Event Judges

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Luis is a Program Manager at Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, one of the country’s largest local public funders of arts & culture. Born in Mexico but raised in South Lake Tahoe, California, he has spent the last 8 years in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. During his time in Santa Barbara, Luis worked for the City of Santa Barbara Parks and Recreation Department and the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse for Santa Barbara County. Luis is a graduate of the University of California Santa Barbara with a B.A. degree in Sociology. In his free time Luis loves to create, be in nature, and be with his fur babies, Gus and Figaro.
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Jessica Howard is an artist living and working in Cleveland, Ohio. Through a combination of digital and traditional media, her work illustrates a deep spiritual connection to the natural world. She is a graduate of the Cleveland Institute of Art (Painting, ’14), and has worked there for three years as the coordinator for the Continuing Education department. Her work can be viewed online at jessicaleihowardart.com.
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Dr. Margaret Carlson has worked nationally and internationally as a performer, teacher, choreographer, and arts administrator. Dr. Carlson was an original member of the Cleveland Ballet, serving as a Principal dancer from 1972-1983. Also a member of Actors Equity, she performed in numerous musical theatre tours throughout the 1970’s, including Sweet Charity, Ballroom, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Brigadoon, Mame, Hello Dolly! and The Merry Widow. For many years, she choreographed for the Cleveland Opera. Dr. Carlson served as Director of the School of Dance at the University of Akron from 1985-1993. In 1993, she became Dean of the School of Dance at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, until she returned to Cleveland in 1999. She then served as the Development and Education Director for the Cleveland San Jose Ballet. She consulted both nationally and locally through her company, Carlson Consulting Group, Inc., with groups that have included The American Dance Guild, Chinese Performing Artists of America, Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Ohio Ballet, Dancing Wheels, Ohio Youth Ballet, Ohio Conservatory of Dance, Tom and Susana Evert Dance Theatre, and White Cloud Studios. Dr. Carlson founded the American Alliance of Dance Artists and served as its first President. She has served as a Board member and officer for DANCECleveland, the Cleveland Ballet Council, the American Dance Guild, the Council of Dance Administrators, the Hong Kong Ballet, the Hong Kong Dance Company and The Hong Kong Jockey Club Music and Dance Fund. She served as the secretary of the International Organization for Transition for Professional Dancers, a sub-committee of UNESCO, based in Switzerland from 1998-2006, and was Treasurer and Board member of the American Dance Guild in NYC and was its vice-president for 10 years. Dr. Carlson currently serves on the board of trustees of Cleveland Dance Movement, Cleveland Chamber Symphony and Fairmount Center for the Arts. She is known for her work as the regisseur for the works of Ian (Ernie) Horvath and is currently involved in the film about his life, called No Dominion. She received her doctorate from Durham University in the United Kingdom.
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Dresden Buras is a nationally recognized stylist/make-up artist and wardrobe stylist. She is represented by The Talent Group, one of the largest talent agencies in the Midwest. Dresden is also a personal Beauty Stylist at Nordstrom Beachwood. Sharing her latest tips & tricks in beauty & skincare. Dresden has been a National Makeup Artist for Dior. Dior named Dresden on its top-10 makeup artists in the United States. Prior to Dresden's affiliation with Dior she was a traveling freelance artist for Chanel. Dresden’s expertise is highly regarded both locally and nationally. Dresden's print work has been published in several national magazines. Dresden also works on broadcast, editorial, commercials, video production and as a stylist she is involved in corporate CNBC & Fox business live news reports via satellite. She has also been a contributor to the Plain Dealer write ups on skincare and beauty and fashion print. Dresden has been a contributor to Shape Magazine articles “New Year’s Eve Beauty Glitter” and "6 Must- Have Beauty Brushes" by Jene Luciani. Dresden was named the "Anti-Aging" artist by "Elle Magazine" 2013 Some of her credentials include; "O" Oprah magazine, First magazine, WSJ, Forbes magazine, Ocean Drive magazine, American Banker magazine, Ebony magazine, Diversity magazine, Who’s Who in Black Cleveland and some television includes...TLC Reality TV, ABC "The Chew", w Michael Symon, RNC Cleveland, Bloomberg Politics, "With All Due Respect Show, The Charlie Rose Show, Mad Money w Jim Cramer, National Geographic Television, CNN via satellite, MNBC & Fox Sports Ohio. You can find more credentials & celebrity clients on her website. www.dresdenstylist.com
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Toni Clark is highly recommend in the fashion & beauty industry. Clark has been involved in the beauty industry for over 15 years adding to her expertise. Clark is also a Lifestyle model and actress for The Talent Group Pittsburgh and Ohio, the largest agency in the Midwest. As a model/ actress Clark is involved with commercial productions, print, television and video. Clark as a makeup artist has worked for many luxury brands including Estée Lauder and Dior. She currently holds a management position with Estée Lauder. Clark also has been on the artistry team for FashionWeek Cle, and outsource fundraising w LLS and Woman & Wine Fashion shows as a makeup artist w talent from Fox 8 and channel 3, just to name a few. Clarks savvy style, pleasant personality and brand knowledge in the beauty industry has been noted, and as one of the top makeup artists in Cleveland. Clark is also noted for her know-how and mastery talent as a Hip hop dancer and Rhythm & Blues singer, where she has performed in nightclubs, venues and church.
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Kelly is a multitalented, creative dance educator with 32 years’ experience. Her journey as a dancer and choreographer began when she was a young girl. Kelly has received her B.A. in Dance Management and Education from Baldwin University and a Masters in Arts Administration from The University of Akron. She is recognized for creating and delivering compelling and effective dance programs for a variety of audiences. She is an energetic and caring dancer teacher and choreographer with talent in a wide range of dance styles, including Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Acro and Modern. Kelly has been an entrepreneurial owner, manager and artistic director of a popular dance school, in Northeast Ohio for 17 years. She has lead her region in creating dance programs and curriculum, as well as training and mentoring. She is respected for delivering impactful programs with accommodations for special needs children, senior citizens and other non-traditional audiences. She has been recognized for her work in multiple venues and she and her students have received award for the following recognitions over the past decade: Visionary Award, Best Choreography, Best Technique, and Best Costume. Kelly is an active member in the Medina Arts Council and Main Street Medina. She has also choreographed for regional theater productions including, Brigadoon, Guys and Dolls, Children of Eden, Big River and Beauty and the Beast. She currently works as dance moderator for Padua Franciscan High School and Dance Team coach for Media High School. Kelly is active in many organizations that promote and maintain high standards for dance educators and studio owners, including: American Alliance for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, National Dance Educators Organization, Association of Dance Conventions and Competitions, Youth Protection Advocate in Dance, Progressing Ballet Technique and International Dance Entrepreneurs Association.
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A Multidisciplinary composer, conductor, performer and educator based in Akron, Ohio, Seth Bedford creates musical experiences for orchestras, bands, chamber musicians and children. His work often explores themes of mutual understanding, internationality, and community. He holds a degree in music composition from the University of Texas where he studied with Kevin Puts. While there, he also studied piano, harp, cello and voice. He's a former member/composer of the Chelsea Symphony (NYC) and former board member of the Queer Urban Orchestra (NYC). These days, he's the Director of Orchestras at Old Trail School in Bath, OH where he also teaches general music to very young learners. And he serves as the Artistic Director of the Blazing River Freedom Band, a GLBTQ inclusive symphonic band based in Cleveland, OH. He's an avid painter as well as a member of ASCAP. There are entirely too many musical instruments and hats in his house. https://www.sethbedford.com/about
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Founder/Executive Director of Foluké Cultural Arts Center is a Kent State University graduate and former Computer Specialist for a government agency. She received a tremendous amount of exposure to the arts: dance, visual arts, instrumental, and vocal music grades 4 thru 12. She mastered several musical instruments self-taught, and studied violin under the direction of the late Hyman Schandler, founder of the Cleveland Womens Orchestra, and member of the world renowned Cleveland Orchestra. It was under Mr. Schandler's tutelage that Ms. Cansler became a member of the All-City Orchestra, The Supplementary Educational Center Orchestra, The Mount Pleasant Orchestra, and a member of a string ensemble that won numerous awards and recognitions; all between Junior High and Senior High School. As an adult Ms. Cansler was a member of the Duffy Liturgical Dance Ensemble, singing and dancing in performances locally, different parts of the U.S., Paris France, Barcelona Spain, and Sydney Australia. In previous years, Ms. Cansler served as the Director of the Children’s Ministry at Lane Metropolitan CME Church, and director of the Dance Ministry that Foluké Cultural Arts evolved from. Ms. Cansler has received instruction in non-profit management through The Cleveland Foundation and Foundation Center, and the Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. She has served as Program Administrator for Cleveland School of the Arts Summer Dance Intensives (2005, 2006), and is currently a Central Promise Ambassador representing the Central Promise Neighborhood. Under her direction Foluké Cultural Arts has become: A member of Cleveland Neighborhood Arts (CNA), a Cleveland Foundation sponsored collaborative of neighborhood arts organizations; A Promise Neighborhood Partner; a member of the Cleveland Arts Education Consortium; A member of The National Guild for Community Arts Education; a member of the Catalyzing Creative Aging Institute; a member of The International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD) and a member of the African American Artist Alliance of Cleveland. Ms. Cansler is also a 2016 Community Arts Education Leadership Institute (CAELI) Alum, and receives ongoing professional development from the Youth Works Institute at Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Business Management.
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Gregory King received his MFA in Choreographic Practice and Theory from Southern Methodist University and is certified in Elementary Labanotation from the Dance Notation Bureau. His dance training began at the Washington Ballet and continued at American University. He has participated in the Horton Project in conjunction with the Library of Congress and has performed with The Washington Ballet, Erick Hawkins Dance Company, New York Theatre Ballet, Donald Byrd /The Group, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet, New York City Opera, and Disney’s The Lion King on Broadway. King contextualize the relevance of black dance aesthetics and cultural signifiers through research, writing, and public presentation and his current research project, titled Digital Activism: Black Bodies Reclaiming Public Space, combines the disciplines of dance, movement analysis, literary criticism, social psychology, and anthropology. He has taught master classes, lectures, and workshops nationally and internationally, and has served as visiting assistant professor of dance at Temple University, and visiting assistant professor of dance and Consortium on Faculty Diversity Fellow at Swarthmore College. King is a dance writer for The Dance Enthusiast, ThINKingDANCE, The Philadelphia Dance Journal, and Broad Street Review. Recently, Mr. King’s response to the Dancing for Justice Philadelphia event, was selected to be included in the U. S. Department of Arts and Culture’s new resource guide, “Art Became the Oxygen.” In addition to having served as the creative communication coordinator for the International Association of Blacks in Dance, he was recently nominated for a Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio and is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Creative Contribution award from the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Kent State University. Currently, he is a tenure track professor of dance at Kent State University. www.gregoryaking.com
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Gabriela Mendicino currently serves as the Career Community Engagement Coordinator at Baldwin Wallace University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration & Theatre in 2017. She is deeply committed to creating a healthy community in which members are able to discover and utilize their creative capacities, which shows through the creation and implementation of the Career Communities program at BW. Previously, she’s worked as the Artistic Director at Geauga Lyric Theater Guild for “A Walk In the Woods” and on the Education Team of Playhouse Square and BW’s Production of “Lizzie”. In her spare time she balances working as an actress, freelance artist, and small business consultant with reading, doodling, and spending time with her fabulous husband and their darling dog, Spaghetti.
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Jacinda is renowned for her work in design, diversity, research, and strategy. She is the founder of designExplorr, a design education business that exposes youth to design careers. Walker obtained a BFA in graphic design from the University of Akron and a MFA in Design Research & Development from The Ohio State University. Her research on the Design Diversity Index project and Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines has been widely hailed as breakthrough work. Jacinda's solutions-based thesis explores diversity in design disciplines and investigates effective strategies to expose Black and Latino youth to design careers. Her future goals are to help scale diversity in design education initiatives for corporations, school systems, organizations, and museums for underrepresented youth. https://designexplorr.com/
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Kevin R. E. Greenwood is the first Joan L. Danforth Curator of Asian Art at the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College, and joined the museum staff in 2014. His current exhibitions include "Nature and Nostalgia in Early 20th-Century Japanese Art," “Art and Being in the Garden of Ryōan-ji,” and” The Three Friends of Winter: Pine, Bamboo, and Plum." His most recent publication is “A Lasting Legacy: The Mary A. Ainsworth Collection,” in Ukiyo-e Prints from the Mary Ainsworth Collection, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College (2019), a forthcoming catalogue for an exhibition travelling to Japan in 2019. Dr. Greenwood received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, his M.A. from the University of Oregon and his B.A. from the University of Cincinnati. Prior to his appointment at Oberlin, he taught Asian studies and art history at colleges and universities in the Portland, Oregon area. Greenwood's research interests include art of the Chinese imperial court of the eighteenth-century, and more broadly, Buddhist art, Chinese painting, East Asian contemporary art, and Chinese and Japanese garden architecture. In his spare time, he practices aikido and acts as a chauffeur for his two children.
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Ryan received a Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Photography from Cleveland State University and graduated magna cum laude. His work has been acquired in private collections and included in over twenty Cleveland-local group shows. In 2012, Ryan’s photography was published in The New York Times and was included in the group exhibition, DIY: Photographers & Books, at the Cleveland Museum of Art. His first solo exhibition, Mythological Women: Mixed Media Drawings, debuted at the MSASS Library at Case Western Reserve University. Ryan is currently a Resident Teaching Artist at the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning where he inspires youth creativity throughout Northeast Ohio. https://www.ryanupp.com/
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Greg A. Smith is the Literary Manager for Playwrights Local, a Cleveland-based theatre company dedicated to supporting the dramatists of Northeast Ohio and increasing the impact of original theater on the community. Originally from the UK, Greg is a playwright whose work has been performed in London and across the US. In 2014, his debut full-length play ‘Sheltered’ was nominated for Best New Play at the London Off West End Theatre Awards. Greg works as an associate writer at American Greetings.
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Colin grew up in West Virginia where it was presumed he would be part of the various Lively Family businesses. But Colin had a different idea and chose a path in art, fashion, and beauty. At age 18 he began his long distinguished career as a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art with a concentration in fashion and painting. He opened Today’s Headlines Salons; effectively positioning himand his salonat the vanguard of the major cultural and political transformation that overtook the country in the 1970s. Colin pushed the boundaries and changed the culture of hair and style across Cleveland, Palm Beach and Seattle. What’s more, after opening several larger salons under the Todays Headlines Salons umbrella, Colin was lured to New York City to serve as Artistic Director for the Elizabeth Arden Red Door Salons. He served in this capacity for ten years, where after he became a freelance hairstylist. For fifteen years, Colin has styled the anointed heads of New York City; and now, after over twenty years of absence, he is serving both New York City and Cleveland a very long anticipated return! Colin is noted as the celebrity stylist he has done hair for Bette Midler, Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, British royals Princess Margaret, Princess Michael of Kent, Sarah Ferguson Duchess of Kent, Bernadette Peters, Bea Arthur, Eve Ensler most of the Kennedy’s News & Fashion shows all over the US... just to name a few!!
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