Urban Artistry, Inc. is an internationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and preservation of art forms inspired by the urban experience. Becoming cultural ambassadors for communities that are often unsung, the group fulfills their mission through effective collaborations that support artists past and present. Founded by Junious “House” Brickhouse in 2005 with a small group of friends in the Washington, D.C. metro area, their dedication to cultural preservation, authenticity, and professionalism fostered a community of artists who share a global perspective on the creative culture within urban spaces. The group’s desire to collaborate led to the development of their international education programs, festival events and theater productions. Urban Artistry is a recipient of the Kennedy Center’s 2013 Local Dance Commissioning Project.
Junious “House” Brickhouse, Executive Director and Founder of Urban Artistry, is an award winning educator, performer, choreographer, and community leader who began his dance journey in the Atlanta and Washington D.C. underground dance scenes. In 1997 he moved to Europe where he received mentorship from Denmark’s Special FX (Out of Control) and Scotty76 of the Assassins Crew in Germany. Brickhouse began building in all dance styles and later joined the Assassins Crew and began entering and winning various competitions. Returning to the states, Brickhouse went on to become an ambassador for urban dance culture and founded the award winning Urban Artistry Dance Company. He was named a Master Instructor by the Maryland Historic Trust and was awarded the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award in 2010. Brickhouse’s work has been seen in local venues from the Kennedy Center, Sidney Harman Hall and the Performing Arts Center at Strathmore.
Emily Oleson became an Artistic Director in Urban Artistry in 2012, and co-founded Good Foot Dance Company with Matthew Olwell and Meg Madden in 2005, after earning her B.A. in Theatre and Dance at James Madison University. Pursuing a path as a crossover artist, she has had the privilege of studying many different dance styles with many fine teachers; her most recent mentors include tap historian Ann Kilkelly and members of Urban Artistry. She has performed in community dance projects with Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, PEARSONWIDRIG DANCE THEATER, and Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane, and also is grateful for the instruction of the faculty at University of Maryland, College Park, where she completed her M.F.A. in Dance. Oleson is pioneering a new undergraduate dance major in American Vernacular Dance at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia. For more information, visit: www.goodfootdance.org
Baakari Wilder is internationally known for starring in the Broadway musical Bring In Da Noise, Bring In Da Funk. He received a Bessie Award for his performance, and later assumed the lead role for a year. Baakari's dancing has delighted audiences around the world in places such as the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and in countries such as France, Africa, Brazil, Germany, and Japan. He has appeared as a guest performer on “So You Think You Can Dance” and an episode of the Discovery Channel's “Time Warp”. He also appeared as a tap dancer in Spike Lee's “Bamboozled”. Baakari is currently the Assistant Artistic Director of the Washington D.C. based company Capitol Tap.
Good Foot Dance Company explores the complex cultural twinings of the root-system of American vernacular dance, from Appalachian flatfooting, to tap, to contemporary urban dance. The company members, Matthew Olwell, Emily Oleson, and Meg Madden began working together in 2004, and perform and teach at festivals, theaters, schools, arts carnivals, and camps, and enjoy raising questions about connectivity, continuity, and social responsibility. Good Foot performance highlights include the Performatica festival in Cholula, Mexico, The Wheatland Music Festival, The Newport Folk Festival (As the Seeger Clogging All-Stars), Dance Place in Washington D.C., A Charlottesville Wunderkammer, and Shentai, and guest artist appearances with The Chieftains, Lunasa, and most recently The Carolina Chocolate Drops. Good Foot brings to the floor over 30 years of combined experience as advocates of dance culture.
Matthew Olwell, co-founding member and lead choreographer for Good Foot Dance Company, has been a professional dancer and musician since 1996. Olwell’s career has included appearances with Uncle Earl, Corey Harris, Tim O’Brien, and Bassekou Kouyate, Eileen Ivers’ Beyond the Bog Road, Song of the Mountains for PBS with James Leva, and the London production ofRiverdance with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. He was a student at the School at Jacob’s Pillow's first ever Tap Program, and his mentors and teachers include Donny Golden, Eileen Carson, The Fiddle Puppets, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Baakari Wilder, and Dianne Walker through The School At Jacob’s Pillow. Olwell is the coordinator of the Augusta Heritage Center’s American Vernacular Dance Week. For more information, visit:
Russell "Ironman" Campbell is a film-maker and Artistic Director for Urban Artistry where he is the top instructor for youth in B-Boying (also known as break dancing). He has competed in local and international battles for over 15 years, is the floor captain for Counter Attack Breakers Crew [CAB Crew], and was a featured judge for Chelles Battle Pro qualifier in Stuttgart, Germany in 2011. Growing up in Silver Spring, Maryland, he always had a passion for dance, film, music, culture, and community. He studied music with his father Vincent L. Campbell Sr., and plays more than 6 musical instruments including piano, saxophone and bassoon. As DJ Mate Masie he has played at many local venues such as Eighteenth Street Lounge, Tropicalia and the U St. Music Hall, and internationally in Bulgaria where he also taught breaking in 2010. Russell is a gifted teacher and pursues many styles to make his dancing musical, well-rounded, and diverse. His goal is to show others a freedom of expression that will help make dance a safe environment for everyone. He is grateful to Junious Brickhouse, the executive director and founder of Urban Artistry, who has been a true mentor since 2005. Russell's many professional highlights include dancing with the Washington Wizards for three years, creating a tribute film for Vivian Malone (the first student to racially integrate the University of Alabama), and winning Rep Your Styles for House Dance in 2013.