BOBV3 ARTIST BIOS + STATEMENTS 

DERRICK BEASLEY installing  Room to Yield

DERRICK BEASLEY installing Room to Yield

Derrick Beasley, mixed media
Durham, NC

Derrick Beasley is a multidisciplinary artist from Durham, NC. He engages audiences through installation, space making, wood work, photography and design. The core of his work explores humanity and our collective and individual capacity to change our reality and manifest a better shared existence.

April Bey, mixed media
Los Angeles, CA

April Bey grew up in the Caribbean (Nassau, Bahamas) and now resides and works in Los Angeles, CA as a contemporary visual artist and art educator. Bey’s interdisciplinary artwork is an introspective and social critique of American and Bahamian popular culture, immigration, contemporary pop culture feminism, generational theory, social media, AfroFuturism and race.

She received her BFA in drawing in 2009 from Ball State University and her MFA in painting in 2014 at California State University, Northridge in Los Angeles. Bey is in the permanent collection of The California African American Museum, The National Art Gallery of The Bahamas and The Current, Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas. Bey has exhibited internationally in both biennials NE7 and NE8 in The Bahamas, Italy, Spain and Accra Ghana, West Africa.

April has launched 3 solo exhibitions: Picky Head at Liquid Courage Gallery in Nassau, Bahamas, COMPLY at Coagula Curatorial in Chinatown, Los Angeles and most recently MADE IN SPACE at Band of Vices Gallery in south LA.

April travels extensively to collect data for her work having traveled to Canada, Iceland, London, Bali, Dubai, Morocco, Senegal, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana, West Africa. Bey is both a practicing contemporary artist and art educator having taught a controversial course at Art Center College of Design called Pretty Hurts analyzing process-based art and Beyoncé hashtag faux feminism. April is currently a full-time tenure track instructor at Glendale Community College in studio arts.


Megan Bowser, writer
Durham, NC

Megan Bowser (she/her) is a massage and bodywork therapist (NCLMBT #13426) and artist. All of her work centers a deepening integration of mind, body and spirit that both honors the innate healing wisdom of the body and aligns our actions in the world. Megan is devoted to somatics and integrative healing through her bodywork practice. She writes poetry as a personal art practice and modality of healing. She is one of the founders of The Mothership, a coworking space and community platform where she is cultivating space for people to be more human in their work-life.

David Michael Butler, painter
Columbus, OH

St. Louis native and Ohio-based Artist David Michael S. Butler has situated himself within the narrative painting tradition. He attained his BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and his MFA at The University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA. Butler's work engages the visual essence of Blackness in culture, placing black figures in environments and narratives to provoke dialogue on identity. He has a reputation of enhancing creative academic experiences. His philosophy is that artists, educators, and creative professionals have a responsibility to engage, challenge, and support community. His recent focus is exploring the notion of Black perseverance throughout our global culture. His paintings often refer to social issues, pop and mass culture. He uses art as a form of activism, exploring how social justice, identity, capitalism, power and violence affect people of color.

He has done work for clients such as Price Waterhouse Cooper, Ithaca College, Soulo Theory Creative, National Association of Black Accountants, The King Arts Complex, COTA Bus Line, and Miami University Oxford, Ohio. As an educator,  Butler has taught at University of the Arts, Miami University, Oxford, and Columbus College of Art and Design. He currently works in Columbus, OH at the Columbus Museum of Art as the Teen Programs Coordinator. And continues his studio practice at the Artfleuntial Workshop and DavidMiachaelArt.com.

Johnny Lee Chapman III
Raleigh, NC

Johnny Lee Chapman, III is a self-taught photographer and poet from Fuquay-Varina, NC. He started writing in 2011 but after after graduating from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2014, “Lee” began performing his poetry across the state. In 2017, he was ranked the #46th poet in the Individual World Poetry Slam, and is a 2018 fellow of The Watering Hole poetry workshop. Chapman’s photographs have been displayed in exhibits, and cover events from weddings to the National Poetry Slam in Chicago. Through his writing, Lee hopes to tackle issues that are often ignored by the community. Aside from the artistry, Chapman also is employed as a dental hygienist.

ANDRE LEON GRAY,  Ghost Skins: The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

ANDRE LEON GRAY, Ghost Skins: The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life

André Leon Gray, mixed media
Raleigh, NC

Raleigh native André Leon Gray is a self-trained artist who works in a variety of media to examine the impact of history on present day power structures and social hierarchies. He transforms mundane objects and materials into powerful social commentaries to encourage conversations among his diverse audience. 

Gray uses discarded materials, including crutches, police barrier tape and imagery found on the internet, to create a coded visual language. In his artistic practice, he loves to examine, dissect and arrange multiple sources of information into his work. He samples symbols of Western culture like a hip hop producer and remixes the content into a new narrative. Using a variety of disciplines, including painting, mixed media, assemblage, drawing and installation, he reassembles them in a manner that becomes more than the sum of its parts. Language is frequently applied to the surface as a point of entry, to examine how words are used as representations and declarations of power to define parameters in social hierarchies. Gray envisions art as a transformative tool to advance our understanding of each other, the world around us, and the cultural necessity to advance humanity in the right direction that benefits us all. 

Jaki Shelton Green, poetry
Mebane, NC

Lecturer, key note speaker and consultant for groups such as NC Humanities Council Roads Scholar Program, North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teachers, Spoleto Sundown Poetry Series, NC Writers Conference, Pamlico Writer’s Festival, Paul Green Foundation, San Louis Obispo California Poetry Festival, NC Writer’s Festival, UNC-Chapel Hill Law School, NC African-American Cultural Celebration, NC History Museum, Carolina Mountains Literary Festival, NC Library Association, Read Local NC Festival, Duke University Nasher Museum, Duke Medical Center, Alamance County Arts Council, West End Poetry Festival, Salem College Women Writers Center Advisory Board, Back Bone Press Advisory Board Member, International Prose Poetry Symposium, Marrakech Morocco.

Over the past forty years, I have taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes extensively at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public/private schools, and literary organizations such as the NC Writer’s Network, NC Poetry Society, Bates College Multicultural Studies Program, University of Wisconsin, Texas A&M, University of Santa Barbara, Rutgers University, St John’s University, The Christ School, St. Andrews University, Barton College, Chatham County Arts Council, The George School, Department of Cultural Resources for Brazil, and NC Turkish Association. As a creativity coach, I have facilitated workshops and trainings throughout the U.S, Europe, Caribbean Islands, Central and South America. In 2006 I was awarded a residency at The Taller Portobelo Artist Colony in historic Portobelo Panama and addressed the Congress of Diaspora Conference at the University of Panama, Carlow University MFA Program, visiting writer.

2013 featured commentator and creative advisor for GRITS Anthology (Girls Raised in the South) and final judge for the distinguished Lucille Clifton Poetry Award, Back Bone Press. Additionally, I judge poetry for schools, anthologies, and celebrated prizes such as the Julie Suk Poetry Award, NC Poetry Society, The Nazim Hikmet Poetry Festival, NC Poetry Out Loud, NC Emerging Artist Grant Judge, and SC Commission on the Arts Literature Panel Judge. I serve on the advisory boards of the Salem College Women Writer’s Center and Back Bone Press. In 2016 I was invited to moderate a panel on Harlem Renaissance Poet Anne Spencer’s Life and Preservation of the Historic Anne Spencer House Museum for Split this Rock Poetry Festival in Washington, DC.

As community arts advocate, I create and facilitate programs that serve diverse audiences and populations: Upward Bound Programs, incarcerated, homeless, chronically and mentally ill, domestic violence, rape, and incest survivors, elderly, public and private schools, teachers, hospice care providers, substance abuse counselors, literacy programs, libraries, universities, humanities councils, immigrants, community economic development, and social justice nonprofits.

My poetry has been widely choreographed by numerous dance companies including Danca Nova at Colorado Naropa Institute for the Arts, The Chuck Davis African-American Dance Company at the Kennedy Center, Miami City Ballet, Two Near the Edge, Choreo Dance, Murmurations Dance Company, and the Duke University Dance Department.

I am the owner of SistaWRITE providing writing retreats and travel excursions for women writers based in North Carolina and Morocco.

Nicole Oxendine dance
Durham, NC

Nicole D. Oxendine's passion for dance spans over 26 years, a passion that inspired her to dedicate her life to teaching and mentoring. Nicole is a full-time entrepreneur and owner of Empower Dance Studio, a studio based in Durham, NC that nurtures and fosters natural beauty, instills self-confidence, and reinforces positive images of dancers from all backgrounds.

NICOLE OXENDINE, video still from  Untitled

NICOLE OXENDINE, video still from Untitled

Nicole graduated from Hollins University in 2003 with a B.A. in psychology and dance. She received her M.A. in dance/movement therapy from Columbia College Chicago in 2011 and her course of studies was focused on adolescents with developmental disabilities.  She has successfully taught dance at Hillside High School for ten years and is currently a part-time faculty member at North Carolina Central University, and authors the dance curriculum for the Durham Public School system.

Under the direction of Nicole Oxendine, Empower Dance Studio has been in high demand for performances and workshops from Durham Public Schools, Durham Chamber of Commerce, North Carolina Museum of Art, African American Heritage Commission, North Carolina Museum of History, East Durham Children’s Initiative, Austin Lawrence Partners, Duke Performances, and American Tobacco Campus.  

Nicole’s work in the non-profit sector is extensive, having been a program coordinator for A Long Walk Home in Chicago, a program that uses arts to advocate against sexual violence. She worked in various capacities at the prestigious American Dance Festival. Her charitable work includes founding her own non-profit organization, the Empower Dance Foundation.  Nicole continues her philanthropic efforts, serving on the Board of Directors for The Carolina Theater of Durham and North Carolina Arts in Action. She currently consults on community arts engagement for Capitol Broadcasting Company and Duke Performances.

Carly P. Jones, opera
Raleigh, NC

Carly Prentis Jones is a theatre artist, singer, and arts advocate. She is a proud Raleigh native and performs on stages throughout the region. Carly is a versatile performer - spanning opera, musical theatre, classic and contemporary theatre. Some of her most favorite performance credits include: Camila in In The Heights (North Carolina Theatre) and Ms. Lynch in Grease (North Carolina Theatre); Justice in Rock of Ages and Nettie in Carousel (Theatre Raleigh);  Lady In Green in For Colored Girls..., and Dorothy in The Wiz (Burning Coal Theatre); Colleen/Marge in Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play and Baba Yaga in The Fairytale Live of Russian Girls (Manbites Dog Theatre); Nettie in The Color Purple, Sarah in Ragtime, and Lily in The Secret Garden (Justice Theatre Project). As a classically trained singer, Carly enjoys performing as an active recitalist and guest soloist. She has performed with Triangle Opera, North Carolina Opera Company and Opera a la carte. She attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, a Bachelor of Arts in Black Music History, and a minor in Arts Administration. Carly's "sweet spot" is when her two passions - the arts and activism - are combined to create the most powerful form of expression - “artivism”. Inspired by Nina Simone's quote, "An artist's duty is to reflect the times"; Carly believes that the arts can be used as a unique tool to cultivate empathy and bridge divisions throughout our diverse country.

Anthony Nelson Jr, dance
Durham, NC

Anthony Nelson is a Durham native performer, choreographer, and instructor. With Hillside Performing Arts High School being his first dance home at the young age of 15, he has since branched out, broadening his movement vocabulary and technique with a focus on modern movement, release technique, hip-hop, and jazz influenced styles. Ay-Jaye has performed works for Chris Grant, renowned choreographer for Beyoncé, Christian Von Howard of The Von Howard Project New York, ShaLeigh Dance Works (Jazz at Lincoln Theatre NY), and has performed around the Triangle with various independent dance organizations such as Empower Dance Studio, The Triangle Dance Project, Tobacco Road Dance Productions, DIDA, and more. Ay-Jaye currently is a company member of Shaleigh Dance Works, and continues to instruct, perform, and create art to build deeper bonds and uplift his community.

STEPHANIE WOODS, Detail from  RELAX RELATE RELEASE

STEPHANIE WOODS, Detail from RELAX RELATE RELEASE

Stephanie J. Woods, mixed media
Charlotte, NC

Stephanie J. Woods holds an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is currently a 2018 – 2019 Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She served as an educator at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Arts Foundation Program, 2017 – 2018 and has attended several residencies including ACRE Residency, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Oxbow School of Art and Artists’ Residency, and Penland School of Crafts. Her work was notably recognized by the 2017 South Arts Fellowship, and the 2016-2017 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship.