Coaching Project for a Better World

The purpose of our Coaching Project for a Better World  is to empower our diverse and divergent young thinkers and leaders. The nexus of art and science is where the power for change incubates.

Art to Change the World
We are a diverse social justice group of  over 400 artists, teachers, scientists, and supporters. We have hosted social justice art events, created a family engagement center at South High School, teach seminars at the U of M, hosted a Dodging Bullets film screening with the Mayor Frey, Lieutenant Governor, Flanagan, and Indian Rights activist, Anton Treuer.  See what else we do:

Paul Wellstone said: When we all do better, we all do better.  Help us make it so.

Project -Based Coaching Program Components:

At a Glance:
Three Youth Candidates are each assigned one artist and one scientist coach. Each team of three works symbiotically to develop and  implement a  social justice ACW project which will engage the participation of from  50-100 community members.  Three teams. All are paid. $1,200.00 per participant.  $3,000.00 per team for project supplies. Must be a Minnesota resident and over 18 to apply.

Team Crescendo Outcomes

Team Euphoria Outcomes

Team Re-Imagineers Progress


2021 Coaching Teams

Click here and scroll  to read more about participants

Team Crescendo  Elizabeth Ash, Deacon Warner, Dominique Zellmer.  Topic:  Blood on the Pavement

Team Euphoria  Lauren Edson, Mark Jelinik, Susan Hensel  Topic: Gender Euphoria

Team Re-Imagineers   Madalina  Kelner,  Beverly Hammond. Sandra Reardon  Topic: Recovery from Trauma

Leaders of Coaching Project:  Barbara Bridges, Layl McDill, Abby Ross, Margo Ashmore

Click here and scroll to read more about participants


Need $30,000.00
MRAC $15,000.00
Mike Vennewitz  $2,000.00
ACW  $1,550
Mary Wilson $1,000.00
Mojo Coffee Fundraiser  $1,000
Layl McDill $1,000.00 
Katie Palmer $150.00 
Arts Midwest $2,500.00
WARM  $5,800.00 

Orientation Day Outcomes and Photographs

Last Meeting Recording

Reporting Documents



Promotion/Publicity  Notes

Belonging vs. Fitting In




Who/What are Coaches and Candidates? 

What does an ACTIVE Social justice project look like? 


ACW must further youth empowerment in the arts community

ACW believes that young people must be empowered to lead. ACW is particularly focused on compensated opportunities for young people. Their leadership is not only core to the ACW mission, but lacking in our broader arts community. Likewise, ACW seeks to address agism within creative and community development spaces.

During COVID-19, much of ACW’s success has been thanks to an established social media presence and internal expertise on virtual programming – which ACW was able to further activate in 2020. ACW is well positioned to lean into the virtual learning realities of our time and future.

Launching the ACW Coaching Project

ACW is launching a pilot Coaching Project with a focus on recruiting, educating and empowering underrepresented youth in our community.

The Coaching Project is a one year fellowship program which supports relationship building, collective learning, and project production on topics of social change within a group of diverse youth, scientific, and artistic thinkers. Relational and project outcomes will address social justice issues at the nexus of art & science.

Coaching Project Goals and Vision:

  • Create an inclusive and balanced space for diverse voices to explore social change at the intersection of art & science
  • Provide a multi-leveled approach to change that integrates a variety of educational opportunities to broaden the potential for long term change
  • Offer paid, and resourced opportunity for underrepresented identities and young people
  • Empower young people within tangible tools, and position them to grow their communication, creative and leadership skills
  • Produce new creative projects which address social issues and move the participants ideas into action
  • Grow authentic relationships between community youth and changemakersThe Coaching Project Activities and Timeline:

Proposed Timeline:

’21 July 15-August 15 : Candidate Application Acceptance/Review. Find and recruit artist/scientist coaches
’21 Sept  Program Kick-Off
’22 February : Final  Project Proposals Due
’22 March-May: Project Implementation

Program Details:

Application Process

  • ACW will seek <50% BIPOC participation
  • Additional support may be offered to ensure program accessibility

Application Acceptance and Review

  • Final applicants will be selected through a review process outlined by the ACW Project Coordinators and Coaching Project Advisory Committee
  • Youth candidates will be paired with one artist and one scientist

Monthly Meetings and Structure

  • Project teams will meet minimum once a month
  • All participants will have quarterly check in with Project Coordinator for support and feedback
  • Oversight from the Advisory Team. Project teams will complete a short monthly progress report

Other Communications

  • All program participants will be strongly encouraged to join an online Slack community for programmatic updates, idea exchanges, open dialog

Programmatic Support:

  • Teams will complete a 4-6 week onboarding process geared toward building foundational knowledge and relationships with teammates
  • Coaches meet once a month with the candidate. They will work on an action project plan together. Youth representative leads the project plan
  • Teams will be provided with project guidelines by ACW to support their project inquiry
  • The Advisory Team approves project plan.
  •     ACW will ensure access to the arts that is inclusive and accessible to community members marginalized because of race, disability, and/or other kinds of oppression by:
  • Including our incredibly diverse Advisory Board in the selection process
  • Paying the advisors, coaches, candidates and staff for their time
  • Selecting participants who see the Coaching Project for a Better World as a symbiotic experience. Coaches and candidates all learn new ways of thinking from each other
  • Equipping our frontline youth with financial and educational resources

Organizing Team Mini Bios Following.  ACW is very diverse and prides itself on making sure all voices are heard when we design a new project


Coaching Project Advisory Team

Herman Milligan – African American, Market Research, Organizational Management, Program Evaluation, Curator, Artist
Abby Ross – Community organizer, Activist, Artist
Layl McDill– Caucasian ACW board chair, artist, experienced mentor
Barbara Bridges  – Multi-race, Director ACW,  40 year veteran teacher k-12/higher ed, artist
Anton Treuer – American Indian rights activist, scholar, author, ACW Advisory Board
Laura Hill  – Multi-race director of education program
Margo Ashmore – Caucasian,  ACW board member, journalist, experienced mentor
George Roberts – Caucasian, Homewood Studios founder, teacher, poet, printer
Deacon Warner- Caucasian,  Filmmaker
Tony Xiaaj – Hmong, IT architect, musician, ACW Advisory Board
Melodee Strong – Latinx artist, art teacher, multicultural  muralist, children’s book illustrator.
Jayson Randall – Caucasian, Artist / Actor / Mechanical Designer
Kenzie O’Keefe – Caucasian,  Editor North News, teacher,  human centered design practitioner.
Bianca Dawkins -African American, Social Justice Activist, Student
Erik Helgesen, Differently Abled, Producer

2021 Interview Team
Herman Milligan – African American, Market Research, Organizational Management, Program Evaluation, Curator, Artist
Layl McDill– Caucasian ACW board chair, artist, experienced mentor
Barbara Bridges  – Multi-race, Director ACW,  40 year veteran teacher k-12/higher ed, artist
Laura Hill  – Multi-race director of education program
Bianca Dawkins -African American, Social Justice Activist, Student
Margo Ashmore – Caucasian,  ACW board member, journalist, experienced mentor

What Supporters Think

Organizing Team
ACW is very diverse and prides itself on making sure all voices are heard when we design a new project.

Dr. Anton Treuer – Supporter/Educator, Author – is Professor of Ojibwe at Bemidji State University and author of 14 books. He has a B.A. from Princeton University and a M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. He is Editor of the Oshkaabewis (pronounced o-shkaah-bay-wis) Native Journal, the only academic journal of the Ojibwe language.

Dr. Treuer has presented all over the U.S. and Canada and in several foreign countries on Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Cultural Competence & Equity, Strategies for Addressing the “Achievement” Gap, and Tribal Sovereignty, History, Language, and Culture. He has sat on many organizational boards and has received more than 40 prestigious awards and fellowships, including ones from the American Philosophical Society, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.

His published works include Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask, Warrior Nation: A History of the Red Lake Ojibwe (Winner of Caroline Bancroft History Prize and the American Association of State and Local History Award of Merit), Ojibwe in Minnesota (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2010” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress), The Assassination of Hole in the Day (Award of Merit Winner from the American Association for State and Local History), Atlas of Indian Nations, The Indian Wars: Battles, Bloodshed, and the Fight for Freedom on the American Frontier, and Awesiinyensag (“Minnesota’s Best Read for 2011” by The Center for the Book in the Library of Congress).

