For so many people (especially post-pandemic), it’s simply not feasible to be paying for an education while taking time off work — just so that you can eventually get paid to work using your education. Chef Arden Lewis and Comal Heritage Food Incubator are working to change all of that.
Chef Arden Lewis is the first-generation son of immigrants from Trinidad and Tobago. After studying at the French Culinary Institute in New York, he became Sous Chef at the Union Square Hospitality Group and later the Executive Chef at one of the top catering companies in Brooklyn. When his partner, Caroline, started a Masters in Social Work at the University of Denver, Lewis signed on as Executive Chef for Comal Heritage Food Incubator by Focus Points Family Resource Center. There, he teaches immigrant and refugee women how to become entrepreneurs and launch their own food businesses.
Artist Chela Lujan was born in New Mexico and grew up on the Navajo Nation in Arizona, but has long since made the high-plains of Colorado her home. A devoted disciple of Hank Williams and Patsy Cline, she sings with a classic air. Adam Hook of Soaked in Sound describes her as having, “an oracle-like sound, warning of events that may come to pass.” Her hypnotic voice has a siren song effect on the listener, luring them closer into the depths of echoed beauty.
Inaiah Lujan is a 6th generation Colorado native, of Latinx and Jicarilla Apache ancestry. He is the fourth of six brothers and sisters, born to a family of teachers, healers and music lovers. “We have a musician in the family!” his father exclaimed moments after his home birth in the San Luis Valley. Drawing inspiration from 50s & 60s Folk, Rock, Pop, R&B, Soul and Hip-Hop; Lujan croons and swoons, winning hearts wherever he may roam. From intimate house concerts to large festival stages, Lujan has spent over a decade on the road and continues to grow his community one town, and one show at a time.
Songwriter Edwina Maben has performed at The Troubadour in Los Angeles, as part of The Kennedy Center’s Arts Across America Series, and, most recently, at Levitt Pavilion in front of 7,500 people, opening for Devotchka. In 2017, Grammy-winning producer RedOne selected her as a top 5 finalist (of 9,000+ songwriters) in Guitar Center’s national songwriting contest. She graduated from the University of Colorado Denver with a degree in Recording Arts and Computer Science in May 2021. She works with Youth on Record’s FEMpowered program and is a board member for Music Minds Matter.
Kenya Mahogany Fashaw is a spoken word artist, actress, and playwright, and the Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer of 5280 Artist Co-Op. She is a member of the Denver Center of Performing Art Playwrights Group. She wrote and directed “Colorism, Breaking The Chains of Complexion,” which won a 2018 Henry Award for Outstanding New Play. She was also nominated for a Henry Award for her part in writing 5280’s “1 Night 6 Plays,” which included two of her micro-scripts: “Hiphop Matrimony: A Hiphop Musical” and “Cages: No More Boundage.” Kenya creates stories to normalize people of color and to change their narratives.
How do you make sense of a global pandemic? How do you bottle up the lived experience for future generations? Well, you can’t. But for Monalicious and artists around the world, music is a good place to start.
At 17, Mona Magno founded FreeMusicForFreePeople, a community-focused music company based in Denver. They’ve been performing with local bands for 10 years, but now write and perform all of their music as Monalicious. In 2015, Mona started co-facilitating the Denver Chapter of the Balanced Breakfast music industry meetup with local legend, Reed Fox. Currently, Mona is a Teaching Artist and Lead Program Coordinator at Youth On Record, a nationally recognized non-profit organization that brings artistic opportunity to underserved youth.
Who gets to write history? For too long, African American histories have been left out of archives and textbooks. Julieanna L. Richardson & her team at the HistoryMakers are changing that, with the largest national collection of African American video oral histories on record since the WPA Slave Narratives.
Julieanna L. Richardson is the Founder and President of The HistoryMakers, the largest national collection of African American video oral histories on record since the WPA Slave Narratives. At Brandeis University, she did extensive oral history interviews on the Harlem Renaissance and Langston Hughes. She graduated from Harvard Law School in 1980 and worked as a corporate lawyer, prior to serving as the Cable Administrator for the City of Chicago. In 2014, Richardson was profiled in American Masters: The Boomer List, a PBS documentary and exhibition at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.
Are you comfortable right now? How do your clothes feel against your skin? How does food feel inside of your mouth? Sensory processing is widely discussed among Autistic & neurodiverent communities — but we’re all sensory beings, says Virginia Spielmann. It’s time we talked about it.
Virginia Spielmann is an Occupational Therapist and the Executive Director of STAR Institute for Sensory Processing. She obtained her PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development in August 2021 and is Affiliate Faculty at Colorado State Department of Occupational Therapy. She co-founded & authored the Critical Core therapeutic role-playing game and co-developed the Palaana sensory lounger with SLACK Lifestyle. Her extensive clinical experience includes autism, differences in sensory integration/processing, infant mental health, adoption, developmental trauma, and physical disabilities.
Between Colorado, California, and Australia, 2020 was one of the worst years on record for wildfire. How do we rebuild from these burns & prevent future ones? Fire ecologist and former firefighter Camille Stevens-Rumann has an answer.
Camille Stevens-Rumann is a fire ecologist & faculty member in the Forest and Rangeland Stewardship department at Colorado State University, as well the Assistant Director of the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute. She started working in fire ecology after being a wildland firefighter and now her research focus is primarily on post-fire recovery. She has two children who get to tromp around many forests with her.
An ethereal electronic singer, producer, and songwriter, Fi Sullivan layers intricate vocals through algorithmic improv and deep bass inspired by the natural world. Fi was classically trained as a mezzo-soprano, then fell in love with jazz. She received her degree from Middlebury College with additional music computing studies at Goldsmiths College, UCL, Berklee College of Music, Valencia, and CCRMA, Stanford. In addition to performing in Nuuk and Canberra, Fi performed in Berlin, Dublin, and The Hague during her Watson Fellowship. Her highly anticipated EP, “Shades of Forest,” will be released in Fall 2021.