Lakisha Bradley is an artist, entrepreneur, leader, mentor, and therapeutic art practitioner who discovered her love for art at five years old through teachings from her dad. After 16 years in corporate retail, Lakisha chose to take a leap of faith. While on the journey of rediscovering herself, Lakisha began to paint again. Art became a therapeutic and healing outlet. In 2017, she founded her award-winning business, My-T-By-Design, the first therapeutic art studio offering non-clinical art services and licensed mental health counseling in Arkansas. “My studio does not feel like a clinic. I intended to break down walls, break through barriers, and help reduce the stigma around mental health,” she says. Lakisha works within the juvenile justice system, assisted living facilities, schools, universities, low-income apartment complexes, city municipalities, and more by what she describes as sharing the power of healing through art. In addition, Bradley is the Arts and Culture Liaison for Ozark Regional Transit Authority (ORT), a position that emerged out of her recent participation in the Crystal Bridges Museum’s Arts and Social Impact Accelerator Program (ASAP). She was also one of five recipients of the M-AAA Artists 360 Community Activator grants in 2022.
Kholoud Sawaf is a theatre artist and cultural investigator from Damascus, Syria. She has worked in theatre and television in Syria, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, and the United States. Inspired by COVID, Kholoud co-created Curbside Theatre to investigate theatre as a service. Supported by the Doris Duke Foundation, she created and directed 10,000 Balconies, an original play inspired by Romeo and Juliet and set in Damascus, at TheatreSquared. Kholoud presently leads a collaboration between Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and Arkansas Coalition of Marshallese. Kholoud’s work has appeared in New York; Connecticut; Oregon; Massachusetts; Washington, DC; Nairobi, Kenya; and Dubai, UAE.
Sharon Killian, artist, advocate, educator, and arts leader, has been selected as the first recipient of the new Creative Impact Award from Artists 360, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA).
Killian has been actively engaged in the Northwest Arkansas community since moving to the region in 2005. She is the President of the Board of Art Ventures and President of the Board of the Northwest Arkansas African American Heritage Association.
Killian’s artwork has been shown at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and Edison Place Gallery, Washington, DC, and the Bentonville Fine Art Show, presented by Black Art in America, Bentonville, AR. In Arkansas, she also had solo exhibits at Carnall Hall at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Fort Smith Trolley Museum, Fayetteville Public Library, Arts Center of the Ozarks in Springdale, and is included in the Tyson Collection, UA Chancellor’s Collection of Arkansas Artists, the NWA Community College collection, and others.