2017 Beyond the Pure Fellowship Recipients
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”
Isela Xitali Gómez R.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This program is made possible, in part, thanks to the generous support of the Jerome Foundation.