Carnival Crew

“The Carnival Crew are talented and passionate artists and activists gathering from north and central america. Here are some of the gifts and experience that they bring!”


  • Gustavo and Leonardo Moreno

Cienaños is a movement that has been shaped and turned into a band by Gustavo and Leonardo Moreno, brothers who have created music since their childhood in the privacy of their home; this musical production has transcended from national to international scene. In addition, they are founders of “La Casa de los Cienaños”, a project which in essence, is to create alternative spaces and multicultural outreach, in order to promote and disseminate art in all its expression. In 2006 they released their first single “Fire” and are currently working on a second piece, “Una Rolita de Paz”, that promises to be explosive.  They integrate: Honduran guitarist Omar Mixco, based in Chicago, IL, the Master Jose Antonio Velázquez on keys, Carlos Umaña on bass guitar, Melvin Maldonado on percussion. Bringing a mixture of jazz, funk, reggae, rap and trova, all layered in Latino roots, they provide an alternative purpose for being, and at the same time, give representation of a collective voice to nurture the existential needs through aesthetic appreciation.

  • Monica Laytham

Monica is a singer and pianist. Classically trained, she’s also influenced by African-American gospel music, spirituals, and a cappella folk traditions. She loves to get groups of people singing together in harmony. Monica has over a decade of experience as a church pianist and worship leader, and has also worked as a choir conductor, teacher, and furniture mover. She lived with the Reba Place intentional Christian community for 3 years. That community is on the shore of Lake Michigan, the water that is Monica’s home and teacher. She has spent all of 2016 traveling alone, walking to learn new landscapes, playing small concerts, and building friendships. In addition to the joy of travel and a self-designed pilgrimage, she is seeking education about issues of injustice on the ground in the communities she visits. Monica is interested in dreamwork, alternative pedagogies for making music with children, wisdom traditions, and uncivilizing the spaces where creativity and healing meet. She loves to climb trees, gets competitive during games, and is ready to have a wild dance party any time of day or night.

  • Katherine Parent

Katherine Parent is the artist in residence at Redeemer Lutheran Church in North Minneapolis, and a member of the Newton House intentional community a few blocks away. Born in Wisconsin, she lived in Tennessee, Washington state and Norway before returning to her Midwestern roots. She is a PhD student in history at Luther Seminary, studying the history of local churches and housing discrimination. She coordinates Luther Seminary’s Pray and Break Bread program, which takes students off campus to learn from community justice leaders. As a member of the Harrison neighborhood community, Katherine has been immersed in learning, relationship building and action around racial and economic justice, community storytelling, gardening, and art. As an artist, Katherine plays with mosaic, acrylic paint, textiles and found objects. She enjoys making music and art that feeds the spirit with beauty and seeks what communities need to heal and engage in creative resistance.

  • Elizabeth Sanchez & Pedro Ramirez

Bectta is a project that originated in Mexico in 2013 and was formed by Elizabeth Sanchez and Pedro Ramirez. Elizabeth has a Degree in Visual Arts from the College of Arts and Design UNAM and has studied at the Academy of San Carlos, UNAM. Pedro has a degree in Advertising from the Centro Universitario de Comunicacion CUC, and has studied at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary Ab, Canada. Bectta, besides enjoying collaborative opportunities with many artists across varied disciplines, has experience in a wide spectrum of techniques including street graphics, traditional and digital illustration, scientific illustration, video performances, graphic design, ceramics, engraving, tattooing, and clothing design to name a few. We believe that out of experimentation, curiosity emerges, along with the search for the authentic, of what really is and what is not. We believe that practicing the arts is crucial to working through our fears. Human beings are used to merely looking. The daily rhythm of our busy life creates an accelerated state of mind and we are unable to take time to stop and SEE what is beyond the surface. Bectta aims to create a sense of connection and interaction with the viewer and their surroundings. This is achieved by inviting people to contemplate; from simply looking they start observing, from there they start contemplating, and from there hopefully they develop a deeper awareness of all life surrounding us; to find what is special in the simplest object, to live and enjoy the present fully.

  • Dimitri Kadiev

As a young man from Los Angeles with only a few college classes under his belt, Dimitri Kadiev took to the road out of curiosity. A series of what he calls “epiphanies” led him to pursue a life of active art and radically mobile living. He began integrating God directly into his life, artwork and travels. For 20 years he has traveled from state to state, country to country, dedicated to following Jesus’ command to “go out and make disciples of all nations” through the most universal of all languages: art. On a trip to Albuquerque, Kadiev found himself without a home. After a conversation with a young Mennonite man traveling to New Mexico with Mennonite Mission Network, Kadiev began attending a local Mennonite Church. He quickly found himself growing deep roots in both Albuquerque and the Mennonite Church. These roots however have not kept him off the road. Today, he still travels around the country and the world spreading his love of God with his love of art. He has traveled and contributed murals to cities and towns across this country and abroad, including India and Palestine, Alaska and Pennsylvania.

  • Joby Morey

is a musician, a listener, a learner. He’s a storyteller, a gardener, and a teacher. He lives at Jesus People, a large intentional community in Chicago. He spends his mornings teaching his friends’ kids about science and nature and his evenings playing music with his friends. He grew up unschooled: he has never taken a class that he didn’t choose himself. He recently founded an orchestra for lapsed musicians called the Chicago Cacophony Orchestra.

  • Sarah Thompson

is the Executive Director of Christian Peacemaker Teams, a multi-faith international organization committed to building partnerships to transform violence and oppression. She is a biracial Mennonite Christian who goes and comes from the Great Lakes Watershed. She attended Spelman College majoring in Comparative Women’s Studies and International Studies, and received her Masters of Divinity from Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in her hometown of Elkhart, Indiana. She played many sports growing up as well as musical instruments; they were a huge way to develop the confidence, team-building skills, communication tools, and power analysis that she employs to this day. Her work in the world has taken her to all the peopled continents. She travels with her soccer ball under one arm, a copy of Joanna Macy’s Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives and Our World in one hand, and journal in the other.


  • Belle Alvarez

Belle Alvarez is originally from Tegucigalpa, Honduras. She spent the first half of her childhood in Manila, Philippines before immigrating to the USA. Belle is a Dance Artist based in the Philadelphia region and a co-director of the ETC Performance Series. Her work has been performed at FringeArts, the Performance Garage, the Outlet Dance Project, Inhale Performance Series, and Koresh Artist Showcase. Belle is committed to crafting evocative, socially relevant dance theater informed by lived experience. Sometimes the dance is autobiographical and sometimes the dance is the modality that unites collaborators and audiences around a common journey. For the communities that experience the work, she aims to offer an experience of vigor in which the infectious joy of creating, performing, and witnessing artful vision through dance offers healing and illumination-that our imagination through dance making leads to transformation within ourselves and the worlds we identify with. Belle works as a Teaching Artist with the young and young at heart and as a project performer in regional, national, and international projects. Performance credits span across projects with independent choreographers, the Kimmel Center, Urbana Missions Conference, United Bible Society, and she has performed in local communities throughout Ecuador, New Zealand, and Honduras.

  • Joshua Grace

Joshua grew up with three generations of Polish relatives in Buffalo before spending a few years in rural Central NY State, eventually relocating to Philadelphia in 1997. He and his social entrepreneurish wife Martha have two daughters: Helena (14) and Lily (11). He’s been one of the pastors of the Anabaptist cell church Circle of Hope since 2004, being called out of work as a bike messenger/teen worker to be trained as an apprentice pastor. He got to lead a similar process seven years later, raising up a leader from within the church and sending out 70 people to form a new congregation Joshua studied music at Drexel before a few years of African American Studies at Temple University. For the past three years he’s been in seminary – the Masters of Arts in Intercultural Studies through the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies (NAIITS). As a long-term member of psalters and producer of Circle of Hope Audio Art, Joshua plays music with various weirdos, creative types, and radicals as often as possible including the politically charged ethereal doom metal project to be called either Night of the Long Knives or Darctic Splash. As an activist, Joshua has focused mainly on the work of peace (both international and handgun violence), local land bank formation, anti-fracking/watershed protection, and as an ally to Black Lives Matter. His travel teaching is usually about creative consumer debt annihilation, leadership development, worship/justice connections, and race/culture/class conflict & hope. He is also a captain of the Kensington Royals amateur baseball club for whom he threw a no-hitter last season.

