Face to Face 2017: Keynote Speakers
Kevin Coval is a poet and community builder. As the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors, founder of Louder Than A Bomb: The Chicago Youth Poetry Festival, and professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago—where he teaches hip-hop aesthetics—he’s mentored thousands of young writers, artists, and musicians.
He is the author and editor of 10 books, including The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop and Schtick, and co-author of the play, This is Modern Art. His work has appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Drunken Boat, Chicago Tribune, CNN, Fake Shore Drive, Huffington Post, and four seasons of HBO’s Def Poetry Jam. Coval’s forthcoming collection, A People's History of Chicago drops in April 2017 on Haymarket Books.
Robert Blackson is Director of Temple Contemporary at Temple University’s Tyler School of Art. Temple Contemporary is a research and public programs initiative whose mission is to re-imagine the social function of art. This singular purpose foregrounds curatorial accountability, reciprocity and exchange, as the basis of Temple Contemporary’s social life, and by extension our social values. For over ten years Blackson has worked internationally to configure his curatorial positions within higher education as a generative opportunity for addressing issues of local relevance and international significance. Previously, he has served in the UK as curator of contemporary art and public programs at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Nottingham Contemporary and The University of Sunderland’s Reg Vardy Gallery. His writings have appeared in numerous monographs and journals including Art Journal, Labyrint, and Cabinet. He is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and Bard College’s Center for Curatorial Studies.
Joseph H. Conyers was appointed assistant principal bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra in 2010. He joined the Philadelphia Orchestra after tenures with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI) where he served as principal bass, and Santa Fe Opera (NM). Described by the Grand Rapids Press as “a lyrical musician who plays with authenticity that transcends mere technique,” Conyers, a 2nd prize winner of the Sphinx Competition, has performed with many orchestras as soloist including the Grand Rapids Symphony, Richmond Symphony, Alabama Symphony, and the Savannah Philharmonic. A recent addition to the artist roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Conyers has performed as chamber musician internationally in numerous prestigious chamber music festivals. A recipient of many awards and honors including, most recently, the inaugural Young Alumni Award from his alma mater, The Curtis Institute of Music, Conyers studied with both Hal Robinson, principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra, and double bass soloist, Edgar Meyer. Conyers has been featured in Ebony Magazine (2007), a Mutual of Omaha commercial (2010-2011), and Pilot #3 for NPR’s From the Top (1999). He serves on the double bass faculty of Temple University and has given masterclasses and seminars across the country from the Colburn School to Yale University to the University of Georgia.
A formidable advocate for music education, Conyers is Executive Director and a founding member of Project 440 – an organization that uses music as a teaching tool to develop tomorrow’s civic minded and entrepreneurial leaders. Additionally, Conyers is the newly appointed Music Director of the famed All City Orchestra of Philadelphia. All City Orchestra showcases the best young musicians of the School District of Philadelphia. Project 440, which serves as the lead program enrichment partner for All City, works extensively with the 400 + students of the program (includes band and choir) providing its curriculum in college and career preparedness, entrepreneurial and leadership training, as well as community and engagement and interactive performance. Conyers has served on the board of directors of The American String Teachers Association, the Board of Overseers for the Curtis Institute of Music, and is currently on the National Advisory Board for the Atlanta Music Project (GA).
Face to Face 2017: All-Conference Art-Making Project Facilitator
Monica O. Montgomery
Monica O. Montgomery is curator and founding director of the Museum of Impact (MOI) the first mobile social justice museum, inspiring action at the intersection of self, society art and activism. She leads the museum in working with communities to interrogate contemporary and historic social movements and solutions. MOI is touring #UpstanderLoveLetters, an artful intervention showcasing local leaders, celebrity champions and everyday changemakers that are taking a stand for what they believe in. Participants learn about active citizenship and strategies to ‘Stand Up. Speak Up. Act Up’ for what they believe in. MOI crowdsourcing community definitions of who an Upstander can be; harvesting letters, stories and actions we all can take to better our world.
Museum of Impact is chronicling movements of the people, having produced over 15+ exhibit pop ups and events around the country with renowned institutions like Brooklyn Museum, Newark Open Doors Festival, The New School, Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts NY, Marymount Manhattan College, Arts & Democracy, the High Line and CTRL + ALT Culture Lab and Columbia University Teachers College.