There are incredible people, beautiful places and inspiring events happening all around us. As Founder of both Big Dog Little Bed Productions (a Durham-based video production company specializing in weddings and branding films for small businesses and organizations) and Mission 100% (an edtech startup building a video library of best teaching practices), Janice is passionate about finding, capturing, and sharing them with the world. Plus she loves dogs, and brings at least one of her two pups with her as many places as possible, as often as possible.
Beautiful weddings across the East Coast, Reason # (a series of 1-minute videos on things we love about the Bull City), and capturing lots of great teachers in action.
Rebecca is in the last year of her doctoral program in the English Department at UNC.
My dissertation investigates depictions of sailing saints in Old English and Anglo-Latin literature between 650 and 1100. Ask me about the history of English, or teaching undergrads, or the archaeology of ancient ships (or something else).
I'm also a mom to a toddler and a partner to an intellectual property litigator.
Jessamyn Stanley is a yoga teacher, body positivity advocate, and writer. Her eponymous yoga lifestyle online platforms attract thousands of followers daily, and she regularly contributes to a number of esteemed print and online publications. Jessamyn has been recognized and featured by a wide range of international and national media outlets, including Time, Good Morning America, Al Jazeera English, The Huffington Post, Self, Glamour, and New York.
When she's not working, Jessamyn's sleeping. Or eating. Or watching netflix. Or trying to figure out how to do all three at the same time.
@mynameisjessamyn / @jessnotjazz
I'm the Director of Communications for Lighter, a Boston-based nutrition-tech company that’s on a mission to help the world eat better. I’ve got a passion for writing and a masters in nutrition, so it’s a role that suits me well!
I also love to hike - a lot. In 2011, I hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and in 2015, I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada. More recently, I’m obsessed with BollyX, a Bollywood-inspired, cardio-fitness dance program. As a certified instructor, I’m hoping to bring it to Durham ASAP! I think yoga’s pretty swell too.
As an Atlanta native who spent the last five years in the Boston area, I’m excited to be in Durham, putting down roots back in the South!
As owner of Allie Mullin Photography, Allie documents memories all over the universe for her incredible clients. She also serves as the Event Coordinator and Space Supervisor at Mercury Studio. She loves collaborating on creative projects and truly believes the world can be a better place.
Allie adores Durham, horror films, traveling, camping, dinosaurs, music, food, dancing, science, art, being nerdy, and gin. When she's not working, you can find her in downtown Durham enjoying the art scene, doing yoga, running, or eating at a food truck.
Allison is principal healthcare consultant and owner of Tandem Healthcare Solutions. Allison specializes in Patient and Family Engagement: essentially teaching healthcare providers and community members to work together on everything from hospital boards to clinical conversations. After working in healthcare as an occupational therapist for many years and then working on the administrative side of things, Allison finally feels she has found her professional home.
When Allison is not working to untangle the giant hairball of the American healthcare system one hospital at a time, you can find her exploring all of the offerings Durham has to offer...or in a patch of sunshine with her husband Mike and their cats Birdie and Jelly Bean.
CURRENT PROJECTS: I'm designing a motivational interviewing course to teach clinicians how to have compassionate and productive conversations with their patients. I'm also co-designing a toolkit for hospitals to use in engaging community members.
LINKS: Linked In
I am a freelance writer and editor who specializes in the subjects of culture, travel and history for newspapers, nonprofits and online media outlets. My work has appeared in publications such as Conde Nast Traveler, Ebony Magazine and the JSTOR Daily to name a few. I also Co-Created the Bay area reading series Voices From the Margins and hope to begin teaching writing workshops in the near future.
I'm currently working on two major projects in addition to my freelance work: A novel based on New Orleans culture and mythology, and an anthology of work by contemporary African American expatriate writers in Paris.
Tad is a freelance web designer and the founder/owner of the downtown Durham-based company, Conduit Designs, LLC. He's been building web sites and working in I.T. in some form or capacity since 1998. But when he's not using a keyboard to wrangle code, he's using one to tell stories.
That’s where Mercury Studio comes in and has helped immensely! It’s a wonderful place to escape the tiny downtown Durham apartment that he shares with his best friend Melinda to work on whatever novel, short story, tech review, or poem, he has bouncing around in his head.
