
Chrys Carroll is an artist with over two decades of experience working with community offering art engagement workshops, lectures and residencies. She has a wide-ranging background of community engagement experiences, most recently conducting community engagement activities as part of the Creative City roadmap plan for the City of Minneapolis. Her understanding of making allows her to work in clay, metal, photography, textiles, and installation as a means to capture her desired outcomes. She created the art education program at Franklin Art Works Gallery, and has shown extensively in the United States. Carroll co-founded Dig-in, an arts movement that combines diverse modalities in the creation of a stronger, more defined voice. She also founded Women of Color Artist Gathering, which affords artists the opportunity to conduct workshops, showcase projects, exhibit work, and conduct performances.
Seth Eberle is a socially engaged puppet, mask, and teaching artist. He is particularly interested in using puppets and masks to give voice to the ideas and stories that cannot be spoken in someone's life or facilitating conversations that are important to community members or students.  As a teaching artist Seth has worked for Silverwood Park, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Leonardo's Basement, the North Dakota Council on the Arts, and others, working in communities, schools, and parks to give voice to others. In this process Seth emphasizes kinesthetic modes of learning, performance art practice, and visual art practice, with a particular focus on the natural world and the environment and ideas of home.  As a performance and visual artist, Seth has been a PuppetLab Fellow, funded by the Jerome Foundation, at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, creating Odyssey: The Soles' Journey Home, a piece that was created by interviewing various people, some who were housed, others who were not, about what home is and is not.  In the summer of 2014 Seth also created three educational puppet shows about insects called Buppet Labs at the Minnesota Zoo and a piece created with the community of Eagan at the Eagan Art Festival called Faces of Celebration in which community members could express themselves and whose photos became part of the final piece. Seth has a B.A. in Theatre Arts from North Dakota State University with an art minor.  He strongly believes in the power of art to make the world a better and happier place and is looking forward to working alongside other CCLI cohorts.   .
Keith Holmes is a documentary artist whose exhibits and installations are grounded in silver photography and community fieldwork. Hereceived his BA from San Francisco State University in 1990 and an MFA from the University of Colorado, Boulder, in 1995. A "visual anthropology" seminar with the Farm Security Administration photographer John Collier, Jr. cemented his interest in ethnographic studies and provided a framework to understand cultural behavior through visual observation and personal engagement. After an extended period of work in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, Holmes developed the idea of using an installation approach to documentary representation as a way to expand the creative toolkit and embrace a wider range of expressive options available to the artist.  Rather than simplifying issues in the manner of a journalistic story, his work always strives to present a world that is as rich and complex as the subjects whose lives and histories are being described. In addition to numerous exhibits throughout the the West and Midwest, Holmes has displayed his photographs and installations at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia. The work has been supported by multiple Minnesota State Arts Board and Jerome Travel/Study grants, as well as a McKnight Fellowship and residencies in Miami, Florida and Portland, Oregon. His most recent solo show, "Pursuit of Happiness," was held at the Vine Arts Center in Minneapolis in 2014.
Stacy King: From core impressions of the creative process shaped by work in Seattle with Dr. Tawnya Pettiford-Wates in Ritual Poetic Drama, I retain the value of seeing the artist as a powerful archetype, tasked to seek the unknown in order to broaden viewpoints and possibilities. I had further theatre performance training at The Chicago College of Performing Arts and became involved with public spectacle work with Manifest Theatre and Redmoon Theatre. In 2008 I was welcomed into the creative community of Minneapolis with In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre. In puppetry, pageant and parade-making, and especially as a teaching artist, I found mentorship in applying the creative process to community building and encouraging dialogue and action in social and ecological engagement. The Bridges Project with Pangea World Theatre is another major marker in my creative development. Here we had opportunity to explore careful awareness of not only the quality of what we create, but also the importance of how we work together in the creative process. My current role as a zen teacher-in-training at Minnesota Zen Meditation Center supports the intention to explore the self and responsibility to the whole. I am very excited to be a part of this round of the Creative Community Leadership Institute where I hope we can examine our known leadership structures and work creatively together to open to innovative possibilities that may not be available to the individual alone.
Arleta Little is a member of the McKnight Foundation’s Arts Team, as such, she is responsible for making funding recommendations for nearly nine million dollars per year in support of working artists.  Arleta also leads the McKnight Artist Fellowships Program, partnering with eight administrative intermediaries across 10 artistic disciplines, and directing nearly $2 million per year in fellowship and administrative grants in support of the program.  Prior to working in philanthropy, Arleta served as the Executive Director of the Givens Foundation for African American Literature, a 40-year old literary arts in Minneapolis dedicated to advancing and celebrating African American literature and writers.  Leveraging her education in English, Social Work, and Public Affairs, Arleta has also worked for over 15 years as an organizational development consultant providing strategic planning, program evaluation, and grant writing services to more than 30 organizations in Minnesota ranging from small nonprofits working with youth and communities of color to the City of Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, and the State of Minnesota.  With a lifelong commitment to public service, Arleta taught English for two years in Thailand as a Peace Corps Volunteer and has since served on the boards of Springboard for the Arts, the Minnesota AIDS Project, and the Friends of the Hennepin County Library.  As a poet, she was most recently published in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota, an anthology capturing the rich literary tradition of black writers in Minnesota.  She loves to travel, has lived abroad three times, and has visited more than 35 countries in the world.  There are many places that she could live, but she chooses to live in the Twin Cities because of the creative community and quality of life that she has found here over the last nearly 20 years.
