Artist Roster

The artists who are on our roster hold values similar to the organization, that is the commitment to inspiring creativity through quality arts experiences. Roster artists value both process and product in the act of creating a work. They encourage exploration and refinement of ideas, as well as careful craftsmanship. They emphasize the historical and cultural context of art work and use this knowledge as an underpinning for the art project. Finally, they understand the importance of active reflection on art.


Susan ArmingtonSusan Armington PAINTING • MIXED MEDIA
Susan Armington, B.A., Brown University, M.S. Cornell University) is a visual artist who works in painting, mixed media, and imaginative mapmaking. She loves making things of all sorts, and has made collages a big as an elephant and as small as a peanut. She often builds miniature worlds in pop-out “map boxes” or intricate collage maps with writings in them.. She is a roster artist for COMPAS’ Writers and Artists in the Schools Program and has led workshops statewide, as well as at the Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and Walker Art Center. She originated the Talking Suitcases project which she leads with people of all ages. In this project participants create handmade objects that fit into a suitcase and are used for telling a story. In 2012 she completed a set of ten life-size painted wooden figures of youth .with dreams on their backs for the International Labour Office in Geneva,
Switzerland. She is the recipient of three Minnesota State Arts Board“Artist Initiative” grants, in 2004, 2009 and 2013.
Gustavo Boada Gustavo Boada PUPPETRY • MASKMAKING
Gustavo Boada is a theater-based multidisciplinary artist with more than 20 years of working in professional theater in Peru, Chile, Puerto Rico, Philadelphia and Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is well known for his work with traditional dance and performance masks, as well as designing and building puppets, performance structures and set design. While living in Peru, Gustavo had the opportunity to be part of one of the most important Peruvian and Latin American theater groups of the last century,
Yuyachkani. In 1997-1998 he was invited by Peter Schumman to work in Bread and Puppet Theater. In 2003 he founded the NAYLAMP Street and Puppet Theater in North Philadelphia. In 2007 he was invited by Heart of Beast Masque and Puppet Theater to be part of their May Day staff. He has settled in Minneapolis and is working as an artist in the community and schools.

Julie Kastigar Boada is an Anishinabe artist, storyteller, puppeteer and art educator. She has worked regionally and nationally for the past 18 years, both with Heart of the Beast Masque and Puppet Theatre and independently. She has worked with include the L.A. Music Center, The Minnesota History Center, and The Fergus Falls Center for the Arts. Recent work includes A Company of Angels, La Bafana, On the Day You Were Born, Coyote Stories, Retelling the World and May Day. Julie has received grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and Jerome Foundation. Julie has a B.A. in Studio Arts and American Indian Studies from the University of Minnesota. She is passionate about work that
fosters cultural pride and value.
Rebekah Crisanta Rebekah Crisanta Visual Art • Music • Performance
Rebekah Crisanta is a multidisciplinary post-modern folk artist. She works in visual art, music, and performance. Crisanta studied studio art at St. Olaf College and folk art at Holtekilen Folkehøgskole in Norway, and is both self-taught and family-taught in traditional art techniques. She is also a Mexica/Azteca dancer, a musician of the band Lady Xok, curator of Dimensions of Indigenous at Intermedia Arts, and Arts Director of the non-profit Ce Tempoxcalli. She is a founder of the Xican@ arts collective Electric Machete Studios on St. Paul’s West Side. She is currently working on the MN Flute Project- Ce In Yollotl In Tlapizalli for the revitalization of pre-Columbian clay instruments and music funded by a Folk & Cultural Arts grant by the MN State Arts Board.

Jeanette Dickinson Jeanette Dickinson Sculpture • Painting • Illustration • Printing
Jeanette Dickinson has varied experience in the visual arts including sculpture, painting, illustrating, and printing. She has also been a member of the Minnesota Japan America Sumi-e Club since 2001. She received BA in art with a focus on sculpture, from the University of Minnesota. Jeanette has works in private collections, and recently illustrated the book, Nature Seeker Workbook. She has worked with children and adults of all ages making art. Her major focus in teaching has been combining art, nature and culture. “It is my belief that bringing art to a community is an expression of how we perceive, respond and record the world around us. We share in a moment of creation our thoughts, feelings and history as an individual and as a society.”
Meg ErkeMeg Erke Painting • Collage • Book Artist
Meg Erke is a painter, collage and book artist and art educator. Before working as a professional artist, Meg was a visual arts teacher in middle and high schools. Meg loves taking old discarded things like windows, old books, maps, and fabric and bringing new life to them through art. In addition to working with youth, Meg has developed and implemented art lessons in a variety of mediums for adults with developmental disabilities.

