Avery Collins, host of the Open Mic Nite Series Rhymez & Rhythm, is an actor, playwright, and director in the DMV area. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD, he has a strong tie to urban culture and stories "from the streets". He brands himself as a Hip-Hop theater artist, as Hip-Hop and Theater are both mediums of storytelling. While attending the University of Maryland, from which he graduated in 2016, he began merging these two passions into what he realized was called Hip-Hop Theater. Since he began this journey, he has performed in and written various Hip-Hop Theater productions, including his most recent work My Free Sun with Renita Martin.
Ife’ Franklin has worked as a professional artist and community activist for over 25 years. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Ifé began her education in high school, focusing then on black and white photography. Ifé entered The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in the late 1980’s Ifé enrolled in, “The Art of Africa,” course where she met her mentor, Master Adire Artist Mr. Stanley Pinckney. Ifé continues to created Adire (traditional West African resist and dying techniques. Ifé owns and operates IféArt® which produces sculpture, installations, drawing, collage, photography, and fiber arts.
Cedric Crowe has choreographed for television shows such as "MTV's Made" and artists such as Mashonda, he has definitely put his stamp on the entertainment industry. Cedric has taught individuals from Kindergarten to adults.
Ester M. Smith is a portrait and impressionist artist whose work with pastels and mixed media has been exhibited in Dallas, Boston and Washington, DC, in places as varied as the Dallas Public Library, South Boston Open Studio and Blues Alley in Washington. Ester studied fine arts at Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio, the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design in Washington. Her paintings draw inspiration from the works of such artists as Lois Mailou Jones, Vincent van Gogh Mary Cassatt. Ester lives in the Boston suburb of Milton and currently works for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.
Akili Jamal Haynes is a composer and multi-instrumentalist, musical director, and dancer. Akili began his career at the age of 15 as a trombonist under the mentorship of Wynton Marsalis.
Akili is a faculty member at the New England Conservatory of Music’s Preparatory & Continuing Education School; Berklee College of Music; Seaport Campus for Children; and Boston Conservatory Dance Division. He is Affiliated Artist/Composer in M.I.T.’s Dance Theater Department and Jeannette Neil Dance Studios Prometheus Dance Company.
Fred Roseman was born and raised in the Delta of Mississippi, he began drawing at the age of five and grew his skills to include comics and cartoons. He attended Hinds Community College and International Academy of Design and Technology in Tampa, Florida. Fred currently resides in Ridgeland, MS, and works at a restaurant while aiming to grow his independent Kaz-Magic Arts as a freelance multimedia artist. His skills range from comic to illustrations, graphic arts, and photography. He plans to attend Full Sail University to pursue a degree in Computer Animation and start his own animation company.