Mel is a practicing human. Her work builds connection: to ourselves, and to each other. She is the maker of 7 Tiny Offerings, a book of blessings and practices that foster this connection; a teacher of individual, adaptable yoga and mindfulness practices; and a collaborative massage therapist.
Durham Bodywork. Accessible, inclusive, and effective massage therapy, coming to local spaces in early 2016.
Jessie Gladdek shoots photos for local and national clients such as Hidden Voices, Feeding America, Builders of Hope, and many other individuals, small businesses, universities, and nonprofits. Beginning around age 13, she spent countless hours developing film and prints in her closet darkroom with questionable ventilation. She cut her teeth shooting for political campaigns in Massachusetts after attending Oberlin College, and worked as a studio manager for an award winning photographer in Boston for two years. Jessie moved back south in 2008. She travels frequently across the country and is available for assignments anywhere.
She lives in the Cleveland-Holloway neighborhood with her fiancé, Matt, and their pit bull, Cleveland, in a 1911 house they renovated slowly and imperfectly while living in their kitchen during the chaos and mess of construction.
Current Projects: Jessie is underway on a new website that will feature more of her education and nonprofit focus. She’s been working long-term on a documentary project about her rapidly-changing neighborhood since moving in in 2008.
Justin Cook is a photographer because he believes that relationships are the only real currency in this world.
Relationships foster a deliberate life. Relationships create change. Relationships are the core of collaboration and intimate storytelling. A photographic life is lived through meaningful relationships.
He documents marginalization and memory in America to create relationships and to start conversations. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, specializes in reportage, portraiture, company branding and long term photographic essays. He is available for freelance assignments worldwide, and photographs part-time for The INDY Week. Otherwise you can find him instagramming his cats at #sprickers.
CURRENT PROJECTS: Justin has been working on a decade-long look at how homicide, incarceration and urban renewal impact communities in Durham. http://www.madeindurhamnc.com
Lee Moore Crawford is an artist, organic grower and floral designer, and educator dedicated to environmentally supportive practices that enrich the community. Lee is an environmental advocate and recently has shown her work regarding bird habitats at The Pea Island Refuge Visitors Center Gallery in Manteo, NC. Lee performs green office therapy at Mercury Studio with plant and flower care. She also has a booth, lee attracting birds and bees, at the adjoining shop, The Makery, with a pop-up flower shop Mondays, 3-8pm. Lee provides workshops at Mercury Studio in floral design and kids' art in the Back Room. Her flowers and arrangements are also available for events, special occasions and weekly subscriptions.
Jon (JC) Sackett is a developer and wannabe writer. He works for Canonical, an international open-source software company, helping build tools to manage applications across huge clouds or tiny servers. He's also a founding member of Splatespace, Durham's Makerspace, and swears someday he'll actually finish a project he's started there.
I dream of creating stories.
Much (if not all) of my subject matter is drawn from my Chinese heritage.
Panda Cub Storytime Videos (Mandarin/English bilingual retelling of "Journey to the West") For early childhood to grade school audience.
"Pearl" (illustrated manuscript) - a retelling of a Chinese mermaid legend.
Jess Dilday is the current editor-in-chief of Clarion Content and also DJs all around Durham under the moniker PlayPlay.
Along with editing for Clarion Content, Jess is working on a series of articles about protest music. She is also in the beginning stages of a paper on queer rappers to be published in the Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Music Studies.
For the past two decades, Dawn Dreyer has worked as a writer, mixed-media documentary maker, teacher, and advocate, embracing the challenges and joys of sustained collaboration as essential to her creative practice. In 2005, Dawn produced the radio story, "The Three Furies: Poverty, Addiction, and Mental Illness," about the women she met while teaching writing at a residential treatment center in Durham, North Carolina. In the piece, heard by thousands of listeners on WUNC and stations across the country, she spoke openly about her own experiences with mental illness.
She is currently producing and directing the feature length animated documentary "Bipolar Girl Rules the World and Other Stories." "Fear" is both a stand-alone short film and one of the stories that make up this feature. The film was presented as a work-in-progress at the Cucalorus Film Festival (2013) and Alice Fest (2013, 2015). Dawn also includes selections from the film in her performance documentary, "Listen/Speak", which she has presented at conferences on mental illness, universities, and art therapy programs (2014-16).
