Dasha Kelly Hamilton sitting at a table in front of a cake

'Makin' Cake' by Dasha Kelly Hamilton

February 3, 2024 | Polsky Theatre

Past Event

Dasha Kelly Hamilton describes herself as a "writer, performer, facilitator, mother, daughter, sister, builder, dreamer, phenomenon and change agent." It’s no coincidence she was named Wisconsin Poet Laureate and Milwaukee’s Artist of the Year in 2021.

In her show “Makin’ Cake,” Hamilton slices into American history, exploring race, culture and class in a refreshing and fun way. It is storytelling in layers, filled with aha-moments and poignant vignettes, digital media and a supporting cast of two onstage bakers.

The show serves up an experience and conversation about equity in America. Part history lesson, part social science revelation, “Makin’ Cake” is a short story about America's sweet tooth and pathway to salvation. Leave room for dialogue and dessert with a cake reception immediately following the performance.

“Makin’ Cake” was initially commissioned by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center and included Hamilton facilitating arts-based conversations on race and class throughout the community. She continues to develop “Makin’ Cake” and pursue dialogues about human and social wellness.

Dasha Kelly Hamilton (Writer, performer, producer)

Dasha Kelly Hamilton is a writer, performance artist and creative change agent. Through responsive and respectful intentionality, Hamilton leverages the creative process to facilitate critical dialogues around human and social wellness. She delivers her engagement sessions to campuses, classrooms, correctional institutions, association conferences, social service agencies, municipal departments and team retreats.

Her nonprofit, Still Waters Collective, has curated poetry programming and spoken word events in the Milwaukee region for almost 20 years. The work has impacted more than 13,000 youth, provided professional development to more than 100 young people and created platforms for thousands of voices to be honored and heard.

Hamilton has written for national, regional and local magazines; produced three collections of poetry; recorded four spoken word CDs; and published two novels. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University and has taught writing courses at Mount Mary University, Alverno College and UW-Milwaukee. She served as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy to teach, perform and facilitate community building initiatives in Botswana and the island of Mauritius. A former Artist of the Year for the City of Milwaukee, Hamilton was recently named the city’s 11th Poet Laureate. Learn more at dashakelly.com.

Shanita McAfee-Bryant

Chef Shanita McAfee BryantDasha will be joined on stage by local chef and entrepreneur, Shanita McAfee-Bryant.

Shanita McAfee-Bryant, a Kansas City native and a civic-minded chef, founded The Prospect KC in 2019. She fell in love with cooking as a teen and went on to receive her professional culinary training at Johnson County Community College. She created and owned a restaurant and competed on The Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen.” McAfee-Bryant is a board member for Harvesters, Kansas City’s food bank that serves 26 counties and more than 800 agencies, and a board member of the Greater KC Food Policy Coalition, NourishKC and Lazarus Ministries KC.

She was selected to attend the James Beard Foundation’s Chef Bootcamp for Policy and Change, a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to mobilize the support for policy decisions that impact our food system. In October 2022, Chef McAfee-Bryant attended the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health, the first such gathering in more than half a century, at the invitation of U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver.

The Prospect KC logoAdditionally, she was selected for the new Launch KC Social Venture Studio, which offers professional support, grant awards and network connections designed to strengthen individual business concepts. Chef McAfee-Bryant has been honored with the Urban Hero Award 2023, a lifetime achievement award presented annually by the Downtown Council to leaders whose vision, guidance and commitment have helped set Downtown Kansas City on a path for revitalization. Chef McAfree-Bryant is among 18 employment social enterprise leaders from across the country chosen by leading venture philanthropy REDF (the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund) to participate in its second cohort of the 2023 REDF Accelerator.

Learn more at shanitamcafeebryant.com.

Kima Hamilton (Baker)

Kima Hamilton is a facilitator, DJ, poet and social justice engineer. From Pennsylvania to Georgia and Alaska to Wisconsin, he has shaped his engineering skills and artistic talents into a signature work as a convener, counselor and ARTivist.

Hamilton has traveled as an Arts Envoy for the U.S. Embassy in Colombia, Nepal and Mexico. He has led writing workshops in school systems, social agencies and correctional facilities and has organized with Alaskan Native Dialogue on Racial Equity. He also has provided cultural reverence training for NAMI and Milwaukee County. He leads healing and accountability workshops for men and advocacy initiatives for fathers.

A partnership with Folk Alliance International.