Meet the staff of Twelve Literary Arts

DANIEL GRAY-KONTAR

Executive Artistic Director

Daniel Gray-Kontar is the founder and Executive Artistic Director of Twelve Literary Arts and has worked as an advocate for social transformation in the city of Cleveland for more than 25 years. Gray-Kontar is an education consultant for the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; the former chair of the Literary Arts Department at the Cleveland School of the Arts; and a former graduate school fellow at UC Berkeley’s College of Education. His work in arts education has been showcased on PBS Newshour, The UK Guardian, NPR, and the Christian Science Monitor. Gray-Kontar has lectured at universities, public schools, arts organizations and scholarly conferences across the US. His Ted Talk discussing youth leadership in public school education has affected the ways public school administrators think about the inclusion of youth and their families in the process of re-making school cultures and curricula. He is the proud father of his daughter Paloma Manning-Gray.

Stephanie Ginese

Director of Programs in Residence

Stephanie Ginese [she/her] is a queer Boricua-Italian storyteller from South Lorain, OH. She is the Director of Programs in Residence for Twelve Literary Arts. Her work has been featured in underground zines, as well as ivy league publications & her first collection of poetry is forthcoming March 2021 from Twelve Arts Press. She currently lives in Cleveland with her two children & pet corn snake, Moonee. She would like to shoutout music, poetry, the homies, & the earth for existing.

Mary Barrett

Youth Program Coordinator​

Mary Barrett is a dancer, choreographer, poet, lecturer, and teaching artist from Cleveland, Ohio. She began her work with Twelve Literary Arts as an intern at the One Mic Open after school fellowship and over the years evolved into Twelve’s current Youth Programs coordinator. Her writing merges critical race theory, feminist theory, afrofuturism, and hip hop cultural studies with spoken word aesthetics.

Raja Belle Freeman

Lead Teaching Artist

Raja Belle Freeman is a performance poet, visual artist, and flautist. She has worked with Twelve Literary Arts as an intern, a member of the Six of Twelve Youth Performance Poetry Ensemble, and was a two-year member of the One Mic Open Youth Poetry Slam Team. She is currently a senior at Cleveland State University majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and minoring in Black Studies.
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Eric M. ODUM​

Youth Program Coordinator

Eric Odum is a queer poet, brother and friend who enjoys pushing the boundaries of conventional education and is a strong advocate in acknowledging the past as framework for developing new classics.

Meet Twelve Literary Arts' Board of Directors