Bemidji Minnesota   Read More:

Abby Ross  is an organizer, activist, and most proudly, a creative.
Born and raised in so-called Wisconsin, Abby has always loved the outdoors, craft supplies, music, and bantering with her brothers.
Abby holds a degree in Political Science from the University of WIsconsin – Madison where she first started organizing within the youth climate justice movement, specifically around pipeline  resistance.
Over the course of her organizing career Abby has sought to bring her passion for art activism  to the forefront of her movement work. In 2018 she led a first of its kind Tar Sands Storytelling  Project for which she received the Sierra Club Joseph Barbosa Award. She has since been  invited to speak at events such as the National Women’s Caucus for Art National Conference
and the University of Wisconsin Gender and Women’s Studies Consortium Conference. Most  recently, Abby has supported young people across the country at the frontline of the climate  crisis to elevate their voices through storytelling and the arts.  Abby currently sits on the Executive, and Equity Committee for the Wisconsin Chapter of the  Sierra Club and continues to lead collaborative, art and storytelling projects on climate justice
issues. She also finds time to get outdoors, indulge her love of reportage illustration, and
sample new pastries.

Madison . WI  Activist, Intern
_________________________________________________________________________Barbara Rogers Bridges Founder and Director of Art to Change the World

Barbara has been an artist and a teacher/college professor for over 40 years. Her social practice sculptures have been exhibited in Maine, Miami, the Virgin Islands, Maryland, Chicago, Mexico, Spain, Canada, and throughout Minnesota.

Bridges taught K-12 art in Minnesota, Maine, and the Virgin Islands. She was voted Art Teacher of the Year twice in Minnesota.

Barbara has partnered with various Minnesota institutions such as the Minneapolis school district, the Minnesota online high school, Perpich Center for Arts Education, the Walker Art Center, the Mpls. Institute of Art, the Weisman Museum, and the Minnesota Museum of Art.  The online curriculum site and discussion group, ArtsNet Minnesota, came out of those collaborations.

Barbara has served as a professor for twenty years at the university of Minnesota and Bemidji State University and has contributed in a variety of ways. Her appointment includes teaching Foundations of Education, Human Relations and Critical and Creative Thinking and also serving as the architect of the unique DLiTE (Distributed Learning in Teacher Education)  – a hybrid online K-8 teacher licensure partnership program and the FasTrack secondary initiative designed for previously degreed candidates who wish to teach high school. These programs were the first online teacher licensure programs in the nation.   Read More:

Bianca Dawkins  Social Justice Activist/ Student/ Minneapolis

Bianca is currently the service experience manager for Nordstrom She has outstanding leadership skills and has successfully implemented innovative ways to make change in the nonprofit and for-profit sector! She was the first youth representative for the City of Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Executive Committee for over 4 years, appointed by former Mayor R.T Rybak. Bianca has been a Youthprise Change Fellow and a grants manager for Greater Twin Cities United Way, helping fund over 5 million in grants out into the community. Bianca is determined to share her story as a survivor of violence, homelessness and health disparities to inspire youth! Bianca is also in the process of starting her brand management agency, LAV8!  You will be hearing from her with ACW engagement invitations!


Jayson Randall – Artist / Actor / Mechanical Designer

Natural flowing forms and the interplay of light and shadow inspire Jayson Randall to reproduce the colors found in nature by experimenting with different techniques and mediums.

Jayson is intrigued by the combination of mysterious forms with common human interactions as he explores the relationship between old and new, useful and forgotten.
Discarded machines call out as they are encountered; a narrative is told of when their hard work was integral to the function of humanity, now their service is no longer required.

As the world moves forward at an ever-increasing pace, Jayson is drawn to understanding and documenting the stories of the past that are contained in abandoned objects.

Jayson is focused on new technology as he incorporates interactive electronics and reclaimed industrial components with metal, acrylic, wood, electric motors and LED lighting, to engage the viewer to participate in the functionality of the finished artwork.

Jayson has exhibited his conceptual artwork in galleries and museums in multiple states for which he has received several awards.

