Mario Jaramillo

Mario Jaramillo is a visual and performance artist, graphic designer, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. His position of leadership within the local hip-hop community extends back to his adolescence, when he founded a dance company that went on to gain international acclaim for their talent and innovation. Through this ensemble, Mr. Jaramillo also organizes missions to promote education, community building, and positive hip-hop in countries around the world in collaboration with the American state department cultural exchange initiatives. 

Featured on TedxHouston 2011. 

Mario Jaramillo has a long history of leading cultural exchanges abroad and furthering Houston's global connections, In April of this year, he traveled to Basrah to lead an extensive cultural exchange program. Hosted by one of Houston's key partners in our sister city relationship, the U.S. Consulate General in Basrah, the program consisted of a series of theater and dance workshops. For his work in Basrah, Iraq, Mayor Sylvester Turner, City of Houston proclaimed June 21st, 2016 - Mario Jaramillo Day. 


Jasminne Mendez

Jasminne Mendez is an award winning author, performance poet and educator. She received her B.A. in English Literature and her M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston. Mendez has had poetry and memoir published both nationally and internationally and her first multi-genre memoir Island of Dreams was published by Floricanto Press was awarded Best Young Adult Latino Focused Book by the International Latino Book Awards in 2015. Recently, her personal essay El Corte received honorable mention in the Barry Lopez Creative Non-Fiction Prize in CutThroat, A Journal of the Arts and will be published in their Best of CutThroat edition later this spring. She has shared the stage as a performance poet with world renowned authors Taylor Mali, Sandra Cisneros, Dagoberto Gilb, and Aamalia Ortiz. She is a 2016 VONA Fellow and this summer she will begin her MFA residency in the creative writing program at the Rainier Writer's Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. 


Lupe Mendez

Lupe Mendez is a Poet/Educator/Activist, CantoMundo Fellow, Macondo Fellow and co-founder of the LibroTraficante Movement. He works with Nuestra Palabra: Latino Writers Having Their Say and the Brazilian Arts Foundation to promote poetry events, advocate for literacy/literature and organize creative writing workshops that are open to the public. He is the founder of Tintero Projects and works with emerging Latinx writers within the Texas Gulf Coast Region, with Houston as its hub. Lupe most recently received his MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso in December of 2015. His publishing credits include prose work in Norton's Sudden Fiction Latino: Short Short Stories from the United States and Latin America, and poetry that appears in Luna Luna, Ostrich, Revista Síncope, Pilgrimage, Border Senses, and Gulf Coast. Lupe has been a Houston educator for over 15 years - See more at:


Dr. Mick Gowar

Dr. Mick Gowar is Senior Lecturer and University Teaching Fellow at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge.  His duties include leading creative writing workshops, supervising undergraduate and postgraduate research, teaching Contextual Studies to Illustration and Illustration & Animation students and initiating and delivering a programme of outreach activities.  Mick is also co-director, with Dr. Jeannette Baxter, of New Routes Old Roots,  a collaborative and interdisciplinary research network based at the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, which aims to actively encourage scholarly examination of, and public engagement with, the extraordinarily rich and varied oral, written and graphic texts that are written within or reflecting upon the experience of exile and migration. Mick is Principal Editor of Book 2.0 is an interdisciplinary peer-reviewed journal which publishes articles and reviews by practitioners and scholars about contemporary book creation, illustration, production and design.

Mick is also widely known as an author of children's books and a performer and workshop leader in schools. Since 1980 he has written or edited over 100 books for children and young people, including five books of poetry, novels, short stories, and non-fiction books for major educational series such as OUP's 'Treetops' and "Project X" reading schemes. He has visited schools, libraries, colleges and festivals throughout the UK and abroad to give readings, performances and lead workshops and has undertaken music and writing educational projects for, among others, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Britten Sinfonia, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Sinfonia 21, and the Fitzwilliam Museum and Kettles Yard Gallery in Cambridge. He has tutored on creative writing courses for the Arvon Foundation and Talliesin Trust.


Lissette Aya

Lissette Aya aka DJ ill-set is a passionate latina female DJ that gives her audience a feeling through her energy, dance, and love of music. She can rock any crowd with her knowledge and skills of music and versatility to spin for any event. She has traveled all over the world spreading her love of DJing and has died thousands of events in her 13 years of DJing. She takes you on a journey with her music & energy behind the turntables.


Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite is a priest, chaplain and teacher at the University of Cambridge. He is also a poet and singer-songwriter. He has published two collections of poetry: Saying the Names (2002) and The Magic Apple Tree (2004). He is also the author of What Do Christians Believe? and Faith, Hope and Poetry. His essay on literature and incarnation is included inBeholding the Glory: Incarnation Through the Arts. - See more at: