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Springboard has a team of Artist Career Consultants (ACCs), each of whom is a working artist, well-established in his or her field, with considerable experience in mentoring and teaching individual artists. ACC bios and areas of specialty are listed below. You can request a specific ACC, or we can match you with one, when you sign up for Consultations.

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Springboard Staff

Professional Development and Operations Coordinator

Artist Resources Coordinator

Artist Career Consultant Roster

Alison Bergblom Johnson
Artist Career Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Literature, storytelling and performance, public relations, artists with disabilities
Bio: Alison Bergblom Johnson is an artist whose work often approaches uncomfortable, difficult subjects. Her genres and media include storytelling, creative nonfiction, installation, and collage, and her work explores gender, disability, and sexuality. Some venues she’s performed at include Patrick’s Cabaret, the Northfield Artists Guild, and Strike Theater, in addition to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Flock, Diverse Voices Quarterly, and Minnesota Public Radio’s website have published her essays.

Cecilia Cornejo
Artist Career Consultant, Northfield
Skills: Documentary film, public art, socially engaged art, Latin American cinema, Third cinema, essay film
Bio: Cecilia Cornejo is a Chilean-born documentary filmmaker, artist, and teacher based in Northfield, Minnesota. Through different media, means and approaches, Cecilia’s work engages with historical trauma, displacement and the experience of living in-between cultures. Her work is known for placing community members at the center of the creative process, engaging them as active participants, co-creators of meaning, and architects of their representation. She teaches cinema at Carleton College.

Amanda Cortes
Artist Career Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Writing, Editing, Strategic Planning, Conflict Mediation, navigating bureaucracy
Bio: Amanda Cortes works at the intersection of racial equity, grassroots community development, art and culture. Her theory and practice are informed by her upbringing in working class, immigrant, Latinx communities on Chicago's south west side. Amanda is inspired by connecting artists and cultural workers to resources, helping overcome obstacles in current projects and planning for new possibilities. She holds a B.S. in Speech Communication and a J.D. from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.

Dominic Facio
Rural Program Coordinator, Fergus Falls
Skills: Performance (makeup artistry & effects, event producer, DJ) and administration
Bio: Dominic is a creative known for his production of many niche and place-based community events, including The Fergus Falls Zombie Crawl, Danse Macabre, and Ms Lexi D’s Catwalk Party. After a year studying digital photography at Brown College, he was recruited as the Department Head of FX for the movie "Geist," a haunting film shot on the grounds of the Kirkbride Building in Fergus Falls, MN in 2011. In 2015, Dominic was awarded first place in the makeup competition at Crypticon, and has since then been the recipient of three separate Legacy Grants from the Lake Region Arts Council.

Aaron Fiskradatz
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Theatre (acting, directing, writing, puppetry), and Arts Education (all ages and abilities)
Bio: Aaron Fiskradatz is a theatre artist and educator active in the Twin Cities area. He collaborates with artists from the disability community through Upstream Arts, teaches acting and storytelling to children with the Neighborhood Bridges program, and writes and directs youth plays at Lakeshore Players Theatre. As a freelance artist, he frequently works as a puppeteer, ranging in scale from toy theatre to giant parade puppets. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota.

Candida Gonzalez
Artist Career Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Visual art career development, grant writing and fund sourcing, budgeting, arts admin, accessibility
Bio: A Puerto Rican native of South Minneapolis, Candida Gonzalez studied Latin American Art and History at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and went on to get her M.Ed. at The University of Minnesota in 2003. She is passionate about education, community engagement through the arts and equitable arts access. She has worked as an arts program coordinator, curator, arts integration educator and co-founded a national public art business focusing on murals in 2016.

troy_king_photoTroy King
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Music (hip-hop emcee, songwriting, poetry, spoken word, artist development) and Administration (social justice, activism, customer service, clerical, leadership).
Bio: Troy King is a recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for performing musicians and has worked with Springboard for the Arts as both a grant recipient and project coordinator. Attended NC State University before moving to Minnesota in 2011 and has released a mixtape as well as two full-length albums.

Oskar Ly
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Creative Ideation and Strategy, Artistic Branding, Planning and Management.
Bio: Oskar is a queer Hmong French American multi-disciplinary artist, creative strategist, and cultural producer. Their work span from experiential events, public installations, social enterprise (, fashion art (Os.Couture), curating, creative branding, and community building. They have received MSAB, Jerome, Forecast, and CURA grants. They support creatives to ideate and identify their options, providing admin and management coaching to help artists find the focus to follow through.

