ART + ACTIVISM

This series promotes the cross-pollination of ideas and awareness by bringing specialists from a range of professions together in conjunction with ongoing exhibitions. 

See Your Neighbor: Diversity in the Arts the FORUM will be hosted on Thursday, October 15th at 7pm. 

Join us via ZOOM – OR – via FACEBOOK LIVE

This forum will touch on themes that arise out of the virtual exhibition “See Your Neighbor: Diversity in the Arts.” Topics will include cultural, social, and political issues. Out of this, we hope to outline a path for improvement, and encourage in community engagement.

HOST | JOSHUA JOHNSON

This evening will be hosted by Joshua Johnson. He received a BA in Political Science and a MA in Global Securities from FAMU. Joshua Johnson is a teacher, adjunct professor, and political consultant. He is a principled partner at Stephenson, Johnson, and Johnson a marketing firm that consults and manages movements in non-profit, political, and art sectors and an adjunct professor of political science at Tallahassee Community College. He is also a teacher of economics and social sciences for the Leon County School system. A native of Tallahassee, Johnson has spent the majority of his career in political spaces formally and informally as an activist and politico. In 2016, this work was most notable as Johnson was a candidate for the Florida House of Representatives. Johnson has always been extremely active in his community serving on the boards of the Florida Council of Crime and Delinquency, Keiser University advisory board, Tallahassee Rotary, Market Days Tallahassee, and the GLNH Visual Art Guild. His tenure on the 621 Gallery Executive Board of Directors began in January and has been defined by a deep knowledge of the community and social activity that surround the gallery.  Joshua spearheads our Art & Activism Series Lectures at the gallery.

PANELIST | AMANDA KLEINHANS

Amanda Kleinhans is a fat queer interdisciplinary artist whose work centers fatness, the fat body, and the fat experience. They graduated with their BFA from the University of Southern Mississippi and their MFA from Florida State University. Last year, Kleinhans performed with Performance is Alive in Brooklyn, NY for SATELLITE ART SHOW and in Miami, FL for Miami Art Week with SATELLITE.

PANELIST | ARTISAN P

Artisan P is a musician and rapper from Miami, FL but has made Tallahassee his home. His sound draws inspiration from New York in the 90s and underground hip-hop. As a lyricist, Artisan P uses his technical skill to provide relatable content for every listener.

PANELIST | KILEY BRANDT

Kiley Brandt (MFA ’18) is a video installation artist from North Carolina. She was adopted from Central America at birth. This connection ties her work to an ongoing exploration of issues of immigration and identity with a particular interest in the United States/Mexican border. In her work, Brandt attempts to inspire empathy through sound, poetry and immersive installation to better communicate dissatisfaction with the current political climate and the uncertain displacement many feel within it. She is currently an adjunct professor at Florida State University, where she teaches in the field of digital arts.

PANELIST | MARCUS NICOLAS

After earning his undergraduate degree from Clark Atlanta University in Atlanta, Georgia, Marcus moved to Tallahassee to pursue his first of two graduate degrees from Florida State University Film School. Like so many others, Marcus found the Tallahassee charm so endearing, that he decided to make Florida’s capital city his permanent home. While Marcus’s wife, a Tallahassee native and FSU graduate, probably contributed to his decision to remain in Tallahassee, he has enjoyed every minute of his time in Tallahassee. For the last 13 years, Marcus has served as a high school teacher at Amos P. Godby, full-time assistant professor and associate dean at Tallahassee Community College and now serves as the Director of Operations and Administration for the FSU Alumni Association. Along the way, he founded ASPIRE Capital Region, a collective impact effort that convenes stakeholder groups around post-secondary education for underserved populations. While his professional life is rewarding, he mostly enjoys spending time with his wife, 11-year-old son, and 9-year-old daughter. 

PANELIST | NOELLE STILLMAN

Noelle Jordan Stillman is a Florida-based artist. A graduate of Plymouth State University, Stillman earned her Bachelors in Fine Arts in 2013, and Masters in Teaching in Art Education in 2014. She is currently conducting arts research through Florida State University’s Master in Fine Arts program. Her research centralizes on the arts as a public service through socially-engaged creation, advocation, and preservation.

PANELIST | ROC ROCHON

Roc is a trans masculine educator who received their Bachelor of Science in Sport & Leisure Management from Eastern Connecticut State University and received a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of South Florida. Roc is currently a doctorate candidate in the Department of Sport Management at Florida State University with a focus on critical theory and decoloniality in qualitative inquiry regarding physical culture and the active body as a site of resistance. Roc is working to unsettle sport and expand a critical sociology of sport through cultural studies lens.
Additionally, Roc is the Founder of Rooted Resistance, LLC a program committed to reimagining healing and liberation through movement for queer and transgender Black, Indigenous, and people of color (QTBIPOC) in the US rural South. Roc believes it’s important to map out how individual stories and community narratives connect to broader structures and systems that influence and impact peoples lives. Roc believes in collective responsibility and is committed to reimagining healing spaces for movement for the Queer and Transgender communities.

PANELIST | SASKIYA FAGAN

Saskiya Fagan is apart of the transformative justice lead organization, Dream Defenders Tallahassee. This organization works towards building alternative to the carceral system and the current ways we address entities such as crime, poverty and mental health crises. Fagan also is a member of the Tallahassee Bail Fund Coalition, which works to end pre-trail detention and provide the needed funds and care to free people from jail.

PANELIST | SHARON NORWOOD

Sharon Norwood is a conceptual artist whose work spans several media to include painting and ceramic. Norwood received a BFA in Painting from the University of South Florida and an MFA in studio Art from Florida State University. Her exhibition record includes solo exhibitions, group collaborations, and site-specific installations. Her work has been showcased in several international Biennials including the Jamaica, Atlanta and Florida Biennial. She has participated in several residencies including the Vermont Studio Center (VSC), PILOTENKUECHE, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts and VCCA (Virginia Center for the Creative Arts) where she received the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Fellowship. In 2019 Norwood became a Joan Mitchell Foundation grant nominee.

PANELIST | TALETHIA O. EDWARDS

Talethia O. Edwards spends her days as grassroots community and family Advocate and coalition builder. Strategizing ways to give voice, empower and educate the community in order to change the patterns of poverty and low achievement. She currently serves as the Founder and  President of the Greater Bond Neighborhood Association where under her leadership they developed the Neighborhood First plan and were awarded $6.4M to implement the plan. 
Talethia is in the current Leadership Tallahassee class 37. She also spends time locally and across the nation speaking to governmental agencies, non profits as well as parent groups on topics such as advocacy, leadership and community development. Edwards recently gave a TedTalk on the topic of “Activation of a Grassroots leadership and Community revitalization”.  Edwards among all things community is most proud of her title as wife and mother. 

Made possible by the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion at FSU.