Sundus Abdul Hadi is an artist and writer who was born to Iraqi parents and raised and educated in Tiohtià:ke/Montréal. Abdul Hadi’s transmedia work is a sensitive reflection on trauma, struggle, and care. She is the author/illustrator of Shams, a children’s book about trauma, transformation, and healing, and the book Take Care of Your Self: The Art and Cultures of Care and Liberation. Abdul Hadi’s work has been exhibited in Palestine, Canada, the U.S., France, the U.K., and New Zealand.
Tre’vell Anderson is an award-winning freelance journalist, social curator, and world changer who always comes to slay! Named to The Root’s 2020 list of the 100 most influential African Americans, they have dedicated their career to centering those in the margins, gray spaces, and at the intersections of life through a pop culture lens. Anderson is co-host of the culture podcast FANTI.
Nour Batyne is a New York–based creative producer, facilitator, and educator. She founded Disruptivist, a global community of artists working to amplify the power of the arts as a tool for social change and innovation with the mission to challenge and transform the status quo. Batyne currently serves as an associate instructor in the M.S. in Nonprofit Management program at Columbia University and is a member of the Wide Awakes, an open-source network that radically reimagines the future through creative collaboration.
Brit Bennett’s debut novel, The Mothers, was a New York Times bestseller, and her second novel, The Vanishing Half, was an instant No. 1 New York Times bestseller. In 2021, she was chosen as one of Time’s Next 100 Influential People. Her essays have been featured in The New Yorker, the New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Jezebel.
MaryV Benoit is a 23-year-old photographer and performance artist based in Brooklyn, New York. MaryV focuses on the documentation of self-identity, bodies, intimacy, compassion, relationships, sexuality, and self-love. She has shot campaigns for clients such as Calvin Klein and Google, remaining true to her mission of creating mindful and inclusive representation for her community.
Adrian L. Burrell is a storyteller who uses photography, film, and site-specific installation to examine issues of race, class, gender, and intergenerational dynamics. His series Mama’s Babies traces his family’s history through slavery, the Great Migration, the crack era, and the current displacement of Black people in Oakland through gentrification. A United States Marine Corps veteran, Burrell earned an MFA from Stanford’s Department of Art & Art History.
Javier Cabral is the editor-in-chief of the independent local food, news, and culture site L.A. TACO and an associate producer for the Taco Chronicles on Netflix. Both of which earned him two James Beard Award wins in 2020. His first cookbook, Oaxaca: Home Cooking from the Heart of Mexico, was published by Abrams Books in October 2019.
Ian Chillag is the host and creator of Everything Is Alive. Previously, he was a producer for NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and co-created and hosted the NPR podcast How to Do Everything. Ian has worked on videos for The New York Times, contributed regularly to the literary magazine A Public Space, and hasn’t cut his hair since the pandemic began.
Margaret Cho is a comedian, actor, musician, advocate, entrepreneur, and five-time grammy and Emmy nominee. Margaret was born and raised in San Francisco, an experience that she can say with all sincerity helped to shape her world-view. In January 2021, Margaret was honored alongside the Go Go’s, Cherie Currie of The Runaways and Heart’s Nancy Wilson by the She Rocks Awards.
Lucy Dacus is a songwriter, musician and performer. She has released two full-length albums under her name, 2016’s No Burden and 2018’s Historian, and the boygenius album in 2018 with her bandmates Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. The third Lucy Dacus album, Home Video, will be released summer 2021.
Eleanor Davis is a cartoonist and illustrator. Her books include How to Be Happy, You and a Bike and a Road, Why Art?, and The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook. Her latest graphic novel, The Hard Tomorrow, won the L.A. Times Book Prize for Graphic Novels and Comics. She lives in Athens, Georgia (pre-COVID), and Tucson, Arizona (mid-COVID).
Lea DeLaria currently appears as Queenie in HULU’s Reprisal and as Molly Yarnchopper in the Netflix/DreamWorks series Kipo. DeLaria appeared on Broadway as Eddie/Dr. Scott in The Rocky Horror Show, and as Hildy in the Public Theatre’s On the Town (Obie, Theatre World Awards). Lea has five records on the Warner Jazz and Classics label; her sixth, House of David, was released in 2015.
Modou Dieng was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal. He is a multidisciplinary artist whose work constructs a mural of archetypal cultural imagery filtered through the perspective of an identity split between Blackness and African philosophy. Dieng has exhibited internationally and is the co-founder of Blackpuffin, a curatorial company based in Chicago.
Diana Ejaita is a freelance Illustrator based in Berlin, she drew several covers for The New Yorker but likes also to make sculpture and silkscreen in her Lagos Studio.
