Congratulations to these six artists, community organizers, arts administrators, and culture bearers!
Creative Sonoma, in collaboration with Kimzin Creative, a local arts and equity consulting group, is happy to announce the inaugural class of Arts and Cultural Equity Fellows. The fellows are emerging to mid-career artists and culture workers who work within, on behalf of, or to support Sonoma County’s communities of color.
The Arts and Cultural Equity Fellowship Program (www.creativesonoma.org/ace-fellows/) is designed to uplift and promote the artistic and economic advancement of six emerging or mid-career arts and culture workers with funding, training, mentorship, and increased connection to the local arts and business communities.
We are thrilled to introduce this inaugural cohort, in their own words. Be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to see the list of our semi-finalists, as well.
Melissa Andrade, Artist, Community Organizer, Social Justice Advocate
As a lifelong resident of Santa Rosa, I always dreamed of finding vibrant, inclusive art spaces to exist within. I got a little taste of what it could be like while working for Comics For the Win back in 2015. After helping organize community events for the now closed comic shop, I realized the greater need to create spaces for local creatives, particularly those with marginalized identities. The Santa Rosa Zine Fest was born out of seeing that need. With the ACE Fellowship, my goal is to establish it as a recurring local event, as well as institute the Santa Rosa Zine Collective so we can host more community art events in the area.
Jesus Bravo, Visual and Functional Arts
My name is Jesus Bravo, and I reside in Boyes Hot Springs in Sonoma Valley. Metal is my medium, my culture and Mother Earth are my inspiration, which come together to create forever art. With the monetary opportunity, I hope to improve my shop/studio, invest in a TIG welder to expand my material options such as bronze, aluminum, copper, in addition to finer detailed work whether it be for art or fabrication, as well as using funds for attending cultural events as a vendor or collaborator in the Bay Area. For I come from an ancestry of artisans and creators, therefore it is my pleasure to create “FOREVERART.”
Ron Carter, Visual Arts
Hello, my name is Ron Carter and I have resided in Santa Rosa, CA since 2009 where I teach as well as create art. I work in architectural art forms, public art within a variety of media types, commissioned and directed client sales artwork for governmental, public, private and corporate entities. I work in whatever medium that my artwork requires as I graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000 with a BFA in Interdisciplinary Art and Public Art. I intend to use the ACE grant to gain a extended knowledge on creating an efficient presence and branding of my art on the web and using the internet to bolster my work, in ways that I do not do now including; augmented interaction and video, marketing strategies to fit my work, increasing sales and making clientele management a key to success.
Dianna L. Grayer, Performing Arts
Dianna L. Grayer, PhD, is a Marriage and Family Therapist, children’s book author, playwright, director and producer and resident of Petaluma. Her work is focused on bringing marginalized voices to the center, whether it’s on the stage or in cultural sensitivity trainings. The ACE grant will be used to gather more knowledge in reaching more people and therefore becoming more successful. She will also use the funds to hire people to help with social media, website development and maintenance, fundraising, and marketing.
Skylaer Palacios, Performing Arts
Skylaer Palacios is a performing artist who has created a successful career as a singer, dancer, and actress. She was raised in Healdsburg and graduated from Sonoma State with her B.A. in Liberal Studies and Performing Arts. Sky has worked extensively in the commercial and film industries. For the duration of the ACE fellowship, she will be focusing on releasing new music and creating a community-oriented music video that features dancing, youth, and the talent of other local artists.
Féven Zewdi, Visual Arts
My name is Féven Zewdi, I’m an Eritrean-American painter and muralist based in Santa Rosa. My work and inspiration come from a devotion to representing culture and identity. I believe that supporting marginalized groups against Anglo-conformity is key to building a sound and healthy community. I’m honored to be a grantee and an ACE fellow. I plan to use this opportunity to build a better working studio space and facilitate a class/curriculum mixing art and sound therapy.
The Panel Reviewers for the Arts & Cultural Equity Fellowship Grant chose five semi-finalists to highlight their excellent applications, as well as to serve as alternates should any of the Fellows not be able to accept their award. They include:
- Jorge Bolanos-Santillan (Santa Rosa), DJ and Community Organizer
- Mathew Bowker (Rohnert Park), Musician, Composer, and Teaching Artist
- Victor Ferrer (Sonoma), Director, Grupo Folklórico Quetzalen of Sonoma Valley
- Isabel Lopez (Santa Rosa), Executive Director & Founder, Raizes Collective
- Farrah McAdam (Santa Rosa), Dance Educator, Choreographer, Performing Artist
Program Graphic Design by Sonoma Hispanic Media.