Past Jurors


rashRashayla Marie Brown
A lifelong nomad who has moved 24 times, Rashayla Marie Brown is an interdisciplinary artist. Her practice spans across photography and image-making, writing, performance, installation, research, and social engagement. Her works often infuse cultural studies with personal agency, queer Afrofeminist subjectivity, and spirituality. She currently serves as the Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at SAIC, fostering subversive narratives and access within art-based institutions.


DavidDavid Wilson
David Wilson is an artist and curator based in Oakland, CA.  He creates observational drawings based in landscape experience and orchestrates site-specific gatherings that draw a wide net of artists, performers, filmmakers, chefs, and artisans into collaborative relationships.  He recently received the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Art Award, and organized the experimental exhibition The Possible at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive, which transformed the museum into a creative center in which a group of 200 artists designed, facilitated, and worked off a series of studio, performance, and research platforms.

 joseJosé Faus
José Faus is a writer, visual artist and independent teacher.  He has executed a series of community based murals and engaged in community centered conversations and interactions designed to expand the role of the artist in community building.

amberAmber Hansen
Amber Hansen actively exhibits in the mediums of film, drawing, and musical performance and has been the lead artist in many public murals located throughout the Midwest. Creating a dialogue between her formal education and the ethics of her rural upbringing, Hansen creates socially engaged work and drawings that publicly raise questions about the ethics of animal welfare and food.


juanJuan William Chávez
Born in Lima, Peru, Juan William Chávez is an artist and cultural activist who explores the potential of space through creative initiatives that address community and cultural issues. His studio practice incorporates unconventional forms of beekeeping, agriculture, and architectural interventions that utilize art as a way of researching, developing and implementing creative placemaking projects.
Since 2010, Chávez has focused on socially-engaged projects and collaborations in North Saint Louis. His projects include the Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary, BEEHIVE: Food Incubator and Northside Workshop. He has received awards and grants from Creative Capital, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Art Matters and the Gateway Foundation. Chávez holds a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Artist and cultural activist:
Pruitt-Igoe Bee Sanctuary:
Northside Workshop:


kemiKemi Ilesanmi (photo credit Hollis King)
Kemi Ilesanmi is the Executive Director of The Laundromat Project, which brings arts, artists, and arts programming into local coinops to amplify the creativity that already exists within communities. With over 15 years experience in the cultural arena, she is inspired by the immense possibilities for joy and social impact at the intersection of arts and community.

Prior to joining The LP, she was Director of Grants and Services at Creative Capital Foundation where she supported the work of American artists making adventurous new work. From 1998-2004, she was a visual arts curator at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. While there, she organized several exhibitions, including The Squared Circle: Boxing in Contemporary Art, and ran the visual arts residency program. She is holds a MPA from New York University and a BA from Smith College. She is also an alumna of the Coro Leadership New York and Arts Leadership Institute programs.

daveDave Loewenstein
For twenty years Dave Loewenstein’s work has focused on projects that instigate and depend on public participation and collaboration. Loewenstein has directed more than fifty mural projects across America, from Arizona to New York City. He is also a founding member of the Percolator, a non-profit organization that brings new art and cultural events to Lawrence, KS. He has curated a number of socially engaged exhibitions at the space, including  “Signs of a New Apocalypse or Glimmers of a D.I.Y. Utopia” and “Celebrate People’s History”. The latter show gathered posters from artists who retold forgotten stories of social and political struggles. Their work was augmented by graphics made at a Lawrence print shop in the 1970’s, and new pieces created at Percolator workshops.

As a printmaker, using the simple and flexible technology of stencils, Loewenstein’s work has found a wide audience. His work has been anthologized in books like Agitate, Educate, Organize  by Lincoln Cushing and Tim Drescher, and Paper Politics by Josh MacPhee.  His prints have also illustrated articles for Z Magazine, and been used directly on the streets in the current Occupy Movement, fulfilling his life’s goal of engaging contemporary social struggles far beyond the studio and gallery.

Muralist, Printer and Activist:
Give Take Give:

mark-01Mark Southerland
Mark Southerland has used the saxophone as a medium for exploring sound and performance for over 30 years. By reinterpreting the assumed stage presence of a jazz musician, Southerland’s work has run the gamut, from experimental pop music and Rahsaan Roland Kirk tributaries, to wearable horn sculptures and nomadic tent installations. His reinvention of woodwind instruments, circuit-bent electronic toys, and eight track “scratching” turn his stage work into an Alexander Calder-esque circus of visual and sound possibilities. His “bastardized” horns and costumes have been displayed as free-standing sculptures at the Dolphin Gallery, the OSP in Boston, and Art Basel Miami.

