TWELVE LITERARY ARTS STAFF
Executive Artistic Director
Daniel Gray-Kontar is a poet, teacher, youth mentor, rapper, journalist, and education activist. He 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; writer-in-residence at MOCA Cleveland; 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. 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.
Assistant to the Executive Artistic Director, Six of Twelve Youth Performance Poetry Enemble Artistic Director
Mary Barrett is a dancer, poet, lecturer, student educator, and choreographer. She has performed at Cleveland Public Theater, Karamu, and the Cleveland Museum of Art among others. Her poetry merges critical race theory, feminist theory and hip hop cultural studies with spoken word aesthetics. She has also lectured at Ohio State University about literature and social justice. As a teaching apprentice at Twelve Literary Arts, she has co-facilitated poetry and writing workshops for middle and high school students across the Midwest region. Mary is the current artistic director of Six of Twelve, Twelve Literary Arts' youth performance poetry ensemble.
Program Director, The People Poetry Slam
Ephraim Nehemiah is a writer, performer and educator based out of northeast Ohio using art as resistance, a tool for liberation and a method of healing. Ephraim began participating in poetry slams in 2015. since then Ephraim has been a 2 time southern fried poetry slam finalist, rustbelt poetry slam finalist, placed top 20 at the individual world poetry slam and selected to 5 nationally competing teams. Ephraim is the co-founder/ coach of sojourneyed da truth poetry slam which placed 8th in 2017 representing kent state university at the college unions poetry slam invitational. Ephraim is also the co-slammaster of Cleveland's slam venue the people. Ephraims work has been featured on slamfind, write about now, button poetry, tedxkentstate and other channels and publications. Ephraim is a nationally touring poet and will be releasing his first full length collection Wolf Who Cries Boy in early 2018. Ephraim puts brown sugar in grits, at 11:11 wishes for sallie mae to go away and has aspirations of being the first poet laureate of wakanda.
Resident Teaching Artist
Eva Barrett is a poet and playwright from Cleveland, OH. She is a 2014 graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts and is currently studying History and German at Case Western Reserve University. Eva’s primary artistic focus is studying discourse as power in dialogue and public space, and translating the nuances of human interactions into written and spoken word. She has facilitated classes and workshops in playwriting, poetry, and the historical analysis of poetry, centered around the intersections of postcolonial studies and erotic subjectivity. Eva was the 2016 recipient of the Rocks Experiential Learning Fellowship, with which she travelled to participate in the James Madison University Undergraduate Writing Conference.