It’s pivotal to us that Pollen pay contributors fairly for their work, and to appropriately reward the collaborators that help bring our stories to life. To develop our pay structure, we took the time to listen to the opinions and grievances of creatives in our community, and then devised a system that makes creating with us truly worth your time. But we don’t think the work is done yet: as Pollen continues to grow, we’ll continue to listen to the creative community and grow along with it. To learn more about pay rates for different levels of creative contribution, please inquire at:
When you agree to generate creative content for Pollen, you enter into our contract. This was created with the help of Friedman Iverson, and aims to be fair and just. Our contracts are structured to protect the contributors we work with and to also make sure that our process, payment, and timelines are transparent. We are continually learning how to improve the process of working with freelancers and know the contract is one of the most important puzzle pieces. Help us learn and grow—we’re always looking for feedback.
At Pollen, we believe in taking time to tell a story right. We seek to step away from the fast, faster, fastest content schedules of the Internet and create something bigger than bite-sized, snackable blog posts. With us, you’ll get the time and resources to create a story in a way that does its subject matter justice. Story creation is a collaborative process between Pollen producers and creatives. Not every piece of editorial is led by a writer, but instead an entire team of creatives working closely with a producer. Why? Because we believe the best stories are as multidimensional as the people who helped put them together.
Non-native Minnesotan Emory Allen creates whimsical characters and custom lettering for clients the world over. Inspired equally by Jim Henson, Herb Lubalin, and Wolverine, his work is the product of an adult who never learned how to stop being a kid. His unique brand of storytelling has been recognized by Adobe, HOW, and The Huffington Post among others.
Kprecia is the founder of Kp Inspires, a company created to push good energy into the world through the power of illustration. Using digital art as a tool to inspire others she finds joy in celebrating her culture, creating product designs, and supporting a diverse range of businesses. Her excitement is sparked by the desire to spread positive energy and the limitless possibilities in which illustration can be used.
Lara Avery is the Director of Community Events at Revolver, and the author of Anything But Ordinary (Hyperion, 2012) and A Million Miles Away (Little, Brown, 2015). Her work has also appeared in The Onion AV Club, plain china, and Women In Clothes (Blue Rider Press, 2014). She lives in Minneapolis, where she is at work on her third novel.
Bev Bachel is a writer and IdeaGirl who excels at bringing brand voices to life and transforming ideas into award-winning content. Author of What Do You Really Want? How to Set a Goal and Go for It, Bev is passionate about helping others find rewarding work (and play!).
Kristina’s passion is photographing rural communities in the American West. She loves small towns and open space. Kristina is a northern California transplant living in the Black Hills of western South Dakota. In 2007, Kristina graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. In January 2008, she headed to the edge of the west where she served as the first female staff photographer at the 130-year-old Rapid City Journal. From July 2012 until August 2014, she worked as the newspaper’s first female photo editor. She has attended the American Diversity Project Workshop and the prestigious Eddie Adams Workshop. Following her career at the Rapid City Journal, Kristina left the newsroom to pursue her freelance career. Kristina is available for assignments throughout the west and the rest of the United States. Note: Liz Gilles provided the photos for Morning Fill Up with President Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.
Leslie Barlow is an artist living and working in Minneapolis, MN. Primarily an oil painter, Barlow’s current work uses the figure and narrative elements to talk about issues related to multiculturalism, “otherness”, and identity. Barlow received her BFA in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin- Stout and her MFA in 2016 from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Barlow has exhibited her work throughout the Midwest and has received numerous awards for her paintings. Most recently she received a Third Place award in the Minnesota State Fair Juried Exhibition in 2015 for a large oil painting from her latest series. She appeared in the season 7 television segment of tpt’s Minnesota Original, airing April 2016, and was published in the “Best New Art 2016” list in Minnesota Monthly Magazine. In the fall of 2016 her work can also be seen at the new US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis, where she was commissioned by the Vikings team to create 6 portrait paintings of iconic Vikings players.
Maya Beck is a lapsed Muslim, recovering otaku, lover of wisdom, arts nonprofit devotee and genre-blurring writer. She grew up in California and other places, but came to the Twin Cities for its arts support and robust nonprofit sector. Her fiction has previously been published with the Redlands Review, Errata, Revolver, and Mizna; her nonfiction has been published by the Twin Cities Daily Planet and NewHive.
Jeremiah Bey is a visual artist and storyteller. He was born and raised in North Minneapolis as one of four children, and credits growing up in a full house with teaching him the value of multiple perspectives, and the importance of other voices in the creative process. Jeremiah is a Givens Black Writers Fellow, a U of M Center for Urban and Regional Affairs Artists Neighborhood Partnership Initiative Grant recipient, an Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute (CCLI) fellow, and a John Biggers Seed Project fellow. He most prides himself in his community work. He works as both an independent artist, and a Juxtaposition Arts roster artist – in both capacities, working to build the social conscience of youth and the community at large. Jeremiah has been a part of planning, and/or leading a number of community arts efforts including summer workshops at Ancestry Books and Learning Works, the POC and Indigenous Peoples’ Figure Drawings Sessions, and The Firehouse Collective – a group of community members and artists seeking to change the inequitable practices in land development. You can see his public mural work in various neighborhoods around North and South Minneapolis, including the Central neighborhood, Cedar-Riverside, and Near North.
Victoria Blanco is writing an essay collection about a Rarámuri community in Chihuahua City, Mexico. Her collection was a finalist for the 2016 PEN/FUSION Emerging Writers Prize. Victoria’s research among the Rarámuris has been funded by a Fulbright Award and fellowships from the University of Minnesota. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota. She is the writer-in-residence for Coffee House Press In the Stacks during the month of April in 2016. Her writing is forthcoming in Fourth Genre. Victoria lives in Minneapolis with her husband and son. She is from El Paso, Texas.
Kahlil Brewington is a human being that enjoys the the Drums, Art/Design, Motorcycles, and Manchester United. He is a Web Designer / Art Director / Creative Director based in Minneapolis. His overarching goal is to create work that delights the audience for which it was intended, and he prides himself in his ability to do just that. He wants to create, and maintain an environment where wonderful, unexpected work gets created.
D.A. Bullock has been an award-winning cinematographer, writer and director for over 15 years. As a film and television director, an ad-agency creative, cinematographer and an editor, Bullock has honed every facet of his filmmaking repertoire. In 2011, Bullock founded Bully Creative Shop in Minneapolis. Bully Creative Shop believes in story. “Story is the spark. Story plants the seed of innovative thinking. Story shakes up the status quo.” In 2014, Bullock was also named a McKnight Foundation / IFP Minnesota Media Arts Fellow.
Lilli Carré is an interdisciplinary artist and illustrator currently living in Chicago. Her animated films have shown in festivals throughout the U.S. and abroad, including the Sundance Film Festival, and she is the co-founder of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. She has created several books of comics, most recently the short story collection, Heads or Tails, published by Fantagraphics, and her first children’s book, Tippy and the Night Parade, published by Toon Books. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, The New York Times, Best American Comics and Best American Nonrequired Reading, amongst other places. Solo exhibitions of her drawing, animation, and sculpture work were recently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Columbus Museum of Art.
Jazzmyn Coker is a Senior in the Communication Design BFA program at the University of North Texas. Since the summer of 2015, she has been sharing her illustrations on social media in efforts to connect with other artists and celebrate people of color.
Patricio DeLara is a Mexican-born visual artist. Primarily trained in illustration and graphic design, he is always expanding his creative repertoire and searching for new ways to express and communicate ideas. While he is inspired by a myriad of styles, he is fascinated about blurring the lines between contemporary fine art and graphic design, in both the traditional and digital realms.
Originally from a small town in the Chicago area, Benjamin Currie is an American illustrator based in Minneapolis with a love for editorial illustration, books, and posters. With his work being a combination of analogue and digital practices, he enjoys the use of many different mediums in his work. With each project he uses limited color palettes to combine the clever and the decorative in engaging solutions. Ben mainly draws inspiration from traveling, nature, woodblock prints, and popular culture.
Valerie Déus is a Haitian American poet and cultural curator. Her work has been featured in the Co-Kisser Poetry-Film Festival, The Brooklyn Rail, Konch Magzine, APT, Midway, and most recently, the St. Paul Almanac. She is working on her first collection of poems.
Nyemadi Louise Dunbar is a creative strategist and storyteller currently pursuing her MBA part-time at St. Thomas’ Opus College of Business. She has spent her career amplifying communications and strengthening operations for nonprofit organizations, small businesses and a tech company.
Raised in Minneapolis, the daughter of Liberian immigrants, she is dedicated to eradicating oppression and destructive -isms toward seeing society fully realize itself as an inclusive, safe and welcoming place full of empowered people who have the access and opportunity to thrive. Consistently curious about the world – and galaxy – around her, she explores through travel, tunes, the collection of books, engaging in conversation and putting pen to paper. Nyemadi holds a special place in her life for physics, fashion and film photography.
Claire Kat Erickson is a painter, animator, maker, and embroiderer. She lives and works in rural Wisconsin but collaborates with artists from around the world. She is currently working on a solo show. Her work focuses on black identity, and features the people she has met while traveling, working, and dreaming.
Ashley Fairbanks is an Anishinaabe woman and citizen of the White Earth Nation. She operates as a socially-conscious designer and public artist. She works with a cohort of artists that do racial justice popular education and organizing. She seeks to use her design skills to activate people around issues ranging from police brutality to environmental justice. She has worked with the Energy Action Coalition, Indigenous Environmental Network and Honor the Earth to create campaigns around the KXL and Sandpiper pipelines and protecting our water from mining. Ashley sits on the board of Voices for Racial Justice. She went to the University of Minnesota to study American Indian studies and Political Science, and has completed Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute, NACDI’s Native Organizing and Leadership Institute, The Humphrey School’s Roy Wilkins Community Policy Fellowship and is a 2016 Forecast Public Art Emerging Public Artist Grantee.