  • Grace Aheron

Grace is a poet, feminist, and youth worker who was raised in Roanoke, Virginia. She has her feet deeply rooted in the Episcopal Church as well within more fringe-y spaces like Carnival. Grace helps run Restoration Village Arts– a non-profit that works at the intersections of faith, justice, and arts, she moves within the Episcopal Church realm around issues of climate change and food initiatives, and lives on an 8-acre Christian intentional community outside of Charlottesville. She loves drag queens, pie crust, and the wisdom of middle schoolers.

  • Taylor Schulz

Taylor Schulz was born in Kentucky, where she currently lives and works. She studied theatre and creative nonfiction at Point Park University where she received her BFA in Acting in 2014. Taylor has experience with a number of theatrical forms, including but not limited to: commedia dell’arte, sketch comedy, site-specific and immersive theatre, playback theatre, and original/devised woks. She has served as writer, director, or performer in a variety of productions, both conventional and experimental. In 2015, she co-founded the company Afterculture Theatre with partner Samuel Lockridge. In June, the company produced its debut performance, an immersive adaptation of Sartre’s “No Exit,” which took place on the second floor of a local restaurant in Lexington, KY. The company borrows goals and ideas from Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, and the guerrilla theatre movement of the 1970s. Taylor hopes to strengthen communities through the company by increasing awareness of harmful cultural practices and offering sane, sustainable alternatives.

  • David Bravo

David Bravo is a graffiti artist, organizer, activist, and gardener working to build the sustainability of and social empowerment of a historical neighborhood in Mexico called Hercules. He is a founder of Verbos y Vibras, which in the last 4 years has built a house that demonstrates permaculture principles and sustainable design, has hosted multiple workshops and community building events, and most recently has organized a social mural project that lifts up the traditions and history of the neighborhood. This is all focused on bringing dignity to this community by promoting pride in their ancestors and setting new expectations for, and avenues for involvement in, shaping the future of this town. Hercules counts more than 100 murals from the Verbos Y Vibras community, but the locals have energy for this to continue and hope to double that number. Presently, Verbos y Vibras hosts 5 artists in order to support their careers and give them a safe ground to have more opportunities to excel their work. It is in the process of building an Artivism Center to invite graffiti artists to use their rebel skills for sharing messages of hope, justice and change! This has been made possible through the Youth Initiative program from Jarna Sweden that has formed a huge international network around the globe, of which David is a part.

  • Helen Collins

Helen Collins is a recent transplant to Minnesota, having grown up in a small town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A young artist and activist beginning her career, she has found numerous ways to express her creativity and build relationships in the expansive arts and social justice communities of Minneapolis. Her faith community at Redeemer Lutheran Church, where she also works, has been a tremendous source of inspiration and support for her during this time of transition. This year, she is working to coordinate a community garden for the first time. She is also a member of a social justice theater group which encourages young people to develop their voice through poetry and theater. In her free time, she enjoys playing violin in a band that defies genre, singing musical theater songs, and playing board games with friends.

  • Jacob Taylor

Jacob is a native to the Maketewah watershed in southwestern Ohio. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati where he studied literary & cultural studies and creative writing, and now spends most of his time in the heart of the city gardening, making music, and partnering with urban agricultural and bioregionally-grounded political projects. His work is primarily concerned with the intersection between watershed literacy/eco-spirituality and Christian discipleship. He’s a quiet, mousy creature who enjoys reading, foraging, medicine-making, and sitting really still.

  • Kara Bender

Kara, a systems thinker, avid biker, organizer, circle keeper, and anti-racism facilitator, is energized by cultivating intentional community and creative conversations as a way to grow our prophetic imaginations. Her roles as daughter, sister, aunt, and friend keep her rooted in the reality that “love is a verb” and that we make the road by walking it with each other. Coming from a Mennonite perspective, she is animated about the practice of apprenticing the earth, the Biblical story, and systemic racism; asking what the intersections of those three streams has to say. On any given day she can be found making up-cycled jewelry, gardening, painting, checking out new places, or leading a training.

