Ian Cheney is an American documentary filmmaker, cinematographer, and producer. Cheney grew up in Massachusetts and Maine, attended The Mountain School, a semester school for high school juniors, and graduated from Milton Academy in 1998. Cheney received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University in 2002 and 2003. He shared a Peabody Award in 2008 for King Corn, which he co-produced and starred in. In 2011 he and longtime collaborator Curt Elliswere the youngest recipients to receive the Heinz Award. Cheney received an Emmy nomination in 2013 for his film The City Dark, which aired on PBS’ POV. Cheney runs Wicked Delicate Films, a documentary film production company based in Brooklyn and western Massachusetts. He is a co-founder and former member of the board of directors of the FoodCorps non-profit organization.
Kate Daughdrill is an artist, urban farmer, writer, and speaker based in Detroit. She received a BA in Studio Art and Political & Social Thought from the University of Virginia and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Recent projects include Detroit SOUP, a monthly dinner that funds micro-grants for creative projects in Detroit, and the Edible Hut, a community space with a living, edible roof in a public park in Detroit’s Osborn neighborhood. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Fred Torres Collaborations, the Art Gallery of Windsor, Second Street Gallery, Cranbrook Art Museum, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and Kunstverein Wolfsburg. Her work has been written about in the New York Times, NYT’s T Magazine, the Toronto Star, Dwell, Oprah Magazine, Cosmopolitan, and the Huffington Post. Recent artist talks include the Airbnb’s Design Talks, Detroit Institute of the Arts, AIGA San Francisco, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Grand Valley State, Hand-in-Glove, New City Arts Forum, and the University of Virginia. She was recently awarded a 2013 Kresge Artist Fellowship and the Robert C. Larson Venture Award and has received grants from Community + Public Art: Detroit and the Knight Foundation. Daughdrill lives and works on Burnside Farm on Detroit’s east side. She is currently cultivating gatherings and dinners that explore the connections between plants, ceremony, and artistic energy. She is also focusing on her writing, offering talks, and immersing herself in learning experiences to deepen her integration of meditation, wildness, yoga, and artistic practice.
Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry, the Ohioana Book Award, the Balcones Poetry Prize, the Hurston-Wright Legacy Award, and it was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook “Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens,” in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, “River.” He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin’, in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.
Stephanie J. Williams is an interdisciplinary artist living in the northeast quadrant of Washington, DC. Her three-dimensional sculpture and stop-motion animations investigate our relationship to food culture. In particular, her visual emphasis on food consumption explores the complex narratives that humans struggle to digest, and often leave out of polite conversation. The following text is an excerpt of my interview with Williams, conducted in the summer of 2017. It demonstrates her attentiveness to material culture and its ability to create a theater of familiarity through a time-based medium. Whether producing soft-sculpture installations on the scale of Claes Oldenburg or meditative animation work that recalls videos by Simone Leigh and Steffani Jemison, Williams creates pieces that require prolonged visual engagement.