2022 DEIA IN THE ARTS Conference – Meet Our Speakers and Panelists!

Phyllis Tee Adams
Phyllis “Tee” Adams, affectionately known as Ms. Tee, has a passion for working with youth and young adults. She has worked tirelessly to expose young people to new opportunities, and inspires, motivates, encourages, guides, and pushes youth to take risk, believe in themselves, and fulfill their dreams.

Ms. Tee is also an organizer, focused on creating positive, fun-filled family-oriented community events. Her legacy as an event planner includes youth ski trips, gospel skates, summer pool parties, dances, holiday parties, community fundraisers, talent shows, and Gospel Go Go Nights. She assisted in organizing the first Martin Luther King parade in Annapolis, and most recently, was the visionary and founder of the wildly successful Annapolis Juneteenth Gala, Parade, and Festival.

When it comes to bringing the community together around a cause, Ms. Tee is the go-to person who can make magic happen. When her son took a wrong turn in life, she shared a vision to start a lighting business (Light It Up with Triple A) to assist him in charting a different course in his life. Though now deceased, her son’s work still lives on and funds from the business are used to bless and give back to others.  While she has passed along the Juneteenth event to a new leadership team, watch out – her best is yet to come!

Kibibi Ajanku
Kibibi Ajanku curates and guides the elements of the Urban Arts Leadership Fellowship for the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance where she serves as Equity and Inclusion Director. Under her leadership, the Fellowship has increased racial inclusion within arts sector leadership and has positively altered workplace best practices through actively training, placing, and referring an annual cohort of emerging professionals. Ajanku also serves as the Urban Arts Professor for a small cohort of students at Coppin State University, and as a Community Researcher for Maryland Institute College of Art. Through her work as an arts leader, artist, and educator, Ajanku works consistently and deeply as a voice for social justice. She also leads monthly equity conversations for the Alliance, and is excited to administer the evolution of a new Urban Arts Field School project with Urban Arts Leadership fellows and community folklorists, funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Dr. Beth Bienvenue
Dr. Beth Bienvenu is the Director of the Office of Accessibility at the National Endowment for the Arts, where she manages the NEA’s technical assistance and advocacy work devoted to making the arts accessible for people with disabilities, older adults, veterans, and people in institutional settings. She provides guidance and support to state arts agency staff and professionals working in the fields of arts access, creativity and aging, arts and health, universal design, and arts in corrections.

Prior to her work at the NEA, Dr. Bienvenu worked as a Policy Advisor for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), where she analyzed public and private sector policies and practices related to the employment for people with disabilities. She has a background in arts management, and has served as an adjunct professor for George Mason University’s Master of Arts in Arts Management program, where she taught courses in arts policy and comparative international arts policy. Dr. Bienvenu has master’s degrees in sociology and arts administration from Indiana University and a doctorate in organizational leadership from The University of Oklahoma.

Nikki Brooks
Born in Brooklyn and raised in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Nikki Brooks is a professional artist and art teacher. She was educated at Virginia Commonwealth University, Lorenzo De Medici Italian International Institute in Florence, Italy, and Maryland Institute College of Art and Design. She has been an art educator since 2000, and has taught in Virginia, Washington D.C., and currently in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She uses mixed media, collage, installation, sound, and video to produce artworks based on hope, tribulation, and social justice.

Comacell Brown, Jr. aka Cell Spitfire
Born in the mid-1980s, Comacell struggled early in life as a result of absent parents. His mother battled with drug addiction, and relinquished legal guardianship of her only son to his grandparents. By the age of eight, Cell had begun to channel his emotions into art, and his talent for drawing and painting was cultivated at an after-school program offered by the Salvation Army.

During high school, Cell began to manifest his love for art on clothing, turning t-shirts and jeans into his new canvas, creating customized apparel. At the age of 18, he embarked on a custom clothing line, later to be called Creative Fashions. Over time, his one-offs evolved into wholesale production, resulting in a national reputation for his art and graphic design. His clients include Lamar Jackson, 50 Cent, Jadakiss, Angela Davis, Louis Farrakhan, Young Jeezy, Cam Newton, Amara La Negra, Young Dylan, FUBU Frames, YBS Skola, PNB Rock, Kane Beatz, Ransom, FreeWay and the Ice City Click, Memphis Bleek, and others.

For Comacell Brown, nurturing young artists and artists of color is a passion, and a focus of this stage of his career. He is the recipient of many awards including a 2019 Governor’s Citation for Outstanding Service, Artist of the Month (Capital Gazette – April 2019), a 2019 Community Collaboration Award, a 2019 Entrepreneurial Excellence Award, the 2015 DMV Painter/Drawer of the Year Award, and the 2021 Annie Award in the Visual Arts from the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.

