Stanley E. Banks is an Assistant Professor and Artist-In-Residence at Avila University since 1997. Banks had his 5th book of poetry, BLUE ISSUES, published in 2013 by Naomi Bards Press in Kansas City, Missouri. His other 4 books are BLUE BEAT SYNCOPATION (2003), ON 10th ALLEY WAY (1981), COMING FROM A FUNKY TIME AND PLACE (1988), and RHYTHM AND GUTS (1992). While attending Howard University in Washington, D.C. as a Graduate student in the Fall of 1980, he met Sterling Brown, the great Harlem Renaissance poet, and in the following year, he received the Langston Hughes Prize For Poetry. He has won Honorary Awards which include a Proclamation For Achievement in 2002 from the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri, and for the entire year of 2002, his life and history in publishing was exhibited at The Black Archives of Mid-America , Inc. Further, in 1989 he was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship/Grant for his poetry. He has been published in many literary magazines/journals around the country.
NedRa Bonds was born in Kansas City, Kansas into a family of quilters. As an adult, she used the skills she learned as a child, to create the Quindaro Quilt, that highlighted images of the history of Quindaro, Kansas, where she grew up. The quilt played an important role in establishing recognition for Quindaro, as a part of the National Underground Railroad system of Historic Trails.
NedRa taught quilting in Nairobi, Kenya; Arusha, Tanzania, and Port au Prince, Haiti. In 2008, she participated in an American Studies Association conference, in Istanbul, Turkey, where she presented quilt images she created.
In 2011, she received an Arts KC inspiration grant that was instrumental in the creation of the quilt celebrating the 40th anniversary of the UMKC Women’s Center. That quilt has been recognized by the University of Michigan and the University of Nebraska as an outstanding community effort in addressing social justice.
Last year, NedRa received a Rocket Grant from the Charlotte Street Foundation of Kansas City. The grant allowed her to celebrate local heroes, by introducing them to public school children, who then created images based on what they learned. She then converted the images into quilts that are displayed in various locations, throughout the community.
NedRa recently completed a commission for the Chief’s Football Team collection housed at Arrowhead Stadium.
Anna-Maria Kretzer is an independent curator who specializes in fiber and community art. Past exhibits she has worked on include the Craft, Care, and Justice Hub at the Charlotte Street Project Space and Quilted Friendship: The Art of NedRa Bonds and Nancy Dawson at the Miller Nichols Library. She is currently a graduate student t UMKC where she is writing her Master’s thesis on local fiber artist NedRa Bonds.