Cleveland Rocks: Past, Present, Future hosted a free Professional Development Workshop focused on crafting an Artist Bio on Sunday, March 20, 2022 at the Beachland Tavern. Attendees were encouraged to bring their artist bio to be reviewed and critiqued by a panel of journalists. Attendees also had the opportunity to receive a free professional headshot as part of the event. The event was live streamed on Facebook and YouTube.
The panel of speakers included:
- David Sierk
- Jimi Izrael
- Anastasia Pantsios
- Afi Scruggs
This event was made possible with support from the Ohio Arts Council.
Since 1999, David Sierk has taught English at Cuyahoga Community College, where he is now a tenured full-time professor, focusing on composition, literature, and creative writing. A recipient of the Dean’s Award for Faculty Excellence, he served seven years as the Writing Center Coordinator. On the local Cleveland music scene, he spent nearly two decades as the primary songwriter and guitarist for original rock group Figure of Speech. Currently Sierk and music partner Jim Madigan comprise acoustic duo Fragments of Speech. Engaged as a connector in Cleveland Rock’s Music Incubator Program, he believes in supporting local music in whatever way he can.
Jimi Izrael lectures on hip-hop culture, popular media, film, journalism and stuff. He dropped out of high school and struggled through undergrad, but I eventually figured it out and earned his MFA. He is a writer of Books. Essays. Screenplays. and Speeches. He is a teacher, an award-winning editor and investigative and consumer reporter. He has been a National Public Radio contributor for ten years plus, as the co-moderator for “The Barbershop” segment of NPR’s “Tell Me More with Michel Martin,” and on “All Things Considered Weekend”. He’s been a commentator and guest expert on CNN, CSPAN, Fox News, Al Jazeera, BBC, Current TV, and ABC’s “Nightline“. He is the Harvey Pekar Scholar and loves telling the story of his friend and mentor.
Anastasia Pantsios started shooting rock concerts in the 1970s as an extension of her interest in theater after earning her MA in scene design and lighting from Case Western Reserve University. During the 1980s she wrote about music for the Cleveland Plain Dealer while shooting musicians for books, record jackets, posters, tour books and magazines. Her work appeared in Rolling Stone, The Village Voice, Esquire, The New York Times, Circus, Hit Parader, Spin, and Cream, among others. In 2011, her solo show “Girls on Film; 40 years of Women in Rock”, was on display at the Rock and Roll HOF and museum, it later traveled to Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and the South Shore Arts Center in the chicago area, and was re-installed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from January through March 2017 under the name “Girls to the Front”.
Afi Scruggs plays bass and keys. She’s a singer-songwriter as well as a producer. No matter the music, Afi believes in the groove. She grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, listening to iconic radio stations: The Grand Ole Opry on WSM, John R on WLAC. Although she was a kid, she inhaled everything she heard. From piano lessons as a youngster, Afi started playing gospel piano when she was 16. As an adult she always flirted with the bass. In 2009, Afi decided to give it one last try. Fulfilling that bucket list item led to starting a band, and producing and releasing original music. Since 2004, she’s worked as a teaching artist for elementary and high school students, using music and songwriting for everything from anti-bigotry efforts to financial literacy. She’s also an award-winning journalist and author whose work has appeared in USAToday, Essence.com and on local NPR affiliates and national programs such as The World.