25 talented artists selected for 2020 Class of Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training

The Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville proudly announces the selection of the 2020 class of Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training, an annual program that empowers working artists to see their creative practice through an entrepreneurial lens. This year’s class consists of 25 artists working in a broad variety of disciplines including visual art, photography, filmmaking, spoken word, music, dance, and more.

Artists are selected for Periscope through a competitive application process and scored by a panel of community reviewers that includes leading artists, curators, musicians, and creative entrepreneurs in Nashville’s arts, culture and business sectors. Selected artists participate in eight weeks of entrepreneurial training followed by six months of one-on-one mentorship by high-caliber business mentors. The program culminates at the Periscope Pitch + Artist Entrepreneur Showcase in September where artist entrepreneurs unveil their creative businesses to the community.

Previously, Periscope training sessions have only been offered in-person. With current public health recommendations to limit gatherings of 10 or more people, the Arts & Business Council pivoted to offering trainings online for at least the first three weeks of the eight-week training portion.

“With the many cancellations and closures happening every day, we’re grateful to be able to fulfill the commitment we’ve made to these artists to help them achieve their goals,” said Jill McMillan Palm, Executive Director of the Arts & Business Council. “I’m proud that our team was able to pivot so quickly, and we can provide an outlet for this year’s Periscope cohort to learn, connect, and build community in new and exciting ways.”

“With so many of us practicing social distancing, something we should all be doing, we hope that bringing these artists together online will allow them to feel a sense of community even when we can’t be together in person,” said Jonathan Harwell-Dye, Program Manager for the Arts & Business Council. “Most of all, we’re excited about the enthusiasm of this year’s class and their willingness to go on this digital adventure with us!”

The 2020 Class of Periscope is:

AKIL PRINCE
Jeweler
Akil Prince was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He began making jewelry when he was only 15 years old as an apprentice. His knowledge and abilities grew quickly, and he eventually became a manager and head jeweler.  At 18, he moved to Houston, Texas to start a business but ended up doing side jobs working in sales. When he met his wife, she pushed him to follow his passion and do what he loves. He took a position at Jared, where he worked for three years before moving to Nashville. Recently, he became a full-time entrepreneur, pursuing his passion through his new business venture: Designsbyakil.


ALISON BRAZIL
Musician | website
Alison Brazil is a true international artist and educator. As a singer, musician, and songwriter, she has performed her unique blend of Louisiana Latin Soul music in North, Central, and South America as well as Asia. She has been deeply affected by all of these places and she fuses her diverse influences into energetic and inspiring performances. During her first 10 years in Nashville, she taught Spanish, Music, and Dance with Metro Nashville Public Schools and is currently a teaching artist with Tennessee Performing Arts Center.  She performs regularly with her band The Roots of Rhythm, The Nashville Latin All-Stars, and The Nashville Salsa Machine. Alison Brazil believes that music builds bridges by which people from all over the world can connect and she fuses that belief into both her music and her teaching.


AMANDA DANNER
Filmmaker/Videographer | website
Amanda Danner is a filmmaker and freelance videographer, experienced in all facets of video production. She works collaboratively with her partner at their full-service production company, BlackMouse Media. Together, they have worked on short films, music videos, documentaries, family reunions, and almost anything in between. With a background in anthropology and sociology research, she is attuned to nuances in behavior and body language. Making clients feel comfortable in front of the camera and having them walk away with a stronger sense of pride and self is her favorite part of the gig. She believes that film has the power to transcend culture, helping to transform the world.


AMANDA EWING
Luthier | website
Amanda serves as chief manifestor and extraordinary life co-director at Lovingly Amanda Creative Services. Lovingly Amanda C.S. includes luthiery: violin making, repairing, and restoring, yoga and meditation, web development and design, and Latin dancing. As a luthier, and likely the only known female, black violin maker today, her desire is to encourage other black and brown women to pursue the trade and give it a much-needed facelift that inspires the future generations of craftswomen. If you’re lucky, you may find her sipping smoothies at local vegan shops around town, spinning passionately on the dance floor to Afro-Cuban melodies, giggling joyfully with her children everywhere, or enjoying chai under a tree conversing with the wind. Catch her if you can!