Lisa Middag is an urban planner for Hennepin County Community Works focused on helping people build sustainable, equitable and thriving communities. She is the former publications director and design studio manager for the Walker Art Center, where she worked from 1996-2011. She has an M.P.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota, an undergraduate degree in English and Humanities from Metropolitan State University and serves on the Board of Directors for Springboard for the Arts, a non-profit whose mission is to cultivate a vibrant arts community by connecting artists with the skills and services they need to make a living and a life. Lisa and her photographer husband Tony Nelson live and garden in the Longfellow neighborhood of Minneapolis and appreciate the Twin Cities’ arts and maker culture, especially music, performance, food and liquor.
Sally Nixon is a creative being who has been involved in the arts in many forms throughout her whole life. She is in love with her South Minneapolis community and takes part in organizing events, serving on boards and creating traditions. It's especially important for Sally to be active within POC and QPOC community focused around arts and social justice. Sally's most recent artistic passion is photography. Through this art form, she has explored how to capture the essence of people and places while telling authentic stories through photos. Sally is a self-taught photographer whose work has been featured in local galleries and publications as well as National Geographic Online and BBC World online. Sally's formal education has been in Social Work and Music. Her professional path has included more than 15 years working with youth and families experiencing homelessness, and community organizing and education around nutrition and food sustainability. She currently provides health education and counseling in a large community-based clinic with a focus on sexual and reproductive health. Throughout her career, she has focused on healthy development, integrative wellness and social justice for under-privileged communities. Sally's core belief is that every person is beautiful and has a story to tell. She knows there is power when we connect with one another on a deeper level than what we often experience in day-to-day life. Her on-going goal is to help facilitate that process of connecting people and their stories through the most creative means possible.
Peter Rachleff has been a student and teacher of working class, immigration, and African American history for more than thirty years.  Over those years, he tried to work outside as well as inside the academy, and he came to respect and value the ways that knowledge is produced in diverse spaces by people with diverse experiences.  He has recently left academia to foster, with considerable help, a new educational and cultural institution, the East Side Freedom Library.  Peter and his collaborators are collecting resources (books, visual art, recorded music, and material objects) and designing programs which will facilitate East Siders, from the descendants of native peoples and Swedish and Norwegian immigrants to newcomers from Latin America, southeast Asia, and east Africa in contextualizing and telling their stories and, eventually, sharing them with each other.
Dr. Tea Rozman Clark is the co-founder and Executive Director of a Minneapolis-based nonprofit organization: Green Card Voices. The organization utilizes digital storytelling to share personal narratives of America’s immigrants, establishing a better understanding between the immigrant and non-immigrant population. Their dynamic, video-based platform is designed to empower educational institutions, community groups and individuals alike to acquire first-person perspective about immigrants’ lives, increasing the appreciation of the immigrant experience.
Dr. Rozman Clark was born in the Yugoslav Republic of Slovenia. When she was 15 years old the Republic of Slovenia became an independent country following a Ten-Day-War. She began volunteering in the refugee camps at a very early age and consequently dedicated the past 20 years to improving the lives of refugees and immigrants around the world. She was awarded numerous scholarships, fellowships and assistantships, which enabled her to study in the United States as well as her native Slovenia. Her work experience spans from the United Nations where she worked for the Peacekeeping Department, to rural Ghana where she worked as an arts educator. In 2014, Dr. Rozman Clark received her PhD in Cultural History with a focus on Oral History. Her thesis dealt with a failed UN peacekeeping intervention in Bosnia. She recorded thirty testimonies of Dutch UN peacekeepers and former Srebrenica residents who recalled the events preceding the genocide. This experience made her realize the amazing power in giving a voice to the unheard. It is for that reason she co-founded Green Card Voices in 2013.
Dana Suttles is a drama therapist, theater artist, and person of many interests. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York, has lived in the Twin Cities for seven years, and currently serves as a counselor in the Amicus Radius Program for Girls. She is a developing playwright, tap dancer, archer, and jewelry maker, but is primarily about the business of facilitating opportunities for healing work through the expressive arts. Dana is a board member of Arts in Action, an organization that connects community artists and Creative Arts Therapists with community members and groups for artistic expression, consultation, and training. 
Jody Tableporter has put her real estate and economic development background to use in urban redevelopment leadership roles, e.g., managing a $3b portfolio of projects across South London and, most recently, the delivery of a 27-acre city center site in Boulder, Colorado.   She is passionate about the role of the arts in placemaking and as a vital economic cluster.  She was lucky enough to work with the Tate Modern, Young Vic and Unicorn Theatres and the South Bank Centre, among others in London and with the vibrant arts organizations of Boulder, Colorado.  Jody holds an MBA from Yale and was awarded a Harvard Loeb Fellowship in 2005; she is delighted to be part of the 2015 class of Fellows at the Creative Community Leadership Institute.

Angie Thornhill lives in Saint Paul and is currently the Cultural Specialist for the middle school at the American Indian Magnet School within Saint Paul Public Schools. Angie was raised in New Mexico but has lived in Saint Paul for over 17 years. Her family takes pride is keeping their culture alive as they are a powwow family and love to travel all over the United States and Canada for powwows. Powwows are a whole family affair as her husband sings, all her kids dance and Angie beads, she also loves to create her children’s regalia. Being an advocate for Native youth in the public school system is something Angie is very passionate about and has been something she has put all her heart and extra time into. She served Saint Paul Indian Education as Johnson O’Malley chairperson for the last 2 years but had been on the Indian Education parent committee for over 4 years. She was also a member DPAC, the district parent advisory group working directly with the superintendent representing Native families in our district. Before working for Saint Paul Public Schools Angie worked for the University of Minnesota Extension, as a Native Nutrition Educator for native families.
Timothy Warren is a father, artist, educator and an advocate for social justice. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Integrated Studies, and is a Masters of Arts candidate at the University of Minnesota. His Master’s thesis explores African American male identity development and his research focuses on countering the effects of Mentacide on African American males. Timothy R. Warren currently serves as Dean of Students at The Minnesota Math and Science Academy.

Roxanne Anderson, Founder/Director, RARE Productions | Minneapolis
Tracine Asberry, Ed.D., Minneapolis Public School Board of Education Director, District 6, College/University Professor | Minneapolis and Saint Paul
Samuel Babatunde Ero-Phillips, Environmental Design Instructor, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis

Huda Bashir, Community Organizer & Photographer | Minneapolis

Jeremiah Bey, Teaching Artist, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis

Marianne Combs, Arts Reporter, Minnesota Public Radio | Saint Paul

Tane S. Danger, Co-Founder, The Theater of Public Policy | Minneapolis

Sharon DeMark, Program Officer, Minnesota Philanthropy Partners | Saint Paul

Ashley Fairbanks, Policy Aide, Minneapolis City Council | Minneapolis, MN

Nimo H. Farah, Independent Artist & Cross-cultural Worker | Minneapolis

Jeff Hnilicka, Director, Kulture Klub Collaborative | Minneapolis

Pamela Johns, Photographer, Filmmaker | Minneapolis

Rev. Dr. Cindi Beth Johnson, Director of the Program in Arts, Faith & Culture, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities | New Brighton

Tish Jones, Founder, Executive & Artistic Director, TruArtSpeaks | Saint Paul

Tisidra Jones, Vendor Outreach Program Coordinator, City of Saint Paul Human Rights & Equal Economic Opportunity Department | Saint Paul

Fres Thao, Executive Director, Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT) | Saint Paul, MN

Gülgün Kayim, Director of Arts Culture and Creative Economy, City of Minneapolis, Office of the City Coordinator | Minneapolis 

Haila Maze, Principal Planner, City of Minneapolis | Minneapolis 

Sandy'Ci Moua, Leader, Community Action Against Racism (CAAR), Community Development Coordinator, CAPI, Performing Arts Producer and Actor, PR/Communications, Capacity Building and Performing Arts Consultant | Twin Cities

J. Otis Powell, Independent artist and Provocateur working with KFAI-FM Community Radio, Pangea World Theater, TruRuts/Speakeasy Records, Intermedia Arts and other arts and community nonprofits for change | Minneapolis

Bonnie Schock, Program Officer, Minnesota State Arts Board | Saint Paul

Molly Van Avery, Artist Organizer, The Cornerstone Group & Springboard for the Arts | Minneapolis

Chaun Webster, Director, Free Poet's Press | Minneapolis

Lisa J. Yankton, Community Editor, Saint Paul Almanac | Brooklyn Center

Julia Cheng, Community Action Duluth | Duluth, MN
Carl Crawford, Lake Superior College | Proctor, MN
Tony Cuneo, Zeppa Foundation/Zeitgeist Arts  | Duluth, MN
Sarah Curtiss, Mending the Sacred Hoop | Cloquet, MN
Anne Dugan, Duluth Art Institute | Duluth, MN
Laura Gapske, Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse | Superior, WI
Jamie Harvie, ISF | Duluth, MN
John Heino, Independent Artist | Duluth, MN
Emily Larson, Duluth City Councilor and Non Profit Consultant | Duluth, MN
Victor Makes Room For Them, American Indian Community Housing Organization | Duluth, MN
Kathy McTavish, Independent Artist  | Duluth, MN
Erika Mock, Textiles for Body and Soul and Phantom Galleries Superior | Superior, WI
Muskadee Montano, University of Minnesota, Duluth | Duluth, MN
Ginga Newton, Spirit Valley Youth Center and Bent Paddle Brewing | Duluth, MN
Tina Olson,Mending the Sacred Hoop | Duluth, MN
Sheila Packa, Lake Superior College | Duluth, MN
Crystal Pelkey, Duluth Playhouse Underground Theater | Duluth, MN
Jim Perlman,Holy Cow! Press | Duluth, MN
Rebecca Lynn Petersen, Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra | Duluth, MN
Jeredt Runions, Independent Artist | Superior, WI
Jodi Slick, Ecolibrium3, Duluth, MN
Karen Sunderman,WDSE-TV | Duluth, MN
Jessica Tillman, Duluth City Hall, Office of Mayor Ness | Duluth, MN
Leigh Wright, Duluth Police Department | Duluth, MN
Tony Zappa, Lake Superior Art Glass, Duluth MN

2013 | Twin Cities
Anna Bierbrauer, Educator, Professor, University of Minnesota College of Design | Minneapolis, MN
Amber “ACE” Cleveland, Emcee & Educator, MLS Hip Hop Education | Mendota Heights, MN
Rob Davis, Founder, Pioneer Public Relations | Minneapolis, MN
Tom Delaney, Non-Traditional Education Specialist, Minnesota Department of Education | St. Paul, MN
Ariah Fine, Executive Director, Cleveland Neighborhood Association | Minneapolis, MN
Robyn Hendrix, Visual Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Lonna Kay Hunter, Project Coordinator, Council on Crime and Justice | St. Paul, MN
David Kim, Visual Artist, Youthprise | Minneapolis, MN
Lucas Koski, Chief of Operations, Bedlam Theater | Minneapolis, MN
Sonja Kuftinec, Theater Artist & Professor, University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
Amanda Lovelee, Public Practice Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Maggie McKenna, Education Director, Permaculture Research Institute | Minneapolis, MN
Kimber Olson, Visual Artist & Community Based Arts Facilitator | Eden Prairie, MN
Nicholas Pawlowski, Teaching Artist, Kairos Alive | Minneapolis, MN
MaryLynn Pulscher, Environmental Education Manager, Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board | Minneapolis, MN
Miré Regulus, Writer & Performance Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Jason Rodney, Youth Worker, The Lab: St. Paul Public Schools | Minneapolis, MN
Charlie Thayer, Research Assistant, Indian Land Tenure Foundation | Minneapolis, MN
Nicole “CoCo” Villaluz, Community Development Manager, ClearWay Minnesota | Cottage Grove, MN

2012 | Fargo
Joseph Allen, Independent Artist/Photographer | Ogama
Michelle Lee Anderson, Springboard for the Arts, Lake Region, | Fergus Falls, MN
Gretchen Boyum, Kaddatz Gallery and Boyum Farms | Battle Lake, MN
Newzad Brifki, Kurdish Youth of America | Moorhead, MN
Vicki Chepulis, Green Island and Five Wings Regional Arts Council | Wadena, MN
Dayna Del Val, Executive Director of The Arts Partnership | Fargo, ND
Brad Delzer, Theatre B Ensemble member | Fargo, ND
Kim Embretson, V.P. of Development, West Central Initiative | Fergus Falls, MN
Lynn Fundingsland, Fargo Housing and Redevelopment Authority | Fargo, ND
Raul Gomez, publisher, High Plains Reader | Fargo, ND
Lori Horvik, NDSU/Theatre B | Fargo, ND
Paul Ide, Artist | Fargo, ND
Megan Johnston, Plains Art Museum Director of Curatorial Affairs and Interpretation | Fargo, ND
Su Legatt, Faculty Member, Minnesota State University Moorhead and NDSU | Moorhead, MN
Raymond Rea, Founder and Firector of the F-M LGBT Film Festival | Moorhead, MN
Carol Schlossman, Insight to Action, LLC, principle | Fargo, ND
Meg Spielman Peldo, Artist and Plains Art Museum Board Member | Fargo, ND
Amy Stoller Stearns, Executive Director, Historic Holmes Theatre/DLCCC | Fergus Falls, MN
Karis Thompson, Concordia College Office of Intercultural Affairs and FM League | Fargo, ND
Sara Watson Curry, Red Raven Espresso Parlor | Fargo, ND
Camille Weber, Professional Development Coordinator, F-M West Fargo Chamber of Commerce | Moorhead, MN
Christina Weber, Associate Professor of Sociology, NDSU | Fargo, ND
Mike Williams, Fargo City Commissioner | Fargo, ND
Laura Youngbird, Circle of Nations School, artist | Breckenridge, MN

