We are delighted to announce two new staff appointments — Ammo Eisu is the new Program Manager for The Studio Creative Arts Community and Kayla McGhee is the new Arts Outreach and Engagement Coordinator.
The Studio Creative Arts Community Program Manager is responsible for the programs, spaces, and relationships that constitute this unique residential learning community grounded in artistic creativity. Ammo will manage four creative spaces and a team of student staff to generate co-curricular programming in support of creativity and community-building. He also supports and coordinates a curricular seminar survey of the arts on campus, taught by the Faculty Director, and a Steering Committee composed of faculty and staff representatives across the arts on campus. Sitting at the heart of The Studio community, Ammo will work closely with students and staff alike to foster a lively space for first-year students who value artistic creativity, and serves as a liaison between the Division of the Arts; University Housing; Office of Multicultural Arts’ First Wave scholarship program; and the Division of Diversity, Equity, and Educational Achievement. As The Studio houses each incoming cohort of the First Wave Program, this role requires cultural literacy in working with a highly diverse – and extremely talented – student body and a sensitivity towards the challenges of predominantly white institutions from the student perspective.
Ammo Eisu (he/they) comes to The Studio with vast experience as an educator, arts administrator, and community advocate. He was the Director of an after-school program based out of a public primary school in San Francisco, which served over 250 students and their families and provided programming rooted in art, social justice, and wellness. His art practice ranges from being a touring musician, theater drag performer, woodworker, sculptor, illustrator, and rapid prototyping maker. In his advocacy focused on the liberation of Queer and Trans People of Color, he has developed curriculum for the Human Rights Campaign, spoken at the Gender Spectrum Conference, and co-authored an academic article published in the Journal of LGBT Youth exploring the impact of a gender expansive curriculum. He has a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MFA in Design.
“Ammo comes to Madison from San Francisco with a breadth of skills that will help deepen and broaden The Studio experience for student residents,” says Chris Walker, Director of the Division of the Arts. “I look forward to seeing how The Studio can extend outward and do community outreach in new ways.”
Walker continues, “Similarly, we have hired Kayla from Chicago as the Arts Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. I’m excited about Kayla’s drive to build communities across arts experiences, across demographics, and across difference.”
The Arts Outreach and Engagement Coordinator position builds an infrastructure of positive connections to support strong relationships and partnerships with campus partners and with our local creative industry and community. In this role, Kayla will run the Division’s student funding programs (Artivism Student Action Program, Arts Business Competition) and organize events to build community among and within arts majors, student organizations, affiliates, arts enthusiasts, and arts faculty and staff, including the Arts Together event series. They will also initiate and strengthen relationships with campus and community organizations, including managing memberships and sponsorship requests. In addition, Kayla will be project lead on the 3-year Arts for Everyone, Everywhere initiative funded by the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment, with a focus on interdisciplinary arts community engagement around the state.
Kayla McGhee (she/they) is a passionate artists’ rights activist and artist. Most recently serving as Youth Outreach Coordinator for Young Chicago Authors, she has worked to create and connect vibrant and diverse spaces where art is celebrated and underrepresented voices and stories are amplified. They pride themselves on their ability to intentionally connect communities with resources, bridge gaps, and foster a culture of fun and collaboration! Kayla takes a boots-on-the-ground approach to understanding the unique needs of each community she works with. She’s had success creating engaging events and programs for individuals to find support and inspiration, showcase their talents and research, and show up as their authentic selves, and they intend on continuing that work through their position as Arts Outreach and Engagement Coordinator with the Division of the Arts.