Boxed Lunch is the Arts Center's series of lunchtime conversations with the arts community of Fort Worth with each guest preparing a fun and quick lunch. 

Karen Wiley has been President of the Arts Council of Fort Worth since 2015 and during her tenure, the Arts Council has expanded its programs and advocacy. She was invited by the Americans for the Arts  to Washington DC to advocate for national arts agencies’ 

funding. This resulted in a $3 million increase to the budgets of the NEA and the NEH. Similar efforts in 2019 in Austin helped secure over $10 million for the arts in Texas. 

District 9 representative Ann Zadeh was elected to the Fort Worth City Council in 2014. Community engagement has been a passion for Ann Zadeh and she is a familiar face at city community events and neighborhood meetings.

Sunflowerman is a fashion artist who was born with a pencil in his hand. Living in London, Milan, Paris, and New York inspired him to revive the lost art of men’s fashion illustration with signature his style. He takes his studio wherever he goes and can often be spotted at Fashion Week, Project Show, Pitti Uomo, or a local coffee shop.

Known as "Pro Joe," Joe Allen Brown is Professor of Theatre Arts and both past Chair of Theatre and Dean of Fine Arts at Texas Wesleyan University and is the past President of the Live Theatre League of Tarrant County. 

Christie M. Howard, has the pleasure of serving as the Managing Director of Jubilee Theatre. Before joining Jubilee’s team, she served as the Director of Public Relations for Texas College for over seven years. Christie created LimeQuest Agency, a marketing and strategic planning firm, and serves as the company’s Principal Consultant and CEO. 

Manya Shorr was named the Director of the Fort Worth Public Library in 2017. She is passionate about the positive impact libraries have on individuals, families and communities. She is an advocate for life-long learning and building stronger communities through collaboration. 

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Carolyn Phillips was a nonprofit fundraiser for 5 years before starting Alchemy Pops. “It’s been a wild ride full of fun events, new flavors, and fantastic people. The word ‘alchemy’ means the magical process of combination, creation, and transformation. That’s exactly what I’ve wanted people to experience as they enjoyed my frozen pops, whether at home or as part of a celebration,” said Phillips in an interview with VoyagerDallas.

Jason Suder, the owner of the soon to be opened Tulips, talks about how important community is in turbulent times and how artists are pushing technology and the culture in ways to reach new audiences.


I came into this world as Jeffrey Keith Wood, but these days I’m just Jeff. I am currently employed at the Rahr & Sons Brewing Company as the Creative Director. These days I still utilize my eye for photography in my everyday life and career. I’m into running, backpacking, hiking, camping, petting cats, and working on my vintage Honda motorcycle.

William Giron is the Executive Director of Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts at the Rose Marine Theater and Sara Herrera is the Education Director and Dance Instructor who’s work has been showcased at the Capital Fringe Festival (DC), Asheville Fringe Festival,  Sapperlot Festival (Italy), and Arts on Site (NYC).

Shawn Gann is a proud, Filipino-American theatre artist that has been performing, directing, and producing in DFW for 20+ years. He is a founding board member of Altered Shakespeare (a company that provides a platform for BIPOC, queer, and untapped talent to access the Bard), a company member of L.I.P. Service and Shakespeare Everywhere. 

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Opal Lee is community leader and activist, leading the Juneteenth Walk to DC campaign to make June 19th a national holiday. At 93 years of age, Mrs. Opal Lee still finds time to be a part of the various organizations she helped found, while still leading two very large projects – the Annual Fort Worth Juneteenth Celebration and the urban farming project, Opal’s Farm.

Rita Alfaro is the Music Librarian for Fort Worth Public Library and has a background in music education, ethnomusicology, and library science. She has a passion for public service, community engagement, creativity, and the arts- especially music! Her goal is to help highlight unique music cultures, especially the ones in Fort Worth.

Joy Bollinger brings much expertise to her role as artistic director for Bruce Wood Dance.  She has been affiliated with Bruce Wood Dance in various capacities for more than 16 years, including  dancer, founding  member,  rehearsal director and répétiteur.  As choreographer she created two critically acclaimed works Carved

In Stone (June 2016) and Hillside 

(November 2017).

Bernardo Vallarino is a Colombian-American mixed media sculptor and installation artist heavily interested in geopolitical issues. His inspiration comes from observing the hypocrisy that exists between the rhetoric of human life value and the violent behavior of humanity. Vallarino is currently the coordinator of the Fort Worth Art Collective, a board member at Artes de la Rosa, and instructor at Tarrant County College.

Zoe Settles is Dallas artist who received her BFA in Acting from Oklahoma City University. During normal times, she teaches theatre and art around the DFW Metroplex, while performing on weekends. Zoe has kept up her craft through creating virtual art lessons, and by starting her YouTube concert series, Get Settled.

