Bianca Mikahn has been working with CSC as an artist and facilitator since 2017. She recently joined the administrative team as the Program Manager, already bringing tremendous insight and leadership managing the School Programs and Community Cypher Series. Originally from Denver, Mikahn is an emcee, poet, digital composer, cultural activist and educator. Mikahn is currently Executive Director of youth mental health based program, Check Your Head, and a Partner Artist with leading creative educators Think360 and Youth On Record. Addressing stigma reduction and mental health for marginalized peoples, Mikahn recently explored these themes through a TedX talk titled “From scars to Strength; The Poetry of Recovery”. Whether performing alone or with her self-produced duo The Maybe Sos, her stage presence and lyrical content have earned multiple nominations for “Best Emcee” as well as a feature in the “100 Colorado Creatives” series from Denver’s Westword publication. She has shared stages at Regis University, University of Denver, the Chateau de La Napoule in Nice, France and Stockholm Sweden’s historical Fylkengin Theatre. Her lyrical work has been featured in social justice studies at Wyoming University and University of Northern Colorado. Her current efforts are focused on honing social emotional learning and arts-based facilitation to encourage trauma informed care and Mental Health First Aid (adult and youth modules) in under-served communities.
Rachael is committed to racial justice and community-based arts, education, and healing. Her dedication to this work has been pivotal in developing and delivering CSC curriculum and programs. Recently, Rachael has engaged in a range of continuing education, coaching and training opportunities, including executive coaching with experts and advisors, Community Accountability training with Just Practice, and membership and conference presentations / participation with the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Colorado Nonprofit Association, and Colorado Creative Industries. Administratively, Rachael has a range of experience, including her term as the Director of River Mist Learning Community. Rachael specializes in devised performance, dialogue, and popular education. With more than two decades working in education, shel has facilitated innovative programs with people across age and identity. She holds an MA from NYU, and has completed training with Bay Area Nonviolent Communication, Julian Boal, Dominic Barter (Restorative Circles), and the Center for Multicultural Education and Programs at NYU, where she taught courses through the commission on Gender, Race and Social Justice, and received the Nia award for her innovative work.
Maurice has been a facilitator and consultant for Creative Strategies for Change since 2017. He is a versatile and dynamic facilitator who has been a community organizer and curator of arts and activism for nearly two decades. He has worked with numerous groups and organizations including Children’s Hospital and Denver Buddhist Cultural Center. In addition, Maurice is part of the Rosehouse Botanicals team and the man behind the magical creations of @theblusaint.
Wendy has worked as a consultant, facilitator, artist and executive coach with CSC since 2015. Wendy’s career is a rich tapestry of community advocacy and engagement. She is a highly seasoned facilitator, trainer, social worker with over 20 years of experience with organizational leadership, education, and collaboration. She galvanized a new corporate culture, post-merger between The Spot Youth Center and Urban Peak, and orchestrated a successful $500,000 grant application with five culturally and economically diverse collaborators to address youth employment. Under Wendy’s guidance, The Spot initiated the quantitative and qualitative program evaluation, resulting in the first published article on the Harm Reduction Model for intervention with high risk youth. Among her wealth of experience, she was accountable for implementing the City of Santa Monica’s Strategic Plan to address homelessness and oversee the appropriation of $5 million in City funds for the project.
Fatu has been a facilitator and artist working with Creative Strategies for Change since 2018. Judy Henderson (Fatu Lady Drummer) began her journey into West African Dancer and culture with the Irepo African Dancers and Drummers from 1987-1992) of Denver under the Direction of Baba Adetunji Joda (ibase) learning the chants, drumming and dances of the Yoruba people of Nigeria. She also worked with Irepo’s sister dance company; “Sankofa”, in Colorado Springs, CO. Fatu was the Musical Director of the Harambee Dancers of the University of Colorado, Boulder (2000-2006) under the Direction of Leticia Williams. Harambee is a recipient of the El Pomar Foundation award for excellence. In the year 2000, Fatu founded and directed “Jambalaya Sistah’s Drum and Dance Company” and performed and taught West African music and culture across the Country. Fatu currently teaches enrichment classes in West African music and culture in Denver Public schools. An initiated Priest in the Yoruba Spiritual Practice of Ifa, Fatu also teaches the intersection of African American and West African History. I began my drumming and dance studies in 1986 with the Damballah Dance Company in Boulder, CO. I concurrently began to study traditional songs and dances of the Yoruba people of Nigeria with the legendary Baba Adetunji Joda in Denver, CO. At that time, women were still persecuted for playing traditional African drums and I was an anomaly. I have studied numerous forms of West African drumming traditions with indigenous teachers living in America. I also traveled to Africa twice to study Drumming and Dance with Master Dancer Marie Basse-Wiles of Senegal and Master Drummer Abdoul Doumbia of Mali. In the year 2000 I developed Jambalaya Sistah’s Drum and Dance ensemble and performed and taught traditional djembe music throughout the country. I simultaneously encouraged women to drum as an act of personal empowerment.
Toluwa has been working with CSC as an artist since 2017. She is a Nigerian poet, performer, and workshop facilitator based in Denver, Colorado. She is a Brave New Voices international slam champion, a Denver city slam champion, and author of an upcoming chapbook. She has been a member of the Denver Minor Disturbance youth poetry team, and is currently a member of the Slam Nuba poetry team. In 2015 she was announced as Denver’s first Youth Poet Laureate.
Franklin has been bringing his shine to CSC since 2016. He is a Denver-based poet with interests in Science, Dance, and Culture. He is a graduate of Biology at Metropolitan State in Denver, and also works at the Museum of Nature & Science.
Sarah joined CSC in 2017 as a facilitator, artist, and graphic designer. Founder of Curious Sunshine, Sarah comes from Central California and recently moved to Colorado where she got a M.A. in Environmental Leadership. Through her journey, she has been inspired to create a space for women and children of color to reconnect with nature, incorporate more mindfulness and meditation, play more, celebrate our diversity, and honor the curiosities in life. She considers herself one of the many fringe-dwelling, quirky, black girls that need a place to be authentic and empowered; which was the motivation behind creating her health and wellness business, Curious Sunshine. She has always seen the magic in life and tried too hard to not let the demands and ideologies of society dim that inner sunshine. As an artist, she learned from many of amazing role-models that one of the easiest ways to disrupt the status quo is through art, self-love and thinking outside of the box.
Adolfo Romero is a Chilean artist, musician, poet and projects developer. Adolfo has been working with CSC since 2019. His artwork includes a series of techniques that are always exploring the connections between the human psyche, its origins in the social world and throughout history. About his artwork: “The intention is to awaken the realization that we, as human beings, are both unique and at the same time inherently alike.” In my creative process, the necessity arises to document the human experience as it relates to both individual and collective experience. I believe the act of self-discovery is rooted in arch-types of our collective unconscious, so there’s always an interplay between individual and collective existence.
Bigger than the artwork itself, the goal is for the artistic object to become a medium that goes beyond the technical process, creating new realities. The artwork interacts with everything in its surroundings, placing itself in time between past and future, acting as a reflection of our collective history, while also signaling the possibility of social and historical developments that are still in progress.
Dion Harris has been a freelance illustrator/comic book artist for several years working on titles such as The Burning Metronome and Show Devils as well as doing Illustrations for companies such as Paizo. In addition to woking as an artist and facilitator for CSC, Dion is currently working on Shotgun Roscoe, a 70’s themed adventure series full of surprises!
Born and raised in Ruby Hill, Vonne Edwards, is a West Denver based artist. Vonn has been working with CSC since 2019. Vonne’s art is multi media, and they are known for their work in spoken word and performance poetry. Vonne supports Denver’s community through food medicine and dialogue.