With thanks to the support from:
The performances on the Friday evening were curated by Will Richey of Journeyman Ink and David Rodriguez of Dr Gorilla Studios to carefully reflect the many aspects of the City of Dallas. The five “Cities” provided a foundation to highlight artists from a wide range of backgrounds and creative areas of expertise. Whether they are recognizable names or fresh new talent, each of the performers brought a deep and rich aesthetic to the city that we call home.
The Physical City
Maya Jones: Opera Singer
Maya Jones (age 20) is one of our own extraordinarily talented North Texans who chose to stay home in pursuit of her dreams. Jones turned down places at both Juilliard and the Boston Conservatory to study Opera Performance and Music Education at SMU in order to remain close to her mother and grandmother. It is her love of family and steadfast faith that feeds her generosity to give back to the people while approaching the world with wide-eyed wonder. Read more.
Michelle Gibson: Dancer
Michelle relocated to Dallas from New Orleans following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Her work oozes with a passion and longing while igniting her students and audiences to the heart beat she brought with her from the Deep South. Like many of those who move and migrate here from different homelands, she remains steadfast in her pursuit of remaining authentic to her roots while keeping her heart open to being received by the place where she now resides. Read more.
The Cultural City
Jamal Mohamed: Percussionist
Jamal Mohamed was born in Lebanon, reared in Chicago and has been a humble and gracious teacher throughout the city and as a professor of music at SMU for over 30 years. A world-class percussionist, often unseen orchestrating behind the musical accompaniment of both students and talent from various cultures around the globe, Mohamed represents those quiet trailblazers whose art is life and is a gift to everyone who experiences it. Read more.
The Innovative City
Jerod Alexander Davies: Visual Artist
Jerod Alexander Davies is a multi-faceted, self-taught visual artist whose work offers a vibrancy and accessibility to the citizens of Dallas from murals in Deep Ellum to pieces created live at the George W. Bush Presidential Library. He represents those culture creatives who proudly call Dallas home and are a viable part of our city’s heartbeat, while embracing a free-lance career that takes him across the nation to share his talents and heart for creativity and community. Read more.
The Political City
The Dallas Theater Center
The Dallas Theater Center is our creative ambassador for Flora Street, consistently creating inspiring and entertaining theatre of the highest caliber. As the Opening Night is hosted at the Dallas City Performance Hall, it is only natural that the Arts District be represented by its theatrical light. Read more.
The Educated City
David Lozano and Cara Mia Theater: Executive Artistic Director, Cara Mia Theater Company
David Lozano graduated from Jesuit High school and poured himself into theater in the pursuit of “truth-telling”. As artistic creative director of Cara Mia Theater Company, he has dedicated his life to connecting the Latino and Hispanic people with the rest of Dallas through the telling of their stories, historias that had previously gone untold. Read more.
Saturday performers can be found on the Festival HQ page.
Will Richey and David Rodriguez
Will Richey and David Rodriguez initiated the idea of having five-minute performances prelude each keynote speaker’s presentation during Friday evening’s signature event. As artists, their collaborative way of storytelling through the melding of spoken word poetry, live painting, and the music of Alejandro Perez, Jr. invites the audience to be an instrument themselves through vocalized rhythms and mantras, awakening all in attendance to the power of emotional literacy.