2023 - 2024

Every semester talented, passionate Graduate Assistants (GA) from across disciplines and fields support programming in the Office of Community Engagement, Arts Share, and the Grant Wood Art Colony to elevate impact across the University of Iowa and communities across the state. 

Isaac Addai headshot

Isaac Addai

Master of Fine Arts in Acting

Community engagement is essential to maintaining a healthy communal environment. If we only make decisions from the comfort of our offices without continually seeking out problems in the community, we are not doing our jobs to the best of our ability. I believe we provide the best solutions when we have folks actively speaking with members of the greater community.

My role as an Art Share assistant is to be a conduit between the Theatre Arts Department and the greater university population. I intend on bridging gaps and providing spaces for students to come together in the community while sharing their talents. Furthermore, I believe that it is extremely important for our university to continue to find innovative ways to support and uplift the Arts on- and off-campus.

I wish to own a production company one day that uniquely uplifts Black Voices. At the moment my medium is acting, however, I consider myself a multifaceted artist. Therefore, I want a career where my art can impact people and promote change in the world.

Jacqueline Banigan headshot

Jacqueline Banigan

Doctoral Candidate in Art History

Community Engagement is all about connection – connecting individuals to one another and to the world around them. Art is an excellent, if not necessary, component of community engagement because it is an impetus, conduit, and culmination for sharing the human experience. As a graduate assistant for Arts Share, I am the liaison to the School of Art and Art History helping to connect studio artists to the broader Iowa community. I hope to further the work of this office by encouraging graduate students to share their work, knowledge, and skills.  

As an emerging scholar in art history, I like to say that I prefer to study the world based on what people create rather than what they destroy. I choose to participate in and uplift discourse that highlights the histories of marginalized communities and individuals. My current research examines how working women in nineteenth-century Paris influenced new directions in representing the female body – a significant site for the development of modernity and the avant-garde.

Arianna Edvenson headshot

Arianna Edvenson

Doctor of Musical Arts in Clarinet Performance and Pedagogy

Community Engagement means reaching out and sharing music with those around us by making it accessible to people of all different backgrounds! While being a Graduate Research Assistant for Arts Share, I've been able to help coordinate and perform in several chamber music tours in Eastern Iowa, and it is always great to see the joy that music can bring to those communities.
I teach over 60 clarinet students in the Iowa City area, many of whom attend Clear Creek Amana Middle School, where I am the clarinet lesson instructor. I have quite a few students in my private studio as well! 

Koada Heacock headshot

Koada Heacock

Master of Fine Arts in Poetry

The arts can seem an inaccessible and intimidating landscape to many. Community engagement can lift the veil of elitism, reach and encourage others to participate and grow their own artistic skills within supportive communities. 

As an Art Share assistant, I want to promote and inspire creativity across various backgrounds and interests. I hope to expand my creative lexicon working alongside people with talents and minds spanning all sorts of artistic fields. Art in community grows in unpredictable and engaging ways. 

As a poet, I've found that my voice is strongest when it's in conversation with the art of my peers, from diverse mediums. I'm hoping that I can bring the skills and lessons that I learn from the many talented artists here back to my people in Montana.

Mariana Tejeda headshot

Mariana Tejeda

Master of Fine Arts in Dance Choreography

I believe that community engagement is the best way to find and form new audiences. Making aesthetic experiences accessible in non-conventional (or traditional) venues removes in part the aura of elitism that sometimes surrounds the arts.  

Also, as artists, it is an excellent opportunity to be in close contact with our audience and to be able to hear what they have to say. It is a humbling experience and a way of keeping ourselves accountable and our work honest. 

As an Arts Share Graduate Assistant, I support the University of Iowa Dance Company and will help coordinate their tour as well as other dance outreach events throughout the year. This is an important experience for the students and the communities we visit. 

As a multidisciplinary artist, I am interested in collaborations that enrich my creative vocabulary and create a network of artists and collaborators.