Alexis Coleman

Creative Writing/Music/Theater

Alexis Coleman is a trained vocalist and musician, and an emerging actor and poet in St. Louis’ artistic community. She is a St. Louis native and graduated from Soldan International Studies High School before relocating to Chicago to earn her music performance degree from Roosevelt University. She workshopped her theater training through The St. Louis Black Repertory Theater and Slightly Askew Theater Ensemble, and was an ensemble member with the latter company between 2009 and 2010. She performs poetry at open mics, background vocals for local bands, and is currently producing original music for an EP release in 2018. Alexis brings her artistic skills, passion for social justice, and deep St. Louis roots to Freedom Arts as a mentor and multi-talented teaching artist.


Alexis on SoundCloud

Corey Black

Creative Writing

Corey Black is a St. Louis born emcee, lyricist, poet, and spoken word artist. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Corey came back to St. Louis and honed his skills at open mic nights as one of the city’s premier poets. He has shared the stage with many regional and major artists, including Lupe Fiasco, Common, and Talib Kweli. He is the creator and founder of Live Poets Society, a unified collective of poets and spoken word artists that seek to keep the art of poetry, literature, and music healthy in St. Louis. In March 2013, Corey organized Operation Bow Tie to help send high-achieving, underserved male high school students to their prom. He also successfully launched Black Supply Co clothing line in late 2013 and hosts Poetic Justice, one of the top open mic poetry nights in St. Louis. Corey draws on his rich experiences to create as well as teach others about the art of spoken word. His passion, performance background, and life experience make him an engaging and relevant teaching artist.


Black Supply Co | Poetic Justice

Chelsea Ritter-Soronen

Visual Art

Chelsea is Director and Co-Founder of Chalk Riot, with an insatiable craving to color the world's surfaces. She is inspired by big blank spaces and the potential that they hold to become a canvas for significant art pieces, and travels the world searching for them. Her chalk art is influenced by traditional renaissance chalk art and modern anamorphic work. Chelsea graduated from the Conservatory of Fine Arts at Webster University in 2008, with a BFA in Theatrical Design, with majors in costume design and scene painting. While she has been painting murals since 2003, it was during her time at Webster that intensive study of theatrical scene painting provided a solid foundation of techniques and mediums. Her study of multi-faceted theatre offers a unique perspective of spatial design and art's role of interaction with the public and social consciousness. Chelsea has facilitated various visual art workshops through Freedom Arts’ Art & Academic Workshops program and at our summer Freedom Arts Camp. When she isn’t creating or teaching, you can find her at a wine tasting or exploring a new hiking trail.


IAmChelsea.com | Chalk Riot

Damon Davis

Visual Art/Music/Creative Writing

Damon Davis is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and activist that works and resides in St. Louis. Damon graduated from St. Louis University in 2007 with a B.A. in Communication Technology with an emphasis on Visual Communication. He is a member of the accomplished experimental hip hop outfit Scripts N Screwz in which he is both producer and a vocalist. In 2010, Damon co-founded Civil Ape, a collaborative art collective that works in various visual mediums. In 2012, he founded Far Fetched, a wildly unique, independent music and art imprint based out of St. Louis. Damon has earned several awards and accolades, the most notable of which include grants for a special project from the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Missouri History Museum, and the Anti-Defamation League, being a featured TED Talk speaker, and winning an Emmy for being the subject of a documentary entitled “Damon Davis: A Story to Tell.” He has also been a leader in organizing several creative efforts in the cause for justice in the St. Louis area, through his All Hands on Deck project and by producing an award winning documentary film called “Whose Streets?” He has been a driving force within St. Louis’ cultural and social domains. For the majority of the past decade, Damon has produced and curated significant multidisciplinary art projects that transgress cultural boundaries and lift up Black lives. He brings a passion for art and people, a natural excitement for education and equity, and wealth of knowledge and experiences to the Freedom Arts team.


heartacheandpaint.com

Darian Wigfall

Creative Writing/Music/Academics

Darian Wigfall is an author, activist, mentor, entrepreneur, and DJ. A St. Louis native, he attended North Carolina A&T and University of Missouri, earning a BS in Biology from Missouri. He got a job running a research lab at Washington University for five years before leaving to start his own music management company. He focuses most of his efforts on his role as Director of Artist Management and Development at FarFetched, at St. Louis based artists collective, and works as the Event Coordinator at KDHX. In 2012, Darian completed and published his first book, “A Dying Breed,” which currently has a sequel in the making. He also co-founded Artists As Tutors in 2014, a group founded to provide homework assistance and arts opportunities to students in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. Darian serves the youth of Freedom Arts by working as a versatile teaching artist and devoted mentor onsite at Freedom Arts and throughout St. Louis in our Art & Academic Workshops program. He is passionate about building community, uplifting the marginalized, and using art as a platform for positive social change.


FarFetched

Garrett Lacy

Music/Academics

Garrett Lacy is a St. Louis native percussionist, composer, and educator. After graduating from Ritenour High School, Garrett went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Entrepreneurship from Webster University in 2013. Garrett joined Freedom Arts as teaching artist in 2017 and facilitates several Art & Academic Workshops, including African Percussion, Street Drumming, Musicology, and Literary Movement. He is currently earning his tutoring certification through the National Tutoring Association and plans to return to school to study Film Scoring. When Garrett isn’t creating his own works or teaching the next generation to do the same, he’s either reading, running, or drinking tea.