"My name is Julian Johnson and I'm a young and self-taught artist from Fort Worth. I've been painting since April 20, 2018.
I’m 31 years old and I love art more and more every time I'm engaged into a project of any sort."

Darryl Ratcliff is an artist and poet based in Dallas, TX whose work engages communities and mobilizes social issues. Ratcliff is the cofounder of Ash Studios, Creating Our Future, and Michelada Think Tank, as well as Gossypion, who has been collaborating with the Cultural District museums and the City of Dallas to bring the Carrie Mae Weems, Resist Covid/Take 6! Initiative to the DFW area.

Known for this clear and rich voice, tenor Darius Thomas is making his presence known in the world of opera. Last season, Thomas frequently performed in DFW as a Resident Artist with Fort Worth Opera. Currently based in Texas, Mr. Thomas pursued graduate studies at the University of Tennessee- Knoxville where he studied with American Tenor Andrew Skoog.

Janae Hatchett is a playwright and actor from Lubbock. Janae's play, New and Improving was chosen for the inagural year of the Orginal Works Series. She has also completed a one-act, titled Signing Off, and several sketches. She currently lives in Dallas where she performs at local theaters, including Pocket Sandwich Theatre, Bishop Arts Theatre Center, and Theatre Coppell. 

Andrea L. Rogers is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and a graduate of the Low Rez program at the Institute for American Indian Arts, where she completed her short story collection Man-Made Monsters, a meditation on love, loneliness, family, and the monsters in society that walk with us. Native people are centered in this collection, along with a cast of supernatural characters.

Deedra Baker's creative work explores themes of femininity, gender roles, personal and psychological spaces, and self-identity. Currently, her research, "Ties That Bind,"  investigates the lineage of the feminine and explores the nexus of her family through three generations of females.

While at Central Michigan University, Jennifer Peacock assisted in coordinating one of the largest Alternative Breaks program in the nation, which provides students service-learning experiences around the country. She is currently in the International Peace and Conflict Resolution Program at American University and intends to engage young people to act as agents of peace and social change.

The Arts Council of Fort Worth staff is coming together for a special Thanksgiving episode of Boxed Lunch! We'll share our own favorite recipes and traditions! Join us for this special episode of giving and gratitude!

Based in Los Angeles, Kipp Kobayashi is an artist interested in the traces of human activity and how they transform the structures and systems of our physical world into living entities of our collective thoughts, action, and experiences. Kobayashi has been commissioned by both public and private agencies across the nation including Meacham Airport in Fort Worth, Texas which was named by Codaworx as one of the top 100 international projects of 2020. 

Tony Green, Fort Worth Weekly’s Best of 2019 Favorite Local Celebrity, Tony hosts his live-streamed, late-night talk "Hello, I'm Tony Green", covering, music, culture, food, and fashion while chatting with fabulous guests!

Ariel Davis is an artist, gallery manager at ArtSpace 111, arts organizer, and curator in and from Fort Worth, Texas. In 2018, she was named Best Fort Worth Artist by Fort Worth Texas Magazine. You can find her at Artspace111 in Downtown Fort Worth as the Gallery Manager.  She is also the Chairwoman of the board for Art Tooth, a Fort Worth arts nonprofit.

Natalie Price is an artist as well as the founder and creative director of the local art collective House of Iconoclasts. She now hosts a new online artist series called Sad Times Art Club, where she interviews artists to discuss their experience during COVID-19, how they’re coping & how it is translating into  their current artwork.⁣⁣   

Sheran Goodspeed Keyton is the founder and artistic director of DVA Productions,and is a writer, director, producer, actor, and singer. She has been traveling and performing professionally nationally and internationally for 30 years. Her passion is educational entertainment and the positive influence it can have on the lives of young people.

Terri Thornton is an artist living and working in Fort Worth, Texas where she divides her time between making art, family and her day-job as Curator of Education at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. Terri’s art is conceptually based with concern for visual and often spatial effect. For consistency and clarity, she identifies all her work as drawing, no matter the form it takes.


Adam Dietrich is a filmmaker. Most recently, he produced and designed the Amazon Original “The Vast of Night,” and the soon to be released “Tasmanian Devil.” He helped oversee Hip Pocket Theatre and co-founded the nonprofit multimedia company The Butterfly Connection, presenting outsider original works in Fort Worth and surrounding areas.

Dr. Cinetrea Grace Williams is a producer, actress, choreographer, writer, and performer. As the founder of 619 Productions, Inc. she has received awards from Tarrant County College, Fort Worth Minority Leader, and Citizens Council. 619 Productions, Inc is a nonprofit that has served over 4000 children, approximately 2500 adults and over 250 seniors since 2010.


Working in cafes and roasteries were usually the most flexible jobs to have for a musician. Eventually, I began roasting coffee, and that is when the passion developed. My wife and I decided to move back to Fort Worth (hometown) and open Enduro Coffee Roasters. I love Fort Worth, and I love seeing it grow and evolve the way it has, and to be a part of that would be special to me.

