Gracey Zhang is an award-winning illustrator, author, and animator with a BA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. She received the Ezra Jack Keats Illustrator Award for her debut picture book, Lala’s Words. Gracey has also illustrated The Big Bath House, Nigel and The Moon, and The Upside Down Hat. Born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, she has participated in artist residencies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Angoulême, France. Gracey is now based in New York where she can be found working from her Brooklyn studio.
Jen Kraar grew up chasing lizards in India, making up stories about imaginary neighbors who lived in the spirit house in front of her house in Thailand, and riding retired racehorses in Singapore. Jen went to college in North Carolina and then enjoyed being a school librarian in Pittsburgh. Now, Jen is the manager of City of Asylum Bookstore, and writes picture books and novels for young people. She recently completed an MFA in Children’s and Young Adult Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Mallory Neidich studied literary arts and gender studies at Brown University and went on to earn her master’s in English education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is a former educator at the Chapin School and currently works with The Academy for Teachers, a vital organization offering creative solutions to the crisis of teacher attrition. She runs a social media community called Conscious Sprouts, which shares resources on beautiful, diverse, and progressive picture books.
Born in Venezuela, Maria V Troconis is an award-winning creative director currently based in Los Angeles, California. She has been honored with awards from Dieline Awards for her work in packaging design, and by both the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) and Advertising Age for her contributions as an art director. For more than a decade, Maria has partnered with values-driven organizations through Grafikisto, a branding and design studio she established that caters to these ventures. In September 2022, Maria launched Foreign & Domestic Editions, a fine art editions publisher. With a strong commitment to collaboration, this venture serves as a platform for artists to explore novel approaches and expand the reach of their exceptional artworks. Maria’s vision is to make these remarkable creations accessible to a broader audience, nurturing a profound connection between artists and art enthusiasts.
Cassi Namoda (b. 1988) is a painter whose work transfigures the cultural mythologies and historical narratives of life in post-colonial Africa, particularly those of the artist’s native Mozambique. Namoda’s paintings are highly elusive, drawing upon literary, cinematic and architectural influences that capture the expansiveness of her specifically Luso-African vantage point. The idiosyncratic subjects who appear and reappear in Namoda’s paintings also convey this hybridity: they emerge from African indigenous religions just as much as they spring from Western mythologies. Namoda is equally attentive to landscape, creating scenes that depict both the rural and the urban through a surreal lens. Having lived in Haiti, the United States, Kenya, Benin, Uganda and other countries, Namoda has acquired a grasp of place that is at once grounded and subversive.
Dona Ann McAdams
Dona Ann McAdams has been making photographs for over forty years, her work exhibited at venues such as the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The International Center for Photography, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, among other places. Since 1983, she has been committed to bringing cameras and photography into small, underserved communities, setting up community darkrooms and teaching people how to shoot, process, and develop their own film and document their own lives. She has worked in places as diverse as adult homes for people living with mental illness, homeless shelters, small mountain communities in Appalachia, dairy farms in New England, and on the backstretch of thoroughbred racetracks.