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2018 LoKo Artists
SUNY Potsdam alum, Vita Ayala spent years post-gradating working in comic and book retail, and night security at a one of the oldest museums in New York City before taking the plunge and entering the Thunderdome life-style that is pursuing a career in the arts. They have since written for DC Comics (Rebirth Wonder Woman Annual #1, Rebirth Batgirl Annual #1), Dark Horse Comics (Secret Loves of Geeks), and Image Comics (Bitch Planet Triple Feature #4), as well as having a creator owned book, The Wilds, through Black Mask Studios).
Vita’s visit is supported by the College Libraries Bregman Endowment for the Humanities.
Steve Hilton began his second . . . or maybe even third career as a K-12 science teacher, but realized serendipitously he wanted to make AND teach art instead. After returning to school for both an MFA in ceramics and a MS in art education, he became a professor of both disciplines in Wichita Falls, Texas. Steve believes that making art and teaching are inextricably linked and synergistic. Working with sometimes dozens of participants, Steve facilitates the creation of large installations: assemblages of sometimes thousands of both unfired and fired ceramic objects. Typically working with local artists, they create and arrange these components in the gallery, using math and science to reference diverse sources ranging from Australian aboriginal art to Neolithic earth works. He will also give a lecture detailing his life and career as an artist and teacher.
John La Falce
From 2009 to 2013, John La Falce was an adjunct faculty member of North Country Community College where he taught Drawing, Painting & Printmaking courses. He was the Studio Technician for BluSeed Studios as well as the head of the BluSeed Paper Mill. LaFalce received his BFA in Painting in 2002 from Buffalo State College.
From 2007 to the present, he has been an active collaborator and facilitator of both the Combat Paper Project and Peace Paper Project, as well as with the Green Door Studio and others in the paper community.
His work has been shown throughout the United States, Mexico, Australia and the United Kingdom, and featured in numerous special and private collections. His work straddles community based public works such as the Paper Projects, Deep Fried Books, Life Left Forgotten and his studio work, which addresses societal behaviors of consumption and sovereignty through mythic multimedia anthropomorphic creations.
Amanda Lovelee is a visual artist based in Minnesota currently working as the City Artist for Public Art Saint Paul housed in the City of St Paul. Lovelee acts as translator between the city’s ideas and its residents with the goal of building a city everyone wants to live in. As City Artist Lovelee has focused on civic engagement through both her projects Pop Up Meeting, a city popsicle truck and Urban Flower Field, a vacant lot turned gathering space/live science project. She is interested in how people connect and the spaces in which they do so within contemporary society. Some of her personal projects have explored a myriad of topics: the lives of beekeepers and ice fishermen, strangers’ love stories and the sociology of square dancing. She has an MFA in Visual Studies from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and BFA in Photography from University of Hartford.
Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His third collection, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), focuses on Jack Johnson, the first African American heavyweight champion of the world. The Big Smoke was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His most recent book, Map to the Stars, was published by Penguin in 2017. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, the Julia Peterkin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He teaches in the MFA program at Indiana University in Bloomington and is the Poet Laureate of Indiana.
Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A)
Named Washington D.C.’s Best Dance Company in the 2015 CityPaper Reader’s Poll, Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A) is a professional contemporary dance company founded as a vehicle for Morgan’s choreographic exploration of social and cultural issues. The company provides a creative outlet for its artists through virtuosic and expressive dance performances that give audiences an opportunity for self-reflection. CKM&A works to demystify contemporary dance through community dialogue and online video content. CKM&A also provides professional and pre-professional opportunities through educational intensives, workshops and university residencies, as well as peer-to-peer artist facilitation and commissioning the work of other choreographers. CKM&A is a resident company of Dance Place in Washington, D.C.
