Brian Bose is an actor-singer-dancer, rapper, choreographer/director, emcee, and international teaching artist. Brian received a Double BA in Theatre & Dance from UC San Diego and has trained at the British American Dramatic Academy, Steppenwolf West, and CSULA Academy of the Dramatic Arts. His deep resume includes performing and/or choreographing at The Ordway, Mixed Blood, and Chanhassen Dinner Theaters. Since moving to Minneapolis in 2016, Brian became a teaching artist for Upstream Arts and all levels of education at the Guthrie where he also hosts his own class the SLAY WORKSHOP. By creating a space that requires no dance experience, he provides a platform where anyone can dance their way to empowerment.
Damien Riehl is a technology lawyer with a B.S. in music. After beginning to code in 1985, and for the web in 1995, he has worked for the chief judges of state and federal courts; litigated for a decade; taught law-school copyright classes; and led teams in software development, digital forensics, proactive cybersecurity, reactive cybersecurity incidents, and world-scale investigations. Damien’s combined experience in the law, technology, and music has inspired his most recent project—copyrighting billions of unique melodies.
Entrepreneur Food Catalyst
Glenn Ford believes that food should not only nourish our bodies, but should also nourish the viability of the communities where it is consumed. Glenn has founded and organized Praxis Holdco, InCity Farms, and Praxis Marketplace, all emerging food ventures and Aquaponics facilities established to serve inner city and rural communities. Combining expertise from degrees in business and economics with years of experience as a senior executive in a number of companies including PepsiCo, Glenn is working toward a collaboration between food production facilities and grocery stores to catalyze the economic development of underserved communities.
Josie Lewis is an artist working in sculpture, painting, mixed media, and video. Her artwork can be found in the St Paul Union Depot, the Minneapolis/St Paul Airport, and in the private collections of General Mills, University of Minnesota, and Minneapolis Public Schools. In 2017, she began sharing videos of her daily art practice on Instagram, sparking a conversation around what is (and is not) art on the internet. To date, her videos have more than 1 billion views, and her social media audience has grown to over 1.3 million followers.
Kao Kalia Yang is a Hmong-American writer. Born in the refugee camps of Thailand to a family that had fled the aftermath of America’s Secret War in Laos, she came to America at age six. Kao Kalia is a graduate of Carleton College and Columbia University’s MFA Program. Her books include National Endowment for the Arts Big Read title The Latehomecomer and The Song Poet, which will be the first Hmong story adapted into an opera by the Minnesota Opera in the spring of 2021. Yang's first picture book A Map Into the World and an edited collection What God is Honored Here?: Writings on Miscarriage and Infant Loss By and For Native Women and Women of Color were published in fall of 2019. In spring of 2020, a second children's book The Shared Room and a collective memoir of refugee stories Somewhere in the Unknown World will be published.
Nineteen-year-old Louie McGee runs a nonprofit, completed an Ironman Triathlon, rafted the Grand Canyon, and is legally blind. Diagnosed with Stargardt, a rare disease of the retina that results in a loss of central vision, when he was young, Louie has learned to find the possibilities in his diagnosis. His nonprofit—Louie’s Vision—provides visually impaired kids with opportunities to expand their life experiences and find their own adventure by focusing on raising awareness and building confidence.
Mechanical Engineering Professor
Michael McAlpine is a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Minnesota, where he researches the 3D printing of functional materials and devices. His team has made breakthroughs in the realm of bionic human devices including 3D printed spinal cord implants and 3D printed bionic eyes, which were recognized by National Geographic in January 2019 as one of 12 Innovations that will Revolutionize the Future of Medicine. Michael has received a number of awards, including the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).
Indigenous Hoop Dancers
As world-renowned dancers, Lumhe and Samsoche Sampson (Mvskoke Creek/Seneca)—a.k.a. the “Sampson Brothers”—promote cultural pride, unity, and hope through art, education, and dance. From the moment they began walking, the brothers learned the Powwow styles of Grass and Fancy dance, and Hoop dance became their passion as young boys. More than 25 years later, they have performed in more than half a dozen countries, hundreds of universities, and educated thousands of people around the world about their culture and Indigenous Hoop Dancing. The Sampson Brothers bridge modern times while honoring tradition, bridging two worlds to break stereotypes, provide positive inspiration, and create opportunities for the Indigenous community for generations to come.