Rita Farmer is a stay-at-home mother first and a photographer, dreamer, storyteller, and content-creator second. She is the co-founder of @Minnstameets, an organization that builds community and inspires creativity through unique photographic experiences. She is a proud resident of Northeast Minneapolis where she lives with her husband, 4-yr-old son, 2-yr-old daughter, and their ornery Boston Terrier.
Bill Ferenc is an illustrator and designer living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He currently works as a product designer at The Manhattan Toy Company where he gets to draw cute animals and design toys for kids of all ages. In his free time he is a freelance illustrator, music maker, and book reader.
Diane started her career in advertising at the age of twenty-two. From the moment she entered the profession, she noticed an entry-level workforce of almost all women and executive leadership of almost all men. White men, of course. Since earning her doctoral degree, Diane has focused her research on exposing the culture of ad agencies, a subject largely neglected by scholars. Her work provides a voice to the women in the industry, an unstudied group who deserve to have a voice. Diane seeks to empower women in the advertising industry by shining a light on issues that so far have rarely been studied at all and if so only by men. Until now, that is.
Venessa Fuentes writes poems and essays. Her poetry appears in Between the Heart and the Land/Entre el Corazón y la Tierra: Latina Poets in the Midwest (March/ABRAZO Press, 2001), and The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press, 2007). From 2011 through 2015, she was the assistant editor for online journal The Acentos Review, a showcase of Latino/Latina writing and visual art. One of her personal essays is featured in A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2016). She is at work on an opera project about Alberta Williams King, activist and mother of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with composer Dameun Maurice Strange. Venessa is an arts advocate who lives in South Minneapolis with her son, her wife, and their two dogs.
chavah gabrielle is a literary & performance artist. the 2nd Saint Paul Youth Poet Laureate. Author of Bodies I Am Willing to Worship. A modern aromantic romantic poet. As an organizer, they are striving to create spaces of equity & kindness. chavah seeks sustainability, challenging the idea that we can only create growth and change in one way. With a focus on community wellness, care, reproductive justice, and liberation, chavah strives to live by Carol Hanisch’s words, “the personal is political.” chavah carves out spaces where everyone — but especially women and femme persons of color — can enter with their full selves.
Adja Gildersleve (they/she) is a filmmaker, photographer, and educator based in Minneapolis. Adja spent years as an organizer and agitator on the frontlines and now she is the Co-director of Free Truth– a media company using art as a tool for liberation. Adja is a ride or die when it comes to fighting oppression in any form and supporting youth and adults to access tools to build and maintain agency and power. Their dream is to work with Issa Rae and Ava Duvernay on a sci-fi film where two Black women travel back in time to save the world from the zombie apocalypse aka colonization/capitalism. All of this with a bundle of your favorite Capricorn traits.
Andres hails from Lima Peru. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design in 2009, he has been working as a freelance illustrator/designer in Minneapolis. His clients include MTV, Nickelodeon, Rhymesayers Entertainment, Wired magazine, Dephect clothing, Colossal Blimp, Picturemachine Productions, ditch Edit, The New Republic, Bloomberg—Business, and many independent musicians such as I Self Devine, Greg Grease, I.B.E, K.Raydio & Psymun, The Maykit, and Sloslylove.
Jordan is a multi-media Minneapolis based artist, who has primarily worked as a muralist, painter, art educator, and sculptor. He has worked heavily in the Phillips neighborhood and the West Bank of South Minneapolis doing community murals. He is also working with a team to incorporate art which helps to create a holistic healing environment at HCMC. Internationally, he has been a visiting artist at Zayed University in Abu Dhabi. Jordan has trained in community organizing through SPEAC, a training group of which he was a founding member. He strives to build community using art as a tool for communication, expression, and collaboration.
Holly is a writer, editor, and frenzied consumer of media living in Minneapolis. Be it video games, politics, podcasts, Weird Twitter, books, feminism, TV, whatever—she’s probably enthusiastic about what you’re enthusiastic about.
Dyani White Hawk currently resides in Shakopee, Minnesota. She is Sicangu Lakota, an enrolled member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe. Dyani earned a MFA in studio arts in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and BFA in two-dimensional studio arts in 2008 from the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She served as gallery director and curator for the All My Relations Gallery in Minneapolis, Minnesota from 2011-2015. In May of 2015 Dyni transitioned into full-time studio practice. She is a recipient of a 2015 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship, 2014 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, 2013/14 McKnight Visual Artist Fellowship and the 2012 Southwestern Association of Indian Arts Discovery Fellowship. Her work has been acquisitioned into the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Tweed Museum of Art, Akta Lakota Museum, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Union Art Collection and the Robert Penn Collection of Contemporary Northern Plains Indian Art of the University of South Dakota. She is represented by Shiprock Santa Fe and the Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis.
