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Community Writer-Artist

Lloyd Scholars for Writing and the Arts (LSWA) has had a long tradition of bringing in exceptional artists and writers to work with our students and create opportunities for the community to come together in the act of writing and making art.

Winter 2024 Community Artist: Takeisha Jefferson

Takeisha Jefferson is a Michigan-born artist and portrait photographer. Her artistic journey began at the age of nine and was further developed during her time as a military journalist. After serving in the Air Force, she established a successful photography business and continued to refine her craft at Auburn of Montgomery University. During this time, she expanded her Birthright Series and developed a deep passion for art history. Takeisha Jefferson’s talent and dedication have led to her participation in over 40 global exhibitions. Her work has garnered recognition, including a nomination for the Lecia Oskar Barnack Award and a feature on Google Arts and Culture. Her art revolves around significant themes such as family, black womanhood, and empowerment. One notable accomplishment in her career was being featured in “As We See It - Redefining Black Identity,” a publication from the UK that showcased 30 global artists. Takeisha Jefferson’s artistic practice has been greatly influenced by her experiences as a disabled veteran, wife, and mother of four, adding depth and richness to her work.

Winter 2024 Community Writer: Carlina Duan

Carlina Duan is a writer, educator, & scholar. She is the author of the poetry collections I Wore My Blackest Hair (Little A, 2017), and Alien Miss (Univ. of Wisconsin Press, 2021), and serves as the Poetry Editor for Michigan Quarterly Review. Carlina received her M.F.A. in Poetry from Vanderbilt University, and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the University of Michigan’s Joint Program in English and Education, where she is a 2023-2024 David and Mary Hunting fellow at the Institute for Humanities. Carlina’s recent poems appear in POETRY, Narrative Magazine, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. Among many things, she loves river walks, snail mail, and being a sister.

Previous Community Writers and Artists

Fall 2017 Community Artist: Lavinia Hanachiuc

Lavinia Hanachiuc (1974) is a Romanian-born ceramic and mixed media artist. Hanachiuc has resided in the United States since 2011 and has continued to create fine art ceramics, production pottery, and fine art photography. She has exhibited locally and internationally, and recently returned from an extended residency in the Eastern Icelandic Fjords.

Fall 2015 Community Artist: Donald Harrison (filmmaker)

Donald is the Creative Producer of 7 Cylinders Studio. Among his accomplishments, he led the Ann Arbor Film Festival as Executive Director through its 47th – 50th seasons and co-produced the 2013 Many Voices video collection for UM Museum of Art. In fall 2015, he collaborated with students on a video for LHSP as well as their own projects. He also hosted several community events, including a drop-in “green screen” video recording session.

2014 Community Artist: Philip Galinsky

A leading authority in the US on Brazilian music, Philip Galinsky, Ph.D. is an ethnomusicologist and percussionist with over 20 years experience in Brazil, where he regularly performs with samba schools in the Rio Carnaval. He is founder and Director of one of the top samba schools in the US, Samba New York!

2014 Community Artist: Magali Medeiros

Magali is a singer-songwriter from Rio de Janeiro. A dancer and lawyer by training, she is a lifetime devotee of music, dance, and theatre. She composes songs and sings for numerous groups in the Rio Carnaval and also in the US, where she lived in New York for six years, earning an Outstanding Artist visa with a Special Ability in Samba. Magali will be coming direct from Rio, and Philip from New York, to share with the UM community their uplifting performance personalities and high-energy skills in samba, the most famous music and dance of Brazil.

2014 Community Writer: Matt Kish

Matt Kish is an Ohio librarian and artist who recently completed illustrated editions of Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick (Tin House 2011) and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (Tin House 2013).  Kish began his Moby-Dick illustrations through a blog; he challenged himself to post an illustration for every page of Moby-Dick, every single day.  He created illustrations for every page of Heart of Darkness, as well.  His illustrations render the 19th-century narratives in a graphic, postmodern vernacular of street art, comic book characters, and prog rock album covers.

Matt Kish will be giving a casual talk about his art to UM undergraduate students currently making their way through Moby-Dick and formulating their own creative response.

2012-2013 Community Artist: Jerzy Drozd

Comic art professional, Jerzy Drozd, has taught the art of comics and lead professional development workshops in many venues around Michigan and the United States including: the University of Michigan, the Ann Arbor District Library, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His publishing credits include Antarctic Press and Glencoe-McGraw Hill.

2011-2012 Community Writer: Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann’s first book of poems, Mezzanines, was selected for the 2011 Kundiman Poetry Prize and will be published by Alice James Books in April 2013.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Margie, Rattle and elsewhere.  He was the recipient a 2010 Kresge Arts Fellowship, and a Peter Taylor Fellowship from the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop.  Currently, he is a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, and the poetry editor of The Collagist.