AMY FREDERICK
Musician | website
Amy Frederick is a freelance musician who plays and teaches piano, Hammond organ and keyboards. She is also the host of “Confessions Of A Keyboardist,” a bi-monthly podcast featuring professional keyboard players.  Ms. Frederick is an active performer in diverse styles and settings. She performs in local and touring Rock, R&B, Soul, and Country bands, serves churches and schools as pianist for services and musicals, records in studios, and accompanies choirs and soloists in Classical music settings. She has played concerts and shows with the Paducah Symphony, Orchestra Kentucky of Bowling Green, Chaffin’s Barn and Nashville’s Sprocket Comedy Improv.  Ms. Frederick is a graduate of Belmont University where she earned a Master of Music in piano performance, and currently teaches a studio of twenty-five, up-and-coming musicians. 


ANNETTE MCNAMARA
Photographer | website
Annette McNamara is a Nashville photographer by way of Iowa, California, and Missouri. In 2018, Annette started the non-profit Beautiful Strength. The mission of Beautiful Strength is to celebrate the resilience of the human spirit through the power of conversation and photography. Annette believes that by telling our stories, adding in some humor,  being honest with how difficult life can be and overcoming anything life throws at us, we can all connect and be better humans! Annette is a big fan of Wonder Woman, unicorns, glitter, music, beer, whiskey, wine, and bacon. In her spare time (She’s a freelance photographer, there isn’t much!), she can be seen volunteering, hiking, at a concert, in a gym, or taking any class on how to improve her life and mental health and the lives of others.   


YUMI BENNETT
Illustrator & Visual Scribe | website
Ayumi Fukuda Bennett is an illustrator who draws on her years of experience as a business/technology journalist to turn knowledge into art on-the-spot. Her live visual scribe work has been presented at events at Frist Art Museum, a public company in California, a strategy workshop for a healthcare corporation, and an Analytics Summit in Nashville, just to name a few. Beyond the graphic recording work, her editorial illustrations can be found in places like an issue of Education Week and #TalkITs, a smart transportation publication.  Born in Japan and raised in Johnson City, TN, Ayumi is a graduate of Vanderbilt University. She lives in Nashville with her husband Matt and their one-year-old. She feels privileged to get to visually capture community insights so that their wisdom gets shared with a wider audience.


BRANDIE LEE
Painter & Printmaker | website
Inspired by the depth and imagination of C.S. Lewis and amused by the delightful absurdities in Dr. Seuss’ work, Nashville-based artist Brandie Lee seeks for ways to express truth visually and bring the viewer experiences of joy and levity. Brandie has enjoyed art-making since finger-painting a colorful, autumn tree in kindergarten. Her primary mediums include watercolor, acrylic, and linoleum-cut relief printing. In 2018, she completed an internship at Nashville’s historic Hatch Show Print, where she acquired a love of letterpress printing. Armed with her vintage printing press, carving tools, and a heart ever-churning with ideas, she hopes to bring the unique experience of letterpress printing to people all across Tennessee and beyond. Her current letterpress work can be found locally at Nashville Craft Distillery, Corsair Distillery, and NancyBGood’s. 


CAMERON L. MITCHELL
Poet, Writer & Actor
Cameron L. Mitchell is a Memphis native and graduate of Middle Tennessee State University. After studying abroad in Japan, Cameron found a passion to speak life, and bring positivity through motivational poetry, acting, and modeling. Cameron has since modeled in the Essence Festival, New York, & Vegas fashion week. He has appeared in theatrical performances such as “Ghost” a Nashville Children’s theater production. In addition to being a poet mentor with Southern Word, Cameron has done poetry to open Conferences for MNPS Principals Vanderbilt University, NAACP, Links INC, Tennessee State University, & Alpha Kappa Psi Honors. He has produced the one-man show “Blackbird,” & “INFAMI”A performance and poetry series at 21(c) Hotel Museum that speaks about the infamous relationships we have in our community. He currently has a writing journal called “Metanoia” to help beginner writers get started, and change their state of mind about their current condition.