Carolyn Holbrook was a 2015 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant. She was named a 2015 Change Maker by the MN Women’s Press for “More Than A Single Story,” her series of panel discussions on black women writers of the African Diaspora living in Minnesota held at the Loft Literary Center. Her personal essays have been published widely, most recently in A Good Time For The Truth: Race in Minnesota (MHS Press) and Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (MHS Press). Her book, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Journeys: How the St. Paul Companies Leadership Initiatives in Neighborhoods Program Changed Lives and Communities was published in 2013 & 2015. She founded SASE: The Write Place in1993 and served as its Executive/Artistic Director until 2006, when she spearheaded its merger with Intermedia Arts. She teaches Creative Writing at Hamline University where she won the Exemplary Teacher award in 2013, and at Minneapolis Community & Technical College. She was a 2015-16 mentor for the Loft Mentor Series and was the 2010 recipient of the MN Book Awards Kay Sexton Award. Holbrook was recently recognized as one of 50 Minnesotans over the age of 50 who have made significant contributions and achievements in their communities.
Olivia is an artist, muralist, historian, storyteller, and educator. She is a native of Minneapolis, Minnesota where she grew up making art, playing soccer, participating in political theater, exploring, and making mischief.
Matt Hunt is the CEO and founder of strategy and innovation consulting firm Stanford & Griggs. With over 20 years of business and technology experience he has a demonstrated excellence in business strategy, innovation, and leadership development with large companies, small companies and non-profit organizations. You can follow Matt on his blog MattHunt.co and Twitter @huntm.
Mitra Jalali is the proud daughter of immigrants, a former classroom teacher, community organizer and policy aide who now represents Ward 4 on the St. Paul City Council. Her main priorities in office include addressing the affordable housing crisis, community-first public safety, action on climate, and building community wealth.
Andrea Jenkins, educator, poet, artist, and activist, works as the Oral Historian for Transgender Oral History Project for the University of Minnesota. She is the author of three books: “Tributaries: Poems Celebrating Black History” and “Pieces of A Scream”, and her latest title, “The T is Not Silent: New and Selected”, Purple Lioness Productions, 2015. Andrea has received many fellowships and awards, including a Bush Fellowship, the Many Voices Fellowship at the Playwrights’ Center, The Cultural Community Leadership Institute Fellowship through Intermedia Arts, and a Givens Foundation Fellowship for Black Writers. Her work has been collected in several anthologies including “A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota” MHSP, 2016, “Blues Vision: African American Writing in Minnesota, MHSP, 2016. In 2015 Andrea was named Grand Marshall of the Twin Cities Pride Parade.
Ruthie is an experienced racial justice practitioner with a strong background in coaching, training, and curriculum development. Prior to moving into independent consulting, she worked within higher ed, affordable housing, civic agencies, and a handful of non-profit organizations. She’s also served on the Metropolitan Councils’ Equity Advisory Committee & participated with Wilder’s Community Equity Program. When she isn’t working to dismantle white supremacy, she loves to take walks to Theo Wirth Park, create things & eat good food with friends.
Eliesa Johnson is a Minneapolis based photographer and the owner of Eliesa Johnson, Photogen Inc., Rivets and Roses, and ELIESA Consults. Her works is regularly featured in Food & Wine Magazine, MPLS / St. Paul Magazine, The James Beard Foundation, Delta Sky and various ad agencies. “It is my goal to create visual stories and find the connection between the subject and the viewer. I like to show the moments that are unseen and share them with the world.” Eliesa and her crew are located in NE Minneapolis and travel often.
Marie Ketring is a filmmaker and photographer currently attending the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She specializes in crazy schemes and risky ideas. Her most current projects include long road trips and farm visits. She loves working for small nonprofits with big ideas. Marie’s favorite kind of gig is anywhere that has food so she can secretly sneak a bite before gettin’ back to the hustle.
Kate Downing Khaled is on a mission to use her skills in community engagement to shape the future to be more fair and welcoming. In her work, Kate is the owner of an independent consulting firm where she facilitates creative design and equitable strategy processes for her clients. She helps them imagine, deliver and communicate programs and products that work for everyone. In her past work at Charities Review Council, she served the role of Director of Engagement & Programs, where she led the Council’s creative design, business modeling and partnership development efforts – including the development of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Assessment Toolkit for nonprofits, philanthropies, coalitions and municipalities. Kate previously contributed to a variety of philanthropic projects in her work with Grassroots Solutions – community problem-solving campaigns like the Minnesota Idea Open and the Connect for Health Challenge. An active and vocal member of the Minnesota Muslim community, Kate lives in Saint Paul with her husband Taqee and their three sons. In her vast spare time between building a business and raising a family, you can find Kate writing creative nonfiction, refinishing mid-century furniture and enjoying Minnesota’s markets, culture and anything outdoors. Send her a personal message: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Michael Kleber-Diggs is a poet and essayist. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s, Poetry City, North Dakota Quarterly, Pollen Midwest, Paper Darts, Water~Stone Review and a few anthologies. He enjoys collaboration with visual artists. Michael is a past Fellow with the Givens Foundation for African-America Literature, a past-winner of the Loft Mentor Series in Poetry, and the inaugural Poet Laureate of Anoka County libraries. His work has been supported by the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Jerome Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Michael is husband to Karen. Karen and Michael have a daughter who is an accomplished dancer.
