Pollen is a media arts nonprofit that harnesses the power of narrative change to build towards a society that is free, just, and loving.

fist-bumpWhen you spread Pollen, things grow. And the same is true for stories.

At Pollen, stories are our secret power. Stories nurture our human potential for deep empathy. Stories pave new paths and new opportunities for communities to connect across lines of difference. Stories inspire us to fight for each other when our flawed and beautiful humanity is threatened.

That’s why Pollen shares stories of individuals who want to change our collective story for the better. Stories that dig into the nitty gritty, the heart-wrenching, the inspiring and funny elements of life in our region, and shed light on the wider world around us. Only by turning to detail and nuance, getting at truths both comfortable and uncomfortable, can we begin to relate the unrelated.

Pollen stories — crafted with both vibrant, colorful art and visceral, intimate writing — drive towards a choice: to take action on what you learned. We work with a talented, diverse network of artists and writers who take words and images beyond literal representations of our world, and into the realm of the emotional — that’s our way of tipping stories into action.

Through narrative experiences, Pollen grows a network of Pollenites who have an unwavering belief in equity, empathy, and our shared humanity. Our success will be found in the sum of all the connections and actions Pollenites make when they are inspired by the platform, the space, and the hive that Pollen creates.

When we move beyond the transactional and access empathy to connect across difference, we can take more meaningful action in our shared journey toward a better world.



email: hello@pollenmidwest.org

address: P. O. Box 18027, Minneapolis, MN 55418-4714

Meet Our Staff
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    Ruby Oluoch
    Pollen Studio Manager


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    Julie Cohen
    Engagement & Advancement Director


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    Tom Loftus
    Program & Operations Manager


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    Jamie Millard
    Executive Director


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    Meghan Lionel Murphy
    Art+Story Director


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    Jerome Rankine
    Editorial Director


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    Melanie Walby
    Design Director


Meet Our Board
Koa Mirai

As a Senior Lender and Financial Specialist at Propel Nonprofits, Koa co-creates financial insights with nonprofit clients and strategically extends capital to historically marginalized communities. Koa is also a cultural anthropologist who has taught and conducted research at the University of Minnesota for over a decade focusing on nonprofit and grassroots mobilizations around issues of gender, kinship, political identity, and belonging.

Alexandra Siclait

With over a decade of experience, Alex has worked in the arts, corporate, nonprofit and public sectors, and has found her true passion in arts philanthropy, leadership development, and social justice. A cultural diplomacy enthusiast, she has worked at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, South Arts, the City of Atlanta Mayor's Office of Cultural Affairs, Creative Capital, and most recently the Bush Foundation.

Damon Shoholm

Currently Damon serves as a Partner of Counsel at Ballinger | Leafblad and as the lead facilitator for the DEI Collaborative Cohort and Leadership Saint Paul both programs of the St. Paul Chamber. Previously he has served as the Director of the James P. Shannon Leadership Institute at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation since 2014.

Sarah Clyne

Sarah applies her experience at the intersection of education, social justice, ending gender-based violence, and building cross-sector relationships to all aspects of her work. Over the past two years, Sarah served as Executive Director of Northside Funders Group (NFG) and previously as the Executive Director of Domestic Abuse Project and Joyce Preschool.

Lolyann Connor

Lolyann Connor began her career in social services over 10 years ago. She is currently the Manager of Evaluation and Impact at Lutheran Social Service of MN. She provides leadership and helps shape strategies for program evaluation and measuring impact for LSS programs and services statewide. Lolyann lives in Como Park in St. Paul with her husband and three children (ages 6, 4, and 2).

Brooke Brown

Brooke is a SVP, Managing Director at Little & Company where she is a business-minded creative problem solver who is passionate about design, brand strategy, team building, and delivering measurable results for purpose-driven organizations. She approaches every challenge with an open mind and entrepreneurial spirit.

Lisa Middag

Lisa Middag is an urban planner who collaborates with communities to support sustainable, vibrant, and walkable public spaces through creative placemaking and community development. As Director of Nicollet Activation for the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, she is responsible for placemaking along the city’s historic downtown pedestrian/transit street.