September 27, 2023
Eyenga Bokamba, executive director, Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. (Contributed photo)
Eyenga Bokamba, executive director, Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis. (Contributed photo)

MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 8, 2016) — Intermedia Arts on Friday announced the selection of Eyenga Bokamba as the organization’s new executive director. She comes to Intermedia from Sprockets, St. Paul’s nationally recognized out-of-school-time network, where she has served as Executive Director for the past two years.

As Intermedia’s Executive Director, Bokamba will provide leadership to advance the organization’s mission to be a catalyst that builds understanding among people through art and will serve as chief development and fundraising officer. She also will manage finances, oversee the stability and growth of programs and community partnerships, and drive the organization’s focus on equity and inclusion.

“Eyenga represents a rare combination of artistic excellence and administrative leadership,” said Intermedia Arts Board Chair Andrea Jenkins. “With extensive experience educating young people, incredible artistic talent, and demonstrated community leadership, she is poised to elevate Intermedia to new heights.”

Mayor Chris Coleman appointed Bokamba in 2013 to serve as Executive Director of Sprockets, whose mission is to improve the quality, availability and effectiveness of out-of-school-time learning for youth in St. Paul through committed, collaborative and innovative efforts of community organizations, government, schools and other partners. Through 42 partner organizations, Sprockets served more than 20,000 youth last year.

Under Bokamba’s leadership, Sprockets initiated a regional pilot focused on social emotional learning in partnership with Harvard University’s program in Education, Afterschool, and Resilience. Sprockets has also been recognized for its participation in two national pilots: one in partnership with the National Association for Summer Learning and the Weikert Center for Youth Program Quality and second pilot in partnership with Every Hour Counts. As the leader of Sprockets, Bokamba built relationships with institutional partners locally and nationally, managed fundraising and financial administration, developed long-term policy goals and provided strategic direction for the organization.

Bokamba is a 2006 recipient of a Bush Leadership Fellowship and is a practicing visual artist who is most drawn to abstraction as a means of expressing her perceptions of complex realities. Her large-scale paintings using calligrapher’s ink, acrylic and mixed media create compositions of layered translucence. In her latest work, the abstract figure emerges, giving rise to a new visual language of gesture and movement. Bokamba was inducted into the National Association of Women Artists in 2011 in recognition of the high caliber of her work. She earned her undergraduate degree and teaching certification from the University of Minnesota and a graduate degree from Harvard University.

“I have long respected the inclusive, ambitious and vital work of Intermedia Arts,” Bokamba said. “This position offers a rare opportunity to work in an integrated capacity as a leader and an artist, melding my two great passions: art and democratic participation.”

Previous to her position at Sprockets, Bokamba was the Youth Programs Manager at Pillsbury House, an arts-integrated social service agency where she was responsible for programming that advanced the social, emotional and cognitive development of youth in grades K–8. A certified language arts teacher, she taught in Hopkins School District for 13 years. She also served as Minnesota’s Youth Engaged in Service Ambassador for the Points of Light Foundation in Washington, D.C. and the National Youth Leadership Council in Minnesota, during which time she co-authored the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993, the legislation from which AmeriCorps was developed.

In making the announcement of Bokamba’s appointment, Omar Akbar, Intermedia board member and chair of the search committee, praised the interim leadership of Julie Bates MacGillis. “Julie deserves our deepest thanks for leading Intermedia Arts over the past few months and for ensuring its stability as we conducted this search. We are grateful she will continue to serve as Intermedia’s Associate Director.” Akbar also thanked the search firm of Ballinger Leafblad for conducting an excellent executive search process.

About Intermedia Arts

Intermedia Arts invests in changemaking artists, cross-sector partnerships, and unique arts- based approaches to build more capable, healthy and equitable communities. Grounded in the belief that community-engaged artist-activists are the most powerful asset and resource for building a better world, Intermedia provides the opportunities, tools and support they need to make lasting change. The organization’s work is done in three core areas of programming: creative leadership, youth development, and arts-based civic engagement. Intermedia Arts is located on Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis at the intersection of four vibrant urban neighborhoods.

Intermedia Arts Q&A with Eyenga Bokamba

What attracted you to Intermedia Arts?

It is inclusive, ambitious, and energizing. I believe I can meld my two great passions here: my own artistic production as well as the production of other artists, and my enduring passion for creating spaces for democratic participation.

Why is art important?

Art has changed my life in too many ways to count. Art gives me a lens from which to view the world and a framework from which to function. Art for me is both product and process, solitary yet deeply collective, ever changing and rapid-paced yet sometimes glacial in its revelatory power. Art has given me insight into humanity. My hope is that the arts continue to provide us with experiences that are astonishing and transformative.

What drives your work?

The core values that are most important to me in my workplace are a deep respect for human capacity, an expectation of excellence as driven by an internal sense of justice and fairness, and a sense of fluidity in relationship to the future. I see Intermedia Arts as possessing these values and I appreciate the fact that Intermedia Arts mirrors my civic commitment to expansive possibilities.

What do you look forward to in terms of leading this organization?

I look forward to serving in a leadership role as a practicing artist and by engaging the community in my leadership and decision-making processes. I look forward to to walking lightly into the conversation, with my pen in hand and heart open. I’m honored to join the ongoing discussion about this transformational work.”