Nisha Blackwell | Junyetta Seale | Mario Josie | Juan Fernandez | Jamiliha Lahijudean


5 projects to activate the Kelly Strayhorn Theater & Alloy Studios space with innovative ideas!

Kelly Strayhorn Theater (KST) announced the first group of participants for the FUTUREMAKERS Labs Incubator program in 2017.

These artists and creatives were selected as part of the 2017 FUTUREMAKERS Labs to innovate, test, and scale projects that will launch during KST’s fall season:

  • Nisha Blackwell // designer // Knotzland
  • Junyetta Seale // costumer // The Golden Pillow Project
  • Mario Josie // videographer // Mario Ashkar Film
  • Jamiliha Lahijudean // henna artist // Moor HNA
  • Juan Fernandez // illustrator // Pittsburgh Comics Salon

During the 10-week creative incubator that provides artists with peer-to-peer learning, lectures from field experts, and open studio access. All participating artists received a stipend, production and technical support from KST’s team. The program would conclude with the launch of new products, projects, or services that engage the neighborhood and build community.

KST received over 50 applications from the region’s brightest artists, makers, and event producers. Applicants pitched potential projects to engage the audience at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater and the Alloy Studios. FUTUREMAKERS Labs will highlight the selected creative entrepreneurs’ unique local products and services to this diverse, built-in audience, all while offering them a unique opportunity to develop ideas from their portfolio along the way.

FUTUREMAKERS Labs was a space for curators, event producers, and non-traditional practitioners to flourish. The program provided participants with action steps to advance their artistic practice, alongside a strengthened relationship with a small network of peer artists. Artists would also have the opportunity to connect with community stakeholders and local creative entrepreneurs through the Kelly Strayhorn Theater’s network. This exposure would aid in building an increased understanding of the intersections between commerce, community, and creative practice.

This diversity and intermingling of skill, thought, and identity amongst creative entrepreneurs is key to the success of any thriving city. Ultimately, FUTUREMAKERS Labs artists were able to create impactful solutions that synthesized both the community and commercial interests that shape urban centers.

Made possible in part with generous support from The Opportunity Fund.