As pioneers in participatory art and the creative arts and aging movement, we challenge the status quo and seek innovative ways to enrich the lives of participants and create vibrant communities. Our research-based, award winning arts programs actively engage older adults through the artistic expression of dance, music, and story participation led by professional artists.
Parker Genné creates original music-theater-dance folk operas; she is a leader and master adaptive arts educator and performing artist who has worked with and presented nationally with Kairos Alive (KA) for the last 10 years. Her work Ms. Luisa Eats, based in the vaudeville tradition garnered praise for her “mix of character comedy, well-executed opera, and spaghetti” (Broadway Baby) inspired by personal stories, historical narratives and folktales. For Genné, folktales are a framework for our lives. Through this work and as founder of Folktopia, an intergenerational, multidisciplinary band, Genné works in health, academia, in community arts, social services, housing, and with museums and orchestras with work that includes older adults, people with disabilities.
A graduate of the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music in Vocal Performance and a lifelong dancer, Genné believes in using the natural world, healing systems, and narratives as starting points for creation. She has been presented by MacPhail Spotlight Series, Edinburgh Fringe, performed with traveling artists at Walker Art Ctr and other organizations and was a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council (Minnesota) Next Step Fund Finalist in 2019 & 2021. She has worked in disability organizations, counties, Winona Health and in many other aging, disability communities teaching movement, music and story and research learning. In addition, she is a person with a disability. Genné engages students working in arts service-learning projects from pre-school thru college through her work with KA. Her work centers service to self and community through art-making while engaging in radical welcome of all people of all generations.
In 2001, Maria developed The Dancing Heart™, a nationally recognized, evidence-based program which engages older adults of all abilities in weekly, interactive arts participation and health education. It was featured in the 2012 PBS documentary, Arts & the Mind, and is recognized as a model arts involvement program by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Center for Creative Aging (NCCA), and winner of awards for program innovation by the American Public Health Association, American Society on Aging, and others.
Romeo is recognized for his affability, and capacity to receive pats, scratches and rubs.
He was born in 1975 in Detroit, Michigan to musicians and music scholars Donald and Faye Washington. His musical career began at the age of five with his first performances at the Detroit jazz festival. As a young performer he also played at jazz festivals in Chicago, Alabama, and Connecticut.
After first moving to Minneapolis at the age of thirteen, Kevin went on to New York City in 1996 to study jazz at the New School for Social Research. During his stay in New York he taught rhythm section fundamentals at the Harlem School of the Arts.
Vladimir Garrido-Biagetti was born in South America in the city of Arica-Chile. He is a music performer, folk dancer, and community activist living in the Twins Cities since 2005. Vladimir produces, engineers, and directs musical projects and studio recordings as well as live sound events and multicultural festivals. He was born in Arica-Chile and came to live to the United States when he was 18 years old. Folk music from the Andes Mountains and “La Nueva Canción Latinoamericana” influenced Vladimir’s first musical creations back in his home land and still shape the music he creates now days. Vladimir currently directs the Latina band Alma Andina and the mother and son singing duet Ina-Yukka. He is also a folk dancer from the group Chile Sin Fronteras, sound technician at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, and Teaching Artist at Kairos Alive!
Tom Johnson is an eclectic performer, composer and arranger based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A multi-instrumentalist, Johnson’s main focus is guitar, but he also plays and teaches: dobro, pedal steel, mandolin, bass and banjo. He recently received a Masters of Music Education with a emphasis on Guitar Pedagogy from St. Thomas University and is currently a lead teacher at the Linden Hills House of Music. Tom has in the past 15 years performed across the United States and Europe, with such diverse groups as: The Johnson Family Band (Blue Grass), The Carluster Crumplebee Orchestra (Gypsy Jazz), People’s People (Modern Jazz), and D Mills and the Thrills (Hip-hop), as well as playing solo classical or jazz guitar. Johnson has also collaborated and performed with Minnesota musicians: Trampled by Turtles, Pert Near Sandstone, Tim Sparks, Charlie Parr, and Todd Clouser.
AM has recently joined Kairos Alive! in the summer of 2021 as an intern and is continuing to work on social media outreach. Originally from Portland, Oregon, AM earned a Bachelor of Music (magna cum laude) from the Lawrence University Conservatory of Music, winning the Clyde Duncan Prize. AM’s research focuses on digital and social media performances and community-making, with their undergraduate work exploring how YouTube comments are spaces of listening: culturally, philosophically, and politically. Currently, AM is a Ph.D. student in Integrative Studies at the University of California San Diego, Department of Music, and is intending to pursue a certification in Critical Gender Studies. As a creative practice, AM is involved in the Deep Listening and Contact Improvisation communities.
Heather Bunch is an actor and teaching artist based in the Twin Cities. After graduating from Macalester, she moved to London, where she studied Lecoq-based physical theatre at the London International School of Performing Arts. Once returning to the Twin Cities, she worked with companies such as Transatlantic Love Affair, Frank Theatre, and the Playwright’s Center. As a teaching artist, Heather has worked for Interact Center, The History Theatre, and Stages, among many others. Heather is thrilled to be working for KAIROS again, team-teaching their MSS online classes.
Board of Directors
Gary Oftedahl, M.D., Board Chair, Consultant/Chief Knowledge Officer, Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement (Ret.)
Maria Genné, Founder, Director, Kairos Alive!
Brenna Galvin, Attorney, Maser, Amundson, Boggio & Hendricks, PA
Joan Semmer, President, Semmer Group
Leni de Mik, PhD, Consultant/Retired Psychologist
Nicholas Chew, BS, UCSD, Physiology and Neuroscience
National Advisory Board
Stuart Kandell, Ph.D., Consultant/Founder, Stagebridge Theater, San Francisco
Rick Moody, Editor/Consultant, Human Values in Aging Newsletter
David O’Fallon, President and CEO, Minnesota Humanities Center
Susan Perlstein, Founder Emeritus of the National Center for Creative Aging, Washington, D.C. and Elders Share the Arts, NYC
Kathy Sykes, Senior Advisor, Environmental Protection Agency Aging Initiative
Peter Whitehouse, M.D., Professor of Neurology, Case Western Reserve University