Cameron Esposito is an award-winning standup comic, podcaster, showrunner, actor and bestselling author who has appeared across television and film and at live venues around the globe with an interest in politics, religion and queer identity. She has a five pound dog named Ruby.
Rahim Fortune is a fine-art photographer from the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma and is currently based in Texas and New York. His work focuses on self-identity and human connection within the landscape of modern America.
For Freedoms is an artist-led organization that models and increases creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action. For Freedoms works with artists, institutions, and organizations to position artists as civic leaders, reshape conversations about politics, and expand what participation in a democracy looks like. Michelle Woo is a cultural producer and artist based in Los Angeles. She is a co-founder of For Freedoms for which she received a 2017 ICP Infinity Award. Her diverse role includes creative strategy, production, and project management of large-scale public art, exhibitions, and programming. She has also produced editorial photo shoots for The New Yorker, GQ, Vanity Fair, and Time. Taylor Brock is an art curator, cultural producer, and project manager. Her focus is on the ways in which art, creativity, and discourse disrupt, question, and reimagine. She serves as a creative producer at For Freedoms as well as a consultant for Kickstarter Arts.
David Huang is a New York–based illustrator and designer who graduated in 2017 from Rhode Island School of Design. His work has been recognized by 3x3, American Illustration, World Illustration Awards, and Society of Illustrators. His clients include the New York Times, Boston Globe, Quartz, Plansponsor, Hyundai, AngelList, Curbed, The Verge, Perfect Strangers, Culture Trip and many more. He grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and calls San Francisco his second home.
Amos Paul Kennedy Jr. is an American printer, book artist, and papermaker best known for social and political commentary, particularly in printed posters.
Christine Sun Kim is an American artist based in Berlin. Working predominantly in drawing, performance, and video, Kim’s practice considers how sound operates in society, deconstructing the politics of sound and exploring oral languages as social currency. She further uses sound to explore her own relationship to verbal languages and her environment. She is represented by François Ghebaly Gallery in Los Angeles and White Space Beijing in Beijing.
Robert Krulwich just retired after 16 years as co-host of Radiolab, WNYC’s Peabody Award–winning program about “big ideas,” now one of public radio’s most popular shows. It is carried on more than 500 radio stations, and its podcasts are downloaded over 9 million times each month. For 22 years, Krulwich worked on television covering science, economics, war, and technology at ABC, CBS, and PBS. He is currently working with Ric Burns on a documentary on “The Hard Problem” of consciousness, and a multipart interactive series on climate change.
Molly Mendoza is an artist currently living in Portland, Oregon. Through her work she explores the complexities of interpersonal relationships and strives to portray those feelings that we just can't shake. From bubbling tears of frustration to a good laugh that you'll never forget Molly brings those expressions to the page via rhythmic mark and bold color. She loves making comics. Some of the stories Molly’s told have centered on ghosts and goldfish, Inter-dimensional friendship, and falling out between friends - but with bite. Over the course of her career she has illustrated for publications such as The New York Times, Wired, and Hazlitt. Molly has also created murals around the city of Portland for Portland Parks, Open Signal, and TriMet. When Molly is not drawing you can find her chilling with her cat Doodle or throwing dice with friends in the sun.
Chanel Miller is a writer and comic artist. Her memoir, KNOW MY NAME, was a New York Times bestseller and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner. She currently has an exhibit at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco titled, I WAS, I AM, I WILL BE. When she was little she loved drawing mailboxes.
Jennifer Mills produces Everything Is Alive. She is currently a writer and producer for NPR. She has worked on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and taught in the Performance Department at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Jennifer is the editor-in-chief of the long-running, non–award winning publication The Jennifer Mills News.
Larry Owens is a 2020 recipient of the Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, and Obie awards for his leading portrayal in the Pulitzer Prize–winning musical A Strange Loop. His television credits include High Maintenance (HBO), Dash and Lily (Netflix), and Betty (HBO).
Las Fotos Project was founded in 2010 to elevate the voices of teenage girls from communities of color. It is a community-based nonprofit organization that offers year-round programming, providing girls with access to professional cameras, quality instruction, and workshops that encourage them to explore their identity, build leadership and advocacy skills, and strengthen their well-being. Ixchel Cruz is a 15-year-old photographer from Los Angeles. They are a sophomore attending Eagle Rock High School and use photography as a way to capture moments that tell a bigger story. Through their love for storytelling, they hope to spread awareness about social justice topics. Valeria Hernandez is a 17-year-old photographer based in Los Angeles. She has a strong passion for portraiture that captures and challenges ideas of femininity, and she hopes to pursue a career where she can use her photography to challenge society’s expectations of who can and should be represented in the media. Gaby Salazar is an 18-year-old L.A.-based photographer from El Salvador. She began exploring photography during the pandemic of 2020 to stay grounded but grew to love and appreciate the art for its ability to showcase her storytelling. Salazar draws upon growing up cooking with her parents to capture the beauty and culture of food photography. Outside of her love for photography, she is pursuing a law degree to become an immigration lawyer. Annie Son is an 18-year-old photographer based in Los Angeles. She draws inspiration from minute occurrences to social uprisings; using photographs as a means of storytelling, she hopes to share and immortalize the history of various communities. Son’s goal is that her journalism will become the bridge between generations of people to come.