Isaiah Cox

Music/Academics

Isaiah Cox’s outstanding artistic talents are accompanied by his love of creating and his easygoing educational approach. After graduating from North Tech High School with a career emphasis on graphic design, Isaiah shifted his focus to studying music and audio production at Webster University to which he received multiple music and academic scholarships. In his young music career, he has already shared the stage and studio with notable performers such as Nikko Smith, Theresa Payne, J.R., Kenny DeShields, Tiffany Elle, and Aunyae Heart. With skills in music, writing, and visual art, Isaiah facilitates several Art & Academic Workshops and has taught guitar lessons to several Freedom Arts scholars. His peaceful temperament and generosity in sharing his gifts and experiences has been a welcome addition to the team since 2014.

Larry Morris

Creative Writing/Music/Academics

Larry Morris may be best known as the front-man for the award winning hip-hop fusion band iLLPHONiCS, but his skills far surpass his reputation as a highly proficient rapper and St. Louis music icon. A proud U-City native, Larry studied at Webster University, earning a BA in Audio Communications in 2008 and an MA in Media Communications. During his time at Webster, his landed himself on the Dean’s list multiple times, led the Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs program all while making a name for iLLPHONiCS throughout the Midwest. He gained valuable experience working with children at Glenride Children Center, in the Clayton School District, and at UrbanFuture. He is currently Music Director for St. Louis World’s Fare, handles marketing campaigns for Deaconess Foundation and STL Live, and continues to perform and record on a regular basis with iLLPHONiCS. Larry is a knowledgeable and dedicated artist who loves St. Louis and believes in empowering young people to find their path and write their own success stories.


iLLPHONiCS

Muhammad Mvstermind Austin

Music/Creative Writing

Muhammad Austin has been working for years in St. Louis’ music scene as an independent musical artist and leader of the M.M.E. collective. Known on the music scene as “Mvstermind,” Muhammad is a gifted engineer, producer, and rapper who has performed in dozens of cities including St. Louis, New York, Atlanta, and Detroit, opened for several major artists such as Chance the Rapper, Ab-Soul, Travis Scott, and G-Eazy, and performed at festivals such as LouFest, A3C, SXSW, and Brooklyn’s MCA Day. He was awarded The Riverfront Times “Best Musical Act of 2014” title and has had music videos on BET and MTV. Muhammad’s extensive artistic experience mixes with his authenticity, humility, and versatility to make him an amazing teaching artist that all the kids connect with. He is excited to continue his teaching artist career with Freedom Arts within the music and creative writing fields and to shepherd young artists as they manifest their life visions.


Mvstermind.com

Pacia Anderson

Creative Writing/Visual Art

Pacia Anderson is a St. Louis-based poet, writer, visual, and teaching artist who uses the art of the narrative to both make sense of the world around her, as well as to tell a good story. Her work is a charismatic blend of rhyme, layered imagery, and fantasy, all of which are used to explore complex subject matter and co-create visceral, emotive experiences for readers and listeners alike. She received her Associate of Arts Degree in Journalism from Southwestern Illinois College. is a 2014 graduate of Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute, an Urban Bushwomen SLI Fellow. Pacia is a founding member of the art-based youth initiative Cherokee Street Reach, and serves as a Dean in the Zukata Madrasa. Pacia is chair of the St. Louis Brick City Poetry Festival, a Springboard to Learning, Bread & Roses, Colorbridge Arts, and will soon serve as the Missouri Regional Coordinator for the NEA-sponsored Poetry Out Loud youth recitation competition. Pacia has also served as bookings and curation assistant to Inaugural St. Louis Poet Laureate Dr. Michael Castro and is an active member of the Cherokee Street Development League, and a collaborator with the Yeyo Arts Collective as well as with Freedom Arts. Pacia works and has worked with dozens of area arts institutions, community non-profit organizations, grassroots and civic engagement groups, city recreation centers, and neighborhood youth. Pacia brings her vibrancy and passion to Freedom Arts by serving as a teaching artist within several of our programs.


Cherokee Street Reach

Prospect

Creative Writing/Music

Eric “Prospect” White is poet, rapper, and DJ whose creative hustle and advocacy for youth is well above average. He is 2014 graduate of Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute, co-founder of Cherokee Street Reach, co-founder of STL Reclamation Project, host and curator of Regional Arts Commission’s “With Not For” exhibit, musical and visual artist for Slumfest, and and the founder of “Out Hrr Entertainment.” As a performing and recording artist a part of the Far Fetched Collective, Prospect blends poignant subject matter with an intelligent, calculated word play, creating a kinetic and visceral experience for all who listen. He has been the resident DJ and host at Palomino Lounge since 2017. Prospect is as focused as he is creative, and children and fellow artists embrace his warmth and unflinching dedication to truly being “out hrr,” doing the good work and fighting the good fight.


Cherokee Street Reach | Out Hrr Events

Shea Reynolds-White

Creative Writing/Visual Art

Shea Reynolds-White is a nationally renowned spoken word artist with a diverse skill set and array of knowledge in community arts. Under her brand Furious Styles, she serves as a crochet artist, jewelry designer, and natural hair stylist in St. Louis. As a teaching artist, Shea has shared her knowledge base with youth at numerous schools and programs in the city, including Most Holy Trinity, Roosevelt High, Blewett ICA, Freedom Arts, the Cochran Housing Development and Freedom Arts. Along with Pacia and Prospect, Shea is a founding member of Cherokee Street Reach and a graduate of Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute. Shea’s political and social activism is focused on the betterment and enrichment of life of area youth, for whom the odds are against them to succeed. Recognized for both her visual art and commitment to sustainable aid to unhoused populations, Shea is currently an Artist-In-Residence with Dutchtown South Community Corporation’s EPA Cooperative Initiative where she will work with community members to transform thousands of used plastic shopping bags into a live meditation garden and community gathering space. Shea’s fierce dedication to the youth of St. Louis combined with her artistic innovation and skill set make her a powerful teaching artist and teammate.


Cherokee Street Reach