2010-2011 Community Artist: Mike Mosallam

Mike Mosallam, a U-M graduate (1991) and theater director. Mike is excited about being back in the metro-Detroit area after living in New York and Los Angeles for the past several years. He currently serves as the Director of Film Initiatives for Wayne County, an award-winning office that attracts and works closely with film, TV, and digital media productions in Michigan.

Mike has a University of Michigan BFA in Musical Theatre (2001), and a Masters Degree in Directing from the Boston Conservatory. After graduating from the University of Michigan, he left Detroit to pursue his career in the entertainment industry. In Boston, Mike created a highly acclaimed one-man show, MUSLIM: the musical! The show, a look at various stereotypes Arab-American/Muslims face post-9/11, has seen regional success after its debut and is currently in development for a National Tour.

He has worked in prestigious venues, such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops. Also, he worked on projects featured on MTV and Comedy Central. He served as Associate Casting Director (US) for the critically-acclaimed film, AMREEKA and will soon begin casting for director Cherien Dabis’s follow-up feature.

An award-winning actor, director, and producer, Mike has traveled to Scotland to debut a new show, THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: A ROMANTIC COMEDY at the Edinburgh Film Festival. He is currently working on a new reality TV show about his hometown of Dearborn, Michigan. Mike is a member of Actors Equity and soon will be a member of SAG.

2009-2010 Commmunity Writer: Vievee Francis  

Congratulations to Vievee--Vievee Francis Wins Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Poetry Prize

Vievee Francis has had work appear in literary journals, periodicals, on-line sites, anthologies and textbooks, including Callaloo, Marjorie, Crab Orchard Review, Fishouse and Approaching Literature (Bedford/St. Martin’s). Her first book, Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press), was chosen as one of Poets & Writers notable debuts for 2006. She has mentored and facilitated writing workshops for youth and adults in the metropolitan Detroit area independently, through her organization Journeyman Arts, and also through the InsideOut Literary Arts Project and Michigan’s Springfed Arts. She recently completed her MFA at the University of Michigan. Francis, a Callaloo Participant and Cave Canem Fellow, is married to Kundiman Fellow, Matthew Scott Olzmann.

2007-2013 Community Artists:  Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles

Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles, Master puppet artists and creators of the New York City West Village Halloween Parade (

Alex and Sophia have done amazing creative work all over the world, and we have some great opportunities for you to get to know them.  In February, Sophia and Alex will discuss their craft of giant puppetry and their experiences from around the world. Sophia and Alex will be working hands-on in the studio (1239 Kipke Studio), using their skills and knowledge to help LSWA students bring their quickly growing creatures to life! Come to the studio and work side-by-side with our students and professional street puppeteers.

2006-2007 Community Writer: John U. Bacon

As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, distinguished author John U. Bacon completed a history honors thesis and won Hopwood Awards in essay and fiction.  He went on to write Sunday sports and business features for The Detroit News from 1995 to 1999, and now writes for dozens of magazines including Time, Fortune, and ESPN.  His work has twice been recognized in the authoritative anthology, The Best American Sportswriting. 

He has also published four books,  including: the history of Michigan hockey (Blue Ice), which is being made into a PBS documentary; the stunning growth of Walgreens Drugstores (America's Corner Store: Walgreens Prescription for Success), and most recently, how Cirque du Soleil manages creativity (Spark: Igniting the Creative Fire that Lives Within Us All, (Doubleday) and Bo's Lasting Lessons: A Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership, a book about Michigan's legendary football coach, Bo Shembechler.   

John Bacon is the recipient of the 2009 Golden Apple Award.  John was LSWA's guest artist at the April 2013 All Community meeting.

2005-2006 Community Artist: Beili Liu

Beili Liu is an emerging artist from northern China who studied Chinese literature before she moved from China to the United States in 1995. She received her BA from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Michigan (School of Art and Design). Working as an installation artist while living in the United States, Liu seeks to unify the two cultural forces in her life: one Eastern, the other Western. She embraces a broad range of materials, from natural elements, such as salt, water, straw, and clay, to digitally processed images, video, and sound. In Winter 05, she taught a mixed media class at LSWA and organized an exhibit of her students' work in the Michigan Union Art Lounge.

As part of her residency in LSWA, Beili Liu:

  • Completed an art installation called "Breadth" in the LSWA Dining Hall/Gallery.

  • Participated in an exhibit opening.

  • Delivered an artist's talk to LSWA students and the broader U-M community.

  • Conducted workshops on multimedia art.

  • Worked with several LSWA art and writing classes.

See Beili Liu's work as displayed in ArtPrize 2010