Artists at the Community Development Table Local Workshop - Dayton

Artists at the Community Development Table 

Local Workshop - Dayton, OH

About This Workshop

The power and importance of integrating artists and arts organizations into discussions about public policy, civic systems, and community development initiatives continues to grow every day. How and why artists and arts organizations engage with these initiatives continues to be a conversation that needs to be had, with the goal of empowering creatives to use their work for creative problem solving within communities.

Join us for a one-day workshop as we look at what arts-based community development is and learn how artists and arts organizations can use their voices to build up the communities they are a part of. This workshop will include case studies, creative group exercises, and highlight the work of artists in our local community already engaging in this work. Come away feeling reinvigorated and ready to make change! Attendance if free, but registration is required. To register, click the "Register" option in the top right portion of this page. Please email Cristyn Johnson with any questions. 

Date: Thursday, July 18, 2019

Time: 8:00AM - 5:00PM

Location: The Brightside, 905 E. Third Street, Dayton, OH 45402


  • Sierra Leone, Writer, Poet, and Creative Arts Educator
  • Jes McMillan, Visual Artist
  • Roseann Weiss, Creative Consultant Consultant
  • Con Christeson, Community Artist

Local Host: Culture Works

This initiative is funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.


Sierra Leone

Writer, Poet, and Creative Arts Educator

Governor’s Award winner and writer Sierra Leone is the president and artistic director of OFP Theatre and Production Company. For more than a decade, Ohio has benefitted from Sierra's vision of creative urban arts as a powerful artistic medium to bring communities together across racial, cultural, ideological, and economic divides. Her project “The Signature: A Poetic Medley Show” presents a hybrid of urban poetry, music, dance, and visual arts from local, regional, and international talent. The show later expanded to include an energetic poetry competition called The Last Poet Standing. In December of 2018, she became a playwright, co-writing Eunice: Starshine and Clay with her partner Nate Leone. The show was named one of the 2018 top ten Theatre Shows in Dayton, Ohio.

Her work with youth arts organizations, schools, and community organizations has been ongoing through her company’s educational arm, Signature Educational Solutions. Spring of 2019, Sierra graduated with her second master’s degree, an M.B. A. from Wright State University. Sierra is continuing girls’ and women’s empowerment work through I am Moon Power, this work inspired her to complete the Inner Visions Institute Spiritual School Two-year Personal Development Program, Spring 2019. Sierra has written and performed commissioned work for many local and national organizations. Several years ago, Leone wrote a fictional monolog entitled “Katrina 2031 that she featured at TEDx Dayton 2014. She is currently a TEDX Dayton speakers’ coach. Ms. Leone was a featured artist at the 2017 National Breaking Silences Conference, where she was commissioned to write a poem about her journey with dyslexia. Currently, she is working on her new book of poems and short stories that will be published in the fall of 2019.

Instagram: poetsierraleone

Facebook: @poetsierraleone

Jes McMillan

Visual Artist

I created my first mosaic in a high school art class when I was 16. My affinity for the art form was immediate. After trading my second mosaic for my first set of glass tools I was creating a mosaic on every piece of scrap wood I could talk the neighbors into giving me. Next I was off to college for Industrial Design looking for every opportunity to mosaic. It wasn't until The Art Institute of Pittsburgh recognized my special gift and began inviting me to represent them, that I realized, I just might be able to do what I love and make a living for myself one day. The AIP commissioned my first large scale mosaic installation upon my graduation in 2005, measuring 4 foot tall by 17 foot long, titled 'Creatively Influence'. 

My first experiences connecting with people through art were under tents and in community and faculty development workshops. When I returned Home to Dayton I met Jerri Stanard of The K12 Gallery and learned how to lead hundreds of people in the creation of collaborative art. What was once my own personal passionate connection to mosaic, became something else completely when I learned how to share it with others. Just as the art form greatly impacted me, the giving of it has amplified my passion and changed the course of my life. 

After almost a decade leading collaborative art for K12 I founded The Mosaic Institute of Greater Dayton npo in 2015, to become my vehicle for service. Our mission is to UNIFY community through art. We focus on bringing a multitude of diverse community groups and individuals together to create art side by side. These projects involve everyone! And are a physical representation of community, thousands of tiny pieces coming together to make one big beautiful picture.

Art has the ultimate power to transcend the barriers of division. Race, Sex, Age, Ability, Economic Status and on and on..  When we join together we gain the power to overcome anything! Being involved in these projects creates a sense of pride, accomplishment, and connection, bringing people together for the good of everyone. Art gives hope. Art fights injustice. Art creates unity. Unity helps stabilize our democracy, increases economic growth, develops our nation and gives it's people all vital rights and duties. 



Roseann Weiss

Creative Advisor

Roseann Weiss is a creative advisor and strategist about the intersections of art and community working independently as ART +. She has 30 years of experience in arts leadership in nonprofit arts institutions, community organizations, and gallery settings. Her expertise centers in arts-based community development, community and public arts, artists' professional development, and grant-making. For 14 years, she guided the Community Arts Training (CAT) Institute at the St. Louis Regional Arts Commission, which is an innovative, cross-sector program designed around art as a powerful agent for social change. Among her current projects are Lead Educator for Arts as Civic Engagement program at the Gephardt Institute for Civic and Community Engagement at Washington University and working with Americans for the Arts to create guides, webinars, and workshops for “Artists at the Community Development Table.”



Con Christeson

Community Artist

Con is an artist exploring communities. She experiences community by observing pools of knowledge and experience that exist alongside historical rootedness and the complex concept of place. It is a topographical map of wind, weather, and time. It is the science of hard scape. It is multiple layers of memory and story. It is individual and institutional. It can reinforce or bury the human experience. 

Con’s work is at the intersection of space and place, a collaboration between consciousness and creativity. She works locally, nationally, and internationally because those virtual lines drawn by humans on the surface of this planet are not real. And yet, she believes they slow us, confine us, stop us, turn us away from each other. 


  • Registration Closed


Artists at the Community Development Table Local Workshop - Dayton