A Kansas City native, Mark Southerland has played locally, nationally, and throughout Europe for over 15 years. Southerland recently finished residencies in both New Orleans and New York, performing with a range of international musicians – Helen Gillet, Allison Miller, James Singleton, Skerik and Simon Berz. He appears regularly with the award winning Owen Cox Dance Ensemble and has produced several major performance installation pieces with collaborators like Jane Gotch, Brian Haas, David Ford, Beau Bledsoe, and Peregrine Honig. Southerland continuously extends his possibilities, pushing the improvisatory envelope of visual and auditory standards.

Performance art:


megMeg Onli is an artist and writer currently working in Chicago. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Onli moved to Chicago to complete a BFA with an emphasis in photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her work has been shown nationally and in 2009 she had her first solo exhibition, The Underground Railroad Project, at Twelve Galleries in Chicago. Onli’s writing, which investigates the intricacies of black visual representations and histories in America, is catalogued on the website Black Visual Archive, which she founded in 2010, and for which she was recently awarded a Creative Capital Arts Writers award. From 2006 to 2010, she was the associate producer of the Chicago-based art and culture podcast and blog Bad at Sports. She has also written for the Art21 blog as well as Daily Serving.;

colinColin Kloecker is a Twin Cities-based artist, designer and cultural producer working at the intersection of public engagement and civic design. Colin works with other individuals and organizations to create public art and design projects that invite creative participation, inspire new connections and encourage the collaborative making of meaning. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and spent five years working on developing affordable and supportive housing. In 2009, after 2 years of creating innovative public programs like Solutions Twin Cities, Salon Saloon, and Give & Take, Colin and his collaborators founded Works Progress, an artist-led public design studio that he now co-directs with his wife and creative partner, Shanai Matteson. Works Progress creates collaborative projects that inspire, inform and connect; catalyzing relationships across creative and cultural boundaries and providing new platforms for public engagement.;

judithJudith G. Levy is a conceptual artist whose videos, public art, installations, performance, and two-dimensional work, explore public and private history, as well as challenging social, historical and political subjects. She has shown her work and been awarded public art commissions across the nation, including exhibitions at the Plains Art Museum and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. In 2007 she was awarded a Lilly Foundation Grant to travel to Poland and Germany. Levy received a Rocket Grants award in 2011, for a film, NV in KC, which will debut in Kansas City this coming May. She works in Kansas City, MO, and lives in Lawrence, KS.

josephJoseph Keehn II is a multidisciplinary artist/curator/writer based in Kansas City, MO. Keehn has worked at institutions such as the Japan Society, Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, and New Museum where he co-edited and contributed to the publication Rethinking Contemporary Art and Multicultural Education. A native to Kansas, Keehn returned to his home state in 2010. Keehn curated over 100 programs at the Salina Art Center, ranging from a bicycle polo match in a warehouse to a director’s talk with Bill Weber, creator of the Academy Award Shortlisted Nominee for Best Documentary We Were Here (2011).


cliffClifford Owens (photo credit Paolo Testa) prefers not to be called a “performance artist,” but rather an artist who makes performances as well as works in video, photography, and sound. Nonetheless a thick strain of his work in all of these media takes up and reconfigures difficult questions stemming from the history of performance art – questions about shared responsibility, liveness, documentation, and embodiment. For his “Anthology” project, he asked a multigenerational group of African-American artists to submit a performance score — written or drawn instructions for actions — and then performed them himself throughout MoMA PS1. Twenty-six artists, including Glenn Ligon, Senga Nengudi, and William Pope.L, contributed scores.

Owens received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from Mason Gross School of Visual Arts, Rutgers. He also participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and was an Artist-in-Residence at The Studio Museum in Harlem. He has exhibited work internationally in solo and group shows, and taught at The Cooper Union, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers, NYU, and was a Lecturer at the School of Art, Yale University. 

bryceBryce Dwyer has worked as Managing Editor of the Chicago-based Contemporary Art Daily and was a co-founder/co-director of InCUBATE (Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday). InCUBATE’s “core organizational principle,” reads their website, “is to treat art administration as a creative practice.”

Their projects included organizing traveling exhibitions, administering an artist residency, co-managing a store front and developing a grassroots funding model called Sunday Soup. Dwyer studied in the Modern Art History, Theory and Criticism and Arts Administration and Policy graduate program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has researched unconventional residencies at the Alliance of Artists Communities and has written for numerous publications and platforms including Bad at Sports and Art 21 blog.

erikaErika Nelson is an independent artist and educator, exploring the fringes of art and culture as experienced on the back roads and offbeat roadside attractions that dot the American landscape. She travels the country in a permanently altered Art Car, and exhibits the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things in a portable Sideshow Extravaganza.

