Staff & Board

Staff

Mia KangExecutive Director

Mia Kang is an administrator, art historian, and poet from San Antonio, Texas.

She holds a B.A. in art history from Hunter College, CUNY, where she was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and an M.A. and M.Phil. from Yale University, where she is a Ph.D. candidate in the history of art. Her research focuses on the contested rise of U.S. multiculturalism and its unresolved legacies, and she has taught courses on the histories of modern and contemporary art, Asian American art, and African American art at Hunter College, Yale College, Cooper Union, and the University of the Arts. Recent publications include contributions to Roxy Paine: The Dioramas (Skira, 2021), The Life and Times of Alvin Baltrop (Skira, 2019), Sanford Biggers: Codeswitch (Yale University Press, 2020), Published by Lugemik: Printed Matter from 2010-2019 (Lugemik, 2019), and Plot magazine.

From 2020-2023, Mia served as Interim Director of the Museo del Westside, a community participatory museum and project of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center that works to preserve and uplift the history and culture of San Antonio’s Westside. She has held previous roles across development, marketing, and organizational change with equity-focused non-profits including Dance Iquail and Turtle Bay Music School.

Mia has also published widely as a poet. She is the author of the pamphlet City Poems (ignitionpress, 2020), and she won the 2023 Airlie Poetry Prize for her first full-length collection, All Empires Must (Airlie Press, 2025). In 2022-2023, Mia was an inaugural iLAB artist-in-residence at University of the Arts.

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Jeannine OsayandeConsultant

Jeannine Osayande is a polycentric choreographer, educator, performer, cultural expert of West African Diaspora/African Derived dance and drum traditions. She is founder/director of Dunya Performing Arts Company (DunyaPAC) specializing in Art in Education and Art Integration. Jeannine Osayande & DunyaPAC teaching artists have provided programming on the Black Experience for 40 years, reaching hundreds of thousands of people, locally and internationally. DunyaPAC’s mission is to add value to our environment and community through Arts, Culture and Social Change.

Ms Jeannine’s teaching, appointments, programs and awards include; Ursinus College Guest Artist/Lecturer in Performance (2013-current), Visiting Assistant Professor in Dance 2022-2023, Swarthmore College Associate in Performance (2001-2011, 2020-2022, Senior Lecturer 2023-2026). Appointment, Interim Executive Director Philadelphia Folklore Project (summer 2019, 2023). DunyaPAC Artist in Residence Programs include; Westtown Lower School (21 years), Swarthmore Rutledge Elementary School (31years), Germantown Academy Lower School (24 years), Folk Arts-Cultural Treasures Charter School (4 years), Young Audience of NJ and EPA (6 years). Projects and Awards include; Ngoma Drum Tribute Keeper of the Culture Awardee, Phila, PA (2017); Commissioned choreographer include People’s Light Nina Simone: Four Women (2019).

Awards/Grants include; Ann Bernstein Richan Peace Action Fund (2020), Swarthmore Centennial Foundation Shine A Light Award (2021). 2022 Joy Resides Here Young Audiences NJ/EPA Anti-Racism Grant, 2023 Swarthmore Borough ARPA Award for the Historically Black Neighborhood of Swarthmore Podcast and Virtual Walking Tour in collaboration with The Philadelphia Folklore Project, 2023 Ursinus College Arts and Lecture Fund Moving Bodies Making Space: Ursinus College Community Global Dance Series, 2022-2023 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Folk and Traditional Arts Apprenticeship, 2022-2023 Telling the Full History Preservation Fund, The National Endowment for the and Humanities American Rescue Plan (Co-Collaborators Jeannine Osayande and the Philadelphia Folklore Project).

Ms Jeannine apprenticed with De Ama Battle, Art of Black Dance and Music, Boston, MA; Mentors include:  Ibrahima Camara, Koumpo/Sahal, Senegal; and Prof. F. Nii Yartey, Noyam African Dance Institute, Ghana. She holds a Bachelors degree in Anthropology from Temple University, and a Certificate in Traditional and Contemporary African Dance from Noyam African Dance Institute and the Ghana Board of Education; A Teaching Artist Professional Certification from Columbia University Teacher’s College. Ms Jeannine served on The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation (2013-2018). She is a member of the Philadelphia Folklore Project’s Board of Directors, and the Swarthmore Rotary’s Board of Directors.

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Board

Jeannine Osayande

Co-Chair

Jeannine Osayande is a teaching artist, choreographer, and performer of West African dance (Mali Empire) for over 35 years. She is founder and director of Dunya Performing Arts Company. Ms. Jeannine apprenticed with De Ama Battle and Bamidele Osumarea of The Art of Black Dance and Music, Boston, MA; Ibrahima Camara, Koumpo/Sahal, of Senegal; and Prof. F. Nii Yartey, Noyam African Dance Institute, Ghana. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Temple University and a Certificate in Traditional and Contemporary African Dance from Noyam African Dance Institute and the Ghana Board of Education. Ms. Jeannine teaches technique, repertory, and dance history courses at Ursinus College. She is a member of the Philadelphia Dancing for Justice Chapter. Ms. Jeannine serves actively on the Boards of the Philadelphia Folklore Project and the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation.

Saundra Gilliard

Co-Chair

Saundra Gilliard is a nationally recognized Storyteller and Personal Transformation Leader, who uses storytelling and play in every aspect of her training and development. Her work has focused on helping women harness and nurture the Divine Feminine within. For the past 20 years, her stage performances and training “playshops” have promoted and cultivated Sacred Feminine Practices and techniques. Saundra is the founder of Femininely Free!, a personal transformation business focusing exclusively on assisting women tapping into their sacred feminine source.

Rechelle McJett Beatty

Treasurer

Sharon Friedler

Sharon E. Friedler is Director of the Dance Program at Swarthmore College and former Stephen Lang Professor of the Performing Arts (2005-2010) as well as the Faculty Advisor for Off Campus study. Her areas of interest include dance composition, history and theory of dance (with special interests in cross-cultural study, gender, and dance as a social change agent), modern dance technique, and traditional and contemporary dances of Ghana.

Debora Kodish, Founder

Debora Kodish was the founder of the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and it’s Director from 1987 through June 2014. Some of her publications on activist approaches to public interest folklore work can be found here, including “Cultivating Folk Arts and Social Change” (Journal of American Folklore, 2013), “Imagining Public Folklore” (Companion to Folklore, 2012), and “Envisioning Folklore Activism” (Journal of American Folklore, 2011). She can be reached at debora.kodish@gmail.com