Our model is rooted in collaborative leadership. We work closely with the people, organizations, and communities we serve. Water Bar is led by two Collaborative Directors who share responsibilities for aspects of the business while developing their own artistic and civic projects.
Lead Artist & Collaborative Director
Focus Areas: Field-Building, Collaborative Arts & Ecology Projects, Environmental Science, Water Policy, Arts Activism, Cross-sector & Statewide Partnerships.
Shanai is a writer, public artist, and cultural organizer. She loves working with others on collaborative public projects that are rooted in place, and which seek to grow cultures of reciprocity and care. She's most interested in work at the margins of established fields and practices, and believes that edges and intersections provide fertile ground for artists and others to learn and create, with and in community.
Lead Artist & Collaborative Director
Focus Areas: Team-Building, Media & Design Projects, Storefront Exhibitions, Creative Services & Products, Education Partnerships, Business Development.
Colin is an artist, designer, and filmmaker. He believes we can create more resilient, playful, and supportive communities by daylighting and nourishing knowledge and creativity where it already exists. He loves projects that invite broad participation, inspire new connections, encourage self-reflection, and enable collaborative meaning-making in place.
Artists & Community Advisors
Our community of artists and others mentor us through the challenges of cross-sector work, and offer various types of support, vision, and collaboration - holding Water Bar accountable to the people, organizations, and communities we serve.
Jennifer is a dancer and choreographer who conceptualizes and facilitates community collaborations. She believes that collaborative art-making (including movement) is a viable way to create change in community actions and stories. Arave is formally co-creator of ArtShare and is solidly invested in her home of Northeast Minneapolis. She is the founder of Ground Breaker Movement Labs, and creates dance workshops and classes at Water Bar & Public Studio.
Mona Smith, Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, multimedia artist, educator. She is trying to figure out how to navigate in this new world. She stands with Standing Rock. She goes to too many meetings and is trying to get back to doing some art.
Amoke Kubat is a ”Northsider for life” who has been involved in empowering mothers and families since 1987. She is a Yoruba Priestess, teacher, artist and writer who partners with community artists, activists and organizations to bridge African/African American culture and historical contributions into transformative actions and social equitable practices for healing and building sustainable families and communities. She is the creator of the YO MAMA! Art of Mothering and YO MAMA’S HOUSE COOPERATIVE.
Ethan Neerdaels is a Bdewákhaŋthuŋwaŋ Dakhóta Ikčé Wičhášta. He currently teaches the Dakota language at Augsburg University, and directs the Elementary Indian Education program at Osseo Area Schools. He serves as the Executive Director of Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye (Dakota Language Society), a 501c3 dedicated to reversing the trend of language loss and raising future generations of Dakota speakers. He is also a member of the indigenous artist-led Healing Place Collaborative.
Patrick is a technology entrepreneur, filmmaker and musician. Born and raised in Woodstock, NY, Patrick is passionate about the creative process and is an expert at enabling teams to achieve breakout success. For 16 years he was the co-founder and CEO of Modern Survey, which was acquired by Aon in February 2016. In the mid-90s he played bass and shared lead vocals with his brother Dan in the Defender Records band Cooper. Patrick has produced & directed dozens of music videos, documentaries, television shorts, and presently a feature film. Patrick holds a BS in Communication Arts from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
Ashley Fairbanks is an Anishinaabe woman and citizen of the White Earth Nation, and the Director of Narrative & Network Building at Voices for Racial Justice. Ashley is also a public artist and interdisciplinary designer. Working with a cohort of artists that do racial justice education and organizing, Ashley seeks ways to creatively innovate social-change work. She attended the University of Minnesota to study American Indian studies and Political Science, and has completed Intermedia Arts Creative Community Leadership Institute, NACDI’s Native Organizing and Leadership Institute, and The Humphrey School’s Roy Wilkins Community Policy Fellowship.
Jessica Hellmann is the director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota. As director, she provides overall strategic leadership for the Institute, an internationally recognized organization working to solve grand environmental challenges, while promoting interdisciplinary research, teaching and leadership across the university and engaging external partners and stakeholders. Learn more about her research on global change ecology and climate change adaptation on her laboratory website.
Jeff Broberg is a Senior Environmental Risk Manager and Licensed Professional Geologist working for WSB Associates, Inc. in Rochester, MN. Jeff is a Citizen Commissioner on the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources and splits his free time between trout fishing, canoeing, government affairs and non-profit work related to natural resources, water, trout and renewable energy.
Roopali Phadke is a Professor of Environmental Studies at Macalester College. Professor Phadke's research and teaching is at the nexus of environmental studies, international development and science and technology studies. Her interests lie in the democratization of science and technology decision-making and the hybridization of technical expertise and local knowledge. Her current research focuses on private and public development of water and energy resources.
Dr. Carrie Jennings is the Research and Policy Director at Freshwater Society. She applies her understanding of regional geology, hydrogeology and landscape evolution to the policy that they promote in the areas of non-point source pollution and groundwater sustainability. Jennings has mapped the surficial geology of half of the state during a 24-year field geologist career (with the MN Geological Survey and the DNR).
Kevin Reich is the City of Minneapolis First Ward Council Member, as well as chair of the City’s Transportation & Public Works Committee and Board Chair for the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. He has been a key partner in the development of the Northeast Green Campus, a multi-jurisdictional initiative that combines the installation of cutting-edge stormwater management infrastructure with student and community outreach and sustainability education.
Linda Lim is the Associate Director of Global Marketing Communications at Dow Water & Process Solutions. Dow Water & Process Solutions develops sustainable technologies for meeting the world's growing water and energy requirements. Linda partners with business leaders, using her skills, insights, and experience to create and implement strategies that deliver business impact. Linda graduated with an honors degree in English language and a bachelor's degree in English language and sociology from the National University of Singapore.
Dr. Herman Milligan is a Managing Partner with The Fulton Group, LLC, an independent consultant firm specializing in marketing research, competitive intelligence, non-profit organizational development, and culturally-specific initiatives. He retired in 2010 as a Vice-President of Marketing Research/Competitive Intelligence for Wells Fargo and Company.
Jacob Virden is an writer, rhymer, performer and practitioner of popular education. Born and raised in a working class family in NE Minneapolis, Jacob is dedicated to cultivating solidarity in the multi-racial working class and facilitating healing from the lies, violence and deceit of White Supremacy. Check out his music.