Kate Berry Brown was born in 1978 and grew up in Evanston, Illinois. Her current body of work consists of meticulously carved wood and paper sculptures, which evolved from abstract ink drawings on cut paper and the desire to give them dimensionality. The artist’s woodworking journey began four years ago on a tiny island off the coast of Massachusetts where she lived surrounded by vast skies and miles of ocean for several months.

“On the beach I love to watch the ocean waves rhythmically bring in and carry away stones and shells. If you can’t catch them fast enough, back out to see everything goes. Each rock has been through years of churning, breaking, and reforming deep below the surface of the water. I can’t help but feel this journey is a metaphor for life, all this cracking and reshaping. My wood and paper wall sculptures are tokens of this fragility and strength, symbols of impermanent but infinite beauty.

Though I attribute so much of my inspiration to the ocean, I can’t claim it as my own per se. I grew up and still today live next to Lake Michigan, outside of Chicago. Lake Michigan is unlike the ocean with its tides and majestic creatures, but it is a grand body of water and its own right. Walks and drives along the lake growing up taught me about and instilled a need for breathing room. So today I chase space – a moment of clarity or a deep breath – and I want to harness that in my work.“


Described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by the New York Times, cellist and composer TOMEKA REID has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. Her distinctive melodic sensibility, always rooted in a strong sense of groove, has been featured in many distinguished ensembles over the years.

Reid grew up outside of Washington D.C., but her musical career began after moving to Chicago in 2000. Her work with Nicole Mitchell and various Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians-related groups proved influential. By focusing on developing her craft in countless improvisational contexts, Reid has achieved a stunning musical fluency. She is a Foundation of the Arts (2019) and 3Arts Awardee (2016), and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017.

Reid released her debut recording as a bandleader in 2015, with the Tomeka Reid Quartet, a vibrant showcase for the cellist’s improvisational acumen as well as her dynamic arrangements and compositional ability. The quartet’s second album, Old New, released in Oct 2019 on Cuneiform Records, has been described as “fresh and transformative–its songs striking out in bold, lyrical directions with plenty of Reid’s singularly elegant yet energetic and sharp-edged bow work.” Another reviewer noted that “while Reid’s compositional and technical gifts transcend jazz, they exemplify the tradition wondrously.”

Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton (ZIM SEXTET) and Roscoe Mitchell (ROSCOE MITCHELL QUARTET, ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO), as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell (BLACK EARTH ENSEMBLE, ARTIFACTS), vocalist Dee Alexander (EVOLUTION ENSEMBLE), and drummer Mike Reed (LOOSE ASSEMBLY, LIVING BY LANTERNS, ARTIFACTS). She co-leads the adventurous string trio HEAR IN NOW, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi, and in 2013 launched the first Chicago Jazz String Summit, a semi-annual three-day international festival of cutting edge string players held in Chicago. In the Fall of 2019 Tomeka Reid received a teaching appointment at Mills College as the Darius Milhaud chair in composition. Tomeka was named a 2022 MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

avery r young

Interdisciplinary artist and educator avery r. young is a 3Arts Awardee, Cave Canem fellow and a co-director of The Floating Museum. His poetry and prose has been featured in anthologies such as; featured in BreakBeat Poets, Teaching Black,, Poetry Magazine and alongiside images in photographer Cecil McDonald Jr’s, In The Company of Black. As artist-in-residence at the University of Chicago, young created a series of assemblage and sculpture along with his first recording, booker t. soltreyne: a race rekkid. His theater credits include co-writing and co-producing the soundtrack for Lise Haller Baggeson’s Hatorgrade Retrograde: The Musical and writing the libretto for The Chicago Lyric Opera’s Twilight: Gods. His performance and visual work has been exhibited and/or presented at The Art Institute, The Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Jazz Museum and other institutions. An award winning teaching artist, young co-mentors the Rebirth Poetry Ensemble. He is the featured vocalist on Nicole Mitchell’s Mandorla Awakening and has tours planned with his band de deacon board. Young’s latest full length recording tubman. is the soundtrack to his first collection of visual and traditional poetry, neckbone: visual verses.

collard green garden
or wessyde note #4

fo(r) norf, ms [or chicago, il]

in backyard
off alley
offerin meech
a place to toss
& catch football
wif poo

church mudda
remembers cornbread
& buttermilk
after day
of pickin cotton
place(is) green(s)


her singin

     sweet home
     i gotta beautiful home

in lilac duster
& matchin slipper(s)

smellin of grass
& black diamond

sun & sky


Ruben Aguirre (b. 1979, Chicago, IL) is driven by drawing attention to underutilized infrastructure as a potential substrate. He has produced a number of murals in the Chicago area, across the U.S., and abroad. Aguirre’s work is an intersection of abstraction, graffiti, formalism, and mural painting. With forms inspired by typography, geographical terrain, and the human body, Ruben’s compositions organically build a visual language often referencing the socio-historical background of each site location. He has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center, the Hyde Park Art Center, and The National Museum of Mexican Art. His work has been covered by the Atlantic, the Washington Post, and Art News. Aguirre’s public works have been commissioned for clients such as Google, Adidas, Linked IN, Conde Nast, and others.


BRIL BARRETT is a dedicated tap dancer, whose mission is to preserve and promote tap dance as a percussive art form, foster respect and admiration for the history and culture of tap, and continuously create opportunities for the art form and its practitioners.

Bril Barrett is the founder of M.A.D.D. (Making A Difference Dancing) Rhythms, director of The Chicago Tap Summit and founder of The M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Academy. His Performance opportunities include Riverdance, Tap Dance Kid, Derrick Grant & Arron Tolson’s Imagine Tap, The Kennedy Center, Jumaane Taylor’s Supreme Love, Democratic National Convention and many others. Television appearances include: The Oprah Winfrey Show, Steve Harvey Show, Jenny Jones Show, NBC’s Someone You Should know and ABC’s Windy City Live. Bril has taught and/or performed in Prague, Canada, Germany, Finland, Turkey, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Albania, Amsterdam, Brazil, The Bahamas, The U.K. and across the United States. He was named A Chicagoan of the Year and has his very own Ted Talk.

Bril Barrett has started many outreach programs in Chicago’s public schools, Park districts and even a performing arts high school in Gary, Indiana. He ran an After School Matters Youth Tap Program for more than 10 years and has provided after school and summer jobs for more than 300 youth from underserved communities.

As a Taptivist, Bril has spent many years creating an alternative to the schools to prison pipeline that exist for many black and brown youth. A child can go from novice to professional without ever leaving our headquarters inside the historic Harold Washington Cultural Center in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood. We have “Tap for Tots”(2-4), followed by “The M.A.D.D. Rhythms Tap Academy”(5-105). From there, M.A.D.D. Rhythms Bronzeville: The HWCC Crew is our teen(14-18) employment program. Our Apprenticeship Program for 18 and up leads to Professional company placement at 21. “I am most proud of our Novice to Professional Pipeline!” says Bril.

Bril is determined to make a difference in his community by using tap and it’s history to expose our youth to the art form that saved his life!

Respect The Dance!