Participating Artist & Facilitator Biographies

Harlan (left) working with his creative team at the symposium

Harlan Brownlee is the President and CEO of the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City. He has lead the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City in developing community partnerships dedicated to insuring access to the arts and cultural development for the region. Brownlee served as the Executive Director for Kansas City Young Audiences, a non-profit dedicated to engaging all youth in the arts, promoting creativity, and inspiring success in education. He is on the Kennedy Center’s National touring roster for the Partners in Education program, and has conducted master classes, workshops and residencies throughout the United States. In addition, he has been an adjunct professor for Rockhurst University’s School of Education and the University of Missouri Kansas City’s School of Education. Since 1996, he has served as a consultant for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and as a member of the Fine Arts Task Force. Brownlee received his B.F.A. from theUniversity ofWisconsin-Milwaukee where he was educated as a dancer and choreographer. His performance background includes work for thirteen years as one of the Artistic Co-Directors with City in Motion Dance Theater in Kansas City, Missouri.  Brownlee received his M.A. in Educational Research and Psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Inez Bush: Debating through the Arts / Presentation and Interactive Workshop

Inez Bush earned an M.A. in Education, Leadership and Change from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and a BFA in Graphic Design from SUNY Purchase. As an independent arts education consultant and strategic planning facilitator, she guides school districts in arts education implementation by developing integrated arts curricula, programs and professional development for educators. Inez is also co-founder, CEO and Creative Director of Gramercy Partners, Inc., an award-winning marketing, communications and design firm. Gramercy Partners recently launched Artweek.LA Art. Here. Now. ( to support the local art scene and has just developed an exclusive program with the Huffington Post, This Artweek.LA ( Inez’s thesis and lifework is focused on identifying the key to sustaining arts education and arts integrative methods in educational practices. She has co-produced two interactive events with performance artist Jerri Allyn: Debating Through the Arts 1 and 2. This summer, as a part of the Artist in Residence program at 18th Street Arts Center in Los Angeles (, Bush, Allyn and the artist debaters will produce an exhibition from the first two debates and a 3rd debate.

INDA EVERYTHING: Class of 2010 Interdisciplinary Arts

Julia Cole is a public artist, educator and community strategist. She had a first career as a scientist and then returned to college for a BFA at the San Francisco Art Institute. She earned her MFA at the University of Washington in Seattle, and most recently chaired the Interdisciplinary Arts department at the Kansas City Art Institute. She has studied or taught at twelve diverse institutions of higher learning since graduating from high school. Cole believes that imagination is an essential, core component of a healthy society, that civil discourse is the mark of a mature and caring culture, and that the quality of education defines our common future. She currently works with the Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, coordinating an interdisciplinary grants program.

Elysia Contreras: Knit Together at the Tin Can Studio

Elysia Contreras is invested in a practice that is rooted in the exchange of knowledge, and sharing of skills. She teaches Art and Culture for Alta Vista Charter Middle School, and has worked at Mattie Rhodes Art Center serving the Westside community and Greater Kansas City since 2007. Elysia is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Contreras received her B.F.A in Interdisciplinary Arts, and Art History, and a certificate in Community Art Service Learning from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2009. For past community projects, see:


Gang Proof Suit: Jim Duignan is working with a group of 6th grade students from the Back of the Yards community of south Chicago on the design and implementation of a gang proof suit.

Jim Duignan received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from the University of Illinois at Chicago and now teaches in the School of Education at De Paul University. His research interests include Innovative Visual and Media Arts Education, Radical Pedagogy, & Publishing. He is an artist and founder of the Stockyard Institute, an artist project that designs the conditions for developing temporary and sustainable projects and programs to the most underserved people in three Chicago communities: Duignan also helped launch AREA Chicago: Art, Research Education & Activism, a biannual publication in Chicago, originally published by the Stockyard Institute.

Bill Genereux: from his video blog: Teachers Need Experience Beyond School

Bill Genereux is an Associate Professor of Computer Systems Technology at Kansas State University at Salina. He received his M.S. from Fort Hays State University 
in Internetworking & Telecommunications, and his Bachelors degree from Kansas Wesleyan University, where he majored in Computer Science and minored in English and Art. He has been working with computers for more than twenty years, and teaching in higher education since 2001. His interests are highly eclectic, and he loves exploring the relationships between the sciences and the humanities. Genereux is currently working on a Ph.D. in Education and authors a blog called TechIntersect, which explores the intersection of technology, science and the arts:

Asma Kazmi: Whirling Event 2007 A performance event where she asked the audience to whirl with her.

Asma Kazmi received a B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and an M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of the At the Edge: Innovative Art in Chicago Award, given by the University of Illinois in Chicago and the Critical Mass Grant awarded by The Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis. Her work has been exhibited and included in collections such as the University of Missouri, St. Louis; Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis; Webster University; Boots Contemporary Art Space, St. Louis; The Guild Gallery, New York; Galerie Sans Titre, Brussels, Belgium; Gallery 400, University of Illinois in Chicago; Boston Underground Film Festival; Balagan Film and Video Series, Boston; Women In Film & Video/New England; and the MassArt Film Society. Kazmi was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. She is currently teaching in her first year at the Kansas City Art Institute Foundation program.

Rockhill working with students at the Cooper Union on his restaging of Allan Kaprow's 1967 Happening, FLUIDS as part of the >PERFORMA 07 Biennial.

Zach Rockhill is an interdisciplinary artist who has been teaching in the foundation program at Cooper Union since 2005. After receiving his BFA from the University of Kansas in1994 he joined the artist-run Arts in Education organization, Dreamyard, where he worked as an artist in residence in the New York City public school system for 5 years. He received his MFA from Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers, in 2003 where he worked closely with performance artist Geoff Hendricks. His work has been shown nationally and internationally.  Recent projects include ‘Long Black’ at Fluxspace, Philadelphia, ‘STOCKROOM,’ & ‘The Planet in Orgasm,’ in Venice, Italy concurrent to the Venice Biennial. Rockhill is a recipient of a Finishing Funds Grant through the Electronic Media and Film Program of the New York State Council of the Arts in 2009 and was a 2007 New York Foundation for the Arts fellow.

Zach Springer: Build Something Together--Kindred and Hollis’s treehouse

Zach Springer received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute, and his MFA in the Art and Social Practice program at Portland State. His community-based artwork focuses on developing systems of direct democracy and site specificity. He has shown and made his work nationally and internationally, at venues including Smackmellon in NY, Project Row House in Texas, the Portland Art Museum and Free Gallery in Toronto. His first teaching experience was through a class called The Alternative Energy Design Workshop, in which he utilized alternative pedagogical structures to illustrate first-hand how a multitude of experiences and knowledge bases can be applied in students’ work, research and everyday lives. Springer is now teaching a class in Green Sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Leralee Whittle: WorkArtOut--a multimedia performance about the funny, strange ways people act when they enter sports work-out facilities, and some creative alternatives to it.

Leralee Whittle is a choreographer, videographer and dancer who performed dance and experimental theatre for 12 years in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2008 she was awarded a grant for innovative dance from the Theater Bay Area. She then toured and performed in galleries, colleges, and theaters all over the U.S. together with musician Paul Sprawl. After landing in Kansas City in 2010, she was awarded a Rocket Grant (funded by the Andy Warhol Foundation, Charlotte Street and the Spencer Museum) for innovative interdisciplinary performance. She has collaborated with many other dancers, performance groups and choreographers, including Nita Little Dance Theatre (2000-2005), Plan B Performance Group and others. Whittle’s recent works include “WorkArtOut,” “Occupied” & “You’re Really Something.”



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