Benjamín Espino was appointed General Manager of the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas in November 2011. Prior to that, he worked at Jubilee Theatre in Fort Worth from 2000 to 2011. He currently serves on the Cultural Tourism Committee of VisitDallas and has served on funding panels for the Arts Council of Fort Worth, the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Dev'n Goodman is a local teacher, advocate, and community organizer who is always trying to find ways to engage and grow the community culturally and equitably. No matter the initiative the goal is always to provide access and opportunity to those whose voices and talents have too often not been amplified. 

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Megan Henderson is the Director of Events and Communications for Near Southside, Inc where she works with and advocates for the residents and stakeholders of Fort Worth’s Near Southside district. She is the producer of various events and community programs including ArtsGoggle, Open Streets, Art South, and Friday on the Green.

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After spending much of his childhood living abroad in Trinidad & Tobago and Cairo, Egypt, Lou CharLe$ finds himself on a different journey. The Texas native has made a name for himself with captivating live shows share the stage with likes of G-Eazy, Joyner Lucas, and A-Boogie Wit Da Hoodie. Great music that stands the test of time is always derived from real life and that’s exactly what Lou Charle$ sets out to do- tell his truth.

Join the Arts Center for our Boxed Lunch interview with Jessica Christopherson, Assistant Vice President of Marketing & Film Commissioner!

Rambo's images have been featured by many online publications including GQ, Vogue, Rolling Stone, NY Times, Billboard, Apple Music, Essence, Paste Magazine, Urban Outfitters, Nylon Magazine, Huffington Post, Q magazine, and she has worked with brands such as Stetson Hats, Tecovas Boots, and the Fort Worth Visitors Bureau, among others.

Four Stages. One Roof. Zero Limits. That’s what you’ll find at Lowtown Studios, and Doug Mangold and Christopher Rodriguez are in charge of delivering that experience. It’s all about creating a flexible studio space where creative freedom is encouraged. The inspiration behind Lowtown was simple. We are whatever you want us to be-and that starts at the top.

Tammy Melody Gomez is a writer, interdisciplinary performance artist, and collaborative arts producer. Her poem, “Easter Sunday Poem,” appeared in the June 6th, 2020, edition of the Wall Street Journal—and is forthcoming in the hardcover edition of Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic (Knopf, 2020).

Margaret (Maggie) Adler is Curator of Paintings, Sculpture, and Works on Paper at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Though her scholarly research focuses on nineteenth-century art, she is also passionate about collaborating with contemporary artists in helping them with large-scale commissions. 

Childhood best friends Vanessa Barker and Taylor Willis are co-founders of the almost five-year-old nonprofit, The Welman Project. They now spend their days saving materials from the landfill and repurposing those items for creative reuse in North Texas classrooms.

Angelic Empyress is the founder of Astria Legends, a Spiritual Fantasy franchise whose purpose is to empower others to live their best life. She is an Original Character Cosplayer, Comic Artist, Published Author, and Performer who loves to mix them all together to create fun and engaging live performances and visual art.

Brandi Pace is a singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, and activist. At Howard, she was a member of the critically-acclaimed vocal ensemble Afro Blue. She is an artist-in-residence at Arts Fifth Avenue, where she teaches and performs. Brandi is the Founder and Executive Director of Decolonizing the Music Room, a non-profit that uses research, discourse, and training to center BBIA (Black, Brown, Indigenous, and Asian) voices.

Oba William King is recognized as one of the most exciting Storytellers of his peer group. Since his debut with the National Association of Black Storytellers at the San Diego conference in 2006, Oba has ignited audiences with his ability to capture their attention and gently release them into the playful realm of rhythm and rhyme. .

As the new General Director, Afton Battle comes to Fort Worth Opera following development and strategic consulting work with Red Clay Dance Company, the National Black Theatre, the African American Policy Forum, and Brooklyn arts and culture firm Red Olive Consulting. 

Dennis Yslas has been the Executive Director for Texas Nonprofit Theatres, Inc. (TNT) since 2017, having previously been on the Board of Governors. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years and has been acting for over 40 years - having started his career on the BOZO THE CLOWN! A member of the Actors’ Equity Association, he has worked extensively in the DFW area and on national tours.

Deborah Jung founded Kids Who Care Musical Theatre in 1989, after 14 years as a full-time professional actress, teacher, and director. Since then, she has directed main stage productions + produced/directed 31 tours of KWC Original Musicals, previewing in venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Italy, Germany, Albania, Washington D.C., Chicago, Orlando, Nashville, and Texas. She holds a BA in speech and drama from Trinity University.

Fort Worth Community Arts Center

(817) 738-1938

1300 Gendy Street

Fort Worth, TX 76107

Hours of Operation: Monday - Saturday: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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