Jayanthi Kyle is a songstress dedicated to singing from the heart. She collects songs that speak to her struggle, empowerment and ability to be, change, and move forward while honoring the unremembered changers and movers of the past. She enjoys singing for people passing worlds being born or dying or passed. She refers to as arrivals and departures. She is in a number of bands and projects in the Twin Cities including Gospel Machine, The Give Get Sistet, Miss Pennie’s Microphone, Bain, Romantica, Passed Presents, Black Audience, and Jayanthi Kyle and the Crybabies. She continues to work with The Million Artist Movement to dismantle white supremacy and support Black liberation. She also works with Mama Mosaic on a “Minnesota girls are not for sale” piece that has been performed for eight years seeking freedom for women and girl sex slaves in Minnesota. People Power Change. ARTIST STATEMENT: I sing because I feel healing from it and I want to offer that to others. I always hope that my voice makes people feel like they want to sing too. Then the real healing can begin from their own soul. Never be afraid to lift your voice. Practice the gift of exercising your voice.
Rebecca Jean Lawrence is a storyteller with a camera. Creative and warm images that authentically document her client’s story are her specialty. Rebecca is a freelance photographer, born and raised in Minneapolis. She studied Liberal Arts with an emphasis in film photography at Seattle University. She is the founder of Telling Queer History, an event series that uses oral storytelling to connect LGBTQ+ people across generations and identities. Rebecca also spends a lot of time cooking, reading about queer history, gardening, learning and practicing herbal medicine, and trying to balance freelance work. Rebecca currently also works as a community organizer at the MN Opera.
Allegra Lockstadt was born in Windsor, Ontario, Canada and raised in Lexington, Ky. In 2006, she moved to Minneapolis to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Since graduating in 2010, she has worked as a freelance illustrator, designer, and brand consultant while still devoting time to her personal arts practice. A few of her past clients include: Rookie Magazine, GOOD, Kentucky for Kentucky, MCAD, Springboard for the Arts, Paper Darts, and Utah Valley University. Aside from her creative design practice, Allegra also produces cultural events alongside local events team Cult Collective.
Genessis Lopez is a Mexican artist living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has worked in Development and Fundraising at various nonprofits and incorporates art and creativity in everything she does. Her floral illustration series called “Color Therapy” was created during a time when she was struggling to find joy in life. The illustrations provided a form of visual therapy and healing during a period of change and discomfort. She hopes that you too can feel a sense of healing and hope from the colorful floral clusters.
Leigh Luna lives in Minneapolis but would much rather live in a tree house. She spends the vast majority of her time making comics and illustrations about woodland adventures. These are highly influenced from being raised in New Mexico. Her children’s comic Clementine Fox is currently being published on GoComics by Andrews McMeel Universal. In addition she works for BOOM! on the Adventure Time Comics.
Ry is a freelance illustrator and designer based in Minneapolis, MN. Originally from Hawaii, they decided to leave perpetual 80 degree weather to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Having worked in both illustration and design, their work can range from minimal and clean to detailed and lush, but is always refreshing in texture and composition. Their style is a great example of organic shapes living in a digital world. They have been recognized by both the Society of Illustrators LA and the Society of Illustrators NY. Previously, they worked as an in-house designer at Target Headquarters illustrating fun prints and graphics for the Cat + Jack brand. They have a special love for tiny plants, collecting stickers, and matcha flavored anything.
Nicolle Mackinnon is a lifestyle magazine editor based in Minneapolis. As a beauty blogger and the social media manager for No More Dirty Looks, she helps to educate about the health benefits of non-toxic personal care products, and advocates for awareness about the potentially dangerous ingredients in traditional cosmetics. She also contributes to numerous beauty blogs, magazines and websites on the topic of holistic wellness, natural beauty and vegan skincare and makeup. When she’s not writing, she’s puppy-watching or perfecting her yoga poses.
Ashley is a designer, illustrator, and mixed-media artist from Minneapolis. She spends her days working for KNOCK Inc and Treat and Company and her nights playing in the freelance sandbox or making art. When she is not working, she is on a bike heading towards french fries, hunting for cool old junk, or bopping around to local events.
David is a 23-year-young artist, corporate accountant, and sneaker connoisseur with a passion for smart design and a mild pizza addiction. He was born in Lomé, Togo, was raised in Paris, France but found a third home in the Twin Cities, learning English and pursuing his bachelor’s degree. He is the founder of a content creating collective called Upperclassmen – a group of designers, writers, artists and photographers with an unique view on lifestyle and menswear. Outside of design and art direction, he is part of a group of musicians, enjoys traveling, and likes to remain involved in the creative community by attending shows/events.