Christopher K. Morgan is the Executive Artistic Director of Dance Place in Washington, DC, where he oversees the curation of over 45 weekends of performances by national and international choreographers annually, a school for youth and adults, youth enrichment programs and continues Dance Place’s leadership in creative placemaking. He is also the Artistic & Executive Director of contemporary dance company Christopher K. Morgan & Artists (CKM&A) and the Director of Dance Omi, an annual collaborative residency for international choreographers in New York. Born in Orange County, CA, Christopher’s Native Hawaiian ancestry and a diverse, international modern dance career that moved him to San Diego, Munich, New York, Dublin and London all influence his work as an administrator, choreographer, educator, facilitator, curator and performer. Said to be "direct, transcendent and entrancing" by The Washington Post, his choreography has been presented in 18 countries on five continents. He founded CKM&A in 2011; the same year Dance Magazine profiled him as one of six breakout choreographers in the United States. Awards include a 2014 NPN Creation Fund Award, 2014 NEFA National Dance Project (NDP) Production Grant, the 2015 Montgomery County Executive’s Outstanding Artist Award and 2011, 2014 and 2017 Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Awards. Christopher taught at American University (Washington, DC) from 2011-14, and in the BA and MFA programs at the University of Maryland from 2014-2017. In demand as a speaker, panelist and grants reviewer for his informed and balanced perspective, Morgan has recently been at the forefront of national and international discussions on cultural appropriation, diversity, equity and inclusion. He resides in North Bethesda, MD with his husband, opera director Kyle Lang.
Tiffanie Carson (Assistant Director, Choreographer, Company Dancer) is in her sixth season with CKM&A, and has been the company’s Assistant Director since January 2014. Originally from southern California, Tiffanie earned a BFA in Dance Performance at Chapman University and an MFA in Dance from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Tiffanie is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor of Dance at the Shenandoah Conservatory at Shenandoah University, specializing in contemporary & commercial jazz dance. As choreographer for the Shenandoah Conservatory Dance Ensemble, Tiffanie has presented works at the New York Jazz Choreography Dance Project, the VelocityDC Dance Festival in Washington, D.C., the 34thAnnual Choreographers’ Showcase at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, and the Pushing Progress Series in NYC. With CKM&A she has performed at the Millennium Stage at The Kennedy Center, Sidney Harman Hall, The Alden Theatre in McLean, VA as well as American Dance Institute in Rockville, MD. In CKM&A’s 5th Anniversary Concert, Tiffanie was described as having “achieved a choreographic homerun” with her 2014 work Deprivation, and was described in Morgan's work Selling Out as “absolutely ripping the solo to shreds” (criticaldance.org). She has conducted CKM&A's annual winter and summer intensives as well as numerous residencies at universities with Mr. Morgan and in France at the Ècole Superieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower.
Gabriel Ramirez is a writer, poet, playwright, educator, and activist. He is the 2012 Knicks Poetry Slam Champion and a member of the 2012 Urban Word NYC slam team. Featured in an off-broadway production of “Black Ink” he debuted “Sankofa” a one-man show he wrote and acted in himself, collaborating with award winning choreographer and director, Nicco Annan. Gabriel has performed on Broadway at the New Amsterdam Theatre, United Nations, New York Live Arts, Lincoln Center, Apollo Theatre and other venues & universities around the nation. He has also been featured in the Huffington Post, Vibe Magazine, Blavity, Upworthy and at a TEDxYouth Conference. Gabriel ranked 2nd in New York City in Youth Slam and won the 2013 National Poetry Youth Slam Championship in Boston and has gone on to represent New York City at the National Poetry Slam festival on teams ranking top 10 in 2014 and 2015.
Rion Amilcar Scott’s debut story collection, Insurrections, won the PEN/ Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and was selected for The Rumpus’s book club. His writing has appeared in publications including Fiction International, The Kenyon Review, Crab Orchard Review, [PANK], The Rumpus, and The Toast, and he received a notable mention in Best American Essays 2015. He received an MFA from George Mason University, and he currently teaches English at Bowie State University.
