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ABOUT OUR STAFF
Eyenga Bokamba | Executive Director
Eyenga Bokamba provides leadership to advance Intermedia Arts’ mission to be a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art and serves as the chief development and fundraising officer. She also manages finances, oversees the stability and growth of programs and community partnerships, and drives the organization’s focus on equity and inclusion. Bokamba is a 2006 recipient of a Bush Leadership Fellowship and is a practicing visual artist who is most drawn to abstraction as a means of expressing her perceptions of complex realities. Her large-scale paintings using calligrapher's ink, acrylic and mixed media create compositions of layered translucence. In her latest work, the abstract figure emerges, giving rise to a new visual language of gesture and movement. Bokamba was inducted into the National Association of Women Artists in 2011 in recognition of the high caliber of her work. She earned her undergraduate degree and teaching certification from the University of Minnesota and a graduate degree from Harvard University. Before coming to Intermedia Arts, Bokamba was appointed to serve as Executive Director of Sprockets by St Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Under Bokamba’s leadership, Sprockets initiated a regional pilot focused on social emotional learning in partnership with Harvard University’s Program in Education, Afterschool, and Resilience. Sprockets has also been recognized for its participation in two national pilots: one in partnership with the National Association for Summer Learning and the Weikert Center for Youth Program Quality and second pilot in partnership with Every Hour Counts. As the leader of Sprockets, Bokamba built relationships with institutional partners locally and nationally, managed fundraising and financial administration, developed long-term policy goals and provided strategic direction for the organization. Previous to her position at Sprockets, Bokamba was the Youth Programs Manager at Pillsbury House, an arts-integrated social service agency where she was responsible for programming that advanced the social, emotional and cognitive development of youth in grades K–8. A certified language arts teacher, she taught in Hopkins School District for 13 years. She also served as Minnesota’s Youth Engaged in Service Ambassador for the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, D.C. and the National Youth Leadership Council in Minnesota, during which time she co-authored the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, the legislation from which AmeriCorps was developed.
Michael Hay | Director of Youth Development
Michael is a professionally trained artist and educator living in Minneapolis. He directed the development and operations of the Phillips Community Television after-school/summer program for over ten years. He received an MFA in Film and Video Production from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a BFA in Photography and Film from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. While living in Chicago he worked in commercial photography and produced exhibit media for The Field Museum of Natural History. He also taught art and media at the Boys and Girls’ Clubs of Chicago and at the community development organization Archi-Treasures. Since relocating to Minneapolis he has been deeply involved in the City’s creative and youth development community, teaching youth media classes at the Walker Art Center, El Colegio Charter School, and a number of other schools and community centers. He also teaches film and video production at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.
Tisidra Jones | Creative Leadership Operations & Policy Director
Tisidra’s passion is pursuing social justice from the intersection of creativity (both art and entrepreneurship), law, and education. As an entrepreneur, lawyer, and former performing arts educator, these sectors are important to her and help her to better relate to the communities she serves. Prior to joining Intermedia Arts, Tisidra served as the Manager of Business Inclusion & Business Compliance for the City of Saint Paul. There, she sought to be an advocate for local small, small minority-owned, and small woman-owned businesses. She seeks to help those with a vision and a dream gain access to the tools needed for economic prosperity.
Tisidra has a B.A. in music, with a minor in sociology from George Mason University. She acquired her J.D. from the University of St. Thomas School of Law and is licensed to practice law in New York and Minnesota. As an artist, Tisidra has written, produced and directed award winning works focused on raising awareness about community issues and creating policy solutions for such issues. Upon moving to Minnesota for law school, Tisidra first sought out a place that shared her belief in the power of art. She found that in Intermedia Arts. Since first discovering Intermedia, Tisidra has continued to be engaged with the organization in various capacities and is a Creative Community Leadership Institute alumna. She brings her passions, love for the community, and cross-sector approaches to Intermedia Arts in her role as the Director of Creative Leadership Operations & Policy.
Karen Kingsley | Director of Strategy and Operations
Karen joined Intermedia Arts in February 2017 to lead strategy and operations for the organization. In her role, she oversees development, communications, finance, human resources, and facilities, and works closely with the Directors Circle to align programs across the organization. In her more than 20 years in nonprofit management, she has built deep relationships in Minnesota’s nonprofit and philanthropic sectors and used the tools of policy and systems change to advance social, racial, and economic justice on a wide range of issues—including youth development, early childhood education, welfare reform, and affordable housing. Previously, Karen worked for Youthprise, a nonprofit youth-focused community foundation, where she led strategic communications and public policy to create opportunities and advance equity for Minnesota youth. As one of the original Youthprise staff, she was instrumental in creating the organization’s brand, messaging, and social media strategies. She also developed Youthprise’s racial equity policy framework, which the organization uses to apply an equity lens to their work. A dedicated relationship builder, collaborator, and strategist, Karen focuses on the big picture to provide the infrastructure necessary for Intermedia Arts to live out its mission.
Jessie Roelofs | Communications & Development Manager
Jessie is a multifaceted artist and arts administrator. Growing up in a small town in Central Minnesota, Jessie worked in a library, a motorcycle shop, and in theatrical set construction before coming to Minneapolis for college. Graduating summa cum laude with a degree in Communications and Theater, Jessie began her search for work that melded her passions for the arts and social justice. A textile artist/writer/visual artist/actor/film & video artist, Jessie found her home at Intermedia Arts in 2009 as a Youth Programs Assistant, teaching socially-conscious media journalism and filmmaking to teenagers in schools, after school, and in the community. Soon after, Jessie began managing Intermedia Arts' development and marketing communications systems and processes, demonstrating her deep and passionate commitment to Intermedia Arts’ mission through ongoing support and relationship-building with youth leaders, artists, donors and funders.
Sandy Agustin | Creative Leadership Programs Co-Manager
Sandy holds a Bachelor of Science in Dance Therapy from the University of Wisconsin and is a content expert for the Minnesota Center for Professional Development (MCNPD) in the areas of Promoting Creativity and the Arts and Professional Development and Leadership. Her artistic career includes teaching, performing, curating, presenting and mentoring over a span of 30 years that geographically spans throughout the Midwest and includes Mexico City. During her sixteen year tenure as Artistic and Interim Executive Director at Intermedia Arts she helped found the Institute for Community Cultural Development (now known as Creative Cultural Leadership) and Beyond the Studio, a program aimed at assisting artists in partnering with classroom teachers in the public schools. Sandy is a master teacher with the Tony-award winning Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis through their Neighborhood Bridges program and travels nationally to facilitate the expansion of this critical literacy program. She has worked in a variety of public schools, grades pre-k through 5th, both implementing and developing critical literacy through theater. Since 1995 Sandy has facilitated numerous Open Space convenings and served as a co-facilitator through Animating Democracy to assist cities in creating impactful partnerships between artists and city stakeholders around the United States. She is the recipient of a Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods (LIN) fellowship that allowed her to explore intergenerational creativity in families and cultures throughout the United States.
Maggie McKenna | Creative Leadership Programs Co-Manager
Maggie McKenna has been weaving arts, environment and social change into her community work here in the Twin Cities for over ten years. At Intermedia, she supports emerging changemakers through her work with Intermedia’s Creative Leadership Department.
Her work began in the Twin Cities as a graduate from Macalester College and a grassroots community organizer with the Youth Climate Movement. After engaging thousands of young people around environmental justice, climate policy, and green jobs, she transitioned her focus from campaigns to building more healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities.
For three years, Maggie worked with TigerLion Arts, a local arts production company, helping to bring accessible and mission-based theater and dance to Twin Cities’ community. She has served as the Program Director of Lily Springs Farm, helping to create and design a retreat center and site of emerging farm-to-city programs. In 2010, Maggie joined the Permaculture Research as the Education Director where she launched a series of community-based urban farming training and apprenticeship programs. In 2012, Maggie became the Experiential Youth Curriculum Developer for the Kitty Anderson Youth Science Center where she designed community justice retreats geared toward supporting youth leadership and social change. Maggie is a 2011 Fellow with the Center for Whole Communities and a 2013 alumni of Intermedia’s Creative Community Leadership Institute. Deepening her knowledge and skills, Maggie graduated in 2015 with a Master’s degree in Human Development through St. Mary’s University.
Carrie Christensen | Creative CityMaking Program Manager
With a Masters of Landscape Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Stanford University, her cross-sector work combines design thinking, community organizing, project management, data analysis, curation, cultural planning and environmental design. Carrie’s work involves a range of projects and experiences in design, education, and community engagement that fall at the intersection of equity and the environment with a focus on arts and community engagement. Carrie is currently an adjunct faculty at the University of Minnesota College of Design, at Intermedia Arts as the Program Manager of Creative CityMaking, owner of WHR Ecological, a S/WBE based in Minneapolis, MN, and works as a consultant in the field of creative placemaking, environmental design and planning.
Lisa Brimmer | Programs Manager, Equity & Public Programming
Lisa is a writer, performance artist, community organizer and arts administrator and has been with Intermedia Arts since January 2015. As Programs Manager for the Department of Equity and Public Programming, Lisa’s focus is on the VERVE Grants for Spoken Word Poets, the Beyond the Pure Fellowship for Writers and Queer Voices Reading Series as well as working with Director Julie Bates MacGillis on Intermedia Arts’ innovative and ongoing Equity work. In her time as former Program Manager for the Creative Leadership Programs, she managed the Creative Community Leadership Institute (CCLI) – Rapid City 2015 program, administrating the selection processes for CCLI and Creative CityMaking- Minneapolis, supporting strategic visioning and updating administrative systems through an equity lens.
Lisa’s work has been seen on our stage as a part of The Blacker the Berry…, Queertopia, and A Place at the Table (We Have Always Been at the Table) and has provided admin and front desk support for Intermedia Arts since early 2014. She is currently on Fellowship at the University of St. Thomas in their Master’s in English Literature program. She is a two time Givens Foundation for African American Literature fellow and has received a Playwrights’ Center Many Voices Fellowship. Her work has been published in Ishmael Reed’s Konch Magazine, Commons Magazine, seen on stages like Pillsbury House and the Playwrights’ Center. Her improvisational music collective, High Society, has been featured on Minnesota Public Radio and KFAI. She is a self-appointed cultural strategist that aims to offer creative and sustainable solutions in artistic programs management and their construction. For more about Lisa’s work, check out: lisamariebrimmer.com | @2speakease
Nastalie Bogira | Production & Events Manager
Nastalie is a Minneapolis-based curator, producer, performer, and arts administrator with a BFA in Dance from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While dancing professionally from 2002-2007 in her hometown, Chicago, she worked at Links Hall and The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago. Since moving to Minneapolis in 2007, she has performed with and directed artists and companies including Wreck Family Productions, Kelley Meister, Anna Marie Shogren, and Bedlam Theatre. Nastalie has co-curated Queertopia since 2012 and produces Pleasure Rebel, a tri-annual experimental feminist performance series at Bryant-Lake Bowl. Nastalie previously worked as program associate at Minnesota State Arts Board, company manager for BodyCartography Project, and interim Performing Arts coordinator at Walker Art Center.
Liv Hnilika | Office, Community & Hospitality Coordinator
Liv Hnilicka is a Midwest based performer, writer, comedian, and advocate for TBLG identified people. As a graduate of Second City, she has performed at Annoyance Theatre, UIC, Depaul, and MCA. She also was a regular artist in Chicago's underground drag and burlesque communities, collaborating with organizations like Chances Dances, Salonathon, and Northern Lights. She also loves her puppy Madame Chang and roasted brussels sprouts.
Kevin Yang | Youth Programs Coordinator
Kevin Yang is a Hmong American writer and performer who was born and raised in the Twin Cities. Kevin is a graduate of Hamline University where he majored in Political Science and minored in Urban Studies. In addition, he also spent 4 months studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Kevin is a member of Speakers of the Sun, an APIA identified spoken word collective based in the Twin Cities. He also represented Minnesota at the Brave New Voices (BNV) spoken word festival in 2011. Kevin has acted in several Hmong language films and has had his own short film selected to screen at the Qhia Dab Neeg Film Festival. One of his greatest passions is helping young people develop and share their art, which he has been doing at Intermedia since 2014.
Sami Pfeffer | AmeriCorps Promis Fellow - Youth Development
Sami Pfeffer is an artist who's work challenges folks to experiment with “safe” discomfort in the hopes that the participants then gain a better understanding of how to manage their reactions when faced with future “unsafe” discomforts. In addition to making art, they make gender, mistakes, and hopefully, change.
Kyra Crawford Calvert | ArtsHub Coordinator
Kyra is an artist and arts administrator currently serving as program officer for the MN Music Coalition's Year of Music Micro-Grants Program. Formerly the Office & Hospitality Coordinator at Intermedia Arts, she strengthened her reputation in arts management and sustainability practices by implementing a Hennepin County Business Recycling grant, which she used to shift our sustainability practices and significantly reduce trash waste. A graduate of St. Catherine University, Kyra is a 2016 Givens Foundation for African American Literature Emerging Writers’ Fellow and received the VERVE Grant for Spoken Word Poets via Intermedia Arts in 2014. Urban Griots nominated her ‘Best New Spoken Word Artist of the Year’ in 2008, and her essay work is featured in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota. She also performs as DJ Black Fish Gold and can be heard on Desdamona's latest record No Man's Land.
Shá Cage | Catalyst Curator
Shá Cage is a performer, curator, community organizer, and cultural consultant. She has worked with the City of Minneapolis towards using arts as a tool to impact equity and connection between community and city government through asset mapping and engagement. Her work and activism has taken her all across the U.S, to South Africa, England, France, the Netherlands, Croatia, Mali, Germany and Canada. She was named a “Changemaker” by the Women's Press, was awarded a regional Emmy, is the recipient of a 2011 McKnight Theater Fellowship and received an ensemble Ivey Award in 2013. She was recently awarded a distinguished TCG/Fox Fellowship and named one the Star Tribune's “Best of 2014 Movers and Makers.” She is a co-founder of several community based artistic organizations including; Mama Mosaic Theater for Women, the MN Spoken Word Association and the Million Artist Movement. She is a board member of Ten Thousand Things, served as the Executive Director for Mama Mosaic for 9 years and Artistic Director of the MN Spoken Word Association for 10. She has curated and produced work in the Twin Cities and New York for over 15 years. Highlights include Penumbra Theater's Woman Song, 59E59's Stage One, 'The Women's Foundation's Girls are Not For Sale, Breaking Free's See Me, The Urban Griots awards, Words will Heal the Wound: 10 year radio series, Ndigme; the first MN African Arts Exhibit, Spirit Song: A tribute to Amiri Baraka, In Da Tradition professional development for teachers, and the Sankofa Reading series. She has directed several readings and performances and regularly dramaturgs new works in development. She has been commissioned by the Peace Foundation, The City of Minneapolis, The City of St. Paul, The Rondo Neighborhood Association, Northpoint Health Center, The University of MN and Macalester College. She is the artistic spokesperson for the Women's Foundation's groundbreaking Girls are Not for Sale campaign. She has worked with and consulted with Intermedia Arts for more 14 years and recently joined as their resident curator.
Joy Spika | Gallery Installation Coordinator
Joy Spika is a mixed media artist focusing in illustration and installation. Joy's interest in art started at a very early age: inspired by her family that included; metal workers, dressmakers, weavers, woodworkers, and painters, she learned how to create in many mediums. She learned to use her imagination to create art out of recycled items and the immediate resources available. She originally went to college for sociology and has always had a deep love and fascination with culture and people. However she was soon was taken over by her love for ceramics, mixed media painting, and sculpture. Joy transferred to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and Graduated with a B.F.A in 2009. In school she studied printmaking, mixed media art, ceramics, puppet making, painting, and comics. Outside of school she explored the world of muraling, and participated in B-girl Be, along with several of her friends who are now working and showing work together as Tantrum Art Collective. She also has a large interest in the taboo, macabre, tattoo art, and sub-cultural studies from all around the world. Thesefascinations have contributed to the diversity in her own work, including the media's she works in. Joy has shown in many galleries in Minneapolis, and Chicago while she lived there. She loves to show her work in unexpected places as well: from murals in many neighborhoods in Minneapolis, to showing a painting series at a coffee shop, or selling toys in local businesses, Joy finds all of the ways to show all kinds of people her work much more important than showing exclusively in galleries.