Since 2000, Dawn has been deeply involved with the Durham documentary community, supporting and promoting the work of both professional and emerging artists. Dawn coordinated public events and directed the Certificate in Documentary Arts program at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, home of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (2000-07). She served as the founding chair of the Southern Documentary Fund’s board (2002-07). Dawn left Duke to accept a nine-month arts residency at Pendle Hill, near Philadelphia. When she returned to Durham, she founded Cracked Window Studios. Dawn consults on a variety of projects, most notably as assistant producer on the Emmy-nominated documentary Private Violence (Sundance 2014/HBO).
"Fear" an animated documentary short film
Sometimes, the only thing to fear is fear itself.
Dr. Zenglo Chen was four when his parents disappeared, victims of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Through Zenglo’s own words and exquisitely crafted hand-drawn and stop-motion animation, "Fear" considers the tensions between fear and safety; faith and psychology; Chinese and American identity; and acceptance and healing.
"Fear" is both a stand-alone film and part of the feature length animated documentary "Bipolar Girl Rules the World and Other Stories."
"Bipolar Girl Rules the World and Other Stories"
Brimming with rich visual artistry and unforgettable voices, this animated documentary feature and trans-media community engagement campaign target the stigma and shame surrounding mental illness. Filmmaker Dawn Dreyer and her diverse company of fellow travelers report from this disorderly landscape with powerful stories of vulnerability, suffering, determination, creativity, and grace.
A performance documentary based on "Bipolar Girl Rules the World and Other Stories.
Chris works for a West Coast precision agriculture company that uses imagery to better target the use of inputs on Midwestern farms - but he's convinced his boss to let him come live back East. He’s a morning person but is working on that.
The Most Neurotic Thing I’ve Got with a URL:
A Past Life, And Probably Most Interesting to Another Mercury Studio Member:
Something Recent that I'd like to Spend More Time on Before November:
Aaron Mandel is a writer and an accomplished public speaker. He is the publisher of the Clarion Content, a Durham, North Carolina based, cultural and political on-line magazine. During his seven year tenure as editor, the Clarion Content published more than twenty distinguished guest columnists and garnered nearly a million views.
Mandel is a volunteer for the Durham Mighty Pen Literacy Project and serves as the President of the Board of Sustain-A-Bull Durham, a local small business collective with more than 200 members.
He writes regularly on the Clarion Content and has been quietly writing fiction since the 4th grade.
Mandel has been published in the Raleigh News and Observer. He has also produced numerous art shows, including, “Durham under Development”. He was a featured speaker at “The State of Publishing” conference. He has presented to Durham Chamber of Commerce, “Chamber U” on the “New Media”. He has also served as the play-by-play announcer for the D.B.L., a Durham youth basketball league.
He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Religious Studies from Indiana University in Bloomington. An avid policy debater at Indiana and a Nation Debate Tournament qualifier, Mandel was also a member of the New Jersey State Champion two-person Policy Debate Team.
He has lived in North Carolina, New Jersey, California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Indiana, and Baja California, Mexico.
Aubrey, both a student and teacher, believes that a healthy educational experience should encourage a student’s curiosity and agency. An historical geographer, she has spent the last 8 years living and traveling in the Middle East, researching how the physical reality of the region has shaped events and culture, and in turn, how identity and meanings are conveyed through spaces. A powerful communicative tool, we can never truly understand a people group if we do not enter into their spaces. As an educator, this is exciting because of the active way students are engaged and challenged. Meeting a culture face to face on its own turf unseats our biases, humanizes our interpretations, and quickens our desire to learn and grow.
CURRENT PROJECTS: Nearly finished with a Ph.D. from Bar-Ilan University in Israel, Aubrey is privileged to spend about half the year abroad teaching the history, geography, and archeology of the lands of Israel and Jordan in active, hands-on field courses. These courses are designed to give college students the opportunity to tap into their innate instinct to explore and understand their world, as well as to make complex subjects accessible to a variety of learning styles through open conversation and tangible interaction.