Marjorie Fedyzyn Marjorie Fedyzyn VISUAL ARTIST
Marjorie cultivated her interest in art and the creative process from working along side her handy father and from her mother who has a wonderful sense of aesthetics. Growing up on Lake Erie, Marjorie loved to collect the gifts from the lake washed upon the shore and would marvel at each precious piece of glass, stone, shell or stick. Constructing installations of driftwood, seaweed, bricks and black slate, and knowing how temporary they were was the foundation for her love of nature and the joy of creating things by hand. Her own personal artmaking as a fiber artist is nestled in the art of wool felting. Marjorie’s goal as a teaching artist no matter what the art material or art form is to inspire and nurture each child’s creative capacity.
Armando Gutierrez Armando Gutierrez G. PAINTING • SCULPTURE • CERAMICS
Armando Gutierrez G. is a versatile artist working in various mediums. Known primarily as a painter/muralist, he is also a performer and musician creating and playing pre-Columbian instruments of Mexico. He is founder and former executive director of CreArte Chicano Latino Arts Center and Museum. Gutierrez also was instrumental in the development of El Colegio, a charter high school serving Latino students in south Minneapolis. He is the recipient of the Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods (LIN) grant from The St. Paul Companies (Travelers), the U.S. Bank Sally Ordway Irvine Award for initiative in the arts, and the Jerome Foundation Travel and Study grant, and two Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Assistance grants and a Cultural Collaboration grant. Currently, Gutierrez is working with ArtStart on an ongoing basis in youth development and teacher staff development.

Jennifer Kiel Jennifer Kiel VISUAL ARTIST • ARTS EDUCATOR
Jennifer is a teaching artist with over ten years professional teaching experience in the Minnesota Public School system. In the classroom, Jennifer is known for her ability to connect with and engage students, as well as maintain organization and classroom management. She has experience teaching and working with a wide variety of art mediums – her favorite is clay sculpture. Beyond the public school classroom, Jennifer has travel and teaching experience in thirteen countries including Peru, Cameroon and the Czech Republic. She often draws on those experiences to enrich her lessons and her own artwork.
Shakun Maheshwari Shakun Maheshwari

Shakun Maheshwari is a visual artist who specializes in photography, graphic design, henna art, painting, and textiles. Her residency work with students meshes her Indian heritage with contemporary life—a blend of folk art and graphic design, traditional styles with modern materials, impermanent with permanent. While she often teaches and demonstrates the traditional techniques of henna, rangoli, and batik, she also enjoys applying the designs and techniques in inventive ways. She has taught students from pre-k through senior high, from special needs to advanced adult artists. Her greatest satisfaction comes from passing on her cultural and artistic knowledge to the next generation.

Marie Olofstodder Marie Olofstodder BOOK ARTS • POETRY • ILLUSTRATION
Marie Olofstodder is a Swedish-born artist living in Minneapolis. Her books for children have been honored by a Midwest Book Achievement Award, a Benjamin Franklin Award, and a Minnesota Book Award. Marie’s poems have appeared in several online journals and she is the recipient of a Loft Mentor Series Award in Poetry. Her grants include a 2013 MSAB Artist Initiative Grant, and she created the Official 2013 Minnesota State Fair Commemorative Art. Marie’s work as a teaching artist has inspired young and old alike for the last 20 years.
Anne Sawyer-Aitch Anne Sawyer-Aitch PUPPETRY • MASKMAKING • TEXTILES
Anne Sawyer-Aitch, (pronounced like the letter “H”) Visual Artist, has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Latin American Studies, with emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Graduating with Distinction. Anne has worked as a puppeteer, arts educator, and stilt walker for many Twin Cities groups, including In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Open Eye Figure Theatre, the Ordway, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Chicks on Sticks, ArtStart, and the Minnesota Zoo. Recently, she wrote and illustrated her first children’s book, Nalah and the Pink Tiger, (Scarletta Press, 2012). She is touring the puppet show version the book around the state, performing in both English and Spanish. Her second book, Nalah Visits Mad Mouse City was published late in 2014.