CAROLYN BEEHLER
Paper Artist | website
Carolyn Beehler is a paper artist living in Franklin, TN. She graduated from O’More College of Design in 2009 with a degree in Visual Communications.  After school, she spent the rest of her 20s traveling and improving her art. In 2016, she held her first paper painting show called “Frolics in Italy,” an exploration of her summer spent farm-hopping throughout Italy. Since then, Carolyn has been featured in group shows and publications around Nashville. Blogs like ArtistADay and Creative Boom have also featured her work. Her latest collection reflects on her experiences living in China where she worked as a design intern for a contemporary art gallery. Her work will be displayed next at the Nashville International Airport this summer. 


EILEEN TOMSON
Painter | website
Eileen Tomson is first-generation American; the daughter of a creative family who moved to Los Angeles from London. As a child, Eileen’s love of art manifested in her passion for drawing on the underside of her mother’s furniture. She graduated from California State University, Long Beach, with a B.F.A. in illustration. Eileen’s small canvases eventually migrated to the format of unique greeting card designs and the birth of her company, Jag Graphics. Her “French Country Collection” stationery garnered her “Best of the West” by the American Merchandising Corporation, and her greeting cards have been sold in showrooms across the country. In recent years, Eileen began painting abstracts that reflect the pastel colors of the ocean plus pigments of the surrounding California landscapes where she was raised. Her paintings are in private homes in Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Nashville, and the UK. Recently Eileen’s paintings were displayed in the offices and showroom of Lexus of Nashville.


ELAN KANDEL
Artist & Designer | website
Elan Kandel is an artist and designer working with natural fibers and plant-based dyes. With a passion for sustainability, he creates luxury garments and accessories using low-impact processes and materials. His primary medium is botanical contact-printing; a natural dyeing technique where plant material is collected, and through the application of heat, moisture, and pressure, the pigments are transferred onto cloth. Using locally collected leaves and flowers, he creates complex, richly patterned fabrics. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, Elan recently moved to Nashville, TN, after studying for his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Tennessee Technological University’s School of Art, Craft & Design.


EMMA LEVITZ
Artist & Stone Carver | website
Emma Levitz is an artist and stone carver from Vermont currently living and working in Tennessee. She received her B.F.A. in sculpture from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2016 before moving to the south in the hopes of creating and fostering a community of local rural artists. Working primarily in marble and limestone, she carves both sculpture and functional objects for the home that are inspired by the unique properties of the rock at hand.


HEATHER LEROY
Photographer, Director & Actress | website
Heather is a photographer, director and actress. She has written and performed in two theatrical one-woman shows and directed films that range from exciting backstage bios of up-and-coming artists to experimental narratives that explore the many facets of the human experience. Her photography work has been featured in publications such as Conde Nast, Nashville Scene and Nashville Arts magazine. Heather is currently in post-production on her debut feature film My Best Friend Depression.  As the writer, director and star of the film, she uses her innate creative ability to explore the issue of mental illness through a dark yet comedic lens. Heather’s use of art to explore the many perspectives of human nature is key to her personality as an artist. She is the owner of Heather LeRoy Photography, a multimedia company that specializes in storytelling through photography and video production. 


JACQUELYN SWIFT (J.Swift)
Poet, Playwright & Author
Jacquelyn Swift (J.Swift) is a poet, professional speaker, playwright, and author. She has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sewanee University. She has successfully produced a one-woman show called “Vocal Silence” that is currently running in Tennessee and Atlanta. She further expands her double life as a teaching artist by coaching people on how to get their stage legs and how to find their voices on paper through her workshop series “Fangs: Take a Bite Out of Stage Fright.”