Andrea Jenkins | Co-Curator & Host
Andrea Jenkins is an artist-activist and award-winning poet and writer. Andrea has been awarded fellowships from the Bush Foundation, Intermedia Arts, and the Playwrights Center and has won writing and performance grants and scholarships from the Givens Foundation, Intermedia Arts, The Loft, the Napa Valley Writers Conference, and Pillsbury House Theater. Andrea is the co-curator of Queer Voices at Intermedia Arts, the longest-running series of its kind in the nation and currently works collecting oral histories from hundreds of people in the Upper Midwest transgender community as an Oral Historian in the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies.
John Medeiros | Co-Curator & Host
John Medeiros is a writer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His first book of poetry, couplets for a shrinking world, was published by North Star Press in June 2012. His work has appeared in several books and journals, including Among the Leaves: Queer Male Poets on the Midwestern Experience; Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion, and Spirituality; Sport Literate, Water~Stone Review; Gulf Coast; Talking Stick; Willow Springs; other words: a writer’s reader; Gents, Badboys and Barbarians; Evergreen Chronicles; qartsilluni, Swell and Christopher Street. He is the recipient of two Minnesota State Arts Board grants; a Jerome Foundation Grant for Emerging Writers; Gulf Coast's First Place Nonfiction Award; and the AWP Intro Journals Project Award. He received an MFA from Hamline University, in St. Paul, Minnesota, and his work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, a Minnesota Book Award, and as a Notable Essay in Best American Essays of 2006.
J. Otis Powell‽ | Facilitator
J. Otis Powell‽ is a poet working in aesthetics rooted in Afrocentric lore and culture. His work is informed by oral traditions in literature, music, and the Black Arts Movement. His theater skill translates into spoken word and performance art and his talent with philosophy influences whatever work he engages. J. Otis‽ has studied with Gloria Anzaldúa, Quincy Troupe, Amiri Baraka, Alexs Pate, Sekou Sundiata and Yusef Komunyakaa. He was a founding producer of KFAI’s Write On Radio! and a program director and community liaison at the Loft Literary Center. For more than fourteen years Powell‽ has worked as an actor/performance artist, company member, curator and producer with Pangea World Theater as well as an advisor and curator for Poetry Picnic a project of Poetry on Chicago Avenue. He continues to mentor and advise artists on issues of creative process and living inside an original aesthetic. J. Otis‽'s prose poem THEOLOGY: Love & Revolution, originally produced in association with the Minnesota Dance Alliance, was performed at the Knitting Factory in New York City, where he also performed with The David Murray Orchestra and read at The Nuyorican Poets Cafe. J. Otis Powell‽ worked as a coeditor and contributor to Blues Visions an anthology published by the MN Historical Society, as well as a chapbook titled Pieces of Sky, that he wrote, with editorial collaboration and design from Rain Taxi and funding from the MN State Arts Board. His writing has appeared in publications such as DrumVoices, Hungry Mind Review, Ruminator Review, A View from the Loft, Colors Magazine, the Star Tribune, Public Art Review, Performance Twin Cities, and the Arts Midwest Jazzletter His writing was included in: Barefoot In The Mountains, Views From The Loft (an anthology) and his poetry was featured in Bringing Gifts, Bringing News an anthology of poems from Downstairs Press and his book, My Tongue Has No Bone was published by Porter Publishing. A CD project titled BALM was released through TruRuts/Speak Easy Records. J. Otis‽'s words have been recorded and released on several CDs: The 2nd Annual Chicago Calling, The Ghost Dog Tour with Stir Trio and Forward Energy, a DVD titled News as Abstract Truth, Unsentimental with Rene Ford, THIS CAT IS OUT, in association with The New Day Blues Band, THEOLOGY: Love & Revolution and Words Will Heal The Wound. J. Otis has received a Loft Creative Nonfiction Award, a Jerome Travel and Study Grant and a Mid Career Artist Grant, an Intermedia Arts Interdisciplinary McKnight Fellowship, and more.