Larry Wade Larry Wade NATURALIST
Larry Wade, naturalist, has been a student of nature since 3rd grade. After 20 years of professional work as a naturalist and teacher in public schools, Larry recently completed Nature Seeker Workbook, a resource for teachers and kids. For the past 4 years, Larry has written a nature blog about local happenings in the Twin Cities ( to moving to Minnesota, Larry was a marine biologist for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He has written two books on the subject: Whales in the Classroom, Oceanography and Getting to Know the Whales.


Born in Jamaica, is a professional musician, composer, and instrument builder. He is an adjunct music professor at Roosevelt University in Chicago. His appearances in the Twin Cities and Chicago are met with rave reviews by the contemporary music community in which Ewart showcases his musical and instrument construction skill performing/improvising on instruments he builds using a variety of recycled and salvaged materials. Ewart is much sought after artist-in-residence in the schools and has taught in ArtStart’s summer interdisciplinary arts program since its inception in 1992.
Linda Hashimoto Linda Hashimoto JAPANESE DANCE • JAPANESE FOLKARTS
Linda Hashimoto is the founder and instructor of Sansei Yonsei Kai Japanese children and
adult dance group. She is very active in the community serving as vice-president of Saint Paul Nagasaki Sister City Committee and she serves on the advisory board of the Pan Asian Dance Festival and the St. Paul Foundation Asian Pacific Endowment. She is the cultural performance chair of the Dragon Festival and performs each year with Sansei Yonsei Kai at ArtStart’s EcoArts Fest.

Ghana Mbaye Ghana Mbaye African DRUMMER • PERFORMER
Ghana was born in Senegal, West Africa. His music is inspired by the spiritual songs and rhythms of the Baye Fall, a unique group within the Muslim religion, characterized spiritually by their dedication to hard work, education and tranquility. Ghana performs with various world music groups around the Twin Cities. Since moving to the United States in 2000, he has committed his life to teaching African drumming, dance, and customs to children in and around the Twin Cities. Learning to play the drum takes a great deal of energy and concentration, both qualities that help students become better learners. Ghana is a dynamic teacher who raises the energy level of the classroom to new heights.
Marciano Silva Dos Santos Marciano Silva Dos Santos CREATIVE MOVEMENT/DANCE • CHOREOGRAPHY
Marciano Silva Dos Santos is a native of Brazil, Founder, Dancer, Choreographer and Artistic Director of Contempo Physical Dance based in Minnesota. He studied theater and dance at FAFI, a professional performing arts school in Vitória, Brazil. In 2006 he was recognized by the American Folkloric Society as a Brazilian folk artist of unique and exceptional ability, and since that time he has been sharing his expertise with the Minnesota dance community. Through an invitation by Patrick Scully of Patrick’s Cabaret and Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, he joined TU Dance, led by Toni and Uri, where he was a company member for five years. He also danced for Stuart Pimsler Dance & Theater and in Penumbra Theatre’s Black Nativity. He was named “Best Dancer” by City Pages in 2009 and “one of the most graceful movers on any Twin Cities stage” by the Star Tribune in 2010. Marciano Silva dos Santos teaches dance technique based on his movement technique, a Brazilian art form that fuses Afro-Brazilian dance, contemporary dance and capoeira.

Christopher Yaeger Christopher Yaeger CREATIVE MOVEMENT/DANCE • CHOREOGRAPHY
Christopher Yaeger has played a variety of roles in dance and theater since his early school days. As an independent teaching artist, he works in schools and performs on stages across the globe including the Twin Cities, Budapest, Prague, Las Vegas, and Seoul. He is an ACE dance specialist with the Perpich Center for Arts Education. The ACE Dance Program trains teachers to use dance as a distinct area of study, as well as integrate it with other subject areas. He is also the Director of Dance Hall Days Dance Company and is a featured artist on the Young Audiences and Minnesota State Arts Board rosters, as well as ArtStart.

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