Sandra Simonds is the author of six books of poetry: Orlando, (Wave Books, forthcoming in 2018), Further Problems with Pleasure, winner of the 2015 Akron Poetry Prize and forthcoming from the University of Akron Press, Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009). Her poems have been included in the Best American Poetry 2015 and 2014 and have appeared in many literary journals, including Poetry, the American Poetry Review, the Chicago Review, Granta, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Fence, Court Green, and Lana Turner. In 2013, she won a Readers’ Choice Award for her sonnet “Red Wand,” which was published on Poets.org, the Academy of American Poets website. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is an Associate professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.
Chase Twichell’s work has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artists Foundation, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Her work received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The Snow Watcher won the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America. She was awarded a Smart Family Foundation Award in 2004 for poems published in The Yale Review. In 2010, she received an honorary doctorate from St. Lawrence University. Her most recent book, Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems, won both the Kingsley Tufts Award from Claremont Graduate University and the Balcones Poetry Prize.
Chase Twichell was born in 1950, and grew up in Connecticut and the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. She is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2010), which won both the Kingsley Tufts Award from Claremont Graduate University and the Balcones Poetry Prize.
After teaching for many years (Hampshire College, the University of Alabama, and Princeton University), she left academia to found Ausable Press, a not-for-profit publisher of contemporary poetry, which was acquired by Copper Canyon in 2009.
A longtime student in the Mountains and Rivers Order at Zen Mountain Monastery in upstate New York, she and her husband, the novelist Russell Banks, split the year between the Adirondacks and Saratoga Springs, NY.
Carol Marie earned her AAS degree in Forestry from Paul Smiths College. She earned her BFA from Plattsburgh State University and her MFA from Syracuse University. She had a studio in NYC for five years learning the business of art while meeting artists from all around the world and also has curated several national and international exhibitions. She recently retired after 18 years of teaching the studio arts, of which thirteen were spent as a full time instructor North Country Community College.
Currently Carol Marie is the Founder and Artistic Director for BluSeed Studios , a non-for profit arts organization whose mission in part, is to provide space and opportunities where artists and educators can collaborate experiment and diverge. She is enrolled in an Art Integration Certification program through the Education Closet, developed by Susan Riley. She also leads the Creative Classroom Projects professional development program at BluSeed Studios. Her passion is to find, foster and facilitate creativity, especially in places where it is thought not to exist!
Music Director Antony Walker celebrates his twelfth season at Pittsburgh Opera in 2017-18. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2011 with Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice, and has returned to The Met since then to conduct Il barbiere di Siviglia, The Pearl Fishers and The Magic Flute. Maestro Walker enjoys superlative reviews not only for his Pittsburgh Opera productions, but also his recent concert performances of Massenet’s rarely-performed Hérodiade and Beethoven’s Leonore at Washington Concert Opera.
In 2010, Maestro Walker made debuts at English National Opera in Lucia di Lammermoor, at Canadian Opera Company in Maria Stuarda, and at The Santa Fe Opera in Madama Butterfly. In 2016 Maestro Walker was proud to conduct Rossini’s monumental Semiramide in Florence, Italy, where the operatic art form was born.
He currently serves as Artistic Director of Washington Concert Opera in Washington D.C., founding Artistic Director and Conductor Emeritus of Pinchgut Opera in Australia, and was Music Director of Cantillation and the Orchestra of the Antipodes for almost 2 decades. He was Chorus Master and Staff Conductor for Welsh National Opera from 1998–2002 and Musical Director of Sydney Philharmonia Choirs from 1992–1997. Since his conducting debut in 1991, Maestro Walker has led nearly 200 operas, large-scale choral and orchestral works, and numerous symphonic and chamber works with companies in Europe, North America, and Australia.
His extraordinary career includes engagements with Opera Australia, Welsh National Opera, New York City Opera, Teatro Comunale Bologna, Orchestre Colonne (Paris), Wolf Trap Opera, Merola Program at the San Francisco Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Glimmerglass Festival, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Vancouver Opera, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and Sydney Opera House Orchestra.