For Discussion: Tuesday, July 29
Whitney and guest host Nate Olison talk feminism through the lens of arts and culture with panelists Kristen E. Field, Rico Sisney, Siobhan McKissic and Elizabeth Metzger Sampson. We'll take on the Women Against Feminism tumblr, (trigger warning) the "not rape" epidemic, Stop Telling Women to Smile, Maddie & Tae's "Girl in a Country Song", Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, The NFL's Ray Rice and more.
In the Studio: Tuesday, July 29
Siobhan McKissic | Visual Artist
Siobhan McKissic is a visual artist from Chicago. Her drawings and prints focus on personal identity, isolation, connection, and creation. She believes that art is a therapeutic tool that helps artists better understand themselves and the people around them. Her art allows her ease her social anxiety and get out into the world where life is happening. Sometimes people like the things she makes and that's nice too. She also moonlights as a coffee slinger, professional cheese maiden, and sometimes jazz musician.
Rico Sisney | Emcee
Rico Sisney is the emcee for Sidewalk Chalk (Chicago Music Award Winner for "Most Outstanding Music Group") and the vocalist/keyboardist for House of Whales (2012 Independent Music Award Nominee). In 2010, Rico was chosen to represent Chicago as an emcee at the World Expo in Shanghai and, as a result, became the music director for Hiphop Chicago's productions in China and the U.S. He released his first ever self-produced solo album, Crying Wolves earlier this year. The project dealt with topics like race, faith, and Chicago violence and raised funds for Jacobs Well to combat poverty in Haiti through education and micro-loans. Sidewalk Chalk released their sophomore album Leaves this year as well and House of Whales will release their self-titled LP August 25th. Outside of music, Rico is an educator, activist and the founder of The Gala Chicago.
Kristen E. Field | Non-Profit
Kristen Elizabeth Field is a dedicated public servant who works tirelessly in the areas of philanthropy, non-profit consulting, community engagement, and public affairs. A professional career anchored in non-profit service, Kristen supported the U.S. national non-profit, Step Up Women’s Network for the past 4 years as Senior Manager for Member Programs working extensively in strategic partnerships, fundraising, events, community relations, professional development, all while supporting high school aged girls from under-resourced communities become confident, college bound, and become career-focused.
Kristen came to Step Up Women’s Network upon completing an extensive Master’s program in Public Service Management. During her tenure, she served as an outreach/development intern at an HIV/AIDS clinic in Nairobi, Kenya, completed The Program for Management: Community & Voluntary Services at All Hallows College in Dublin, Ireland, and completed her final project volunteering and researching in Haiti.
Kristen began her career as an educational leadership consultant for Delta Zeta Sorority traveling to 34 U.S. universities to assist with leadership development, fundraising, membership recruitment, philanthropy engagement, community service, and facilitation of educational programming for more than 3000 university women.
Kristen holds an MS in Public Service Management from DePaul University’s School of Public Service & BS in Political Science & Pre-Law from Eastern Illinois University. Kristen’s passion is community engagement and currently serves on the board of the Young Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago, Young Professionals Ambassador & President's Club member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, The Chicago Club, Old St. Patrick’s Church, and overall supports organizations advocating for peace, justice, & equality especially concerning women and children throughout the world.
Elizabeth Metzger Sampson
Elizabeth Metzger Sampson is a writer and artist whose work is a hybrid of visual, written, and performative elements investigating the city as text and medium. She works as a teacher and arts administrator, and is currently the Director of the Poetry Center of Chicago.
About the Poetry Center of Chicago
The Poetry Center of Chicago promotes poetry through readings, workshops, and arts education, and promotes the careers of poets by offering them professional opportunities. To fulfill the need for creative learning opportunities in Chicago classrooms, The Poetry Center offers Hands on Stanzas, a dynamic program that enhances literacy through poetry. The program places Chicago poets in public school classrooms for 20-week sessions. On a weekly basis these poets guide students in reading and discussing the work of published poets, and in writing and presenting their own poetry. Each week, exceptional student poems are published on the Hands On Stanzas blogs. To find out more about how you can support the Hands On Stanzas program, visit our support page.
What is Fill in the Blank?
The Gala is an ever-expanding community of artists that holds completely independent monthly events intended to inspire collaboration. FitB is a new performance, promotion and discussion platform by The Gala through a partnership with Fearless Radio. Together, we seek to share and promote the work of our community and provide a space to discuss art in all aspects of life--policy, education, media, history. Fill in the Blank is whatever you want it to be; the phrase gives each person, artist, community the space to create something new. We are what you are. Let’s make something together.
Who we are
A compulsive eye-roller, head-shaker and giver of smirks, you can count on Whitney for some strong opinions. Whitney’s day job is and almost always has been in youth development, beginning her career in arts-integrated after school programming through Columbia College Chicago’s Center for Community Arts Partnerships. She currently works for the University of Chicago helping awesome CPS students prepare for success in college. She has a degree in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California and considers herself an amateur artist in many disciplines, among them jewelry design, trapeze, writing, cooking, filmmaking and ukulele (she knows half of one song). As a part-time artist, a full-time arts consumer and someone who works with artists daily, art in Chicago is definitely her thing.
Lawrence "Binkey" Tolefree accents his poetry with captivating lyrics and soulful melodies. His passion for performance and seemingly endless energy are fueled through fantastically rowdy fans that enjoy his sense of humor. Binkey’s accomplishments include: 2006 MGD Freestyle Champion, BET New Face Finalist, Jokes and Notes Open Mic Stand-up Winner, Mixtape Mondays Rap Battle Champion, founder of Just-Us Improv, actor in numerous plays at Chicago Theatre, DuSable Museum and Apollo. His band, Deep Fayed is a fixture in the Chicago music scene, frequently caught at the Tonic Room, Darkroom and at Lincoln Hall. Deep Fayed has been building momentum and creating a buzz of party-blasting greatness, drawing in hip hop and jam enthusiasts alongside lovers of jazz and neo-soul. Not content with just performing, Binkey is committed to using his skills to mentor the next generation of poets, performers and writers. He teaches writing comprehension in Chicago Public Schools.