More information:




Layl McDill -Artist- ACW Board of Directors Chair
Remember that feeling when you went to a museum and saw all the mysterious old tools from ancient worlds laid out in row after row? Or maybe you got a peek inside some broken electronic and saw all those circuits. Then there are all the times when something mysterious about nature is explained and still you just can’t hardly believe it. The word that comes closest to describing that fantastic feeling that drives you to pursue more knowledge and fills you with joy is “wonder.”

I use wonderment as a mechanism to show the things we live with everyday in a new perspective, like the green hills you drive by everyday or the laundry hanging on the line. When you are surrounded by my polymer clay sculptures it is as if you are seeing the world through a patterned lens where the mundane is much more precious and mysterious.

My technique and materials are also very mysterious. I use primarily polymer clay with the ancient technique of millefiore. Tiny images that cover every surface of my sculptures inevitably make the viewer wonder “How did she do that?” And even though I have been doing it for more than twenty years, it still seems amazing that I can create a tiny picture inside a chunk of clay.

I have spent my artistic career rendering versions of the world we live in into windows of wonderment. With my most recent work I hope to tingle the viewer’s imagination towards opening their mind to seeing something in a new perspective. In one of my recent pieces, “The Root of the Problem,” a tree grows above a bulb of roots filled with antique mirrors. “Air Celebration” is a joyful piece that makes you think about our most precious invisible necessity.  Both of these pieces speak of awareness or even possibly give a subtle nudge towards activism to change our impact on the earth.

Viewers are drawn to the magic and wonder of my work. They will be not only fascinated by the technique but presented with some thoughts about ways to look at the world we live in and given their daily dose of wonderment.  Read More:

Erik Helgeson – ACW MemberExecutive Producer of award winning movies including TUSCALOOSA a film that won best feature film at NIFF Houston Film Festival. He also produced a Work In Progress, a documentary that won the audience choice for best documentary at the Barebones Film Festival. TUSCALOOSA was able to get a great traction and recognition, including being featured for 7 weeks on AppleTV as a Recent Discovery. TUSCALOOSA is also on 13 lists on including #21 Best Movie of 2020, #2 Best Drama of 2020, #1 Most Overlooked Movie of 2020 and more!   Read More:

Erik is also a member of the Access and Commissions Committees at the Cedar Cultural Center. The Access committee focuses  on making the Cedar Cultural Center a performance venue that makes a point to accommodate special needs of the audience, including clearing the snow in the winter on the sidewalks on the block of the venue providing an accessible bathroom, enhanced hearing devices and sign language interpreters.

Margo Ashmore promotes arts as tools for information gathering, to inspire environmental action, economic and community development. She is publisher of the award-winning Northeaster newspaper, since 1981, which entails everything from ad sales to writing and photography.

Also the coordinator of the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour since 2005, her unique cross-disciplinary skill set includes events for multi-venue promotional alliances such as Art-A-Whirl® in its 5th through 7th years, shepherding strategic community partnerships with excellent earned media results.

Trained through countless small workshops and hard knocks, as well as the Community Leadership Institute and the Institute for Community Cultural Development. BA in Journalism. Trained by Ernesto Sirolli as a board member in two Enterprise FacilitationTM business mentoring programs. Interned at Intermedia Arts in the early 2000s doing an informal diversity audit.

A lifelong learner, interests include gardening and service on selected boards and committees.  Journalist, Minneapolis


Raw Budget for 3 Candidates/ 6 Coaches/ Staff for first year:


  • $1,000.00 Coaching Project  Coordinator Manage fiscals and monthly payments, write grants, build and manage website, conduct interviews, design training, review monthly reports
  • $3,000.00 Curriculum Consultant: Develop Framework for Engagement, Forms for  Reporting, oversight for lesson plan for 50-100 community member engagement  etc.
  • $1,000.00 Communications Coordinator.   Create and Manage Slack
  • $1,600 Conflict and Boots on the Ground Coordinator   Resolve all conflict and assist the Director and Curriculum Coordinator
  • $7,200.00 Coaching Candidate Stipend: 6 Coaches
  • $3,600.00 Youth Candidate Stipend: 3 Candidates
  • $2,000.00 Promotion and Advertising
  • $9,000.00 Supplies/Resources for Project Development and Implementation, $3,000.00 per project team X 3
  • $1,600 ACW management fee.


Total: 30,000.00