Charles McGregor is a junior attending the University of Minnesota Duluth, majoring in computer science and minoring in art. He is an independent game developer at Tribe Games who has been making games for 2+ years and recently released his game: Glitch in the System. His specialties include programming, art, and sound design.
Marla Bonner is a Seattle based Illustrator and Art Director who has spent the past 4 years between Seattle and Minneapolis cutting her teeth at a few of the world’s largest tech and retail companies. From launching international retail lines for Amazon, creating warm digital experiences for Target and rebranding tech giants like Oracle, Marla has built an impressive portfolio that champions representation and human-centric design. Marla runs her creative freelance endeavors through her social media handle @modifymarla where she illustrates and letters on topics including fashion, confidence, and cannabis culture. Follow her and say hi!
Neeraj Mehta is the director of learning at the McKnight Foundation. He has spent his career working at the intersections of urban planning and community development, community organizing and research justice. Prior to joining McKnight he served as the director of community programs at the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota and adjunct faculty at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Neeraj was also a Bush Foundation leadership fellow from 2011-2013. He’s been a proud Northsider since 2001, where he and his partner Erin are raising their sons, Ezra and Koen.
Morgan Mercer is a writer-artist guided by a need to create and an insatiable curiosity that keeps her asking questions. Above all else she likes to tell stories. She’s written about shoe cobblers, bartenders, emerging entrepreneurs with big ideas and people who throw sibling reunion parties for their dogs. She’s passionate about discovering what makes people tick and telling the stories that help us connect with ourselves, those around us and the world we live in. When she’s not typing away at a keyboard or walking her dog, you can find her at the studio painting, collaging or making jewelry.
Fatuma Mohamud is a 19-year-old photographer and spoken word artist who grew up in Northeast Minneapolis, Minnesota. She is a current student at Minneapolis Community and Technical College and is transferring to the University of Minnesota to study fine art photography in the spring. You’ll find her skateboarding around town, taking photos of people on the street, and saying hi to everyone she meets.
Aundria Sheppard Morgan is the author of Cross My Heart and Hope to Die, (2004), a memoir of love, tragedy and truth. “Writing has always been my lifeline and serves as the tool to make sense of a world I don’t always get.” Aundria holds a bachelors of arts in communications from Metropolitan State University. Smiling Is Not Resilience (seeking publication), is more than a sequel to her first memoir; it provides a social responsibility perspective that challenges the “mantras of hope” we utter in response to pain and suffering—our own, others, societal. Aundria is a native of Brooklyn, New York and currently lives and works in Minneapolis.
Terresa Moses is the Creative Director at Blackbird Revolt, an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at UMD, and the creator and design researcher of Project Naptural. She serves on the executive boards of the Duluth NAACP, the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Committee, and on the board of AIGA Minnesota as the Director of Diversity & Inclusion.
Karī is a 2016 Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Artist, former and current contributor to various outlets in the U.S., and a freelance writer and performer. Her words mainly live on the internet and have also appeared on the radio, and on stage.
Nancy Musinguzi is a Minneapolis-based documentary photographer and multimedia storyteller from Somerset, New Jersey. Her work is primarily concerned with the cultural representation of historically-marginalized voices in media and American society. Through a first-generation African American perspective, Nancy blends the genres of documentary, lifestyle, portrait, and street photography to cultivate a new style of realism in her arts practice, making photographs that are rooted in intention and intuition, primarily focused on preserving the authenticity of a moment by building a relationship between the subject and their environment that best represents who they are and where they come from. Since 2014, Nancy has collaborated with landmark institutions, brands and organizations like Target, The McKnight Foundation, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, YouthCARE, Youthprise, Winona State University, Olaf College and more to use art as a catalyst for community building and social change. Beyond art and storytelling, Nancy is also an avid traveler, hip-hop geek, film buff and book worm. She currently works as a freelance photographer and videographer in the Twin Cities as well as serves as Creative Director of New Rules, a 4,000 sq. ft. communal marketplace combining co-working, retail and event space in North Minneapolis.
Meg Lionel Murphy is the director of Art + Story at Pollen. She is also a painter. Her work has been featured in a number of exhibitions including “Interior Violence” solo show at CoExhibitions Gallery (Minneapolis), as well as group shows at Public Functionary (Minneapolis) and at the Other Art Fair (Los Angeles).
She is currently working on her debut New York solo exhibition which will take place at The Untitled Space gallery in 2021.
Mónica Nadal is an innovative Puerto Rican designer and art director who centers authentic connection and communication into her design practice on a daily basis. Pollen partners extensively with local creatives and as Art + Talent Director, Mónica is at the core of building relationships in the MSP freelance community.
Laura is a St. Paul based photographer, filmmaker, and writer, and has been collecting words and images for as long as she can remember. Through the lenses of both science and art, she loves to explore the connections and meaning between things―how people relate to each other, to nature, and to the world. She is the co-founder of the Sakina Mission, a visual storytelling nonprofit, and has an academic background in psychology and biology.
