(L to r) Stephanie McKay, U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo and Robyn E. Thompson-Duong
Three Lesley alumnae, U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo M.Ed. ’03, Stephanie McKay M.Ed. ’20 and Robyn E. Thompson-Duong M.Ed. ’08, are recipients of Creative Entrepreneur Fellowships from the Arts and Business Council of Boston that will allow them to focus on their creative and artistic careers.
The 10-month Creative Entrepreneur Fellowship is designed to accelerate the careers and practice of a diverse group of artists by providing recipients with one-on-one coaching, personalized goal setting, skills-training seminars, and a stipend.
McKay, a recording artist, graduated from Lesley in May 2020 with a Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Art, Community, and Education. She plans to use the fellowship to produce new musical work and hone her teaching skills as an arts educator in schools and communities around the world.
“As a Black woman artist/entrepreneur this fellowship is a dream come true, especially during COVID because it strengthens my ability to pivot and successfully accomplish new goals so that I can be a creative catalyst for change in my community,” says McKay. “This builds upon the creative skills I learned at Lesley, which is to look at social problems from multiple perspectives, grow outside my comfort zone and lead with a curious mind.”
Mhlaba-Adebo is an author, performer, and educator whose work exploring issues of identity, belonging, and the immigrant experience spans the worlds of poetry, storytelling, and theater. During her fellowship she plans to develop the Maoko Project, an arts-based holistic creative consulting practice guided by indigenous Ndau principles of self-determination and community inspired by her mother's teachings.
“Being in communion with a gifted pool of diverse creatives is a much-needed balm,” says Mhlaba-Adebo. She also plans to advance her craft as a performance artist and continue the creative development of a multi-modal poetic experience, “Roots & Revelations,” stemming from her family roots in Leominster and Zimbabwe/South Africa.