Johnathan Foster is a sensitive and powerful visual artist whose work is rooted in his experience as an African American father, son and now educator. He identifies himself as both a teacher and a learner making him well suited for his role as a member of the corps of DeSoto resident artists.
His larger than life-sized portraits and layers of color are his unique signature, creating a dialogue that challenges the viewer to look beyond their assumptions and perceptions about culture and identity.
Johnathan lived and worked in Memphis, earning both a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and a MA in Teaching from the University of Memphis.
His portfolio also includes technology-based design and photography.
Michelle Pryor is an artist/educator who has made DeSoto her home. She works in a variety of mediums, including weaving, painting, paper mache and jewelry making. Art can happen anywhere, and Michelle is an advocate for creating spaces where families can work together, building lifelong memories and creating art together. She currently works as a Teaching Artists in the Dallas ISD and provides arts learning opportunities for young people enrolled in DeSoto ISD after school programs.
She offers classes in storytelling, mask making, drawing and painting. Michelle is a calm and patient teacher, encouraging young people to take risks toward expressing their creativity and discovering new ways of self-expression.
She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Fibers from the University of North Texas.
Carol Simmons is a DeSoto based visual artist whose stunning work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions across the southern region of the United States. Prior to moving to Texas, Carol lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where she developed an appreciation for the Gullah culture.
Her work was included in a traveling exhibition featuring the spirit and legacy of Gullah Art, featured in a touring exhibition as part of the US State Department’s Art in Embassies program in Luanda, Angola.
Brilliant colors and fabric are a hallmark of her paintings, taking the viewer on a journey from Dakar, Senegal to New Orleans, Louisiana. Her own journey to these iconic cities inspired two prominent paintings, The Door of No Return and Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler (Let the Good Times Roll).
Carol’s residency will feature her exquisite artistry and perspective, documenting the history and contemporary life in DeSoto, Texas.
King Shakur is an amazing artist who speaks first-hand about the power of poetry to save lives. The Dallas native is co-founder of an organization, Art Inspired Healing Collective, whose mission is to help people of all ages utilize the arts as a resource for managing pain and moving through difficult spaces into emotional healing.
Shakur began writing at the age of 12 and his list of accomplishments as a Spoken Word artists is impressive.
He has presented at National Poetry Slam competitions across the country and the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, featuring poets and artists from across the southern United States. Locally, King Shakur frequently conducts poetry workshops at the Dallas Public Library and pays it forward helping young people in his hometown neighborhood, by organizing the South Dallas Youth Poetry Contest.
In addition to serving as an advisor to national youth service programs, King Shakur is a voting member and workshop leader of the prestigious Atlanta based Alternate Roots, an artist driven organization that champions social and economic justice.
Felicia Fisher has a passion for making things, for weaving and indeed for creating objects that are simply aesthetically pleasing. She is convinced that the process of makings, brings people together to imagine and share experiences. She enjoys sharing her talents with elementary and middle school students in DeSoto public schools but is focusing her residency on adult and senior audiences.
Much of Felicia’s work uses the traditional techniques of weaving, tapestry and basketmaking as a way of transmitting ideas and stories into tangible objects of art. Fisher believes that art serves dual roles, inspiring creative thinking and simultaneously producing useful objects.
Her Shibori (tie dying) Sweet Dreams and Dinnertime Design workshops guide participants of all ages through sessions that result in the creation of one-of-a-kind items that can be used and shared with family members.
Felicia holds a BFA in Sculpture and a BFA in Fiber Arts, both from the University of North Texas.
Alexandria Morris believes in the power of movement and dance as a vehicle for helping young people express their ideas and passion with confidence. She is a choreographer, author and most importantly a mother whose career has centered the cultural expression and lived experiences of African American women into her work as an artist and educator.
Morris understands the power of collaborating and is most proud of her work with a team of program developers to create the first Dance Appreciation course highlighting the distinct traditions of African American and Mexican American culture bearers and their influence on dance. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education from Texas Woman’s University and currently resides in DeSoto, Texas.
An accomplished writer, director and film maker, Tony Vinto has performed in notable theaters across the country. Among his many professional accomplishments is his work as a theater artist to raise awareness about the cause and effects of gun violence, an epidemic he insists, that goes beyond one incident, one family, on teen.
A graduate of Dallas’ Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing Arts, Tony has maintained his mantra of staying connected to community. His work as a collaborator has resulted in new material focused on a variety of social justice issues. His elegant and provocative work has been performed in theaters, museums and community spaces in Detroit, Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta and Dallas. Tony believes in young people, and “is committed to helping young people find their voice, as their voices will influence and shape our future.”
Dana Proulx-Willis is a seasoned teaching Artist, storyteller, published author and performing artist. She insists that “everyone has a story”. Her love for literature is evidenced by her work with organizations such as the Dallas Children’s Theatre, Big Thought, Dallas Independent School District and an impressive list of public and private educational institutions. Dana will focus her time as a Resident Artist developing the “stories of DeSoto”.
As a researcher and storyteller, Dana will document and highlight the “untold stories of the founders and current residents of the city, making them visible and accessible for adult and children’s audiences.” Dana is a graduate of the Booker T. Washington High School for the Visual and Performing arts in Dallas and earned a BFA in Theatre/Education from Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.
Justin London is a skillful and energetic curator of music and sound. He has become a featured artist in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, teaching the art form and performing as a master technician for bringing people together.
An artist-entrepreneur, Justin owns and operates J London Enterprises and dedicates time as an instructor, teaching young people how to write music, improve public speaking skills, integrate music into events, operating a sound control board and of course the fine art of spinning.
Just as music is the universal language, Justin’s work appeals to audiences of all ages, and he is eager to engage with residents throughout the DeSoto community. He has studied at the University of Houston, the University of North Texas and continues to develop new skills as the Keep Spinning DJ Academy based in the Dallas area.
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