Nicole is a writer and anthropologist committed to community building and storytelling. Her research and work have taken her around the country and the world. She is a 2017 recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative Grant in Prose, a 2016-2017 Loft Literary Center Mentor Series participant, and was previously a fellow with the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. Her first short story was published in September 2016 by Joyland Magazine. Nicole holds a B.A. in anthropology/sociology from Swarthmore College and a master’s degree in migration studies from the University of Oxford, England.
Lolla Nur is a writer/editor, journalist, community builder and multidisciplinary creative. As a journalist, her bylines include: Colorlines Magazine, The Nation, Voice of America, Minnesota Public Radio, Pioneer Press, Twin Cities Daily Planet, The UpTake and more. She is an alum of the University of Minnesota, with a degree in journalism and political science, and focus on international development and African and African American studies. She’s also an alum of Georgetown University’s Institute on Political Journalism, the Intercultural Leadership Institute and National Art Strategies.
James O’Brien is an illustrator and designer, creating conceptual, decorative, art and design for editorial, corporate, and publishing clients.
As Director of Policy and Advocacy, Kenzie O’Keefe leads PUC’s efforts to realize justice for our communities in government and other institutional spaces. Kenzie joined PUC in early 2016 to lead the launch of the agency’s first community media social enterprise, North News. For over four years she worked with North Minneapolis residents, many of them youth, to ready their truths for publication and change the negative narrative about the Northside. In addition to journalism, she brings a background in design thinking, education, and innovation to her work as a policymaker. She was a 2019-20 Humphrey Policy Fellow.
Adaobi Okolue is a writer, strategist and visual storyteller who crafts stories that challenge the way we view ourselves and reveal the truths, brilliance and ideas of the people we choose not to see. She is also the founder and owner of Coloring Circles, a marketing studio in Minneapolis that works with organizations, small businesses, and creative entrepreneurs who empower people and community. Email: email@example.com
Josh Olson is an American born and Minneapolis based photographer and artist. His photographic works are sometimes in galleries, and almost always on the internet. His work currently focuses on visual narratives, and the aesthetic history of photography. His various bodies of work are influenced by midwestern structures, both material and societal. He is interested in exploring ideas of masculinity, identity, and silence. Olson received a BFA in Photography & Minor in Art History from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2015, and now works full time running his photography business.
Kevin O’Meara is a Minneapolis-based photographer. He lives with his dog Jackie Onassis. His influences include Ramon Muxter, Jacob Aue Sobol, Ken Pate, and Chris Shaw. Kevin is a member of Elephant Gun Collective. Inquiries welcome: firstname.lastname@example.org
Evan is an illustrator and cartoonist living in Minneapolis. By day Evan is a web and animation producer at PUNY while by night he is a freelance illustrator, storyboard and concept artist, and self publishes his own comics about robots, wizards, and cooking. He has worked on such titles as Yo Gabba Gabba!, Scott Pilgrim, Vertigo’s Fables and for clients such as Cartoon Network and BOOM! Studios.
We are filmmakers. We tell your true story through powerful narrative and stunning visuals. If you have confidence in your organization, you shouldn’t be afraid to tell its true story. You owe it to yourself to be honest. You have a story worth telling. Let us help you tell it.
Rose (she/her/hers) is a third-year Masters in Divinity student at Boston University School of Theology and a licensed minister. As a scholar-activist, Rose studies and teaches at the intersections of culture, justice, race, ethnicity, and theology. Rose currently serves as an adjunct professor, teaching in an intercultural studies program, focusing on antiracism, church resistance history, and liberation theology. Rose is passionate about many artistic mediums including poetry, prose, music, and hand-lettering.
Leanna is a designer + illustrator who lives in Brooklyn (by way of Minneapolis, by way of Kansas City—home of the best BBQ). Inspired by the sum of everything fun on planet Earth, Leanna is an ambassador of the outdoors; urban exploring, biking around, drawing copious amounts of patterns, road-tripping to music festivals, and illustrating hyper-graphic environments. Products featuring her patterns can be found at most retail stores including Forever 21, Target, Walmart, Office Max, Spencer’s, Hot Topic, Staples, etc. Recent clients include i-D Magazine, 3M, Scotch, Computer Arts Magazine, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Daniel and the Lion, Later Babes, and more.
Junauda is a writer, performance artist, dancer, creator, aerialist, educator, good auntie, facilitator of love and joyful moments. She loves to write about what she feels is real and unescapable from her soul’s introspection/retrospection. Creating art is what makes her happy and is the easiest way for her to problem-solve, heal and transform reality. Junauda Petrus is co-founder of Free Black Dirt.
Nell grew up in both southern California and southern Maine, and is now based in Minneapolis, MN. She was blessed with creative roots, raised by a mother who wore paint clothes more often than not and a father who always had a story in his pocket. She channels her mother in her work both through her learned strokes and through the imagery itself – as all of her paintings of boats, barns, etc. are based off of her photography. She has been teaching in the arts (dance, visual & theater) since 2007, working in summer camps, nonprofits, prisons, and public schools. She currently teaches through the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis as well as through Articulture, a local nonprofit. She believes that the arts can be a vehicle for self and social reflection, critique, and change.
