China Blue was an Artist-in-Resident with the Norman Prince Neurosciences Institute at Rhode Island Hospital, a role that was created for her and unique to Rhode Island.
China Blue has served as the US representative at Tokyo Wondersite’s Experimental Art Fair (2013) and OPEN XI in Venice, Italy (2018). In 2012, her exhibition at the Newport Art Museum “Firefly Projects” was nominated as “Best Museum Show Nationally” by the International Association of Art Critics. China has received three NASA/RI Space Grants, a Rhode Island State Council for the Arts Fellowship and funding from the Canada Council of the Arts.
China Blue is an advisor to Rhode Island Congressman Langevin’s Committee for Art & Culture and is a member of the Steering Committee for Rhode Island State’s Art and Health Committee. She is the Founder and Executive Director of The Engine Institute. China Blue previously served as an adjunct professor and fellow at Brown University.
Author + Advocate
Jose R. Rosario is a speaker, author and above all, an advocate. As a member of many diverse identity groups, Jose recognizes that common experiences bring people together and that taking stock of who we are gives us power. Jose wants to inspire others to acknowledge their identities, share their stories and empower those who are underrepresented to rise. As a mental health professional, Jose understands that this empowerment, and the creation of a space to be vulnerable, can lead to individual and group growth, awakening agents for change.
Jose is a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Clark University and CEO of The Phoenix Empowered, an organization focused on mental health disparities in marginalized groups. In addition, he is an Expressive Arts Facilitator through the PeaceLove Studios.
Author + Interviewer
Julian Jacobs is a recent graduate of Brown University and a Fulbright Scholar whose research has focused on the effects of artificial intelligence on income inequality, the future of work, and American democracy. He is the author of 35 articles and essays in 15 different publications, including interviews with Bernie Sanders, David Cameron, Noam Chomsky, Peter Hitchens, Tom Perez, and Reza Aslan. He is the Founding Editor-In-Chief of the Brown University Journal of Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Julian previously worked at The Brookings Institution and in President Barack Obama's post-presidency office, where he supported the 44th President's correspondence, communications, and speechwriting teams.
2019 TED Resident, Kenneth Chabert is the Choice Architect of the Gentlemen’s Retreat, a program that teaches inner-city youth from the Bronx, NY the “art of being a gentleman” through the use of emotional and conversational intelligence. The Gentleman’s Retreat has helped young men gain acceptance to colleges like Brown University and Wake Forest. Kenneth creates opportunities for these gentlemen through a blend of choice architecture, novelty, and what he calls, "Powerful First Experiences.” The program offers retreats in Providence, RI, Philadelphia, PA and Bozeman, MT
Global Media Strategist
Naomi is the founder of The Women With Stories International, an organization that empowers women to find and own their unique stories, discover their cure, and serve others. Naomi uses her knowledge and expertise as a Global Media Strategist to coach personal and corporate brands on how to go from invisible to visible and local to global by leveraging digital media platforms. An alumna of the Dale Carnegie Institute and the Myles Munroe Leadership Mentoring Program, Naomi also serves on the Board of Directors of four non-profits: Hive Africa, Church on the Street, Kiyeseni Foundation and Salt Talks Africa. She is the recipient of the Woman of Excellence Award by the Women’s Economic Forum in New Delhi, India. Her mission is to ‘die empty’ and SPARKLE the world like only she can.
Musician + Educator
Sebastian Ruth is a musician, educator, and organizer whose work explores new roles for music making in contemporary society. He is the Founder and Artistic Director of Community MusicWorks, a nationally-recognized organization that connects professional musicians with urban youth and families in Providence, Rhode Island. Sebastian is a Visiting Lecturer at the Yale School of Music and an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Music at Brown University. He serves on the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture’s cabinet, with a title of Secretary of Music and Society, and the advisory board of the Sphinx Organization. In 2010, Sebastian received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award from First Lady Michele Obama on behalf of Community MusicWorks. Sebastian is a recipient of a 2010 MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for “forging a new, multifaceted role beyond the concert hall for the twenty-first-century musician.”
Student + Speaker + Educator
Taiwo Demola is the co-founder of Diversity Talks, a business that provides student-led professional development for teachers that utilizes restorative justice practices and provides the tools necessary to engage in culturally relevant conversation within the classroom. She is a former delegate for the Providence Student Union. In this role, Taiwo assisted in the development and implementation of an ethnic studies curriculum and educated community stakeholders about the issues impacting Providence high school students. As a member of the Nellie Mae Foundation speaker’s bureau, Taiwo has been able to educate audiences outside of Rhode Island about the importance of empowering young people to be agents of change. Taiwo is currently a sophomore at Mount Holyoke College and remains committed to inspiring and uplifting people through honest dialogue and narrative sharing
Public Art Advocate
Yarrow Thorne, Founder and Executive Director of The Avenue Concept. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). While a student, Yarrow established RISD’s first public art policy to create revolving walls for artists to showcase their work. In 2012, Yarrow was selected to receive one of twenty SEED Grants from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, which he used to found The Avenue Concept. Yarrow’s vision for The Avenue Concept is a private organization that leverages support for public art projects to get off the ground, to jump-start excitement and recognition for art and its value in Providence and everyday life. Yarrow believes his dyslexia is his greatest asset. Through it he has developed his ability to work outside the box in many venues, particularly in finding creative solutions to urban challenges using public art. Yarrow has installed over 150 pieces of public art since 2012.