JENNIFER DEAFENBAUGH
Digital Artist & Metal Sculptor | website
Jennifer Deafenbaugh is a digital artist and a metal sculptor. She designs and fabricates steel sculptures for dancers to perform on and creates stories with data and illustrations. Using interactive technologies, motion graphics and video, she produces videos and educational content as a Senior Instructional Multimedia Designer at Schneider Electric. Ms. Deafenbaugh has received her Master’s of Professional Study in Information Visualization from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her B.F.A. in Time-Based Media from the Columbus College of Art and Design. Ms. Deafenbaugh is an occasional content provider for the Americans for the Arts, through ArtsU, and she served as a Media Arts Fellowship Panelist in 2019 for the National Endowment for the Arts. She directs the Nation of Makers Data Working Group, producing the Annual Survey of Makerspaces, and she is currently producing the immersive and visual arts experiences at the 2020 Kindling Arts Festival. 


JENNY PETITE
Photographer | website
Jenny Petite is a fine art photographer. She is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design, owner and operator of Splendid Image Productions, and writer for L’Original Ms. Petite Art History Blog. A majority of Jenny’s work is self-portraiture that vividly narrates the psychological emotions of her life experiences. Jenny’s work is raw, authentic and relatable.  Her images are strong in both design and concept, humorously placing you, as a spectator, front and center to her life as it unfolds. 


JILLIAN FRAME
Artistic Director | website
Jillian Frame is the founder and producing artistic director of Garden Theatre Company. She earned her B.A. in Dramatic Arts at Trevecca Nazarene University and has since worked as a director, educator, stage manager, and designer with a variety of local theatres and schools in Middle Tennessee, including Spark Theatre Company, Nashville Shakespeare Festival, Trevecca Nazarene University, Lipscomb University, and Franklin Road Academy. Her most recent work includes directing YOU ARE WHAT YOU – A New Play by Mora V. Harris (Garden Theatre Company), THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH and SENSE AND SENSIBILITY (Trevecca Nazarene University), stage management for GODSPELL (Lipscomb University) and THE FLICK (Verge Theater Company), and puppet design for [TITLE OF SHOW] (Spark Theatre Company).


KAYLA JENKINS
Painter | website

Kayla Jenkins is a painter from central Illinois and a Nashville resident of two years. She earned a B.F.A. at McKendree University with a double major in painting and philosophy. Working by day as a freelance photo retoucher, Kayla spends most of her spare time creating multi-media abstractions that represent the relativity and ambiguity that reality presents to us. Her primary objectives include using art and self-expression as tools to help navigate our metaphysical existence and inspiring creative expression in others to exponentially improve their way of life.


MEL FERRER
Graphic Designer & Sculptor | website
Mel Ferrer, a native of Memphis, TN, was influenced early on by the traditional beauty of southern literary and visual arts. A scholarship winner to the Memphis College of Art, he earned a B.F.A. in graphic arts and relocated to Minneapolis, MN to pursue his career. While working in the Twin Cities as a graphic designer, Mel became active in the fine arts community involved with numerous galleries and museums as well as on public art projects in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul. As a docent for several years at the renowned Walker Art Center, he studied in depth the techniques and works of numerous modern masters. Parlaying this knowledge and inspiration with graphic arts skills, he is currently creating functional works of art to honor the deceased in the form of contemporary sculptural cremation urns.


