Congratulations to these eight 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 the 2023 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 and advance 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 new 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.
Ramesu Amen, Performing Arts (Forestville)
I take pride in uplifting my community of creatives and bringing together all demographics in the universal love language that is music. I personally want to get rid of the stigma that all black rappers do gangster rap and get more conscious hip hop into public events in our community. I’m thrilled to use this grant to fund my next community project that will pay artists and create a safe and united experience for Sonoma County to connect. https://www.instagram.com/kinglungtmm/ | https://www.instagram.com/timelessexperience707/
Hadassah GreenSky, Multidisciplinary Arts (Forestville)
Hadassah GreenSky is a Waganakising Odawa (Little Traverse Bay Bands) from Detroit, Michigan, living in Forestville, California. She is an activist, community organizer, curator, cultural worker, indigenous futurist working as a visual artist, jazz singer, musician, dancer (both modern and powwow), bead artist, seamstress, graphic designer, photographer, videographer and model. Hadassah will be developing a visual art exhibition that includes audio collage. www.instagram.com/coolwatergreensky | www.nestbuildcreate.com
Jen Hyde, Literary Arts (Sonoma)
Jen Hyde’s essays have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Longreads and elsewhere. Her recent work explores chronic illness narratives and Chinese diasporic identity. She is the recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, The Millay Colony, The Asian American Writer’s Workshop and most recently The Sonoma County Writer’s Camp where she was a 2023 scholarship recipient. When not writing, she enjoys exploring Sonoma with her family. Jen will be developing her podcast to bring it to new outlets. http://www.jenhyde.com/
Tyehimba Kokayi, Traditional and Folk Arts (Sonoma)
I am a creative, visionary entrepreneur, who uses as much as he can, to do the best he can, with what is available to him, is one of the most important things about me to know. One other thing is my creative work is most important to me; the surge of energy when a new idea comes is awesome! My plan/goal for utilizing the grant award is to secure stable residence in my new community and help support and keep our new business, Cotati Moves, going. Our new business will need all the help we can get! https://www.lionsdeneducationinstitute.com/
Hannah Mayree, Multidisciplary Arts (Sonoma)
Hannah Mayree (she/her/they/them) is a creative facilitator and musician who’s work and art lends itself as a tool for redesigning and reconnecting to our roots as humans on this planet. After having founded the Black Banjo Reclamation Project, a Bay Area based and worldwide cultural ecosystem that focuses on the banjo as a Black, Afro-Diasporic technology, Hannah has explored the craft, cultivation of materials, spiritual and community based entry points to African-based folk traditions. With this grant, Hannah will be developing as a professional artist through digital media, performance and continuing to hone musical and craft skills with voice as well as hands-on application of instrument building and traditional earth-based skills. http://hannahmayree.com/ | http://blackbanjoreclamationproject.org/
Farrah McAdam, Performing Arts (Santa Rosa)
Farrah McAdam (she/her) is a dance educator, director, choreographer, and artist in the Bay Area. Her spaces strive for equitable, collaborative, joyous environments where history and critical thinking are investigated just as much as physical embodiments. She is honored to be an ACE fellow amongst this incredible cohort and will be using this fellowship to hone her skillset in the entrepreneurial side of being a current-day artist-entrepreneur. https://www.instagram.com/farrahformovement/
Nick Robles, Visual Arts (Petaluma)
Originally from Southern California, I first found myself in Sonoma Country to attend Sonoma State University and am excited to have recently relocated to Petaluma. Taking inspiration from my Hispanic roots, playful spirit and a modern esthetic, I use bold colors, organic forms, and an appreciation for imperfection to create a cohesive body while creating both functional and fine art. With the addition of functional ceramics and textiles, I founded Technicolor Dino. After years of dedicating both time and effort to up starting a small business, I plan to use the funds from Sonoma Creative to have a space dedicated to fine art. A place devoted to drawing and painting so I can leave the worries and to-do lists of running a small business at the door to focus on creating. https://www.technicolordino.com/
Eki Shola, Performing Arts (Santa Rosa)
“Half-time electronic soul for the mind” – Resident Advisor. Featured on PBS, BBC3, NPR Tiny Desk Contest, Eki’Shola’s music transcends genre, as she seamlessly draws from jazz, electronica, and soul to create a unique sonic landscape. A vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, & physician, she uses her music as a conduit for healing. As an ACE grantee, Eki’Shola plans to utilize the funds to support the production of her 5th solo album in Japan in collaboration with local artists and to increase recognition of her music by participating in renowned conferences including WOMEX and APAP. https://www.ekishola.com | https://www.unmutemagazine.com/
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:
- Erica Ambrin Burnett, Performing Arts (Sebastopol)
- Emma Diaz, Visual Arts (Sonoma)
- Ras K’dee, Performing Arts (Forestville)
- Irma Rodriguez, Traditional and Folk Arts (Cotati)
Program Graphic Design by Sonoma Hispanic Media.