ArtXChange: Spoken Word 

Featuring talks and performances, this salon-style series features local artists who are using their work to create dialogue leading to social change. Join us for an open conversation exploring how artistic practice can be a civic practice, and to exchange ideas around the power of art as a vehicle to initiate change in our community and beyond.

This month, we are joined by spoken word artists Anais Deal-Márquez, Oduabaa Unenra, and Amir Kadar; hosted by Emmanuel Ortiz.  Music by DJ Andthatsbreon.

Free; advance reservation recommended. Reserve online or by calling 612.870.6323.


Anais Deal-Márquez is a Minneapolis-based interdisciplinary artist and community organizer who sees music and storytelling as key in building power with communities of color.  With roots across the U.S.-Mexico border, her poetry looks at identity, displacement, trauma, and healing.  She is the founder of Border Voices, which uses storytelling and performance to create spaces for community dialogue that centers immigrant and refugee communities of color.  Anais is a recipient of the 2014 VERVE Grant for Spoken Word artists through Intermedia Arts and a winner of the 2015-16 Loft Mentor Series in poetry.  She works as the Youth Organizing Director at Voices for Racial Justice where she leads cultural organizing with youth of color.

Amir Khadar is a 17-year-old junior at Fridley High School, pursuing the International Baccalaureate Diploma. Amir loves poetry, visual arts, and public speaking. He is in Student council, National Honor society, African American Student Union. Outside of school he is a youth researcher for Voices for Racial Justice, and is on the 2016 BeHeard team that is going to compete in Washington DC for the Brave New Voices international youth in poetry slam.

Emmanuel Ortiz is a Chicano/Puerto Rican/Irish-American community organizer and poet.  He believe art must be an integral part of the struggle for liberation and social change. He founded Guerrilla Wordfare to bring together artists of color to address socio-political issues of relevance to our communities, and is a founding member of the Minnesota-based Latina/o writers/poets collective Palabristas: Latin@ Word Slingers, founded in 2002. He is the author of two chapbook of poems, The Word is a Machete: Post-Pocho/Puerto Rican Poems of the Personal and Political (self-published in 2003) and Brown unLike Me: Poems From The Second Layer of Our Skin (Calaca Press, 2008).

Duaba Unenra  is a wordsmith, Black culture-maker, and designer from New Orleans, LA. Duaba works with words because they can heal, they can be weapons, and they can transform future visions into a liberated present. He began writing poetry at 16, as part of an arts education and healing program called WordPlay New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Poetry saved him from the madness of America. Duaba has self-published two chapbooks of poetry: The Big Book Of City Magic and Negromancer/RED BLK GRN, and written a one-man show in verse titled “Blackness & Free Markets”, which focuses on a Black street preacher sparking a riot against Death, Debt, and Gentrification. He is an alumni of Brave New Voices 2008, former host of a community open-mic called Verbal Onslaught, and has performed with Sunni Patterson, Talaam Acey, Anis Mojgani, and many more. His work can be found at