NICK DRAKE a.k.a. Chuck iNDigo
Musician | website
Nick Drake, a.k.a. Chuck iNDigo, is a hip hop/neo soul artist from Nashville, TN. Nick got his start in music in church, as an adolescent, singing in the youth choir. As a teen, he played sports all through grade school eventually earning a scholarship to play collegiate basketball. After his sophomore year, in 2014, Nick transferred to a school in Montgomery, AL, where he became involved in the underground spoken word and music scene. In the winter of that same year, Chuck purchased a MacBook and began producing and recording himself in his dorm room. Over time, he became serious at his craft and released his first project in 2016. Chuck has since then been making a name for himself on the local and national scene, performing shows from Los Angeles to Raleigh. His most recent project, ‘iNDigo Cafe’ generated over 300,000 streams across digital streaming platforms and was selected for numerous Spotify editorial playlists. In January, Chuck started his first official business, an independent record label, with lifelong friends called, Third Eye LLC.


NICOLE AHIMA
Dancer | website
Nashville-native Nicole “La Bailarina” Ahima has been teaching Salsa in the Greater Nashville area since 2013. With a personal mission of connecting people within and throughout the Nashville community, Nicole sees dance as an opportunity to bridge communities. She offers adult salsa classes through Nashville Community Education, Nashville Ballroom and Co. and serves as the director for two Salsa dance teams. Additionally, she hosts Salsa socials, where she also serves as DJ, in which Latin dancers from around Nashville are invited to dance and socialize, meeting new people within the Salsa/Latin dance community.


PATTY MCAVOY
Designer | website
In 2003, Patty chased her dreams from her small hometown of Newark, Ohio to NYC where she attended the Manhattan School of Music to study Opera. Like most starving artists, Patty started working in restaurants. It was there she discovered her love for branding. Patty began working for The Altamarea Group in 2009. In 2012, she was promoted to Director of Brands and Promotions and had the opportunity to build 9 high-end brands worldwide. In 2016, Patty started her own business, Patty McAvoy Designs; a full-service branding and design studio providing custom, top-quality creative services. She’s had the pleasure of working with interior designers, Grammy-nominated artists and even Big Bird himself! After living in Hell’s Kitchen for 16 years, she is excited to be closer to her family again in Nashville. She is honored to be accepted into the Periscope program.


RACHEL BARTEK
Glass Artist | website
Rachel Bartek was once a disenchanted English major at a small school in Alabama; in need of a big change, she made an audacious move and traveled to renowned Pilchuck Glass School in Washington. Struck by the finesse of the glassblowing masters and their calculated movements, she dedicated herself to learning the intricacies of the medium. She then moved to Tennessee to earn her B.F.A in Glass at the Appalachian Center for Craft and discovered her passion for sculpting glass freehand. Ms. Bartek continues to explore the concept with her glass sculpture through wordplay and whimsy. She draws influence from pop culture, anime, music, and literature. She has shown work at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg, FL, the Fort Houston in Nashville, TN, and at the Virginia Wesleyan University in Virginia Beach, VA. She recently completed the Chrysler Museum of Art Glass Studio’s Assistantship program and is developing a glass studio in Nashville.


SARA MCLOUD
Seamstress & Fiber Artist | website
Sara McLoud is a Nashville-based artist. A native of Murfreesboro, TN, she studied theater and fashion at MTSU and worked for two years in theater costuming in New York City before relocating back to TN in 2008. Since then, she has worked as a freelance seamstress for local designers and an artist. Her current work is the bridge between sewing, quilting, and fiber art nudged into the realm of high art by a painterly aesthetic. Her pieces are made from reused fabrics and materials, disassembled and then reconstructed into collage art, with both the function of home goods and the sensibilities of fine art. She was most recently featured in Reimagining Pathways at Turnip Green Creative Reuse in Nashville, TN.


Now in its seventh year, Periscope: Artist Entrepreneur Training is a program of the Arts & Business Council of Greater Nashville in partnership with the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, Metro Arts: Nashville’s Office of Arts + Culture, the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Mayor’s Office of Economic & Community Development. Periscope is supported in part by Southwest Airlines and the Tennessee Arts Commission. For more information, visit www.abcnashville.org/periscope.