2011 | Twin Cities
Nan Baker, Director, Sioux Falls Arts Council | Sioux Falls, SD
Sandra Bergseid Ben-Haim, Curator of Education, Plains Art Museum | Fargo, ND
Conie Borchardt, Circulation Supervisor, University of St. Thomas | St. Paul, MN
Amelia Brown, Photographer/Consultant, Amelia’s Adventures | Minneapolis, MN
Chanti Calabria, Community Engaged Artist, Organizer & Facilitator | Minneapolis, MN
Deborah Carver, Founding Editor & Publisher of Twin Cities Runoff | Minneapolis, MN
Colleen Casey, Morning Program Mentor, English Learning Center | Minneapolis, MN
Carrie Christensen, Environmental Designer, Community Design Group | St. Paul, MN
Kristy Clemons, Community Organizer, Heritage Park Neighborhood Association | Minneapolis, MN
Christi Furnas, Peer Support Specialist, Spectrum ArtsWorks | Minneapolis, MN
Jean E. Greenwood, Associate Trainer & Researcher, Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking, University of MN | Minneapolis, MN
Andrea Jenkins, 8th Ward Senior Policy Aide, City of Minneapolis | Minneapolis, MN
Barry Kleider, Teaching Artist & Photographer | Minneapolis, MN
Colin Kloecker, Collaborative Director, Works Progress | Minneapolis, MN
Joanna Kohler, Filmmaker, Kohler Productions | Minneapolis, MN
Bob Lunning, Environmental Planning & Design,Lunning Wende | St. Paul
Shanai Matteson, Collaborative Director, Works Progress | Minneapolis, MN
Rush Merchant III, Independent Musician and Composer | Minneapolis, MN
Sheronda Orridge, Owner & President, Loving Spirit Life Coach Academy | St. Paul, MN
K. Flo Razowsky, Freelance Photographer | Minneapolis MN
Deanna Rae StandingCloud-Green, Youth Mentor & Culture Teacher, Division of Indian Work & Migizi Communications, Inc. | Minneapolis, MN
Michael Strand, Associate Professor & Dept. Head | North Dakota State | Fargo, ND

Alyssa Banks, Research Associate, Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support | Minneapolis, MN
Autumn Brown, Founding member, the Rock Dove Collective | Avon, MN
John Francis Bueche, Executive Director, Bedlam Theatre | Minneapolis, MN
Marisa Carr, Musician, Writer, Performer, Visual Artist, Activist | Minneapolis, MN
Rudy Guglielmo, Program Officer, the Bush Foundation | St. Paul, MN
Peter Haakon Thompson, Public Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Ashley Hanson, Project Coordinator, Public Art Saint Paul | St. Paul, MN
Cynthia Hilmoe, Public Service Designer | Minneapolis, MN
Justin Kii Heunemann, President and CEO, Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) | Minneapolis, MN
Teresa Konechne, Filmmaker, Performance Artist, Activist | St. Paul, MN 
Amoke Kubat, Writer | Minneapolis, MN
Celia Kutz, Community Organizer | Minneapolis, MN
Irna Landrum, Community Organizer, Summit University Planning Council | Minneapolis, MN
Tou SaiKo Lee, Spoken Word Artist, Hip Hop Emcee | Saint Paul, MN
Greta McLain, Community Muralist and Mosaic Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Barb Nei, Media Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Thomas Proehl, Producing Director, University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
Deborah Ramos, Multi-Media Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Eleanor Savage, Program Officer, Jerome Foundation | Minneapolis, MN
Nicole M. Smith, Artist, Community Activist and Youth Advocate | Minneapolis, MN
Sherry Wagner-Henry, Director of Graduate Programs, University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
Darlene Walser, Vice President, McCormack Baron Salazar (MBS) | Minneapolis, MN
Missy Whiteman, Filmmaker, Visual Artist, Photographer | Minneapolis, MN
Keegan Xavi, Program Manager, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis, MN


Louis Alemayehu, Poet, Musician, Founding member of Ancestor Energy | Minneapolis, MN
Perry Bellow-Handelman, Community Organizer, Jewish Community Action | St. Paul, MN
Yolanda Cotterall, Greater MN Rural Program Manager, Latino Economic Development Center | Minneapolis, MN
Laura Dammer Hess, Community Engagement Scholars Program Coordinator, University of Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
Bethany Gladhill, Managing Director, Nautilus Music Theater | St. Paul, MN
Boa Lee, Writer, Community Activist, Thomas-Dale District 7 Planning Council | St. Paul, MN
Melinda Ludwiczak, Partnerships Coordinator, Minneapolis Public Library | Minneapolis, MN
Barry Madore, Digital Community Developer, Intermedia Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Satoko Muratake, Program Manager, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Mankwe Ndosi, Multidisciplinary Artist, Center for Independent Artists | Minneapolis, MN
Cyril Paul, Musician | Bloomington, MN
Natasha Pestich, Associate Professor of Fine Arts, Minneapolis College of Art and Design | Minneapolis, MN
Reggie Prim, Community Programs Manager, Walker Arts Center | Minneapolis, MN
Scott Reynolds, Staff Artist, Interact Center for Visual and Performing Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Antonio Rosell, Founder and Director, Community Design Group | Minneapolis, MN
Nothando Zulu, President, Blackstorytellers Alliance | Minneapolis, MN

