Home News & Events Announcing two Conference keynotes: Harmony Project and Dessa

Announcing two Conference keynotes: Harmony Project and Dessa

Finding relevance in our communities, creating points of conversation, making arts experiences accessible to everyone, and celebrating our Midwest identity—especially its diverse range of both rural and urban areas—are key areas of focus for the 2017 Arts Midwest Conference in Columbus, Ohio. More than 30 workshops and panels dig into the tactics and strategies related to these issues, and our keynote speakers offer opportunities for artists to share their vision for how the arts have the power to transform lives, create connections within a community, and enact change on a local level.

Harmony Project

Harmony Project and David Brown. Photo by Shellee Fisher Photography.

Harmony Project connects people across social divides through the arts, education, and volunteer community service. Working together, they are building a stronger, more inclusive Columbus with a focus on developing a social infrastructure through the power of music that unites the community for the common good. Under the leadership of David Brown, Harmony Project is about more than just singing and provides opportunities for individuals of different cultures, religions, ages, affiliations, and orientations to join forces to be the change in the community they wish to see. At Harmony Project, it isn’t about the sound of your voice, it is about how you use it.

Harmony Project will present on Wednesday, August 30th at the 2017 Arts Midwest Conference in Columbus, Ohio.


Dessa. Photo by Bill Phelps.

Dessa has built her career bucking traditional genre designations—she’s rapped at hip-hop festivals, sung with a 100-voice choir, and co-written classical works for orchestra. Genre-busting isn’t enough for this artistic risk-taker: whether performing in a bombed-out hospital in Warsaw, a velvet-lined theater in New York, or atop a folding chair in Johannesburg, Dessa’s work is ambitious, inventive, and designed to defy audience expectations. On stage she’s funny and ferocious, but also tender—her live show includes rapid-fire rap songs, heartbreak ballads, catchy choruses and charismatic banter. A proud member of the Minneapolis-based Doomtree collective, this “hyper-intellectual, whiskey-drinking poet with a hopeless romantic streak and a curiosity about neuroscience” is making a multi-generational, interdisciplinary impact.

Dessa will present on Thursday, August 31st at the 2017 Arts Midwest Conference in Columbus, Ohio.

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