Jessica Lopez Lyman
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Research, Screenprinting, Grant writing
Bio: Jessica Lopez Lyman, Ph.D. is an interdisciplinary performance artist and Xicana feminist scholar interested in how Indigenous and People of Color create alternative spaces to heal and imagine new worlds. Jessica built, La Luchadora, a mobile screen printing cart as part of the Ready Go! program and prints political posters with communities across the state. She is a an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Ifrah Mansour
Artist Career Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Playwriting, acting, experimental film, puppetry, poetry and Somali language.
Bio: Ifrah Mansour is a Somali, refugee, Muslim, multimedia artist and an educator. Her artwork explores trauma through the eyes of children to uncover the resiliencies of blacks, muslims, and refugees. She interweaves poetry, puppetry, films, and installations. She's been featured in BBC, Vice, OkayAfrica, Star Tribune, and City Pages. Her critically-acclaimed, “How to Have Fun in a Civil War” premiered at Guthrie Theatre and toured to cities in greater Minnesota.

Zaraawar_HeadshotZaraawar Mistry
Artist Resources Coordinator, Lowertown St. Paul
Skills: Theater (acting, directing, producing).
Bio: Zaraawar Mistry is a co-owner of Dreamland Arts, a 40-seat theater attached to his home in St. Paul. He has performed in and directed many works for several Twin Cities theater companies, and mentored dozens of artists in the creation and production of original works for the stage. He has an M.F.A. in Theatre from UC, San Diego and a B.A. from Bennington College in Vermont.

Mara Morken
Artist Career Consultant, Fargo/Moorhead
Skills: Community/Public Arts, Creative Place Making, Graphic Design (non-profit/political)
Bio: As a community artist and creative place maker (who dabbles in installation and design work), Mara is most excited by art which engages and inspires the everyday passerby or shares a truth. Mara believes thoughtfully executed public art can positively impact communities and create places people want to live, work and play. In her personal work Mara's pieces are a collision of politics, gender, and economics. Professionally, political and community work are her focus.

Felicia Perry
Artist Career Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Radio/Podcasting (host, producer), Dance, Visual Art (performance, teaching), Administration, Project Management
Bio: ARTreprenuer specializing in fashion, design, performance art, and curating spaces. She is anon air host of “DesignHER Life ” at KRSM Radio station, where she interviews women and non binary ARTreprenuers. She serves on the Board of Village Financial Cooperative in North Minneapolis. Felicia works with the West Broadway Business and Area Coalition where she is a Business Resources Coordinator as well as an activator of vacant spaces that uses Art as a catalyst to economic and social development.

Jes Reyes
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Film (production, presentation), Visual Art (painting, mixed media), Administration (programming).
Bio: Jes Reyes is an artist, teacher, leader, curator, advocate, and innovator. She holds a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Film/Electronic Arts from California State Long Beach and a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota. Jes has exhibited and screened her artwork throughout the Twin Cities and is the founder of the Altered Esthetics Film Festival. Currently, she is the Coordinator of Avivo ArtWorks, an art studio program serving artists living with mental illness.

Naomi RaMona Schliesman
Artist Development Director, Fergus Falls
Skills: Visual Art (sculpture, installation, mixed media, performance and teaching).
Bio: Naomi RaMona Schliesman received her BFA from the University of Minnesota, Moorhead, and her MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has shown her art nationally and has participated in artist residencies and fellowships at the Vermont Studio Center, Ragdale, Kimmel Hardening Nelson Center for the Arts and Hospitalfield Arts in Arbroath, Scotland.

Patrick Scully
Artist Career Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Performing arts (dance, theater, perf. art) & Administration (spaces, solo career, small non-profit)
Bio: Patrick is a long time Mpls artist - choreographer/dancer/performance art/theater, entrepreneur, gay and HIV+ activist. His works range from intimate/autobiographical, to boat ballets on rivers in MN and Germany. In 1986 he founded Patrick’s Cabaret, making the local performing arts ecosystem more inclusive and democratic. He's had 8 different spaces in town. A mature artist who has persevered, he’s thought about artists' sustainability. He's been a successful fundraiser & grant writer.

Dana Sikkila
Artist Career Consultant, Mankato
Skills: Administration, Grants, Statements and Proposals, Place Based Projects, Rural Arts, Education
Bio: Sikkila received her Master of Arts in Printmaking as well as her Non Profit Leadership Certificate from Minnesota State University, Mankato. At just 33 years old, Sikkila has been named as one of the most well-known creative leaders of Southern Minnesota, developing numerous grassroots cultural project and programs throughout the state, such as the 410 Project and Project Bike. For 6 years, she's held an arts and education professor position at MNSU, Mankato and Gustavus Adolphus College.

