John J. O'Connor was born in Westfield, MA, and received a Master of Fine Arts and Master of Art History from Pratt Institute in 2000.  He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in that same year, and has received a New York Foundation for the Arts grant in painting, and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.  He was a 2011/12 recipient of a studio from the Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program. Mr. O'Connor was also a resident artist at the Farpath Foundation in Dijon France. 

Meghan O'Rourke is the author of poetry collections Once and Halflife, and memoir The Long Goodbye. A former editor for The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Slate, her essays, criticisms, and poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, The Nation, The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, The New Yorker, Slate and The Kenyon Review.

Thomas Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author whose most recent book, The Killing of Crazy Horse, published by Alfred Knopf in November 2010, won the  Los Angeles Times Book Prize for history and the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical non-fiction. It was also a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award in biography. He is currently writing a memoir of his father.

Considered by critics to be one of the most important and exciting performers on the contemporary scene today, the innovative violinist Mary Rowell can not be classified. Known for her work with the Grammy Award® winning Tango Project, the indie band The Silos and pop icon Joe Jackson, she has carved an indelible place in the contemporary classical music world with the post-classical quartet ETHEL of which she is co-founder. Mary has performed, recorded and premiered countless scores of today's composers as soloist and chamber musician.

Vijay Seshadri is the author of the collections Wild Kingdom, The Long Meadow, and 3 Sections (all from Graywolf Press), and "The Disappearances" (Harper-Collins India). His essays, reviews, and memoir fragments have appeared in periodicals such as The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Threepenny Review, The American Scholar, Verse, and in the anthologies The Anchor Essay Annual—Best Essays of 1998 and Best Creative Nonfiction (2008).

Brenda Shaughnessy is the author of Our Andromeda (one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2013); Human Dark with Sugar, winner of the James Laughlin Award; and Interior with Sudden Joy.  Her poems have been included in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, Paris Review, McSweeney’s, and elsewhere.  A 2013 Guggenheim Fellow, she teaches at Rutgers-Newark and lives in Brooklyn with her family.

Manuel Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and started his early musical studies on the Cuatro (venezuelan string instrument), which were eventually complemented by violin and solfège studies at the José Ángel Lamas National Conservatory.

Singer-songwriter Dar Williams has been performing since 1990, releasing numerous critically-acclaimed albums including Mortal City, My Better Self, and Many Great Companions. Over the years, she has performed alongside notable folk musicians including the Indigo Girls and Joan Baez, who also recorded a duet with Williams. She enjoys sharing her passion for music with young people by instructing children at summer camps and teaching a course entitled “Music Movements in a Capitalist Democracy” at her alma mater, Wesleyan University.

John Yau is Professor of Critical Studies at Mason Gross School of the Arts (Rutgers University), the publisher of Black Square Editions, and regular contributor to the online magazine, Hyperallergic Weekend, which he helped start. His latest books include Further Adventures in Monochrome (Copper Canyon Press, 2012) and A Thing Among Things: The Art of Jasper Johns (D.A.P./Distributed Art Publishers, 2008).

Evan Yionoulis is an Obie Award-winning theatre director who has helmed productions of new plays and the classics in New York (Broadway, Lincoln Center, Off-Broadway), throughout the United States, and internationally. She is Professor (adjunct) in the Department of Acting at the Yale School of Drama and a resident director at Yale Repertory Theatre.