Michael Agnew, Owner, Gestic Theater Company | Minneapolis, MN
Heba Amin, Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Jacque Bilyeu, MPA Non-Profit Management Student, Hubert H Humphrey School of Public Affairs | Minneapolis, MN
Camille Gage, Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Lori Greene, Mosaic Artist | Minneapolis, MN
Sarah Greenfield, Healthcare Program Manager, Take Action Minnesota | Minneapolis, MN
Marcus Harcus, Community Organizer, Writer | Minneapolis, MN
Reggie Harris, Artistic Director, rTransitions Inc. | Minneapolis, MN
Susan Jacobsen, Director of Public Programs, Minneapolis Institute of Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Louann Lanning, Collaboration Coordinator/Job Coach/Workshop Facilitator, Women in Transition | Minneapolis, MN
Juliet Patterson, Poet | Minneapolis, MN
Maria Ricke, Manager of the DayElder Program, Southwest Center | Minneapolis, MN
Michele Spaise, Photographer | Minneapolis, MN
Jun-Li Wang, Community Organizer/Leadership Coordinator, Hamline Midway Coalition | St. Paul, MN
Alison Quito Ziegler, Documentary Photographer, Program Manager, Immigrant Workers Freedom Ride | Minneapolis, MN 

Benjamin Adjei, Arist | Minneapolis, MN
Margo Ashmore, Business Consultant, Heights and Apache Theaters, Art Curator, Franklin Bank | Minneapolis, MN
Mary Bergs, Visual Artist, Manager of Social Work, Children's Hospitals and Clinics | Minneapolis, MN
Jill Bernard, Actress, Founding member of HUGE Theater | Minneapolis, MN
Roger Cummings, Co-Artistic Director, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Gerry Girouard, Dancer, Choreographer | Minneapolis, MN
Waid Johnson, Youth Development Coordinator, Northwest Youth and Family Services | St. Paul, MN
Carolyn Kolovitz, Theater Artist, Program Developer, Girl Scout Council of Greater Minneapolis | Minneapolis, MN
Tonya Leholm, Stiltwalker, Chicks on Sticks | Minneapolis, MN
Chaka MKali, Aerosol Artist, Muralist, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Gail Merriam, Real Estate Development Manager, Neighborhood Development Alliance | Minneapolis, MN
Mona Smith, Owner, Aritst, Allies: Media/Art | Minneapolis, MN
Joan Vanhala, Community Leadership Developer, Family & Children's Services | Minneapolis, MN

Eduardo Barrera, Housing Specialist, Amherst WIlder Foundation | St. Paul, MN
Susie Bielak, Artist and Arts Administrator, Arts Midwest | Minneapolis, MN
Mary Burnison, Youth, Education and Community Development Consultant | Minneapolis, MN
William Cottman, Photographer | Minneapolis, MN
Deanna Cummings, Managing Director, Juxtaposition Arts | Minneapolis, MN
Catherine Geisen-Kisch, Aide to Minneapolis City Council Member Paul Ostrow | Minneapolis, MN
Alison Heimstead, Arist, Barebones Outdoor Puppetry and Performance Art Spectacles | Minneapolism MN
Carol Mork, Executive DIrector, Lyndale Neighborhood Development Cooperation | Minneapolis, MN
Leah Nelson, Dancer | Minneapolis, MN
Gretchen Nicholls, Executive Director, Center For Neighborhoods | Minneapolis, MN
Kathryn Paulson, Housing Project Manager, Two Rivers Community Land Trust | Minneapolis, MN
Karen Phelps, Case Manager, Volunteers of America | Minneapolis, MN
Josie Winship, Multidisciplinary Artist | Minneapolis, MN