Meet the Influencers, makers, thinker, and allies making radical contributions to the arts both locally and abroad.


DIONNE CUSTER EDWARDS: space community, resources panelist

Dionne Custer Edwards is a writer and educator working in museum education and arts administration at The Wexner Center for the Arts. She created Pages, a writing-based program, where she curates a year of learning experiences in and around the arts. In conjunction with her work in the arts and education, in 2012, she presented in Indianapolis, a TEDx talk titled: Beautiful Distractions in 21st Century Learning, and recently spoke at the National Art Education Association on her research and work with Pages.

For several years, she was a contributing writer for Alive, has published single works of essays and articles, including an essay translated in English and Turkish, Inside Outside: On Creative Practice and Arts Partnership in Sanat Dünyamiz (“Our Art World”). In 2015, Dionne was a featured writer on The Ohio Channel’s : Book Notesand her work appears on several music compilations, most recently: The Tree of Life a collaboration with renown jazz artist Pharez Whitted. In early 2016, she facilitated a 12-week writing residency, Write the Power, in conjunction with Maroon Arts Group, where she worked with seven other writers to pen an 80-page theater-inspired choreo poem, production for stage forthcoming. She was also recently a featured writer for Dare to Be Heard, an exhibition at The Columbus Cultural Arts Center, featuring women artist voices. She performs regularly at literary readings, and writes online at She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three sons.


megan ashley brooks: body positive speaker/facilitator

Megan Ashley Brooks is a Beauty consultant and professional MUA for Laura Mercier Cosmetics. She has provided services for local and celebrity clients such as Yvonne Orji of HBO's Insecure. She lives and works in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and three sons.


jo-ey tang: space community, resources panelist

Jo-ey Tang is curator, artist, and writer living in Columbus, Ohio and Director of Exhibitions, at Columbus College of Art & Design’s Beeler Gallery. Tang was curator at Palais de Tokyo, in Paris, France and arts editor of literary magazine n+1.  He is also founder of a curatorial project called The Notary Public.

Tang is a frequent contributor at Artforum and a contributing editor of the Chinese/English magazine LEAP. His writings have appeared in Flash ArtKaleidoscopeArtAsiaPacific, and This Is Tomorrow. For Kadist Art Foundation, Paris / San Francisco


marisa espe: space community, resources panelist

Marisa Espe is a curatorial assistant at the Wexner Center for the Arts, a multidisciplinary contemporary art center encompassing exhibitions, performing arts, and film/video. She is also a co-founder and member of MINT Collective, an artist-run DIY space founded in 2014 that has operated nomadically since 2017. Marisa has been an arts contributor for Refigural, an online publication on fashion and contemporary art, since 2014.


Recent collaborative projects include WILL PLAY FOR SPACE with MINT Collective (multiple locations), White Wash with Maritt Vaessin (Columbus, OH), and the Visible Invisible project with Ohio State University and Star House Youth Center (Columbus, OH). She curates independently with past exhibitions at EASE Gallery (Columbus, OH), Satellite Contemporary (Las Vegas, NV), and at MINT. She received her BA in History of Art from Ohio State University in 2014. 



Regina Zehner is a freshman at Columbus College of Art and Design studying History of Art and Visual Culture. She is interested in writing and visual aesthetics as a form of narrative within her work. She hopes to pursue critical writing, poetry and curatorial practice.

Grace Oller is a student at Columbus College of Art & Design studying Fine Arts. Her work investigates the truth and beauty found in every-day observations through painting. She spent a year traveling around the world learning about creativity in different cultures. She has taught art classes and workshops locally and internationally. She is interested in furthering her understanding of curatorial practices, and recently curated her first exhibition. 

Julie Green is a second year student in the History or Art and Visual Culture department at CCAD. They are a Columbus based artist who has shown work and curated in the Beaton Gallery. Their works use a wide range of materials including fabric, liquid plastic and metal as well as methods of alternative photo developing.



Kendra studied Visual Arts and Design at Capital University, and is currently a Media Designer for McGraw Hill Education. Her freelance work includes Production Art and Photography, mostly building sets for fashion, cultural shoots or events. The focus of Kendra's subject matter is to create positive visibility for people of color or under represented groups to push diversity forward within the art, media and fashion world. 


Screen Shot 2017-12-07 at 2.12.32 PM.png

marshall shorts: space community, resources panelist

Marshall is an award-winning entrepreneur, artist, designer and organizer with a passion for creativity. With over 10 years of experience in the field of design. His creative passion is only rivaled by his commitment to being an agent of change for his community. He is Founder of Artfluential a boutique branding and design agency. He also and co-founder of Creative Control Fest a conference that centers Black creatives who participate or aspire to be a part of the ever-growing creative class. In 2014 Marshall won the Increase CDC small business award in the communications category and co-authored his first book From This Moment On...Personal Reminders for Success At Work, At Play, and In the Shower. In 2016 he gave his first TEDx Columbus talk which was recognized by the National TEDx organization. 2017 was another year of milestones as Marshall was the recipient of CCAD Alumni Award and Greater Columbus Arts Council, Emerging Arts Leader Award. A Cleveland native and a proud husband and father. 


larry robertson: dj & black infinity vendor

Larry Robertson is a multi-disciplinary artist, designer, DJ, and musician from Cleveland, Ohio. He studied Fashion Design and Visual Communication at Kent State University where he is occasionally a visiting lecturer. For the Flatfoot line of home goods, Robertson draws inspiration from tribal culture and his own African-American/ Blackfoot Native-American heritage. A portion of the proceeds from Flat Foot are donated to Native American charities. Robertson is consistently working to empower people of color with a focus on creative youth development. 


alisha martin: body positive workshop facilitator

Alisha was raised in Columbus, Ohio and received her degree in middle childhood education at The Ohio State University. She currently serves as a 7th grade Pre-Algebra teacher. She has 10 years of experience working professionally with adolescence. This work extends all over the country through a non profit organization for youth development as well as a formal education environment. Alisha is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and has a passion for building and uplifting her female counterparts. In her spare time, she tutors math, coaches a step team, enjoys traveling, and most recently started an ongoing networking event for women, Wine Down.



alONEE GRAY: body positive workshop facilitator

Alonee Gray is a community organizer and public speaker focusing on creating spaces of dialogue and promoting body positivity for women. She is the host of Wine Down, a event for young professionals to relax and connect.



Tyler Davis is a multidisciplinary artist and 2018 BFA Candidate at The Columbus College of Art & Design. Matt Massara is a CCAD Illustration Alumni both are founding and contributing members of SPAM Zine showing works locally and nationally. Davis and Massara work out of Corrugate Contemporary Art Gallery/Studios


lisa mcclymont: holiday craft workshop 

Lisa McLymont, a multi-media sculptor, and painter whose practice is rooted in familial influences of independence, music, creative expression and spirituality. McCLymont holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from The Ohio State University. She was a 2010 Fellowship Recipient of The Ohio State University Arts Initiative Fellowship for Emerging Artists. 

She is a former adjunct faculty member at The Columbus College of Art and Design and Ohio Dominican University, and former member of the Ohio Art League and the Columbus Society for Communicating Arts.  McLymont is one of the inaugural coordinators of the Greater Columbus Arts Council’s Columbus Open Studio & Stage event, and The Art and Artists Of Ohio, an online community.