When Desdamona, May Lee-Yang and Saymoukda Vongsay, co-founders of the Twin Cities-based Community Artists Leadership Initiative (CALI), are sitting at the same table, ideas fly like shrapnel.
Their name, Vongsay thinks, could use a little workshopping.
“CALI is so used – and so long. I want something snappy,” she said.
The co-founders of CALI created the group because they have something in common. They’re all artists, and at some point in their careers, they bumped up against a paradox in the Minnesotan artistic community. Resources for artists were bountiful, but that bounty wasn’t going to certain artists – artists of color, LGBT artists, female artists, even certain disciplines, like folk art or hip hop. In a state like Minnesota, widely regarded for its support of the arts, these artists weren’t getting funded.