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Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission adds six artists to Touring Roster

Mar 29, 2018

Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission adds six artists to Touring Roster

TOPEKA — The Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission has added six artists to the official Kansas Touring Roster, a directory of Kansas artists which helps match artists with venues.

“The Kansas Touring Roster represents the best in Kansas arts and culture. If you are an artist, becoming a member of the roster helps you to be found by presenting organizations in communities across the state and the region,” said Peter Jasso, Director of the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission. “If you are a presenting organization, the roster provides assurance that featured program offerings meet high standards for both artistic quality and community impact.”

The newly added artists, which range from music performers to visual artists, include:

Amado Espinoza – Music / Overland Park

Amado Espinoza is a multi-instrumentalist/composer/instrument maker whose music is rooted in the spiritual traditions of the Andes Mountains, while drawing inspiration from his musical-wanderlust personality. He is a Charlotte Street Foundation 2017 Performing Arts Fellow, TedxKC presenter and Adjunct Professor in the Graduate Student Theatre Department at UMKC. He performs with his wife and collaborator, Karen Lisondra, devised theatre director and actor’s trainer.

April D. Lemon – Visual Arts / Holton

April Lemon is a glass artist and owner of More Than Lemons in Holton, a beautiful art gallery that displays and sells the art of 45 Kansas artists, with a hot glass shop in the back of the building where people can not only observe the art of glass blowing but on Saturdays can actually participate in its creation. She has had work selected for the ESU Department of Art Annual Juried Student Exhibition in the Eppink & Gilson Galleries, the Salon Des Refuses at the Emporia Art Council, the St. Joseph Trails West Fine Arts Festival where she was selected as the overall artist best in show for 2D and 3D work, the Lenexa City Center, and Monarch Glass Studio. She recently purchased a custom built mobile glass blowing unit that allows her to travel taking the art of hot glass on the road to the people where she offers a version of her one on one experiences as well as the option of some team building activities. She has been frequenting art festivals and has been working with Kansas art teachers to bring the art of glass to their students.

Christopher Burnett – Music / Leavenworth

Christopher Burnett is a critically acclaimed alto saxophonist, educator, leader, and composer who began his professional career with military jazz bands “going pro” directly upon graduating high school at 18 years old. Over the course of a forty plus year career, Mr. Burnett has performed professionally around the world, recorded noteworthy albums as a leader, taught at the college-level and co-founded a significant independent recording label, Artists Recording Collective. Mr. Burnett has released three albums as a leader. His latest, ‘Firebird’, is being released first as singles on the ARC label. Additional credits include performances, and a new recording with the Dino Massa Kansas City Quintet titled, “Echoes of Europe.” He is an in-demand woodwind instructor and jazz clinician, serving as festival adjudicator and conductor for honors ensembles on many occasions.

Maria the Mexican – Music/Lawrence

Maria The Mexican is a compelling, original Americana/Mexicana/Indie Rock fusion with traditional Mexican Mariachi music as its root influence. Leader Maria Elena Cuevas learned Mariachi at the feet of her grandmother Maria Teresa Alonzo Cuevas, a pioneer in the Hispanic musical community who in 1970 founded Mariachi Estrella – one of the nation’s first all-female Mariachi bands. In 2000 Maria Elena Cuevas began exploring other musical genres while simultaneously co-directing Mariachi Estrella with her grandmother. Today the project Maria The Mexican is at times both an elegant and irreverent fusion of blues, soul, rock, folk, funk, social commentary and traditional Mexican music built on an expanding original catalog of songs delivered passionately in both Spanish and English.

NAVO Inc. – Interdisciplinary / Lawrence

Founded by conductor/violist Shah Sadikov and violinist Véronique Mathieu, NAVO is comprised of internationally recognized artists in the fields of music, dance, drama, visual arts, creative writing, and technology. NAVO’s mission is to create unique programs that challenge, entertain, and enrich the lives of communities in the Midwest by bringing together artists from the area with those who have performed around the globe. With innovative combinations of arts and technology, NAVO offers educational projects in schools and provides collaboration opportunities for arts students. NAVO also believes in the importance of promoting and mentoring emerging artists, and regularly invites exceptional young talents to join projects.

Ron Wilson – Folk Arts / Manhattan

Ron Wilson is a Kansas cowboy poet. He lives with his family on the Lazy T Ranch in Riley County, Kansas, where he grew up. Ron writes a regular cowboy poetry column for the Grass & Grain newspaper and is the host of a weekly television show named Cowboy Up. He also chairs the Kansas Cowboy Poetry Contest. Ron won first place in the cowboy poetry contests at the Kansas Cowboy Symposium in Dodge City and at the Echoes of the Trail festival in Fort Scott, and was a top-five finisher at the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo. Ron’s poems have appeared in Kansas! magazine, RFD-TV, and the Field Journal of the Symphony in the Flint Hills. He is the first cowboy poet in history to present a poem at the inauguration of the Governor of Kansas. Ron was named an Ambassador for the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum in Fort Worth, Texas and was proclaimed by then-Governor of Kansas Bill Graves as “Poet Lariat” (NOT Laureate).


The Kansas Creative Arts Industries, a division of The Kansas Department of Commerce, maintains an approved Touring Roster of Kansas-based touring companies and artists. In this program, the artist or artist’s management sets the fee and negotiates the booking. Applicants must have a history of touring and maintain a reasonable fee range.

Roster artists are required to perform outside their community regularly. Touring artists offer single performances or exhibitions as well as complementary services that may include workshops, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, arts education components, residencies, or short performances.

The full roster can be viewed here: