Creative CityMaking Artists

Current Creative CityMaking Artists
The Blueprint for Equitable Engagement in the Neighborhood and Community Relations Department
Artists D.A. Bullock and Ariah Fine will work on this multi-year strategic action plan to ensure that the City seeks and values all community voices. The artists will focus on helping make sure neighborhood organizations, City boards and commissions, and City enterprise outreach and engagement groups reflect the communities they serve.
D.A. Bullock is an award-winning cinematographer, writer and director. His films have been a selection of The Toronto International Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival and the American Black Film Festival; the Urbanworld Film Festival 2003 Best Film winner and a WorldFest-Houston International Film and Video Festival Best First Feature winner. Variety acclaimed Bullock’sDark as “A contemplative, raw and moving piece … D.A. Bullock could turn out to be a major underground American filmmaker.” Using an extensive repertoire of creative and visual styles, D.A. Bullock has continued to impact the media landscape. Bullock’s stories represent the voiceless, those surviving on the margins of society. In 2011 Bullock founded Bully Creative Shop, a feature film, documentary, media art and digital content social change enterprise. Through its films, social action campaigns, and digital content, Bully Creative Shop seeks to inform, entertain, encourage and empower every individual to take action. Bullock was named a 2014 McKnight Foundation Media Arts Fellow. In 2015, Bullock was awarded a Forecast Public Art Jerome Planning Grant for emerging public artists and a Minnesota State Arts Board grant for media arts.
Ariah Fine is a north Minneapolis resident and executive director of the Cleveland Neighborhood Association. A fellow in both the Bush Foundation leadership program (2014) and the Creative Community Leadership Institute (2013), he has served in several community capacities in his neighborhood from neighborhood board member to school site council, and he believes strongly in a resident- and relationship-driven approach to community organizing. Fine received a Bachelor of Arts from Wheaton College in interdisciplinary studies which combined psychology, sociology and intercultural studies with a focus on community organizing. He is also a writer, having served as a journalist for local papers covering northside news and having written opinion pieces and a children’s book. Fine’s organizing work in north Minneapolis attempts to connect community in creative ways that break out of traditional public engagement formats. From pop-up storefronts to mobile block parties and community ball pits, Fine’s engagement strategies are genuine and inclusive, and they build lasting change toward equity.
Creative Asset Mapping in the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development – Long Range Planning Division

Artists E.G. Bailey and Shá Cage will work with department staff and consult with Minneapolis communities to identify important strengths or positive qualities in communities around the city, particularly in areas with the highest concentrations of poverty and people of color. These are those important but intangible assets that communities value but that may not show up on a standard City map. For example, a community gathering place might be seen as an asset, or a person or informal network of people might be important to a community’s cohesion. The artists will seek to map and creatively represent those strengths in ways that the City can use to develop plans and policies.

As performers, E.G. Bailey and Shá Cage move fluidly between the forms of theater, spoken word, film and movement. Their work and activism has taken them through the U.S., England, South Africa, France, Croatia, Canada, the Netherlands and West Africa. Together they launched Creative Cultural Consultants (3Cs) in 2014. They founded the MN Spoken Word Association and Tru Ruts Endeavors and have taught in more than 100 schools, colleges and community centers in the U.S. They have facilitated professional development institutes, workshops, conferences and diversity training, and they have been adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota in the Theater Department and at Augsburg College.

E.G. Bailey is an artistic innovator who moves effortlessly among radio, film, theater, producing and live performance. He has been called one of the most prolific voices and talents in the Twin Cities and has produced countless cultural works in the Twin Cities over the last 15 years. He consults and facilitates conferences, conversations, workshops and trainings with Shá Cage through their recently launched entity 3Cs. He served as assistant director to Marion McClinton on Marcus or the Secret of Sweet, Buzzer and Othello at the Guthrie, Stick Fly at Park Square and The Road Weeps at Pillsbury House Theater. As a performer, he has appeared in spoken word commercials including Art Connects, which premiered at the 2008 B.E.T. Hip Hop Awards and was featured on the MTV, VH1, MTV Europe, CBS, NBC and other networks, in addition to being inducted into the Television Hall of Fame archived at the Modern Museum of Arts in New York. As a writer, Bailey is the winner of the Hughes Knight Diop Poetry Award, and several of his poems have been published in Solid Ground; the millennial issue of Drumvoices Revue; Warpland, a publication by the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for creative writing; and the new Blues Vision anthology.
Shá Cage is an actor, writer, activist and spoken word artist. She was named a Changemaker by the Women’s Press, won a regional Emmy, received a 2011 McKnight Theater Fellowship, and received an Ivey Award in 2013. Noted theater roles include Mamie Till in Penumbra Theater’s Ballad of Emmett Till, Lena in the Guthrie Theater’s Clybourne Park, Venus in Frank Theater’s Venus, and Josephine in Mixed Blood’s Ruined. She is a founder of Mama Mosaic Theater (for women), a distinguished TCG/Fox Fellow and was commissioned to work on the MN Girls Are Not for Sale initiative.
Digital Equity in the Information Technology (IT) Department
Artists Peter MacDonald and Kirk Washington Jr will be working on the Digital Equity project. Currently in the City of Minneapolis, disparities exist over age, race and income, which also map to geographic disparities of access and digital literacy skills. The department is working in collaboration with several organizations across Minneapolis to increase residents’ access to computers and the Internet, and to increase the technology skills within the community. The artists will join this team and help the IT Department to better map and connect digital literacy skills to the technology assets in Minneapolis.

Peter MacDonald is a graduate of the University of Minnesota’s Professional Degree Program in Architecture. He is a designer, sculptor, poet, social theorist, and social architect. His work explores, sustainability, community building, and how we shape our environment and how it shapes us. In 2000 he founded Peter Stafford MacDonald Residential Design Group. The firm specializes in the creation of unique, contextually sensitive single family homes in the Midwest and around the country. In 2011 Peter founded Scenius Studio. The mission of the studio is to engage in community building, explore co-creativity, and experiment with how architecture can influence social interaction.

Kirk Washington, Jr. was an artist, community leader, and scholar from the North Side of Minneapolis. He lived as an artist in and worked from 3 different continents: Africa,  United Kingdom, and United States. He worked to create spaces that combine art, civic engagement, proximity and scale. He worked over the last 25 years, in many different mediums and capacities: literature, theater, video, music, design, cultural theory, critique, photography, digital, sculpture, paint, bookmaking, community development, and was always looking for more ways to create.  He believed the collective imagination is the path that art can offer the world.He also believed this genius happens when life societies and their citizens realize and lean into their brokenness. It is there where the wounds are that we have the highest chance to heal. He was working on a series of quarterly art festivals in Harrison Neighborhood, on the city’s North Side. Creative CityMaking, our community, and our world experienced a tragic loss when artist Kirk Washington, Jr. was killed in a highway accident on April 4, 2016. A poet, performer and powerful advocate for civil rights and social action,
Kirk’s memory and spirit lives on in the work he did and the relationships he built.

Electoral Engagement in the Minneapolis City Clerk’s Office
Artist Jeremiah Bey will be working on the Electoral Engagement project, with the goal of nurturing a culture of electoral engagement. Bey will work with Department staff to help with communicating the value of electoral engagement to a range of residents, including through the use of media and forums that are not traditionally utilized.  Specific issues that will be addressed include:
  • Developing culturally specific ways to understand and communicate the value of the civil society and the electoral process to new immigrant communities;
  • Developing culturally specific ways to make legible and provide access to existing platforms for civic processes and decision making including boards, commissions and voting process;
  • Developing platforms for City staff to effectively engage with underserved communities;
  • Overcoming immediate barriers and motivating community interest in election processes and understanding their impacts.
Jeremiah Bey is a visual artist and storyteller. He was born and raised in North Minneapolis as one of four children, and credits growing up in a full house with teaching him the value of multiple perspectives, and the importance of other voices in the creative process. Jeremiah is a Givens Black Writers Fellow, a U of M Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Artists Neighborhood Partnership Initiative Grant recipient, an Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute (CCLI) fellow, and a John Biggers Seed Project fellow. He most prides himself in his community work. He works as both an independent artist, and a Juxtaposition Arts roster artist – in both capacities, working to build the social conscience of youth and the community at large. Jeremiah has been a part of planning, and/or leading a number of community arts efforts including summer workshops at Ancestry Books and Learning Works, the POC and Indigenous Peoples’ Figure Drawings Sessions, and The Firehouse Collective – a group of community members and artists seeking to change the inequitable practices in land development. You can see his public mural work in various neighborhoods around North and South Minneapolis, including the Central neighborhood, Cedar-Riverside, and Near North.

Tenant Voices in the Regulatory Services Department

Artists Mankwe Ndosi and Reggie Prim will be collaborating with the Regulatory Services Department focused primarily on the rental community. The department/artist team will employ arts-based engagements to connect with and within underserved and underrepresented communities so that department policies are better aligned with the interests of the communities the department serves. Together, the Department/artist team will be focusing on how to create more opportunities for tenant engagement and how to get input on improving services that address a growing and diverse population. The artist team will work with City staff to help increase awareness on how tenant voices can be heard and engaged to inform operational and policy level decisions involving residential inspections.

Mankwe Ndosi is celebrated for a sound and practice that spans genres and disciplines: celebrating influences from Jazz and African legacies, Hip Hop and Soul, performance art, theater, public art and improvisation. She tours and performs nationally and internationally including recent appearances with Nicole Mitchell and Ballake Sissoko in France and Switzerland; Minneapolis, Chicago and Boston performances in the world-premier of River See, Sharon Bridgforth’s Theatrical-Jazz masterwork; and performances with mentor and Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) stalwart Douglas Ewart. Her studio and live work has included dates with Laurie Carlos, Ananya Dance Theater, Brother Ali and Atmosphere. Ndosi defines herself as a Culture Worker – an artist using creative practice to nurture and be useful to her community, her ancestors, and the earth. She is especially invested in bringing people together to excavate, author, and share stories. She has a history of community leadership that includes board membership, program development, teaching, designing and hosting community festivals and directing the Center for Independent Artists in South Minneapolis. She has a Bachelor’s degree in social and political theory focused on economics and women’s studies from Harvard University. She actively invests in her own skill development, including participation in leadership training programs such as Rockwood Leadership Institute’s Arts and Leadership Program, Intermedia Arts’ Creative Community Leadership Initiative, and Hope Community’s SPEAC (Sustainable Progress through Engaging Active Citizens).

For nearly two decades, Reggie Prim has worked at the intersection between civic engagement and the arts. As an independent curator, neighborhood leader and organizer, consultant, and non-profit leader, he has worked to help activate the power of the arts to bring people together across the divides of faith, ethnicity and culture. Reggie’s artistic career began as a performing artist and poet. He was trained as a dancer and worked in theater and performance art in Indianapolis. In the twin cities he has been a blogger, playwright, graphic designer, facilitator, non-profit leader, community organizer and public speaker. Reggie has led workshops, designed public arts experiences, and served on the boards of directors of a number of arts nonprofits. He served on the board of directors of Intermedia Arts and as the board chair for Kairos Alive, a leader in community-based dance. He is the curator of the community arts program at The Center For Changing Lives in Minneapolis. And from 2000 until 2007 served as community programs manager at The Walker Art Center, where he co-authored Art and Civic Engagement: Mapping The Connections – a conceptual and planning model for activating the power of art in communities.