ANDY LEIGH R is a San Antonio-born artist who ended up cold and confused in the Midwest to attend the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Their work is heavily character driven, with a focus on emotional bonds and yearning to find a place where you belong while still having fun along the way. Andy one day hopes to shed their lousy human skin to become the ultimate ethereal magical being.
My first camera was a plastic Kodak point and shoot film camera I won in second grade. While the camera is still among my collection most of the photos were of the quality that can only truly be appreciated by a mother. After a few years of starts and fits and a brief dabble with graphic design, I recognized the love of photography that sparked my interest so many years ago was clamoring to be heard. I’ve spent more than a million (slight exaggeration) hours in the industry working in all the jobs that can be found on a photo set. I mastered sweeping in record time so was quickly promoted to retoucher and digi-tech. As hours of home videos can attest to, story telling has always been something I’ve felt compelled to do and after years of working in the product industry my desire to capture images full of heart and soul over pomp and fluff won out. Though my medium has changed, I still love combing my vivid imagination with a strong sense of compassion to capture authentic, below the line stories. People amaze me. And I like to in turn tell more people about theses amazing humans. My goal is to give my viewers the impression that they are there, in the moment, experiencing life with the subjects. So lets’s do it. Let’s work together to tell some great stories. Who knows, maybe as we act with creativity and conviction to create balance and compassion we will discover the new best story ever.
Bill Rebholz is an illustrator person currently living in Minneapolis. His different interests within the field have found him working on an array of opportunities, including everything from editorial, institutional, and advertising campaigns, to sign painting and large scale mural work. Many of his influences are found through keen observation of his immediate surroundings, informed by a fascination with pattern, shape, color, letters, naive expression, and almost anything else found in the open.
Luisa Rivera is a London-based artist and illustrator originally from Santiago, Chile. She recently graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design with an MFA in illustration. She has worked with clients such as The New York Times, Variety Magazine, Air Canada, Brigitte MOM, Transparency International UK, Oxford American, Deloitte, La Guarimba Film Festival, La Peste magazine, UVA magazine, among others. Luisa has published four picture books, including La Pimpinela Escarlata by Penguin Random House Spain in 2016. Other illustrated books include Trenzas, Breviario Mínimo and Subterra, published by Liberalia Ediciones (Chile). Luisa exhibits her work regularly.
Bobby Rogers is a Minneapolis based Illustrator and Designer. His process embraces an integration of hyper-realistic rendering and experimental design to evoke a deliberately emotive sensation. He builds a visceral impression by exploring the technical extremes within each art form to exhibit various degrees of nostalgia, romanticism and elegance. Though coloration occupies the peripheral of his process, the decreased usage of differing hues compliment the monochromatic base to create a euphoric, expressive, and intricate spectacle.
Ryan Stopera is a photographer, videographer, social worker, community organizer,and entrepreneur. He has worked in direct social services and grassroots community organizing for over ten years. This privilege has allowed Ryan to build a vast amount of relationships and experiences constructing a deep analysis of the social issues our communities face today. During the Occupy Wall Street movement, Ryan produced a video sharing the story of five homeowners in foreclosure with Bank of America. The video, which included the cell phone number of Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, asked the nation to call and demand he negotiate with the homeowners who were victims of the mortgage crisis. By the second day of the video going viral executives from the office of the CEO contacted each of the homeowners to help them negotiate their foreclosure and avoid homelessness. He recognized the power of media as a tool to create powerful narratives that can be used to create social change.
Julie Van Grol is an illustrator and instructor based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. She earned her MFA from Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD) in 2014, and has since served as an adjunct faculty member at MCAD and St. Olaf College as well as full-time visiting faculty at MCAD. Julie has taught courses in both Liberal Arts and Design Departments, with course content including history, editorial illustration, decorative surface design, and professional practices.
In her illustration practice, Julie focuses on storytelling and the power of responsible representation. Her work spans from editorial to advertising to publishing, with clients including Quarto Publishing, AARP, St. Paul Public Library, Representative Ilhan Omar, and Minnesota Private Colleges Council.
Angela Vang believes in ghosts, love, and stories that challenge our understanding of the world. She is drawn to narratives of difference, power, and healing because they complicate the human experience. She is a freelance audio producer currently based in the twin cities. She spent the previous year in Washington D.C. interning for NPR’s Code Switch and producing for All Things Considered. In her spare time, she is eating persimmons and going on long walks
Mary Jo Schifsky
Nina Hernandez Beithon
Maggie Ryan Sandford
Elissa Y. Schufman
Stacy Ann Schwartz
Kate Madonna Hindes
Fotos For Barcelona
Pollen Midwest Terms of Service
Last Updated: June 1, 2015
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Last Updated: June 1, 2015
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