  • Quincy McIntyre-Brandt

Quincy is a Manitoba born and raised Russian Mennonite, living with his wife in Winnipeg who spends days romping around with the kiddos in early childhood care and evenings diverting consumerist waste (fixing stuff and fridge clean-up cookoffs), descending upon dumpsters by night. Because he doesn’t like money, his hobbies are increasingly the same as livelihood. He serves as a host in both a localist Mennonite church community Many Rooms and the Orange Supper Club and more recently co-initiated a committee to support a Syrian refugee couple. When forced to relax, Quincy cycles and digs up new music or builds furniture.

  • Jimmy Betts

Jimmy Betts is a qualmless culprit of many knit hats who engages in full-time travel to act in radical solidarity with unapologetic grassroots resistance to the colonial empire. He works to reaffirm the traditional understanding that a reintegrated culture of active resistance is true resilience and the necessity of living in this earnest way is part of mending legacies of fractured relationships that make us ineffective in the face of the climate change symptom and other large compounded issues of oppression. He has met with hundreds of communities linked by a collective necessity for such communitized resistance and such calls to action have guided Jimmy to dedicate his organizing efforts to intentional, un-settled mobility to develop community relationships and to offer consensual, requested support to communities with expressed needs.  He works with racial, indigenous, climate, energy, environmental, economic, prison, faith, immigrant, and trade justice groups throughout the country and is focused on the development of creative, uncompromising direct action capacity and collaborative expressions of unified front-line messaging.  He attempts to embody traditional life arts systems, global fiddling traditions, craft root beer, and year-round corduroy attire.

  • Helen Hale

Helen Hale is a dancer, choreographer, embodiment scholar, and amateur philosopher, originally from Atlanta, GA. She is currently based in Philadelphia, PA, where she is a rogue freelancer, one half of the collaborative duo, Ginkgo, a member of the Just Act ensemble, and the director of Helen Hale Dance. Emphasizing humor, compassion, honesty, and humility, Helen endeavors to make dances that speak clearly and kindly into the lives of real people in real places. Her work is often delivered with a spirited blend of Southern twang, magical realism, Greek drama, and modern savvy, and has been presented by the High Museum of Art Atlanta, Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, Galleries at Moore, Dashboard, Ginkgo, The Hambidge Center, The Lucky Penny, Dance Truck, Spark and Echo Arts, and WonderRoot, among others. Since receiving her BFA from Temple University in 2009, Helen has collaborated with an incredible bounty of artists that includes Kun-Yang Lin/Dancers, Nichole Canuso Dance Company, Tahni Holt, Team Sunshine Performance Corporation, PushPush Theater, Maggie Ginestra, Protect Awesome, Dishman + Co., Staibdance, Santiago Páramo, Ground Delivery Dance Theater, and Meg Foley/Moving Parts. When not in the studio Helen can be found loitering near flowers, being feisty, and longing for the sea.

  • James Daniel Frost II

I grew up in an opera house in Hildesheim, Germany and am now a traveling artist by bicycle or boat, constantly seeking out new experiences, skills, places, people and ideas. I am very happy to be joining the Carnival for the first time.








Carnival Alumni from Previous Residencies


  • Gillian Beier

Gillian Beier is a busy creature who feels blessed to be a part of the Carnival. Gillian feels closest to God when she’s lost in movement. She is a belly dancer who teaches and performs under the name Juliana and is a facilitator and choreographer for the Philadelphia chapter of the Public Urban Ritual Experiment. She is also a yoga instructor and a paralegal who loves restorative justice and getting to know her neighbors.

  • Melissa Grataski

Melissa Shank Grataski is an herbalist-in-training, a birth assistant, and a mother. Born and raised in the Midwest, she now lives in the Rivanna River watershed in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.

