Ella Jenkins

Posted January 16, 2015

Chicago, IL


Ella Jenkins has been called “The First Lady of Children’s Music.” She first began creating songs for children as a volunteer at a recreation center and in subsequent education jobs. For over 50 years Jenkins has been performing international folk songs and original compositions in schools and in television appearances on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, Sesame Street, and Barney. She was one of the first to record on Moe Asch’s Folkway’s Records, which later became Smithsonian Folkways, and for which she has recorded 29 albums since 1959. She has received numerous awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2004 Grammy Awards.

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You’ll Sing a Song and I’ll Sing a Song, Ella Jenkins with Members of the Urban Gateways Children’s Chorus, 1989; photo courtesy the artist and Smithsonian/Folkways Records

Joan Jonas

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


A pioneer of performance, video, and feminist art Joan Jonas emerged as an artist during the 1960s.  She received an MFA in sculpture from Columbia University in 1965, and studied dance for two years with Trisha Brown.  By 1968, Jonas was combining performance with video projections and images from the media in experimental works that confronted the archetypal representations of women in stories, such as myths and fairy tales.  Her art has influenced performance, conceptual art, theater, and video, and she continues to produce compelling and complex work that speaks to a younger generation of artists.  She is a professor at MIT in the program of Art, Culture, and Technology.

 Shape, Scent, Feel of Things, 2005; photo courtesy the artist

Shape, Scent, Feel of Things, 2005; photo courtesy the artist

Kim Jones

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


Kim Jones is a performance artist who also creates drawings and installations. He received an MFA from Otis Art Institute in 1973. That same year, he began attaching sculptures to his body and, a year later, he covered his body with mud, attached a lattice of sticks to his back and head and walked the streets of L.A. He began appearing at galleries and museums in that persona, which was dubbed Mud Man by a New York critic when he moved there in 1982. Mud Man evokes images of a homeless person, wounded soldier, and/or shaman, and suggests a ritual of healing. Jones also creates “war drawings” and paintings on photographs.

 Telephone Pole, 1978; photo courtesy Ned Sloane

Telephone Pole, 1978; photo courtesy Ned Sloane

Danongan Kalanduyan

Posted January 16, 2015

South San Francisco, CA


Danongan Kalanduyan is one of the most prominent kulintang musicians in the country. (Kulintang is an instrumental form of music composed on a row of small gongs accompanied by larger suspended gongs and drums). He began playing the kulintang as a child in his village, eventually becoming a master musician. In 1976, a Rockefeller Foundation grant brought him to the University of Washington, Seattle, as artist-in-residence in the department of ethnomusicology, from which he received an MA in 1984. Later that year, he moved to California and became the musical director of the Kilang Kulintang Arts of San Francisco, and, since 1989, he has been the director of the Filipino Kulintang Center. He received a National Heritage Fellowship in 1995.

  Photos courtesy the artist

Photos courtesy the artist

Laura Kurgan

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY


South African-born Laura Kurgan received her degree in Architecture from Columbia University in 1988. In 1995, she established her own studio—Laura Kurgan Design—an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York City. Her methodology takes data network information and uses it as a visual device to inform and educate the general public on social issues and their physical implications to the built environment. Over the span of Kurgan’s career her projects have evolved from small, forward-thinking graphic installations to larger, three-dimensional built environments that merge data information with graphics and architecture resulting in spatial conditions that become visible networks. Since 2005, she has been the Director of Visual Studies and the Director of the Spatial Information Lab at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation.

 Architecture and Justice 1, 2008, as displayed in

Architecture and Justice 1, 2008, as displayed in “Design and the Elastic Mind,” MoMA, New York; photo courtesy the artist

Delores Lewis Garcia & Emma Lewis Mitchell

Posted January 16, 2015

San Fidel, NM


Delores Lewis Garcia and Emma Lewis Mitchell are the daughters of renowned Acoma pueblo potter Lucy M. Lewis, from whom they learned their craft. The sisters work together and are committed to producing and teaching traditional, hand-built pottery. They retain authentic Acoma patterns and techniques and gather their own natural pigments and clays from the pueblo.

 Jar with Thunderbirds, 2006; photo courtesy the artists

Jar with Thunderbirds, 2006; photo courtesy the artists

Delores Lewis Garcia & Emma Lewis Mitchell

Posted January 16, 2015

San Fidel, NM


Delores Lewis Garcia and Emma Lewis Mitchell are the daughters of renowned Acoma pueblo potter Lucy M. Lewis, from whom they learned their craft. The sisters work together and are committed to producing and teaching traditional, hand-built pottery. They retain authentic Acoma patterns and techniques and gather their own natural pigments and clays from the pueblo.

 Jar with Thunderbirds, 2006; photo courtesy the artists

Jar with Thunderbirds, 2006; photo courtesy the artists

Beth Lo

Posted January 16, 2015

Missoula, MT


Beth Lo explores issues of family, her Asian American identity, and cultural marginality, among other topics, in her ceramics and collages. She received her MFA in ceramics in 1974 from the University of Montana, Missoula, where she has taught for many years. Lo employs traditional Asian techniques such as calligraphy and origami and borrows from more contemporary forms including souvenirs and toys.

 Harmony and Anthem, 2008, porcelain and mixed media, 20

Harmony and Anthem, 2008, porcelain and mixed media, 20″ H; photo courtesy Chris Autio

Hannibal Lokumbe

Posted January 16, 2015

Hannibal Lokumbe is a composer and jazz trumpeter whose career spans over forty years. He attended North Texas State University from 1967–69 and moved to New York in 1970. He spent the next 25 years there, playing trumpet and recording with legends such as Gil Evans, Pharaoh Sanders, and Elvin Jones. Lokumbe eventually formed his own Sunrise Orchestra. He has composed over 150 works, many of which take as their subject historical figures such as John Brown, Anne Frank, and Rosa Parks. He is best known for his oratorio, African Portraits, which was recorded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1996 and covers 350 years of history with a full orchestra, gospel choir, jazz quintet, African drummer, and a griot.

 Dear Mrs. Parks, Hannibal Lokumbe with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 2009; photo courtesy the artist

Dear Mrs. Parks, Hannibal Lokumbe with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, 2009; photo courtesy the artist

Dona Look

Posted January 16, 2015

Algoma, WI


Basket maker Dona Look has developed a unique style of sewing birch bark with silk thread to create elegant vessels that show the influence of Scandinavian design. She received her BA in 1970 from the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh. By minimizing color and adornment in her work, Look focuses on surface texture, geometric volume, and implied simplicity.

 04-2, 2004; photo courtesy the artist

04-2, 2004; photo courtesy the artist