Jena Malone is an actor, musician, and photographer known for her work in Inherent Vice, Nocturnal Animals, Donnie Darko, and Stardust.
Star Montana is a photo-based artist who was born and raised in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of East Los Angeles, which serves as the backdrop to much of her work. Her work has recently been exhibited at Charlie James Gallery, Residency Art Gallery, and LA Plaza de Cultura y Artes. Montana will be an artist-in-residence at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation in 2022.
Tommy Orange is an American novelist and writer from Oakland, California. His first book, There There, was a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize and received the 2019 American Book Award. Orange is a citizen of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Nations of Oklahoma.
Josué Rivas is an Indigenous Futurist, creative director, visual storyteller, and multidisciplinary artist. His work aims to challenge the mainstream narrative about Indigenous peoples and serve as a vehicle for collective healing. He is a 2020 Catchlight Leadership Fellow, Magnum Foundation Photography and Social Justice Fellow, founder of the INDÍGENA, co-founder of Indigenous Photograph, and curator at Indigenous TikTok.
Adee Roberson is an interdisciplinary artist whose work offers a refracted timeline of Black diasporic movement, weaving sonic and familial archives with landscape, rhythm, and spirit. This visual language is a way to process the viscerality of grief, celebration, trauma, and healing. She has exhibited and performed at numerous venues, including Portland Institute of Contemporary Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Project Row Houses, Contemporary Art Center New Orleans, MOCA Los Angeles, and Art Gallery of Ontario.
Nathaniel Russell lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. He makes drawings, paintings, sculptures, prints, murals, posters, flyers, music, and videos at his home studio and exhibits his work internationally.
Pacifico Silano is a lens-based artist exploring print culture, the circulation of imagery, and LGBTQ identity. Exhibitions of his work include the Bronx Museum of The Arts, Museo Universitario del Chopo in Mexico City, The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and Fragment Gallery in Moscow. He has been awarded the Aaron Siskind Foundation’s Individual Photographer’s Fellowship, Finalist for the Aperture Foundation Portfolio Prize, and the 2019 Bronx Museum of The Arts Block Gallery Residency. His work is in the permanent collection of The Museum of Modern Art.
Sister Peace spent five years in government work before realizing that something was missing. Feeling spiritually bereft, she began practicing at the Washington Mindfulness Community where she encountered the teachings of Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh. In 2006, she relocated to the Plum Village Monastery in France, where she was ordained a Buddhist nun.
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith is an American composer, performer, and producer, originally from Orcas Island and currently based in Los Angeles.
Jillian Tamaki is a New York Times bestselling illustrator, comics artist, and teacher who makes books for people of all different ages — from picture books to YA comics to graphic novels. She is the co-creator, with her cousin Mariko Tamaki, of This One Summer, which won a Caldecott Honor and Printz Award. She lives in Toronto.
Hank Willis Thomas is a conceptual artist working primarily with themes related to perspective, identity, commodity, media, and popular culture. He’s a co-founder of For Freedoms and the Wide Awakes, artist-led organizations dedicated to fostering creative civic engagement, discourse, and direct action.
Laura van den Berg is the author of five works of fiction, including The Third Hotel, a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award, and I Hold a Wolf by the Ears, which was one of Time’s 10 Best Fiction Books of 2020. She is the recipient of a Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a PEN/O. Henry Award, and is a two-time finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. In 2021, Laura was awarded both the Strauss Living Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters and a Guggenheim Fellowship in fiction. Born and raised in Florida, she currently splits her time between New York and central Florida with her husband and dog.
Anand Varma graduated with a degree in integrative biology from UC Berkeley and now uses photography to share the story behind the science on everything from honeybee health to hummingbird biomechanics. He has photographed numerous stories for National Geographic, including the 2014 cover story called “Mindsuckers.” His recognitions include National Geographic Media Innovation Fellow, Rita Allen Civic Science Fellow, and World Press Award for best nature story. This project was funded by a Fellowship from the National Geographic Society and the Rita Allen Foundation. You can see more of Anand’s work on jellyfish at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia starting July 3.
Deborah Willis is an artist, author, and curator. Her art and pioneering research has focused on cultural histories envisioning the black body, women, and gender. She is a celebrated photographer, acclaimed historian of photography, MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, and university professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.
Illustrations by David Huang