Jeremy Staab
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Entrepreneurial development, grant administration, business planning, sales, project management
Bio: Jeremy served as Project Manager for First Peoples Fund (FPF), a national Native-led non-profit, who puts artists and culture bears at the center of community development. Through FPF, he managed the First Peoples Fund’s Indigenous Arts Ecology Grant program and grantees from all across the continental U.S. and in Alaska and Hawaii. He was also the Program Manager and a certified instructor of FPF’s flagship values-based training, Native Artist Professional Development (NAPD) training.

Andy_HeadshotAndy Sturdevant
Artist Resources Director, Lowertown St. Paul
Skills: Visual Art and Literature (non-fiction).
Bio: Andy Sturdevant is a writer, publisher, artist and very occasional performer. He has written about art, history and culture for a variety of publications, and is the author of three books of nonfiction. He is also the creator of a number of small-run art and design books, distributed in the United States and Europe. His artwork has been exhibited at venues in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle, and he has presented public programs with many organizations locally and regionally. Andy holds a B.F.A. in painting from the University of Louisville and a graphic design certificate from Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Adia Morris Swanger
Professional Development and Operations Coordinator, Lowertown St. Paul
Skills: Theater (acting, directing and teaching), Dance (dance, choreography), and On Camera (film, commercial, hosting).
Bio: Adia Morris is a freelance artist and educator. She has performed at the Guthrie Theater and Park Square Theatre, and danced with Threads Dance Project. She has taught dance and theatre workshops for Guthrie Theater, Youth Performance Company, and Minneapolis Public Schools. Adia earned her BA in Classics from Duke University.

David_Unowsky_HeadshotDavid Unowsky
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Writing and publishing: sales, marketing, event planning
Bio:For 34 years, David Unowsky owned and ran Hungry Mind (later known as Ruminator), one of America’s great bookstores which also fostered a literary magazine and a publishing company. He later helped create successful event series at Magers and Quinn and SubText bookstores. A published writer, he is a recipient both the Kay Sexton award and the Pat Bell Award. Currently doing sales and marketing consulting with 4 publishers.

Katie Ka Vang
Artist Career Consultant, Lowertown St. Paul
Skills: Theater (performance, playwriting).
Bio: Katie Ka Vang has an MFA in Playwriting from Brown University and a BA in Innovation Marketing Management from Concordia University. She recently was the Director of Arts and Culture for the Asian Economic Development Association (AEDA) in furthering the growth of the Little Mekong Night Market and creating visibility for the neighborhood through place-based arts programming. She's received personal grants from Jerome, National Performance Network, Minnesota State Arts Board, Metro Regional Arts Council, and others. She has worked in the community using arts as a tool for social change. She is excited about connecting artists and communities with resources to help them thrive.

Saymoukda Vongsay
Artist Career Consultant, St. Paul
Skills: Artistic/Creative Project Ideation, Grant Proposal Writing, Artistic+Professional Planning
Bio: Vongsay is a Lao American poet, playwright, and producer. Her plays have been presented by the Smithsonian APAC, Theater Mu, Consortium of Asian American Theater Artists, and Theater Unbound. She's received creative grants/fellowships from the Jerome Fdn., Bush Fdn., Knight Fdn., Open Meadows Fdn., BMPP, Headwaters Fdn., St. Paul Fdn., Playwrights Center, Forecast Public Art, Loft Literary Center, Metropolitan Regional Arts Council, MN State Arts Board, and elsewhere. She loves pho and art-ing.

Laura Youngbird
Artist Career Consultant, Fargo/Moorhead
Skills: Visual Art (drawing, painting, printmaking), Instructor, Art Advocate and Administrator (leadership)
Bio: Youngbird earned her BS, BFA and MA from Minnesota State University at Moorhead with a minor in American Indian Studies. Laura is an enrolled member of the Minnesota Chippewa, Grand Portage Band and currently lives in Breckenridge, Minnesota. Laura is the Director of Native American Art at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo, North Dakota. Using the dress as a metaphor, her work explores the boarding school experience and influences of Christianity on American Indian spirituality and life views.

Consultant for Community Emergency Relief Fund

Amelia Brown
Community Emergency Relief Fund Consultant, Minneapolis
Skills: Arts and Emergency Management, Administration.
Bio: Amelia Brown has more than 20 years of experience spanning four continents advancing work in it's first phase of development. She earned the first and only self-designed master's degree from the U of M integrating arts and emergency management. She managed the first Twin Cities placemaking residency while helping to develop the Cultural Corridor with TC LISC. She is the first to implement the Creative CityMaking program in the City of Minneapolis. She is the first to focus on arts and disaster in publications and conferences from New Orleans to New Zealand.

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Sign up for a time with one of our Artist Career Consultants to plan your next steps, get insight into your arts career, or get connected to resources!

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