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ArtLab@LightCity presented by France-Merrick Foundation

Friday, April 20

Features some of the most inventive designers, artists, entrepreneurs, storytellers and thinkers convening to explore how emerging creative practices shape our world and create change.

Mohamed Tall, Baltimore City Youth Poet Laureate

Mohamed Tall is Baltimore City’s current Youth Grand Slam champion, former Baltimore City Poet Ambassador, and the two-time Muslim Interscholastic Tournament spoken word champion. In 2015, he was a member of Baltimore’s Youth Poetry team that competed at Brave New Voices. A Political Science major, with a minor in African American studies at Morgan State University, who also works with Dew More, Mohamed plans to help establish poetry workshops in different masajid across the DMV. Mohamed believes that art is at the forefront of every revolution.

Samuel Hoi, President, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

Samuel Hoi is the president of Maryland Institute College of Art, the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art in the United States. He is an experienced and innovative higher education leader, as well as an advocate for art and design education and creative professionals as drivers in social, economic, and cultural advancement. Prior to arriving at MICA, Hoi was president of Otis College of Art and Design. Under Hoi's leadership, enrollment at Otis increased as much as 34 percent, operating resources more than doubled, and the endowment more than tripled, attributable in part to a 200 percent increase in individual donors.

Patrisse Cullours, Co-Founder, Black Lives Matter

Patrisse Cullors is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. Cofounder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now, she is also a performance artist, Fulbright scholar, popular public speaker, and an NAACP History Maker. She’s received many awards for activism and movement building, including being named by the Los Angeles Times as a Civil Rights Leader for the 21st Century and the Sydney Peace Prize for her work with Black Lives Matter. Patrisse is currently in the middle of an international tour for her new book When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir.

Yoruba Richen, Filmmaker

Yoruba Richen is a documentary filmmaker who has directed and produced films in the U.S. and abroad, including Africa, South America and Southeast Asia. Her latest film, “The New Black,” premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival and went on to win Audience Awards at AFI Docs and Philly Q Fest and Frameline LGBT Film Festival. The film also won best documentary at the Urbanworld film festival and was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a GLAAD Media Award. “The New Black” aired on PBS’s Emmy-Award winning program, Independent Lens, in the summer of 2014.

Aaron Maybin, Art-Activist & former professional football player

Aaron Maybin is a 27 year old art-activist and former professional football player from Baltimore City, Maryland. Maybin was selected as the 11th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the Buffalo Bills as a former All-American defensive end at Penn State University. Aaron went on to play in the NFL for the New York Jets and the Cincinnati Bengals in his 5-year career. Aaron also played professionally for the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL before making the decision to walk away from the game of football to pursue his career as a professional artist, activist, educator and community organizer.  His art, photography, and writing deal with many socially relevant themes and issues, drawn from his own personal experiences as a former pro athlete and growing up as a young Black man in America. Aaron uses his platform and gifts to advocate for racial and economic equality, arts education, and programing in underprivileged communities across the country.

Kyle Pompey, Owner, Nice Shot Media, LLC.

Kyle Pompey, owner of Nice Shot Media, LLC. considers himself an "organic photojournalist." Whether photographing in his studio, for a shoot, or in the street, Kyle avoids posed or planned pictures. Instead, he perceives the energy of his subject, which then guides the story Kyle captures in each moment. Baltimore born and raised, Kyle takes pictures of what he knows, and what feels like home to him.

Joyce Scott, Jewelry Maker and Sculptor, 2016 MacArthur Genius Grant winner

Joyce J. Scott received a B.F.A. (1970) from the Maryland Institute College of Art, an M.F.A. (1971) from the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and training from her mother, Elizabeth T. Scott, who was an internationally recognized fiber artist. Her work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions at the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Museum of Art and Design, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, among others, and it is held in the public collections of numerous national and international museums.

Sonja Sohn

Best known for her starring role as Detective Kima Greggs on all five seasons of the renowned drama series, The Wire, Sonja Sohn’s love for writing took over while in college, which sent her on an unexpected trajectory towards the entertainment business. In 2008, Sohn was inspired to start the nonprofit, ReWired For Change, by her own life’s journey and her participation in the voter empowerment efforts that took place just before the 2008 presidential election. Sohn’s work in entertainment over the years includes projects such as The Good Wife, Brothers and Sisters, Cold Case, Body of Proof and Burn Notice, as well as the feature films, Shaft and Bringing Out the Dead.  She also directed and executive produced the full-length documentary Baltimore Rising

Wide Angle Youth Media

Through media arts education, Wide Angle Youth Media cultivates and amplifies the voices of Baltimore youth to engage audiences across generational, cultural and social divides. Their programs inspire creativity and instill confidence in young people, empowering them with skills to navigate school, career and life.