Nicholas Cohen
Over the past 12 years, Nicholas Cohen has been a strong advocate for the arts in Maryland as a musician, educator, and administrator. Currently, Mr. Cohen is the Executive Director of Maryland Citizens for the Arts (MCA). In this role, he oversees the statewide strategy, implementation and engagement for advancing public policy and investment in the Maryland Arts Sector. Before coming to MCA, he served as Director of Community Engagement & Education Program for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, overseeing programming that provided access to music and arts for the Mid-Atlantic region. Nicholas has also served on Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Youth Development Committee which was charged with developing a comprehensive plan for Baltimore City youth.

An avid musician, Nicholas is currently the contrabassoonist with the National Philharmonic Orchestra in Bethesda, Maryland, and has performed with the Annapolis Symphony, Maryland Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and other ensembles throughout North America. Nicholas and his partner, Stephanie, a professional flutist and musical entrepreneur, reside in Baltimore City where both are deeply invested in utilizing the arts as a vehicle to help build and sustain local communities. Nicholas received his Bachelor of Music with a minor in Developmental Psychology from the University of Florida and a Master of Music Performance in Bassoon from Carnegie Mellon University.

Chanel Compton
Chanel Compton was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and has had a deep love for museums and art since childhood.  Today, she lives by the strong belief that the process of creating art is both healing and can create deep connections with others. Compton completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University and a Master of Arts Management at American University. As a cultural administrator, Ms. Compton has served as the Director of Education at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore and as the Executive Director of the Prince George’s African American Museum. She lives and has a home art studio in Baltimore, Maryland and serves as the Executive Director of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and the Banneker-Douglass Museum.

Jeff Huntington
Jeff Huntington aka Jahru is a Filipino American painter currently residing in Annapolis, Maryland, U.S.A. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Art Institute of Chicago (1997) and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Corcoran School of Art (1995). He was a member of the adjunct faculty at the Corcoran School of Arts + Design and George Washington University from 2013 to 2016, when he and fellow artist, Julia Gibb, founded the arts outreach program Future History Now. His work appears in Panama, Brazil, Colombia, France, Philippines, India, Hawai’i, and throughout the continental United States. He is represented by Porter Advisory in New York City and Reyes+Davis in Washington, DC.

Darin Gilliam
As a designer and facilitator of the arts, Darin Gilliam has dedicated over 10 years to furthering the arts, creating opportunities for artists, and offering design and consulting services to small businesses across the country. Darin serves as the Owner and Creative Director for 19FIFTYTHREE, a creative studio that focuses on creative direction, design, and consulting. She is also the co-owner of ArtFarm Studios; a 3,200 square foot art and studio space that offers community arts education programming. Darin also serves as the Director of Annapolis Arts Week, a week-long celebration of the arts in and around Annapolis, Maryland, that will be broadened into Anne Arundel County Arts Month in 2023.

Dr. Amena Johnson
Throughout her career Dr. Amena Johnson has had a deep commitment to youth, social justice, advocacy and educational equity. She specializes in training, facilitation and curriculum development. She has an extensive range of experience as a non-profit, and social services leader and higher education student affairs professional. Dr. Johnson has engaged communities in dialogue and learning around: urban bias, intersectionality, the intergenerational workplace, LGBTQ topics, and diversity and inclusion in educational and nonprofit organizations.

Before coming to Georgetown Dr. Johnson was the AFFIRM Supervisor at the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services, where she managed a program that supports LGBTQ youth in foster care. She is the former Assistant Director at George Mason University’s LGBTQ Resource Center, and also served there as the Interim Director of Diversity, Inclusion, and Multicultural Education from 2015 to 2016. Prior to George Mason, Dr. Johnson was Director of Programs at Supporting and Mentoring Youth Advocates and Leaders (SMYAL), a youth center for LGBTQ youth ages 13-21. She was also a Community Initiatives Associate at the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN).

Dr. Johnson received a BFA in Drama Therapy from Longwood University. She also received an MS in Organizational Leadership and Ed.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Wilmington University.

Tatiana J. Klein
Tatiana Klein has taught High School Spanish at the Key School in Annapolis since 2008. Mrs. Klein graduated from the Johns Hopkins University School of Education in 2017 with a Master’s of Science in Education (Mind, Brain, and Teaching and Educational Leadership). She has an Artist Diploma from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins, studying flute under Robert Willoughby, and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Art in music from Duquesne University, graduating Cum Laude. While studying there, Mrs. Klein was principal flutist for the Pittsburgh Youth Symphony. As a volunteer, she is the Chair of the Education and Programming Committee of Anne Arundel Women Giving Together, and Program Director of Marshall Learning Center of Marshall Hope Corporation. Mrs. Klein was president and vice president of the board of the Centro de Ayuda. Mrs. Klein received the Live! Casino & Hotel Excellence in Leadership Award from Leadership Anne Arundel. In August of 2006 was awarded the Volunteer of the Week by the Capital Gazette and in 2001 she was awarded the Patrick M. Lee, Jr. Award for outstanding volunteer service to the Leadership Anne Arundel organization. She is also a graduate of the Neighborhood Academy and the Flagship program of Leadership Anne Arundel and volunteered as a coordinator with the Neighborhood Academy for many years. She graduated with Class 10 from the Watershed Stewards Academy.