When not on the road, she can be found hunkered down just outside of the Garden of Eden, in the wonderfully bizarre town of Lucas, Kansas. Professional highlights include: being featured in a Zippy the Pinhead strip, tons of interviews and features in a wide array of formats from embarrassing pull quotes in the Wall Street Journal to a dorky yet endearing Conan segment, online highlights in ArtForum Magazine, a Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon, and her very own Topp’s Baseball Card.

caitlinCaitlin Horsmon is an artist with a wide range of interests – her research centers on non-commercial and world cinema, with a focus on the social history of experimental forms.  Her animation, film and video works have been awarded widely nationally and internationally including a screening at the prestigious Cinémathèque Française.

Horsmon’s experimental and non-fiction media work focuses on questions of visual history, pleasure, gender and absence and encompasses many forms, from 3D animation to hand-processed 16mm film.  She was trained in Cinema & Comparative Literature and Media Production at the University of Iowa and graduated from Oberlin College.  Before her move to Kansas City, Horsmon worked as the community outreach coordinator for The Chicago International Film Festival and was the director of the Thaw festival in Iowa City – experiences that brought her to her career as teacher, maker and scholar. She is currently an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at UMKC.


shanaShana Berger is an artist, writer, and curator who lives and works in York, Alabama. Driven by the idea that art can play an integral role in realizing positive social change, her work blends modes of art, activism, organizing, and advertising.

As Co-Director of the Coleman Center for the Arts <> , Berger and her collaborator Nathan Purath have developed an architecture for creating participatory projects. This framework offers artists and community members opportunities to work as co-participants in projects that address civic and social needs. Calling on models of contemporary art and consensus based organizing, projects are characterized by close collaboration with the community. Participants are directly involved in the process and outcomes of projects. Artists’ initial work is open ended, exploratory, and collaborative, and precipitates larger projects that are a result of this socially engaged process.

Berger holds a BFA in photography from Indiana University. She is a founder of the Indiana artist group and organization Your Art Here, and currently works as Co-Director of the Coleman Center for the Arts. Her work has been featured in Art Papers Magazine and on She is a recipient of an Alabama State Council on the Arts Fellowship, and a Curatorial Fellowship from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

ulsUlysses Jenkins has received many awards for his interdisciplinary work, including three NEA individual artist fellowships, and two first place awards for experimental video from the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame. Ulysses Jenkins is now a professor at UC Irvine in both the studio art program and the African American studies program. He is very active across the community, and has been involved in a number of programs with the Getty Museum and Research Institute in Los Angeles.

Jenkins utilizes the genre of storytelling, as exemplified by the African griot and bardic tradition in his work, to explore the relationship between myth-making and the African American experience. His early performance works were often produced in collaboration with others, invited audience participation, and were envisioned as socio-political commentaries and ritual actions. Since the 1980s, Jenkins has been exploring how traditional stories and myths can be expressed through video imagery. With his conceptual art band, Othervisions, he explores the relationship between spoken word and lyrical content. By combining his soundscapes with video images, Jenkins investigates how images and sound can be blended together to create new allegories of the contemporary American cultural landscape.

peggyPeggy Noland is an artist based in Kansas City and Los Angeles. Using clothing as her medium, she opened the storefront Peggy Noland in 2006 with a collection that drew from Pop Art, Japanese streetwear, and club kid fashion. Since then, the concept shop has evolved into an Oldenburg-like retail installation that responds to consumer culture by exaggerating trends – most recently creating puffy paint plays on brands and logos. An avant-garde sense of humor is a strong current in Noland’s work; absorbing the world around her and then reflecting it back through the mirror of a distorted funhouse. The result of which is content driven clothing whose supporters include Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Gossip.

Noland has exhibited internationally throughout Barcelona, Berlin, and New York and her work has been featured in The New York Times, Dazed and Confused, Interview and WWD.

margMarguerite Perret is a multimedia installation artist who explores issue-based, interdisciplinary connections between art, science, and medicine. She collaborates with artists, scientists, writers, public agencies, museums, and healthcare professionals. Perret has exhibited widely and completed several large-scale, site-specific temporary public art commissions. Artist residencies and project grants have supported Perret in her international travels wherein she documents natural history and medical museum collections as part of an ongoing project that explores the specimen/artifact as a product of how humans represent and consume nature and our bodies.

Currently, Perret is an associate professor of art and design at Washburn University in Topeka, Kansas where she teaches digital imaging, foundations design, art and ecology, and science and art.

raechRaechell Smith is the Director and Curator of the H&R Block Artspace at the Kansas City Art Institute, and before that worked as a curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art



melMel Ziegler began his undergraduate studies at the Rhode Island School of Design, later transferring to the Kansas City Art Institute to complete his BFA. He earned an MFA from the California Institute of the Arts. It was in Kansas City that he met Kate Ericson, his future artistic collaborator of 18 years. Together, Ericson and Ziegler made influential site-specific installations and objects concerned with mapping trajectories, questioning history, and highlighting the specificity of places and communities—all themes that had also been important for Ziegler in his early solo works. After the tragic and premature death of his partner Kate Ericson in 1995, Mel Ziegler has continued to create and show public-facing artworks nationally and internationally.

Ziegler earned a Loeb Fellowship for study at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University. He continues to lecture and exhibit throughout the United States, Europe and South America.  Ziegler spent ten years as a Professor of Sculpture at the University of Texas, Austin, and is currently Chair of the newly created Department of Art at Vanderbilt University.

hesseHesse McGraw is a curator, writer and artist working as chief curator at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, where he has developed an exhibition program focused on site-specific, immersive, cross-disciplinary, and socially engaged projects, including major projects with artists Theaster Gates and Michael Jones McKean. McGraw was formerly associate director of Max Protetch gallery in New York, and was the founding director and curator of Paragraph, which operated under the non-profit Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. He lectures widely and his writing has been published in Afterall, Art Papers, Outpost, and diverse exhibition catalogues. Recent grants include an Andy Warhol Foundation Curatorial Research Fellowship, an ArtPlace America grant, a Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Artistic Innovation and Collaboration Grant, and an NEA Our Town grant. McGraw holds a BFA from the University of Kansas and completed graduate research at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland.

McGraw’s artwork incorporates photography, video, sound and text into site-specific installations and published works. The work experientially engages cultural information systems to amplify loaded micro-histories with the intent to create new networks of meaning. His work has been shown in venues internationally and in a solo exhibition at RARE, NYC. (Update: McGraw is currently Vice President of Exhibitions and Public Programs at the San Francisco Art Institute).

adriAdriane Herman’s independent efforts to normalize consumption of fine art dovetail with collaborative curatorial efforts such as Slop Art and projects she has undertaken with her students at Maine College of Art and Kansas City Art Institute. Herman holds a B.A. from Smith College and an M.F.A. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as a Level II certificate in the Wilton Method of Cake Decorating. A large body of her work has involved the collection and display of found lists from all over the world. Heartbreaking, hilarious, mundane and, at times, shocking, these lists present a portrait of our attempts to contain our unruly humanity.

Herman has been a visiting artist at over fifty institutions and an artist in residence at the Baie Sainte Marie Artist & Family Compound in Nova Scotia, The Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City and Kriti Gallery in Varanasi, India. Herman’s work has been collected by museums including The Whitney Museum of American Art and The Walker Art Center, as well as by individual humans. Herman has had numerous solo and group shows of her work across the United States, is the recipient of national and regional grants and commissions, and her work has been written about in publications from The New Yorker to Printmaking at the Edge.

soSo Yeon Park is an interdisciplinary performance artist from Seoul, Korea, and assistant professor of art at the University of Kansas. She received her MFA from Ohio State University, a BFA in Sculpture/Ceramics from California College of the Arts, and a BFA in Arts and Crafts from Seoul Women’s University.

With her eclectic background in visual art, performance art and time-based media, Park has established herself in the area of collaborative lab projects and in various solo and site-specific performances. In recent years, she has focused on creating performative community-based art with communities in diverse cultural venues within Canada, United States and Korea. Her critical research examines the creation of public settings that break through cultural boundaries to promote sharing and understanding among people with very different backgrounds.

patPat Alexander opened and operated the not-for-profit public art gallery and theatre, 6th ST Gallery/ Black Box Theatre in the YWCA of Greater Kansas City facility. The monthly exhibits, performances and programs supported the organization’s mission: Eliminate Racism, Empower Women. The gallery has showcased local and international artists of color, women, and works about racial and social justice. Hosted The Guerrilla Girls, Alvin Ailey Dance Company, Amnesty International, KCK Independent Film Festival, KCK Street Fest, Owen/Cox Dance Company, along with hundreds of talented Kansas City visual artists.

He also performs as DJ Fat Sal, spinning vinyl recordings from his personal collection of musical recordings of the African diaspora. The collection has an emphasis on dance grooves from the 1960-70s Soul, Funk, R&B, Afro Caribe/Reggae, Latin, Jazz and early Hip Hop genres. You can see some of Alexander’s drawings here: