February 15, 2017

Announcing the Recipients of the 
2017 Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - Intermedia Arts is proud to announce 2017 Beyond the Pure fellows. The six Beyond the Pure fellows were selected by a panel of previous grant recipients.  

This year, Intermedia Arts' Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers awarded grants of up to $5,000 to six emerging Minnesota writers. This program defines an emerging writer as a writer whose work demonstrates a sustained level of accomplishment and commitment, but who has not yet received widespread recognition from peers and/or industry as an established professional artist. In addition to their grant award, recipients also participate in a year-long fellowship program that provides community, mentorship, guidance, peer support, and conversation throughout the program year.

Intermedia Arts' Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers are made possible thanks to generous support from the Jerome Foundation. 

2017 Beyond the Pure Fellowship Recipients: 








2017 Beyond the Pure Finalists: 








Keno Evol is the founder and Executive Director of Black Table Arts, an arts based org centering on conjuring and cultivating other worlds through black art. By connecting creatives and cultivating volume in Black Life. Black Table Arts is a blog Community, aclothing company and source for art events. Evol is a six year educator, having taught at nineteen institutions across the state of Minnesota. Evol just concluded Black Voices at Washburn offered through TruArtSpeaks, a course centered on providing MPLS students an opportunity to engage with black literature, theory and the craft of poetry. TruArtSpeaks is a non profit in St Paul, dedicating to cultivating literacy, leadership and social justice through the study and application of spoken word and Hip Hop culture. He currently is an editor at The Loft Literary Center Manuscript Critique Services. Evol has received numerous grants and competed nationally as a spoken word artist. Evol has performed, taught workshops and led professional development in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Detroit, Washington DC, Arkansas, Minnesota and New York. He has gone on to teach Spoken Word poetry in high schools such as Brooklyn Center High, MNIC High, PYC, Paladin Academy, Creative Arts and John Glenn Middle School. He has appeared on TPT and Urban Perspectives. He navigates noting Patricia Hill Collins as she has stated “My work has always been bigger than my job”

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Isela Xitlali Gómez R. is an East LA/Inland Empire transplant who writes to piece together broken stories of family, trauma, and travel a la Southern California. Her art lays its roots in the spaces between jazz and mariachi, taco trucks and chili cheese burgers, oceans and desert and, now snow. Isela is a 2015 Winner of the Loft Literary Center's Mentor Series in Creative Nonfiction. Her essay, “It Happened in Fragments,” is forthcoming publication in “How Dare We! Write,” an anthology of writers of color on the writing life and process. 

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Marion Gómez is a poet and teaching artist based in Minneapolis. She has received a Minnesota State Arts Board Grant and was one of four poets selected by Linda Hogan and Ed Bok Lee for the Loft Literary Center's Mentor Series. Her poem "Father Bought Mangos" was selected for the Saint Paul Almanac's Impressions Project.

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Brittany “Miss Brit” Lynch is constantly working to change herself and the world she lives in. Working interdependently between media, art, curation and social justice, she has emerged as a tastemaker for the Twin Cities entertainment scene. WCCO’s Urban Perspectives coined her as a “Rising Star.” The Star Tribune declared her one of the “Most Influential Black Young Leaders of the Twin Cities,” featuring her activism in spoken word poetry. Miss Brit is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she received her degree in the Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance with a minor in African and African American Studies. She is a recipient of the Verve Spoken Word Grant from Intermedia Arts, and her writing has been published in the Star Tribune and St. Paul Almanac. She is the resident DJ and curator for The Feels, a healing based experience featuring music and spoken word, and is a fierce entrepreneur within the creative sector. For more info visit HeyMissBrit.com

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Nneka Onwuzurike is a creative non-fiction writer. Born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, she credits her parents, three siblings, and her many aunts, uncles, and cousins (blood-related or otherwise) for sparking her love for storytelling. Her most recent work reflects on the humors and pains of being a first-generation Nigerian-American. Nneka is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis where she studied Marketing and Creative Writing. She is a 2016 Givens Foundation Emerging Writers Fellow and an active member of the Loft Literary Center.
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Junauda Petrus is a creative activist, writer, playwright, and multi-dimensional performance artist who is Minneapolis-born, West-Indian descended, and African-sourced. Her work centers around Black wildness, Afro-futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle and shimmer. She has received a Givens Foundation fellowship, Jerome Travel and Study grant, Many Voices Mentorship with the Playwright's Center,  Naked Stages Residency at the Pillsbury House and a 2016 Jerome Film grant to write and direct "Sweetness of Wild," an experimental and poetic episodic film series about Blackness, queerness, biking, love and coming of age in Minneapolis, with cinematographer, Mychal Fisher. Petrus was selected as one of 2016's "Artist of the Year" by City Pages. She is the co-founder with Erin Sharkey of Free Black Dirt, an experimental arts production company. 

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A special congratulations to Rebecca Diaz, Bronson Lemer, Glenda Reed, Erin Kate Ryan, Erin Sharkey and Bernard James whose work, although not selected for a fellowship at this time, were selected as finalists.
Rebecca Diaz graduated from the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics at Naropa University. She grew up in rural Minnesota, beside the Red Lake River. She is a poet turned fiction writer whose work examines the countless tributaries of language, religion, and healing. She’s an organizer in the healing arts community. She has been published in Flaneur Foundry Arts Journal, fre-quen-cy, Monkey Puzzle Magazine, and was a 2014-2015 Loft Mentor Series winner in fiction. She lives in Minneapolis with her dog, and is in an open relationship with the Mississippi River.
Bronson Lemer is the author of The Last Deployment: How a Gay, Hammer-Swinging Twentysomething Survived a Year in Iraq.His work has appeared in Blue Earth Review, The Reykjavik Grapevine, & Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers. He is a 2016 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artists Initiative grant. He lives in St. Paul.
Glenda Reed is a writer, artist and adventurer. Her writing has received funding from the Jerome Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund among others. Her work has been published in Creative Nonfiction and The Best Travel Writing. Reed is also a winner of The Moth StorySlam. She is currently working on a memoir about hitchhiking on sailboats halfway around the world. You can follow the progress of this memoir at www.hitchsailing.com and Facebook.com/hitchsailing
Erin Kate Ryan's fiction has appeared in and is forthcoming from hundreds of real and imaginary journals, such as Glimmer Train, The Normal School, and Conjunctions. Her novel in progress, a study of missing girls in literature, has received support from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Minnesota Emerging Writer's grant program. She tries and fails and tries again to use art to dismantle oppression, overcome apathy, and press for radical social change.
Erin Sharkey is a writer, producer, educator and graphic designer based in Minneapolis. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University and is, with Junauda Petrus, the co-founder of an experimental arts production company called Free Black Dirt. Erin has appeared or is forthcoming in publications such as Walker Art Center’s UntitledBrooklyn Quarterly and Paper Darts. Erin is a 2016/17 Loft Mentor Series winner in creative nonfiction and was a 2016 VONA/Voices Travel Writing fellow, 2015 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Emerging Writers fellow, a Givens Foundation cultural producer-in-residence as well as a Coffee House Press in the Stacks artist-in-residence at the Archie Givens Sr. Archive at the University of MN, where she now is helping to promote Umbra Search, a digital search tool for African American memory.
Writing under the pseudonym Bernard James, James Bernard Short is an emerging novelist, essayist, and poet. His singular ambition as a writer is to produce smart, expressive, and culturally authentic content that captures the wide spectrum of aspirations and challenges encountered by persons of color. Notions of what define the cultural and geographic boundaries of the Black diaspora are of particular interest, as well as pieces that explore the dynamics of love, loss, and personal transition. James’ work has appeared or is forthcoming in The McNeese Review, Smoke Long Quarterly, Columbia Journal of Literature and Art, Killens Review of Arts and Letters and sx salon, a Small Axe Literary Platform.  He is a 2016 Kimbilio Fellow, a member of the 2016 Writer’s Hotel Master Class in Poetry, a 2015 Givens Writing Fellow and a participant in the 2013 MN Northwoods Fiction Workshop. James holds degrees from Northwestern and The University of St. Thomas. He currently resides in the Twin Cities.
As Minnesota's premier multidisciplinary, multicultural arts organization, Intermedia Arts builds understanding among people by catalyzing and inspiring artists to make changes in their lives and communities. We provide creative people of all ages with the opportunities, tools, and support to come together across disciplines, sectors, and boundaries to connect, create, share, collaborate, innovate, think big, and act as catalysts for positive community-driven and community-defined change. We are a nationally recognized leader in empowering artists and community leaders to use arts-based approaches to solve community issues. By stimulating deeper community engagement and providing a platform for the stories and experiences of underrepresented communities locally, nationally, and internationally, we contribute to a stronger, healthier society.
Intermedia Arts' Beyond the Pure Fellowships for Writers are made possible
thanks to the generous support of the Jerome Foundation.