Costa-Rican-born and an American citizen, Mrs. Klein began studying music at age 10 with piano and flute at age 14. She won the “Jóvenes Solistas” (Youth Soloist) competition in Costa Rica, sponsored by the Costa Rican National Symphony Orchestra, playing as a soloist at age 15. At age 21, she was soloist again with the Symphony on their Costa Rican summer tour. Mrs. Klein participated in the Music Festival at Tanglewood Fellowship program in 1988. At Tanglewood, she had the opportunity to play under Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mrs. Klein has played under Shinik Hahm in West Virginia as a second and assistant principal flutist, the New Horizons Ensemble under Jason Love, and as a freelance musician in the Maryland and Washington areas. She has played in Europe, Costa Rica, and many US venues. In 1997, Ms. Klein recorded a CD with music partner Marianna Nystrom and her daughter Kris Snyder entitled “Innisfree Celtic Dreams” writing all the flute arrangements, available on Amazon.com. She performed with the Guava Jelly Band in Annapolis in recent years, recording a CD with them in 2016.

April Nyman
April Nyman began her career as a corporate marketing and events specialist within the hotel and mall industries. Because of a strong belief in giving back to the community, she has served as a volunteer in every community where she has lived. This passion prompted a career change, and she entered the non-profit management field in a professional capacity. April has previously served as the Executive Director of a number of historical organizations, and the Navy League in Florida.

Ms. Nyman has served as the Executive Director of the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County since 2007. She was recognized by the Annapolis Capital Gazette as a 2010 Woman of the Year, and has served on the boards/commissions of the Community Arts Agencies of Maryland, Maryland Citizens for the Arts, Maryland’s Women Commission, Four Rivers Heritage Area, the Yumi Cares Foundation, and the Annapolis and Anne Arundel Visitors Center Board. She is a member of the current class of Leadership Maryland, a graduate of the Executive Leadership Series for Leadership Anne Arundel, served as Treasurer for the Annapolis Rotary, and is active in both the United Way and Combine Federal Campaigns.

Roberta Pardo
A native of Brazil with dual citizenship, accomplished artist Roberta Pardo has lived in Maryland since 2000. She spent most of her youth traveling the world and is fluent in six languages. Prior to focusing on art, she was an international horse rider and trainer, competing for her native country and in numerous international competitions. Ms. Pardo’s background is in Industrial Design and Fine Arts, and was educated at FAAP (Fundaçāo Armando Alvez Penteado) in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. Her great passion is Street Art for its connection between art and environment. Ms. Pardo resides in Severna Park, Maryland with her husband and three children, and is highly involved with the art scene in the area. She is a strong and effective advocate for diversity, human rights, education and women’s empowerment, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County.

Joyce R. Phillip, MA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Joyce Phillip brings more than 25 years of Human Resources experience to her role as president of her own training/consulting/coaching firm, Dynamic Dimensions Unlimited, LLC. She is a strategic, results-oriented human resources professional, coach, trainer, and consultant. Recognized as a catalyst for innovative initiatives Joyce has guided organizations to achieve their priorities through implementation of performance-driven and customer-focused processes that emphasize employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and superior training and communication.

Formerly Chief HR Officer for University of Maryland School of Medicine Faculty Physicians, Inc. (FPI) and Vice President of HR for Anne Arundel Medical Center, Joyce has presented at national and state-level workshops on topics that include women in leadership, strategic planning, diversity, inclusion, and implicit bias. She is certified by the Academy of Communication in Healthcare and the Physician Coaching Institute, and holds a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St. Johns College of Annapolis. Joyce is a member of the Chesapeake Human Resources Association, the International Coaching Federation Maryland Chapter and the Society for Human Resources Managers.

Her present community commitments include service as a member of the Board of Directors of Hospice of the Chesapeake, Luminis Health System Board of Trustees, and the Luminis Health Clinical Enterprise Board of Trustees. Joyce is also active with the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County where she has served as President of the Board, co-chair of the Safehouse Building Campaign, and is currently a non-board member of the YWCA Finance Committee.

She and her husband, Dr. Errol Phillip, M.D. reside in Crofton, Maryland, and have four adult children and seven grandchildren.

Jesse Raudales
Jesse Raudales loved creating art as a young boy and carried his passion into adulthood. With characteristic subtle colors, blended lines, broad strokes, and smooth textures, his work explores culturally relevant subjects and moments, often revealing pride, struggle, and emotions.

Jesse’s artistic mediums includes both acrylic paintings and digital graphics and prints.  His broad artistic range includes minimalism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and a variety of other styles.  His eye-catching pieces are culturally, socially, and politically relevant, and paints a picture of the struggles of minorities, including Native Americans, African Americans, and Latins.  Raudales’ work includes emotional and striking depictions of contemporary figures like Michelle Obama, Nipsey Hussel, Kobe Bryant, and Colin Kaepernick, as well as those from decades past, including Frida Khalo, Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix, and Prince.  His graphic design portfolio includes creating custom work for Dwayne Wade, MC Hammer, and the Martin Luther King estate. Jesse’s art is found in the homes of celebrities, including Terrence Howard, Snoop Dog, and Dr. Dre, and he has received recognition for his work from the NAACP, the FBI, Warner Brothers, and others.

A career highlight for Jesse came when he was selected to be one of the first Latin artists commissioned to create a piece for the 2006 Winter Olympic Games in Turin, Italy. Selected out of thousands of applicants, his work, “Peace for the Children of the World,” is a Picasso-inspired piece that uses a series of lines to sketch out the face of his son, Jesse Jr, and the outline of a dove. Simple, yet beautiful, the work was showcased on posters during the Olympic games, bringing him international recognition and respect.

Carl Snowden
Civil rights activist and politician Carl Snowden was born on June 17, 1953, to Ora and William Snowden in Baltimore, Maryland. Growing up in Annapolis, Snowden was greatly influenced by The Autobiography of Malcolm X. In 1970, he and fourteen other students, were expelled from Annapolis High School after they boycotted classes to protest the school’s lack of African American teachers and African American studies courses. Local benefactors raised funds for him to attend the private Key School.

While still a young adult, Snowden began a career of civic activism by organizing an African American group called VOTE. 1976, he successfully sued the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for illegally spying on him through the COINTELPRO program, which had been established by the FBI to track activists. Snowden had been kept under surveillance by the FBI from the age of 16 until 24. Snowden was awarded $10,000 and the FBI was required to expunge his files.  In 1982, he founded Carl Snowden & Associates, a private civil rights firm that specialized in civil rights issues.

After building his reputation as a leading civil rights activist, Snowden was elected to serve as representative for the majority black Fifth Ward on the Annapolis City Council in 1985. As alderman, he introduced landmark legislation that prohibited private clubs from discriminating against people based on their race, color, gender, and national origin, and passed legislation prohibiting stalking and sexual harassment. Snowden then spearheaded the removal of Arthur G. Strissel, Jr. from the position of executive director of the Annapolis Housing Authority after he was charged and convicted of bribery and fraud. In 1988, Snowden founded the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Committee, Inc., which hosts an annual Awards Dinner honoring people who, through their deeds, words, and actions, help to keep Dr. King’s legacy alive. Following Snowden’s unsuccessful run for mayor of the City of Annapolis, Snowden worked for Governor Parris N. Glendening as an administrator in the Maryland Department of Juvenile Services and as the president for the Anne Arundel County Economic Opportunity Committee. In 2007, the State of Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler appointed Snowden as the first Director of the Civil Rights Program. While there, Snowden campaigned for civil rights for all people and led an investigation into the Annapolis Housing Authority’s banning practices.

Snowden has campaigned for numerous local candidates, including Janet S. Owens, the first woman elected as county executive in Anne Arundel County, Maryland; and Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen. Snowden also spearheaded a successful two-year $800,000 capital fund campaign to create the first Coretta Scott King Memorial Garden and the first Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in the State of Maryland. Snowden was honored with an award at the 23rd Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Dinner in Glen Burnie, Maryland in 2011.

Angela Wilson
Angela Wilson is the founder and CEO of the AngelWing Project, a non-profit based in Glen Burnie, Maryland.  Their mission is to “positively impact the community by providing uplifting, entertaining shows and events to inspire appreciation for and participation in the arts.” Angela is a creative artist with vision, and her career in the arts includes more than 20 years as a producer, director, and award-winning playwright. She is also an arts educator, teaching a course called Acting is Fun as well as a playwriting course called Write Your Play Right.  She is also a vocalist and praise and worship leader.

Angela has had various acting roles over the years but most loves the creative process of producing a show.  Since AngelWing Project’s inception, she has directed and produced more than a dozen plays and dramatic events.  Her popular play, Tears of the Soul, will be published this year by Heuer Publishing. bringing her work to more than 60,000 theater people both nationally and internationally.

Angela holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resources and Organizational Development. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild, the Black Theater Network, and the American Association of Community Theater. She is married with two children and two grandsons.

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