Betsy is a writer and editor, who loves both to create copy that connects as well as help others achieve that same goal. She also creates needlework that makes people think.
CURRENT PROJECT: My current project is stitching and making little affirmation badges, which you can see at craftivism.com/youaresoverybeautiful.
LINKS: More info at craftivism.com, and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as craftvista
Erik Rose coordinates the impact of 108 spring-loaded buttons at Mozilla, venting a byproduct of static analysis, search, and pattern-finding software. By day, he leads the development of DXR—a comprehension tool for large codebases—and Fathom, an experimental kit for extracting meaning from the structure of web pages. Captivated by a succession of shiny objects, Erik has also built one of the largest Django sites in the world, written a book about Zope and Plone, lectured on the joys of Elasticsearch, and hatched a brood of eclectic Python libraries. He is a frequent PyCon speaker and has keynoted PyCon Argentina and Bangalore's The Fifth Elephant.
Geraud is both visual storyteller and entrepreneurial developer. Graduating Magna Cum Laude from NCCU's School of Business, Geraud uses his business knowledge to help coach entrepreneurs and provide training for small businesses. When he's not helping necessity-driven entrepreneurs he is working tirelessly on his oil paintings.
Current Projects: Geraud is working with Bull City Forward, Mercury Studio, the Carrack, Durham Art Guild, the American Dance Festival and his own company, Helius, to host a monthly community event called Boss Thursdays. These events are held the last Thursday of every month and feature training, guest speakers and a large social event each month.
Rachel Campbell is a painter. She studied art in both New Zealand and Canada, and has also spent time living and exhibiting in New Zealand the UK and Germany.
Rachel exhibits with Tyndall Gallery and Frank Gallery in Chapel Hill, Craven Allen Gallery Durham, and other regional galleries in group shows. Her work is in private and public collections in over a dozen countries.
studio visits by appointment
Please email to join Rachel’s Newsletter to be informed of upcoming exhibitions.
Bethany has been facilitating creative writing groups since 2010 and has devoted several years to tutoring writing, studying composition pedagogy, and exploring how language connects communities. Current Projects: Facilitating Writers' Salon, co-managing The Orbit blog
A lifetime problem solver with a passion for aesthetics, Courtney loves contributing ideas to any product, cause or project that aims to make positive changes in beautiful, enjoyable ways.
Current Projects: At Mercury Studio, Courtney works on a variety of contract UX/UI, mobile/web interaction development, graphic design and content strategy projects. She's also great with a calendar and handles event coordinating/scheduling details for Mercury Studio and Clarion Content.
Ariyah is a fine art photographer and acrylic/encaustic painter. After business school, she worked for 6 years as a sustainable ("triple bottom line") business consultant serving clients in Seattle, San Francisco, and North Carolina. A transformative experience as an Environmental Leadership Fellow (National '14) led her to addressing environmental and social issues through art. One example of how: in 2015, Ariyah was the Environmental Defense Fund's storyteller for their social media project called Earth Street Durham, helping inspire sustainable behavior adoption one story at a time. Last year, she shot a social justice photo-series called "Queers in Nature" as a resident artist at the Catskills' Freehold Art Exchange. Ariyah also believes in/for animal rights and chocolate.
Encaustic (hot wax) project work - summer 2016; Member Services Committee chair for the Durham Arts Council - ongoing
Jenny Blazing is an artist living in Durham, North Carolina. She graduated from University of California, Davis with degrees in Design & Economics and subsequently earned a Ph.D. from UNC, Chapel Hill. Her work focuses on the ephemeral beauty of our world and she shines a light on our need to understand our unavoidable role in it.
My Change Series represents a statement of hope that we will realize our planet is precious and must be nurtured. These paintings, which at first glance resemble cityscapes, are metaphorical worlds spanning eras. They serve as a depiction of our enduring impact on the earth. Recycling is one of many steps we must take to help assure the health of our planet. In creating these paintings I symbolically implement the reuse of materials by cropping or “digitally salvaging” parts such as grills, headlights and other elements from images of my paintings of retired work trucks from my Truck Series: Jerome Arizona. From these components I create new worlds through acrylic and collage paintings that lay bare the beauty and fragility of our earth.