  • Caleb Lange

Caleb, originally from Atlanta, Ga. is a nomadic, homeless, musician, with an entrepreneur spirit and a heart for social justice. For the past decade he has mostly lived overseas amongst the hurting, dirty, and dying. After his first trip to Swaziland Africa in 2004, where he worked with AIDs victims and orphans, since then he has lived and loved in the slums of South Africa, the streets of London, the leper colonies of India, the brothels of Cambodia, the villages of Nicaragua, and everywhere in between. In 2007 he and some other friends helped start The Asha House, a children’s home in India for children at risk to slavery and prostitution. Knowing that Asha House would need funding, when he was not overseas, has been homeless, living out of his car, sleeping on couches and sidewalks, traveling, playing music and speaking to be a voice for The Asha House and other various causes and projects. He is one of the founders of Back To The Roots a non-profit and business that helps fund Asha House and other projects like it. Two years ago he also joined forces with Clothe Your Neighbor As Yourself, a non-profit t-shirt company that works in Kenya to provide jobs for women and school uniforms for orphans.

  • Chris Grataski

Chris Grataski is a Permaculture Instructor & Design Professional living in central VA. He is an herbalist, ecologist, and grassroots educator. He is currently halfway through a 3-Year program in Clinical Herbalism, and is finishing a Master’s Degree in Applied Ecology.

  • Michael Clark

So, there have been rumours circulating around the Blagosphere that I am a “superhero.” Well, I’ll admit that that’s very flattering, but I have to admit, that I don’t see myself as the “superhero type.” I think I know what people mean when they use the word “superhero,” but I wouldn’t want to accidentally put myself above anyone else, for the “powers” that I have, are skills that anyone can learn. Please ask me about my “powers” if like me, you are possessed by Curiousity — my “powers” include (but are not limited to): wearing a variety of hats, contorting my face into a variety of positions, throwing things in the air and catching them, holding onto priceless gems, and paying close attention to the really little things.

  • Dawn Mehan

Dawn has been leading devotional Yoga classes for 14 years after returning from an extensive stay at The Yoga Institute in India in 1999. She attended Divine Light Ministries from 2005-2008, where she studied Worlds Religions, Meditations, and ancient healing techniques . She founded and directs MotherHeart Studio in Philadelphia, a center for compassion through self knowledge and awareness of suffering. Also, Dawn is the Dance Director for the Croatan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble, through which she co-leads classes, workshops and offers performances. She is a covenant member of Circle of Hope Church in Philadelphia.

  • Eric Smelser

Eric has been a student of West African polyrhythm’s for the last 5 years with Jay Beck, and joined Croatan West African Drum and Dance Ensemble in 2010 as a accompanying Djembe player. He has since become Croatan’s Djun Djun player, drumming ‘Balet’ style, where the family of 3 drums is played by one drummer.His curiosity and deep respect for the indigenous sacred mysteries and his own faith journey through christianity continue to shape his conversations, music, and worship and he brings a certain quiet mischief to Carnival De Resistance!

  • Clare Tallon Ruen

Clare Tallon Ruen is a dancer and Great Lakes enthusiast. Combining these passions in LakeDance, Tallon Ruen uses movement to educate Evanston and Chicago youth about the Great Lakes, and directs a young performer group toward the creation of original Great Lakes inspired pieces. 

  • Jon Felton

Jon Felton makes his home in Frostburg, Maryland where, with his friends, he works, plays, and prays for a better world. He is the leader of a traveling band of musical misfits called the Soulmobile, and an organizer of Common Ground on Martins Mountain: an annual celebration of music and life with the land. He primarily makes his living working for two local businesses: one does forestry and one does parades. He enjoys connecting with people, conversation into the night, and walking around town with his wife, son, and daughter.

  • Carmen Kingsley

Carmen enjoys discovering new places and people. Her search for adventure and interest in human communication led her to spend time living in Spain, France, Colombia and Argentina. Interacting with people who have different perspectives and personalities inspire Carmen as a performer.  As she embarked on theological studies in Buenos Aires she also began to train circus skills, such as trapeze, clowning and dance.  She found a spiritual practice in her physical activity and decided to write her masters thesis on body metaphor and dance in the Old Testament.   As part of her exploration of circus and theology she also organized and performed in a series of New Years Galas (variety shows) at her home church, in Elkhart, Indiana where people from the community presented acts around a theological theme (Colors of Hope, For the Beauty of the Earth, ‘Tis a Gift to Be Simple, From Dust to Dust, Together We Rise). In September of 2013 Carmen moved to Chicago to pursue her circus passions and participate in a full-time (40 hr/week) circus training program at Aloft Loft.  She continues to train and reside in Chicago.