Intercultural Leadership Preconference

Friday, June 14, 8:30 am - 11:00 am
In a unique partnership connected to the great cultural diversity of the Twin Cities region, Americans for the Arts will join the leading organizations of the Intercultural Leadership Institute (National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, Alternate ROOTS, First Peoples’ Fund, and Pa’i Foundation) as well as fellows from the first two cohorts and advisors to develop this preconference, which brings forward an intercultural lens of leadership. This approach emphasizes overlapping experiences, shared spaces and mutual accountability – and seeks to challenge dominant social norms while honoring differences of histories, traditions, vocabulary and more.
Participants in the preconference will:
1. Offer a framework for participants to understand their own work as well as the work of others from an intercultural perspective.
2. Explore how identity, cultural heritage and personal experiences impact our perspectives and approach to leadership, the arts and cultural equity.
3. Provide an opportunity for participants to reflect on opportunities for greater intercultural awareness, equity, and action within their own work.
This preconference begins at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, June 13 and goes through 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 14. Transportation will be provided to and from the Convention hotel. This preconference will take place in St. Paul on Thursday at the Indigenous Roots Cultural Arts Center and at the Convention Hotel on Friday.

Our thanks to American Express for its generous support of the Intercultural Leadership Preconference.


Carrie Brunk
Clear Creek Creative

Carrie Brunk works with people and organizations committed to envisioning and enacting a better world.  She currently works primarily as a facilitator and coach.  She serves on the core team of the Intercultural Leadership Institute (, a national collaborative program for artists and culture bearers engaged in cultural equity and social change.  Carrie conceived and leads the Ridgeway Transformative Leadership Experience (, a program designed to support Appalachia’s post-coal transition to a brighter future by offering an immersive regional experience focused on personal development, interpersonal awareness and relationship-building for a cross-sector cohort of leaders. 

The vehicle for Carrie’s work is Clear Creek Creative ( which also serves as an artistic and event production company oriented toward creating and presenting work that enriches our collective capacity for living in greater harmony with nature and one another.  Carrie lives and works within an off-the-grid community gathering place in the Appalachian foothillls of Rockcastle County, Kentucky where she has co-curated and hosted community festivals, abundant local farm-fresh performative feasts, rustic artistic exchanges and residencies all of which are powered by the sun and fresh mountain spring water.

Kayla Aubid

Kayla Aubid (Hunkpapa Lakota, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe) has devoted her career to the arts as a curator, educator, entrepreneur, advocate for emerging artists, and business of art consultant. She is currently Gallery Director with the MacRostie Art Center based in the Arrowhead region of Minnesota.  Aubid has been in-residence at the Banff Centre, and a fellow of the NEW Development Leadership Institute. She holds a BA in psychology and American Indian studies from St. Cloud State University and has studied arts administration at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She has served in AmeriCorps, led international arts tours in exploration of Indigenous art, and presented her poetry at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Aubid is a fellow with the Intercultural Leadership Institute, vice chair of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Board of Directors, and Trustee of the Blandin Foundation.

Jonathan Clark
Managing Director
Carpetbag Theater
Knoxville, Tennessee

Multidisciplinary Artist, Activist and Managing Director at The Carpetbag Theatre, Jonathan Clark, also know as “Courageous,” is a native of Knoxville, TN and Alumnus of the University of Tennessee. His professional performance career began at the age of thirteen with Carpetbag’s Youth Theatre Ensemble and has remained a performing artist ever since. Selected in 2016 to participate in the Alpha Cohort of the Intercultural Leadership Institute, Jonathan has uncovered thoughtful strategies to create space for all at the intersection of art and interculturality. Recently selected as a member of Alternate ROOTS Executive Committee, Jonathan is also a writer, playwright, director, event host, actor, youth advocate, digital storyteller/listener and spoken word poet, currently touring colleges and universities across the country, as well as facilitating workshops.

J. Ching
Production Script Coordinator
Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Ashland, Oregon

J. Ching (he/him/his) was born and raised in Kailua, Hawai’i. He is the Production Script Coordinator at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), helping to bridge the gap between literary development and stage management with a deep commitment to ED&I. J. is a member of the 2018-2019 cohort of the Intercultural Leadership Institute (ILI). J. also was the Festival Coordinator for the 5th National Asian American Theater Conference and Festival (NAATCF) in 2016. He received a BFA in Theatre Arts from Southern Oregon University. J. aspires to start his own theatre company in Hawai’i geared toward educating youths from historically underrepresented communities about all aspects of the collaborative art of theatre and fostering a passion for the arts.

Noel Quiñones

Noel Quiñones is a Puerto Rican poet, actor, community organizer, and performance artist born and raised in the Bronx. As a writer, he’s received fellowships from Poets House, the Poetry Foundation, CantoMundo, Candor Arts, and SAFTA (Sundress Academy for the Arts). His work has been published in Kweli Journal, Rattle, Hot Metal Bridge, and the Latin American Review. As a performer, he’s featured at Lincoln Center, Harvard University, BAM, the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, and the Honolulu Museum of Art to name a few. His performances have been showcased on Huffington Post, Tidal Music, Vibe, Latina Magazine, Medium, Remezcla, Univision, and elsewhere. Founder of Project X, a Bronx-based arts organization, and co-organizer of #PoetsforPuertoRico, Quiñones was recently named one of New York State’s "40 Under 40 Rising Latino Stars" by The Hispanic Coalition and as a 2018 Intercultural Leadership Institute Fellow. Follow him at

Tish Jones
Founder & Executive Director
St. Paul, Minnesota

Founder & Executive Director of TruArtSpeaks, Tish Jones is a poet, performer, educator and organizer from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She has performed at CBGB, Kaplan Theater, The Walker Art Center, Intermedia Arts, The Cedar Cultural Center and more. Her work can be found in the Minnesota Humanities Center's anthology entitled, Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2015), the 2011 and 2013 Saint Paul Almanac, and the Loft Literary Center's Nation of Immigrants audio CD.

A graduate fellow of the inaugural Intercultural Leadership Institute, Jones has always had a passion for bridging arts & culture, civic engagement and youth development. Senior Field Building Strategist for Youth Speaks and Co-Director of Brave New Voices, her work explores the ways in which art can function as a tool for social transformation, liberation and education. For more on her personal praxis in this arena, see Jones’ TEDxMinneapolis Talk on Spoken Word as a Radical Practice of Freedom.

Maria Lopez de Leon
President & CEO
National Association for Latino Arts and Cultures
Alayna Eagle Shield
Native American Community Academy (NACA) Fellow
Doctoral Student at the College of Education Research Assistant at the Banks Center for Educational Justice at the University of Washington