SEMC is excited to announce Dr. Kevin W. Cosby as the 2023 Annual Meeting Keynote Speaker. The keynote speech will incorporate the 2023 conference theme, Truth Builds Community.
For more than 40 years, Dr. Cosby has served as the Senior Pastor of St. Stephen Baptist Church, the largest African American Church in the state of Kentucky, as well as the largest private employer of African Americans in the state. In 2005, Dr. Cosby was inaugurated as the 13th President of Simmons College of Kentucky. In 2007, he led the once fledgling college to reclaim its original campus that was lost during the Great Depression, expanded the college’s campus to three locations and was officially designated as the nation's 107th Historically Black College & Universities (HBCU). He continues to serve as the President.
Rev. Dr. Cosby has authored five highly-acclaimed books: Get off Your But!: Messages, Musings & Ministries to Empower the African-American Church; As They Went; Treasure Worth Seeking; Who’s Your Daddy?: Life Lessons from the Prodigal Son and Loyal to the Royal. His latest book was released in 2021 entitled: “Getting to the Promised Land: Black America and the Unfinished Work of The Civil Rights Movement.” The book is a Biblical commentary on the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS).
He has been consistently listed among Kentucky’s most influential leaders. He was selected as Louisvillian of the Year in 2007. He was ranked #1 of the Top Ten Religious Leaders in Louisville by Louisville Magazine in the October 2011. In 2012, he was inducted into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni at Eastern Kentucky University. In 2015, the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights inducted Rev. Dr. Cosby into the Gallery of Great Black Kentuckians, the 56th African American afforded this honor.
The Southeastern Museums Conference is excited to announce that the 2023 Featured Plenary Session Speakers will be Andre Kimo Stone Guess as the session moderator, and Jecorey Arthur, Silas House, and Vian Sora as the session panelists.
Andre Kimo Stone Guess is a native Louisvillian and grew up in the Smoketown neighborhood. He brings over 20 years of experience in the arts sector, working with arts organizations and individual artists. Before leaving Louisville for New York in 2000, Guess served as Vice President for the Lincoln Foundation, Inc. He notably served as the Vice President and Producer of Jazz at Lincoln Center (JALC) in New York City and as President and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh. He has also owned and operated his management consulting firm, GuessWorks, Inc., for over 14 years. During that time, he managed the careers of world-class artists and consulted on many projects. He currently serves as the President & CEO for the Fund for the Arts.
Jecorey "1200" Arthur is an award-winning teacher, musician, and activist from the West End of Louisville, KY. He earned his nickname “1200” after teaching himself to produce hip hop on a KORG D-1200 studio at age 12. A decade later he earned his Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of Louisville. He has also founded 1200 LLC, an independent music agency specializing in compositions, performances, and events. He most recently earned the title of Councilman, as the youngest elected official in city history, representing Louisville Metro Council District 4.
As a musician, Arthur has performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, Big Ears Festival, Forecastle Festival, and Jungfrau Erzähl festival; performed as a soloist with the Stereo Hideout Brooklyn Orchestra and the Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Nashville, Columbus, and Oregon Symphony Orchestras; performed as the first hip hop artist with the Louisville Orchestra including world premieres of folk opera The Way Forth and rap opera The Greatest: Muhammad Ali, where he starred as his hometown hero; and composed music for theatre, film, television, radio, podcast, and studio albums.
As an activist, Arthur has produced multi-media educational content about the state of Black America, organized hundreds of events hiring thousands of regional artists, and used the arts to advocate for policy change. In 2020 his activism led him to being elected to represent Louisville Metro Council District 4, representing downtown and surrounding neighborhoods. As a member of the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) Foundation—he writes policy, organizes campaigns, and trains activists across the U.S. Arthur has been featured on Al Jazeera, PBS, BET, BBC, CBC, NPR, NYT, and more.
Arthur is a professor at the Historically Black College and University—Simmons College of Kentucky, an artist roster member of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), and an endorsed artist with Salyers Percussion. In 2019 he became a BMe Genius Fellow, using his reward to help open the Parkland Plaza, an outdoor green space, community venue, and natural playground in his childhood neighborhood. Since joining Louisville Metro Council, he has legislated dozens of policies focused on abolishing poverty. You can follow Arthur's work online at @jecoreyarthur, @1200llc, and @parklandplaza.
Silas House is the nationally bestselling author of the novels—Clay's Quilt, 2001; A Parchment of Leaves, 2003; The Coal Tattoo, 2005; Eli the Good, 2009; and Same Sun Here (co-authored with Neela Vaswani) 2012, and Southernmost (June 2018)—as well as a book of creative nonfiction—Something's Rising, co-authored with Jason Howard, 2009; and three plays. His new novel, Lark Ascending, was published on September 27, 2022.
Born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq during multiple wars, Vian Sora’s paintings are informed by her life. Sora’s works, infused with emotional tension and based on confronting destruction and decay, challenge the boundaries of life through intentional color contrast within abstract landscapes. Sora’s visions fuse her own experiences with Iraqi history, cultural identity influences, and painterly abstraction. Though they are largely abstract, Sora’s paintings suggest figures and places, including gardens and war zones, landscapes of lush fertility and terrible decay, cycles of life and death.
She is a first-generation immigrant painter addressing the effects of war and displacement. The foundations of her paintings utilize dark stains and clashing surface textures, which she often disrupts with vibrant paths of color that weave throughout the compositions, reflecting a journey to find harmony within the chaos. The figures and faces that emerge in her frenzied arrangements are references to the bodies, collective and individual, who have been devastated in the ongoing hostilities that besiege her home country.
Sora prides herself in being a self-taught artist, currently working in Louisville, Kentucky, who has received degrees in computer science and an MBA. She studied printmaking under the tutelage of Suleyman Tekcan at the Istanbul Museum of Graphic Arts (IMOGA). Sora’s exhibitions have been held in Louisville, Baghdad, Istanbul, and Dubai, including at Dar El Cid Museum, Kuwait, IMOGA, and the Topkapi Palace, Istanbul. She recently participated in the KMAC Triennial and has participated in the International Art Festival, Baghdad, and the Sharjah Biennale. Her work has been collected by the Speed Art Museum and KMAC.
The Keynote Address will take place at the Galt House Hotel on Wednesday, November 15 at 9AM EST following the SEMC Annual Business Meeting. The Plenary Session will take place on Monday, November 13 at 9AM EST. The 2023 Keynote will be live-streamed and available for all SEMC members to view online in real time.
SEMC is thankful to Solid Light, Inc., 2023 Keynote Sponsor