Laila Biali

Award-winning Canadian Jazz pianist, vocalist and songwriter Laila Biali has toured with Suzanne Vega, Chris Botti and Paula Cole and recorded with and supported Sting. She takes the best of pop, rock and soul, informs it with her knowledge of Jazz and weaves it into her musical arrangements. Laila's music has been presented at prestigious venues spanning four continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo's Cotton Club, Peru's El Festival Internacional de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Her latest studio recording Tracing Light received a JUNO nomination for "2011 Best Vocal Jazz Album of the Year" and her most recent release Live in Concert, recorded live in February 2012 in front of a gracious audience at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Canada, captures the spirit of live performance so essential to Jazz. Live in Concert was in rotation at 73 radio stations in North America. Laila is also a member of the all female New York based neo-Classical crossover quartet Rose & the Nightingale whose members tour with Grammy award-winner Esperanza Spalding. Her accolades include "SOCAN Composer of the Year" and "Keyboardist of the Year".

Visit Laila's website at www.lailabiali.com.

Zach Brock

Distinguished jazz critic Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune writes that Zach Brock is a violinist “whose every phrase argues for the instrument’s value in 21st century jazz.”

Zach’s debut recording was listed as one of The Chicago Tribune’s Top 10 Jazz Recordings of 2012 and features Brock with pianist Aaron Goldberg, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland in a set of new originals, standards, and contemporary classics.

Born in Lexington, KY, Zach grew up in a family of musicians and was performing publicly by the age of six. From a background in classical and folk music, Zach became serious about studying jazz while in high school. He moved to Chicago with the dual goal of furthering his classical studies at Northwestern University, while embracing the city’s rich jazz scene. He relocated to New York City in 2005.

Learn more about Zach here.




Oliver Jeffers & Sam Winston

Oliver Jeffers (left) and Sam Winston (right) are currently artists in residence at Serenbe collaborating on a new children's book. Jeffers is an artist, illustrator and writer from Australia who now lives and works in Brooklyn. He is the illustrator of "The Day the Crayons Quit", the #1 children's book on the New York Times best-seller list. 

Sam creates sculpture, drawings and books that question our understanding of words both as carriers of messages, and as information itself.


Sarah Kay

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 A performing poet since she was 14 years old, Sarah Kay is the founder of Project V.O.I.C.E., teaching poetry and self-expression at schools across the United States. She is the best-selling author of “B”, a short hardcover book containing the poem she delivered at her first TED conference. Most recently Sarah spoke and taught at the European Conference of International Schools in Nice, France!
Sarah gave the opening keynote address to start off the conference of over 800 educators from around the world.

Sarah was a speaker at the 2012 Bonier Grid Conference; a speaker at the TED 2011 Conference, “The Rediscovery of Wonder” in Long Beach, CA; a speaker at the 2011 Cannes Lions  Creativity Festival in France; and she was a featured poet on the sixth season of Russell Simmons presents HBO Def Poetry Jam.

Check out Sarah's TED talk. And this one as well at TED.

Adejoke Tugbiyele

Adejoke Tugbiyele is a Nigerian-American sculptor and experimental video artist. She works in various mediums including wire, natural fibers, fabric, and wood. The themes in her work range from sexual identity and human rights to leadership and governance. Tugbiyele’s work has been exhibited and screened at reputable institutions both in the United States and internationally including the The Center for Contemporary Art in Lagos Nigeria, the Museum of Arts and Design, The Jewish Museum of New York, The Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw Poland, The Museum of Biblical Art, The James E. Lewis Museum of Art, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Spelman College Museum of Art and The United Nations Headquarters. She has also shown at Art Dubai 2014, the 6th Annual Joburg Art Fair in 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa and the 2014 video art fair, LOOP Barcelona, Spain and the Goethe Institute in Lagos, Nigeria.

After studying and practicing as an architect, Tugbiyele went on to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture from Maryland Institute College of Art (2013). She is the recipient of several awards including the Fulbright U.S. Student Fellowship 2013-14, The Amalie Rothschild Award (2013) and the William M. Phillips Award for best figurative sculpture (2012) at Maryland Institute College of Art.  She has appeared/published as an artist and queer activist on CNN international, The Feminist Wire and theHuffington Post.  Her work has been featured in numerous publications including Metropolis M magazine in the Netherlands and Omenka Magazine in Lagos, Nigeria. 

Tugbiyele is currently an Artist-in-Residence at Gallery Aferro. In addition to art-making, she is the Director of Studio Arts Programs at The Lower East Side Girls Club of New York where she helps mentor and empower young women through the arts.

Learn more about Ade here.

Ying Zhu

Ying Zhu was born and raised in China. She received an M.F.A. from University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2010, and currently lives and works in Omaha.

"My experiences of leaving one place and not fully understanding the new one are stimulating to me. This foreign, but exhilarating, terrain has inspired me to negotiate with ideas that explore the path lies between these two worlds. In my work, I hope to bring clarity, humor, beauty and awareness out of my interpretations of the liminal state by focusing on material, the interplay between 2 and 3 Dimensions, process and repetition."

Zhu has lived in Nebraska for 12 years, and was a 2011 artist-in-residence at Omaha's internationally acclaimed Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. In February, she won Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards for Best Emerging Artist and Best New Media Artist.

Learn more about Ying here.