Danny Hoch is a playwright, director, and performer best known for solo works in which he embodies various characters from “the polyglot of urban life in New York City.” He attended North Carolina School of the Arts, the British American Drama Academy, London, and New York University. Hoch’s work gives voice to the hip-hop generation and takes on gentrification, racism, immigration, cultural and identity politics, prisons, and police brutality. He founded the Hip-Hop Theater Festival in 2000. Hoch has toured internationally as a solo performer and has received numerous awards, including the Herb Alpert Award (1998) and a Los Angeles Drama Critics Award (2010).
New York, NY
Writer Quiara Alegría Hudes says that she writes “about the Latinos of North Philadelphia. That is the Great American Story that I have to tell.” She attended Yale University and Brown University. Hudes originally studied music and credits it with providing her with the structure and appreciation for the cadence of speech in her plays, musicals, and screenplays. Among other plays, Hudes wrote the book for the musical In the Heights (2008), which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and which won a Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as other honors. Her play, Elliot, A Soldier’s Fugue (2006), was also a Pulitzer Prize finalist.
Rob Ickes is one of the most innovative Dobro players working today. He attended Cañada College, Redwood City, CA, and the University of California, Davis. Ickes moved to Nashville in 1992, joining Blue Highway, the esteemed bluegrass band, as a founding member in 1994. Ickes was named the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Dobro Player of the Year for a record-setting eleventh time in 2009. He has played with Charlie Haden, Alison Krauss, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson, among many others. In 2007, Ickes founded ResoSummit, a three-day educational event in Nashville with leading Dobro players and luthiers for 100 students.
Playwright Rajiv Joseph attended Miami University, Oxford, and New York University, serving in the Peace Corps in Senegal for three years in between. Joseph’s works examine the political and emotional forces that drive a person toward action. His play, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, based on the true story of a rare tiger that was killed by a U.S. Marine, was a 2010 Pulitzer Prize finalist. Joseph has had five other plays produced in New York, Houston, and Washington, D.C., and will premiere three new works in 2011. He received the 2008 Paula Vogel Award in Playwriting from the Vineyard Theatre and the 2009 Kesselring Fellowship. Joseph served as a Language Lecturer at New York University with the School of Art and Public Policy and the Expository Writing Program.
Staten Island, NY
Guy Klucevsek is an avant-garde accordionist and composer. He attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, University of Pittsburgh, and California Institute of the Arts. Klucevsek is one of the few free jazz artists to concentrate on the accordion, although he also composes for other instruments. He has written music for theater, modern dance, and film, and has worked with USA Fellows Bill Frisell, Ping Chong, and Don Byron, among others. In 1996, he founded Accordion Tribe with other master accordionists.
Documentary filmmaker Anne Lewis has been making independent films since 1968. In 1982, she began a continuing association with Appalshop, an arts and education center in the heart of Appalachia, living there and making films about the local culture and struggles. Her film, Morristown: In the Air and Sun (2007), looks at issues of globalization and immigration through the plight of workers on both sides of the border. Some of her earlier films have looked at the nation’s working poor (Fast Food Women, 1991), domestic violence (Shelter, 2001), and labor struggles (Justice in the Coalfields, 1995). Lewis moved to Austin in 2000, where she is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin.
New York, NY
Glenn Ligon is a celebrated conceptual artist whose work deals with issues of race, desire, and language. He attended Rhode Island School of Design and Wesleyan University. Ligon works in multiple media, including text-based painting, neon, print, installation, and video. He uses text, language, and imagery from a wide range of popular culture sources, from stand-up comedy routines and children’s coloring and schoolbooks, to slave narratives and the literary works of James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Gertrude Stein. In his best known works, he repeats phrases using stencil or silkscreen on canvas, eventually obliterating the text as it moves down the painting.
Mary Lucier is celebrated for her contributions to the form of multi-monitor, multi-channel video installation. She attended Brandeis University, originally working in sculpture, photography, and performance before concentrating on video in the 1970s. In her work, she has explored the theme of landscape as a metaphor for loss and regeneration such as in Ohio at Giverny (1983), which traces a journey from her home in Ohio to Monet’s garden in France, and, more recently, trauma as experienced and articulated in more narrative modes.
Architect Greg Lynn founded his firm, Greg Lynn FORM, in Venice, CA, in 1994. He attended Miami University of Ohio and Princeton University. Lynn is known for his early use of computer-aided design to produce biomorphic architectural forms (“blob architecture”), and he has written extensively on these ideas. In 2000, he was profiled by Time Magazine in their projection of twenty-first-century innovators in the field of architecture and design. Lynn is on the faculty of the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, Yale University, and UCLA.
Los Angeles, CA
Film director and screenwriter Tina Mabry is committed to depicting the lives of marginalized groups with a goal of redefining mainstream cinema. She attended the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern California. Her graduate thesis short film, Brooklyn’s Bridge to Jordan, aired on Showtime and MTV and was shown at over 50 film festivals. Her first feature, Mississippi Damned (2009), is based on a true story of three poor African American children in rural Mississippi dealing with the consequences of their family’s cycle of abuse, addiction, and violence. It won numerous honors, including three awards at the 2009 Chicago International Film Festival and two awards at the 2009 American Black Film Festival.