Meet the 2023 GCAC Navigators
The GCAC Navigator program is a new initiative that will help GCAC engage more deeply with our diverse community. Annually, we will hire 14-18 artists to share resources and guide artists through GCAC grant and fellowship applications. The goal of this program is to increase outreach to new artists, especially those from historically marginalized or underrepresented communities.
Sayuri M. Ayers (she/her/hers)
Sayuri Ayers is an essayist and poet from Columbus, Ohio. Her work was recently featured in Gulf Stream Magazine, Hippocampus Magazine, and Parentheses Journal and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is the author of three poetry collections: The Woman, The River (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming in 2023), Mother/Wound (Full/Crescent Press, 2020), and Radish Legs, Duck Feet (Green Bottle Press, 2016) and one creative nonfiction collection, The Maiden in the Moon (Porkbelly Press, forthcoming in 2023). In 2020, Sayuri received the Ohio Arts Council’s Individual Excellence Award for creative nonfiction. She has also received grants from the Greater Columbus Arts Council and Ohio Arts Council. She is the Streetlight Guild’s 2022 Artist-in-Residence and a Kundiman Fellow. She is now a Blackburn Fellow in Randolph College’s MFA program.To learn more, visit sayuriayers.com.
Nicholas D’Andrea (he/him/his)
Nicholas D’Andrea began a career in music in 2013, starting a band Nick D’ & the Believers. They were active from 2013-16, toured regionally and had songs featured on television shows. During that time he also worked as a freelance songwriter with music licensing, and publishing companies. In 2016 he co-founded the band Doc Robinson. They released their first ep Golden Daze in November 2016 and went on to release over 60 songs, and open for national tours. In 2019 he left the band to focus on his growing family, and to work full time for arts organization, We Amplify Voices.
Kenneth Eaddy (KDNL.) (he/they)
Kenneth Eaddy, known as KDNL., is a multi-disciplinary creative, activist, and community arts advocate. He is currently a company member in his seventh season with Thiossane West African Dance Institute. He also serves as an Arts Administrator for the King Arts Complex and Events Coordinator for Maroon Arts Group. He has lent his talents to many and has recently started the process to continue his education in Arts Management. KDNL.’s current single, Stop Wondering, is currently available on SoundCloud.
Kelly Hurlburt (she/her/hers)
Kelly Hurlburt is a movement artist, performer, educator and dance advocate based in Columbus, Ohio. After receiving her B.F.A. from OSU, Kelly sought out a performing career, exploring collaborations with artists in the US and internationally. Kelly is currently on Faculty as an adjunct professor of dance at Ohio University, as well as teaching locally as facilitator of Columbus Contact Improvisation and with Flux + Flow Dance & Movement Center. She is a co-director and performer for SeaBus Dance Collective. Kelly is also involved with Columbus Dance Alliance, an organization that seeks to unite and strengthen the central Ohio dance community.
Krate Digga (he/him/his)
Krate Digga was born in Canton, OH, home of the National Football League Hall of Fame. The 1984 H.O.F. Induction weekend began with a classic battle of the bands and it’s there that music fully captivated him as a mere 6 year old. Krate began African drumming at age 7. Eventually DJing, then producing and engineering; creating music & fluctuating sonic pathways has been a labor of love for Krate. Hip Hop has offered Krate opportunities to travel & meet people never imagined. Krate remains committed to improving quality of lives using music as a vehicle, specifically through the prism of Hip Hop culture. Whether teaching middle school or at the collegiate level, opening for Grandmaster Flash or performing his own stage production; it is music and the power therein that’s allowed Krate to serve as a conduit for artistic & community development. Krate understands that music bridges cultures.
Dexter Komakaru (he/him/his)
Dexter Komakaru is the queer artist behind his one-man creative studio DXTROSE, based out of his home studio in Central Ohio. Viewing his story as his superpower, he uses the hardships he’s experienced as fuel for his creative fire. Over the years he has built a career out of visual arts, content creation, and creativity around a mission of ART, ACTIVISM, ACCESS: sharing his insights, experiences, and education on art and activism with others by making the information, resources, and work accessible. His work is influenced by the intersections of his lived experience, queer and mixed-race identity, and cultural lineage.
Lawrence Tawneven Lemon (he/him/his)
Artist, Innovator, and Educator, Lawrence Tawneven Lemon has a passion for education, arts, and culture and is currently the Creative Director for GETCR8V, LLC. A highly sought-after award-winning dancer/choreographer, guest artist, and speaker. Lawrence presents workshops and training nationally and serves as a mentor for new and experienced artists. A graduate of Kentucky State University, Mr. Lemon has studied at the Ailey School and with Master Dunham Teachers Dr. Glory Van Scott and Ruby Streate. He has also performed works by Alvin Ailey and Dianne McIntyre. Mr. Lemon is the Founder/Artistic Director of Nomel Inspirational Dance Theater and the Ohio Black Dance Organization. Mr. Lemon’s personal motto is LIVE+LOVE+DANCE!