AnaÏs Deal-Marquez | Artist Associate
Anaïs is a Minneapolis based interdisciplinary artist and community organizer who sees music and storytelling as key in building power with communities of color. With roots across the U.S.-Mexico border, her writing looks at identity, displacement, trauma, and healing. She is the founder of Border Voices, which uses storytelling and performance to create spaces for dialogue that centers immigrant and refugee voices of people of color. Anaïs is a member of Palabristas:Latin@ Wordslingers a recipient of the 2014 VERVE Grant for Spoken Word artists, and winner of the 2015 Loft Mentor Series in Poetry. She has performed at the Loft Literary Center, Dakota Jazz Club, Pangaea World Theater, and the Black Dog Café. Her essay, “Our Silence Won’t Save Us: Recovering the Medicine in Our Stories,” is forthcoming publication in “How Dare We! Write,” an anthology of writers of color on the writing life and process.
Brittany Lynch | Artist Associate
Brittany “Miss Brit” Lynch is DJ, poet, and entrepreneur who fiercely advocates for artists in communities of color. Her work exists at the intersection of media, art, curation and social justice, and community healing. She was named a “Rising Star” by WCCO’s Urban Perspectives and one of 5 “Influential Young Black Leaders” by The Star Tribune. She’s a a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in the Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance with an emphasis on African and African American Culture. Miss Brit has been awarded a Verve Spoken Word Grant, Beyond The Pure Grant, and Legacy award for her work in healing communities through art based engagement. She’s a published writer, radio host, traveling DJ, and social entrepreneur. Her company Visions Merging continues to advocate at the state and city level for intentional urban planning and development that serves it’s residents and preserves it’s cultural history.
Adriana Rimpel | Curatorial Assistant
Adriana Rimpel is a bi-lingual songwriter, vocalist, performer, artist, and youth worker. Her varied arts background includes12 years of studio dance training, a BFA in photography from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and over 10 years of experience in youth arts education. She is the former Program Manager of Walker Teen Programs and has completed three Artist-in-Residence programs at Kulture Klub Collaborative. Ms. Rimpel is also a recording artist and has released three albums with group ensembles VANDAAM and Malamanya, the latter profiled on TPT's Lowertown Line. Currently, her solo project Lady is garnering attention for her unique sound and vocal features with prominent local musicians. Her debut album is expected out this year.
Akiko Ostlund | Curatorial Assistant
Akiko Ostlund is a radical and boundary-pushing performance artist based in the Twin Cities. Originally from Osaka, Japan, she developed an interest in tribal fusion belly dance after moving to Minnesota, and subsequently began to study and practice the classical Indian dance style of Bharatanatyam with the Ragamala school in Minneapolis. In recent years she has developed her own cleverly original dance/performance pieces, as well as insightful and revealing spoken word poetry.
Julian Hines | Engagment Specialist
Julian Hines has been creating a path in his artistry for over 10 years in the Twin Cities and abroad, studying various genres of dance primarily focused on West African, Hip Hop and Step. His choreography has been featured in ROOTED: Hip Hop Choreographers Evening 2014 which followed with his first SAGE Award nomination for “Best Ensemble” Nostalgia. He has also taught and performed dance abroad in Asia touring mainly Japan and South Korea. Currently Julian remains his passion teaching youth and is focusing on curating and stage managing projects. Julian continues his creating of choreography and performance artist development for self. Currently he is on the Intermedia Arts Teaching Artist Roster.
Brigid Higgins | HECUA Art for Social Change Intern
Bri Smiley | Arts and Media Leadership Intern
Bri Smiley will be a junior at the University of Minnesota this year, majoring in strategic communications with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in leadership. Ever since she was young, she had a passion for the arts. Growing up, Bri was a singer and a dancer and has learned to absolutely love everything about performing arts. This passion is what led her to want to spend her summer as a part of Intermedia Arts. Bri loves to read, write, drink chai tea lattes, put extra sprinkles on her (dairy free) ice cream, spend time with friends, go to the beach, and meet new people. She is excited to spend her summer at Intermedia Arts!