Annette Hope Billings: Brava!

Annette Hope Billings is an award winning author and actress. After a four decade long career as a registered nurse, Billings took an early retirement in 2015 to pursue her dream of writing full time. In the ensuing 2 years, she has published two books of poetry with a third scheduled for release by Spartan Press this Fall. She is known for her engaging oral delivery of poetry and has been dubbed “Maya of the Midwest” by audiences. Her first book, “A Net Full of Hope,” was the recipient of Topeka’s ARTSConnect ARTY Award for Literature in 2015.

Combining poetry, prose and story-telling, Annette Hope Billings, will present how one woman, herself, overcame victimization to reach that point beyond surviving–the point of thriving.


Artist Jancy Pettit will perform ArtLight.

Jancy Pettit: ArtLight

Energy artist Jancy Pettit was introduced in midlife to a meditative martial arts form call Qigong which transformed her approach to artmaking. She harnesses the energy from the Qigong movement and directs it into her art. This universal energy, called “chi,” moves her body in a spontaneous, free-flowing way to create images with no preplanning or preconceived ideas. The resulting mixed media pieces are nonfigurative, colorful and playful.

This process is demonstrated in the ArtLight performance, where Jancy will create an environment comprised of her own abstract, colorful, energy artwork by projecting it onto a large white background. Then, moving from the same inner wisdom with which the artwork was created, Jancy will perform in front of her art. Her body sometimes blends into the colorful environment; other times, interesting shadows are created. The result is a mysterious, beautiful and sometimes emotionally moving experience for the viewers.

Alicia Enstrom

Nashville-based violinist Alicia Enstrom emerges as a vocalist and songwriter in her newest album of chamber, indie-pop produced by Jon Estes and titled The Monster Speaks. She recently returned to Nashville after touring the world for nearly ten years. She spent time as the solo violinist/electric violinist for Cirque du Soleil’s show Quidam, was the featured violinist for Cirque’s holiday show Wintuk, was invited to Tanglewood as a concertmaster, and also was the lead violinist/fiddler, vocalist, pianist and dancer with the International Violin Show, Barrage.

Nick Givechi

Nick Givechi: CANVAS: The Formation of Identity

In a 5 – 7 minute Spoken Word Poem, I illustrate the abstract concept of self, as we perceive ourselves to be, through the metaphor of being a blank canvas that the colors of diversity paint upon us as we develop from infancy into adulthood.

“I am a Canvas.
It was the world’s job to paint me before I ever made memories.
I once was a soft, little baby who viewed this world as a masterpiece, and each one of you were the masterful brushstrokes which waved at me — waving your own unique colors of life’s experience so gracefully over me, and I am your canvas.
I evolve as your vibrant, resilient painting, and I am one of the fortunate, because you — as my artists and co-creators — embrace me.”

This piece plays with the concept that we are all born “carte blanche”, and are taught shades of acceptance and ignorance, love and hate, activism and apathy; therefore, we are never truly living in a “me versus the world” mindset — no matter how often we’re taught the notion that we should look out for ourselves.  We create divisions when we forget that those who love us “paint” us accordingly; without those brushstrokes, we would be slightly less complete as a masterpiece.  We are all intertwined, and we are responsible to be self-aware that our beauty is a direct result of all the shades that complement each other to make us beautiful to look at: a portrait that equally gives every color equal spotlight on the eye.

“A world painted in the shade of only one color would truly be a boring world indeed, so don’t let the shade of all the past tell you what shade of all the pastels you should be.
If no one else tells you today, I love you, because you helped make me.

I did nothing except stand here, blank, and allow myself to be your Canvas.”

Jarrod Guth: Improvisation and Opportunities: The Quick Thinking Performer

I will plan on talking about not being scared to take the next step as a performer and that some shows are best when they are not planned. My performances are 80% improvised on stage. I will talk about making sure you have the right tools to improvise when on stage in order to avoid being scared to perform from not having enough material.

Phillip “Brail” Watson: Giving Back

The idea of this presentation would be to illuminate the mystery of why crime is so prevalent in our city, and give people an idea of what they can do to stop it. Speaking from the point of view of the “hood” I hope to bring an often unheard voice, and perspective to the idea of giving back to one’s community, and what that REALLY means.