Tripp Fontane (he/him/his)
Dayton native, Tripp Fontane, has been creating a national footprint over the last decade. By tactfully using transparency, Tripp builds vivid recreations of the worlds that shaped him. The masterful juxtaposition of gritty content and velvety delivery has made him a fan favorite. You’re always in for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Ana Lowe (she/her/hers)
Ana Lowe is passionate about fashion & communication and how those powerhouses collaborate to create an even more powerful message. Having a multi-cultural and lingual background allows her to think and draw from different perspectives and is always looking to better herself & perfect her crafts through education, work and practice. She is a Kent State University graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Global Communication & concentration in Fashion design and styling. Before beginning her college career, she obtained her cosmetology license and throughout her studies, worked in a corporate salon until opening her own business for the last two years of her degree. “My whole life I have been infatuated with curating a story whether through hair styling, fashion styling and eventually creative direction and production.” This journey turned into reality when she began studies in 2013 as a stylist of which since she has styled, both hair and fashion, for clients in many capacities ranging from personal styling to curated editorial projects. In June of 2020, she secured a position as a Communication Assistant at the Columbus Fashion Alliance and within a year was promoted to Communication Lead. Her responsibilities include the management of internal and external communication, overseeing HR, legal, programming and internships. In addition, Ana not only delivered communication strategies but aided in the continual construction of programs and the building of CFA’s framework as it grew. She currently works as the Marketing Coordinator for Local Cantina, a local restaurant conglomerate and freelancer providing visual and written communication work, strategies, assets and direction for various clients and manages her clothing brand, Ela é. She is currently working towards opening a fine art photography art gallery with her business partner and continually seeks to uplift fellow artists through her endeavors.
Cody F. Miller (he/him/his)
Cody F. Miller’s mixed media work uses metaphors, analogies, and symbolism to convey grace that often comes disguised as a loss, failure, or unwelcome change. “My work has to do with learning to squint to see something possibly beautiful in the darkness.” With an emphasis on working with various found materials, his work has been described as construction of quietly layered hope. He has won numerous awards and is currently with the Sharon Weiss Gallery in Columbus, Ohio.
Sydnee Roberts-Crews (she/her/hers)
Sydnee is the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion manager for OpenStax, an affiliate of Rice University. Here, she has the chance to expand OpenStax’s mission by incorporating DEI into everything we produce externally and how we work as a team.Outside of her day job, she is a screenwriter, director, and founder of Black Ohio Film Group. BOFG aims to provide community, resources, and opportunities to Black filmmakers in Ohio. Her films, “In Our Bed,” “Immunity,” and “Borderline,” are available on YouTube. Her focus in filmmaking is to provide representation for people of color, specifically in love, education, and mental health.
Mary Skrenta (she/her/hers)
Mary Skrenta grew up near NYC and ventured off early to explore and learn, earning a BA in Art Therapy and BFA and MFA degrees. Mary is equally passionate about teaching, making, and living mindfully. She has experienced firsthand the power of art to heal and raise consciousness, and she is dedicated to helping others realize that awareness. Mary teaches various disciplines and is the founder of the artists’ collective MAKE. Mindful Artists Knowing Existence. She is a multimedia artist exploring concepts that provoke thought and question notions of value, heavily inspired by nature, philosophy, and social constructs. She has exhibited her art across the U.S. and is the recipient of several awards for art and teaching in her home state of Ohio.
Z. F. Taylor (he/him/his)
Z. F. Taylor, a native of NJ/NY (23yrs Columbus, OH) area, learned at an early age how to demand the stage, through singing, acting, dancing, producing his original literary works in film/tv/theatre & public speaking. A 30+ year career in the arts & community-based initiatives has afforded Z. F the honor of sharing the stage with Emmy, Grammy, Stellar, & Tony award winning artists. His work as a creative mentor to the 1000’s continues to bridge the gap between generations & social classes. And as the Owner of Taylor Branding Co., Z. F. ‘s artistry continues to grow & expand.
Fariha Tayyab (she/her/hers)
Fariha Tayyab is a multidisciplinary artist and storyteller who explores identity, radical reimagination, and liberation. Her writing has been published in Columbus anthology, Matter News, the Eater, Columbus Alive, and others. She has performed her poetry and facilitated workshops with a variety of local organizations and national conferences, including Netroots Nation, Columbus Museum of Art, YWCA, Girl Scouts National Conference, Poetry Out Loud, and U.Iowa’s International writing program. Fariha has studied with the NY Institute of Photography, U.Houston, and Lifetime Arts. She is listed on Ohio Art Council’s Teaching Artist Roster and was awarded multiple residencies and grants.
Mitch E. Vicieux (they/them)
Mitch E. Vicieux is a queer cartoonist from Southern Maryland. Their practice dissects the interdisciplinary potential of comic arts through caricaturized forms and the trans body. They earned an MFA in Art & Technology at OSU and a BA in Digital Media from St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Mitch has completed field work with Accademia Italiana in Florence, Italy and the University of Tsukuba in Tokyo, Japan. In Columbus, Mitch co-founded the Columbus Cartoon Coalition and currently serves as Youth & Community Learning Coordinator at Columbus College of Art & Design and Outreach Manager for AWAY Collective.
Lorii A. Wallace (she/her/hers)
Lorii Is a dance educator, choreographer, writer, visual artist, set designer, and overall creative for all things arts. Born into a musical family, she began dancing, playing the viola and piano at a young age. After studying Dance Therapy at the University of Toledo, and training with the late Geraldine Blunden, she moved and danced with The Seattle/Tacoma Performing Arts Company and more. Her love for community inspired creating over 22 original productions and collaborations with over 88 churches and organizations over the past 15+ years. She is the Executive Director of Evolve Productions and Tapestry Performing Arts.
Julie Whitney-Scott (she/her/hers)
Julie Whitney-Scott is an Ohio playwright, director, actor, producer, theatre teaching artist, radio host and social activists. Julie is the founder and Artistic Director of the annual Columbus Black Theatre Festival (CBTF) and won a Central Ohio Theatre Roundtable Harold Award in 2019 for the CBTF’s contribution to bringing diversity, equity, and inclusion to Ohio. She is currently the 1st Vice-President of the Theatre Roundtable. Julie’s acting credits include Diary of Recovering Daughters (all six roles), Waiting to be Invited (Odessa), Steel Magnolias (Ouiser), 12 Angry Women (Juror #9), Tuskegee Love Letters (Luana), Talking With (French Fry.)