Anthrow Circus is a mixed media collection crafted by artists, filmmakers, journalists, historians, designers, and other voices working together as creative anthropologists to examine culture and society through the lens of place.
We seek to foster engagement between creatives and a thoughtful audience in order to explore ideologies, create dialogue, empower voices, and bridge the distance between individuals in an ever-changing world through arts and culture.
KAMI L. RICE
Executive Director & Editor-in-Chief
The most enduring threads in Kami Rice’s winding career path have been her work as a freelance writer, editor, and journalist; a persistent entrepreneurial spirit; and her love of people. She’s been filling formal and informal leadership roles since childhood thrust three younger siblings on her. Presently based in northern France, she travels widely to build the Anthrow Circus family and learn about the world and its people.
Manager of Operations & Social Media
As a passionate advocate for arts, culture, and education, Armon Means’s career path has woven through the landscape of arts and academia. Currently, an adjunct professor of visual art and photography in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, he has served as a gallery curator, school administrator, arts and programming coordinator, and independent artist. He brings this diverse skill set to Anthrow Circus and its efforts to engage the contemporary climate in exciting new directions.
By day, JC Johnson is a photography and arts instructor in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, but she’s continually juggling additional projects. Often overwhelmed with wanderlust, she has a passion for travel and study abroad as both an artist and educator. Her photographic work makes associations to the nostalgic and whimsical, and European architecture makes an appearance in her images as often as possible.
Special thanks to SARA SCHANDELMAYER for her logo designs.
Heather Surls worked as a copyeditor and proofreader for an American publisher before moving to Amman, Jordan, where she lives with her husband, a college professor, and her two sons. Speaking Arabic as her second language, Heather explores culture through friendships with women from Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, and beyond. Her articles and creative non-fiction have appeared in places like Catamaran, River Teeth, Nowhere, Silk Road, and EthnoTraveler.
Mary Vendegna is a web developer, graphic artist, photographer, and musician based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. As a modern-day Renaissance man, Mary was drawn to the eclectic nature of Anthrow Circus. You can find her art and design at www.piratekittencreative.com and music at www.maryplaysmusic.com.
Scott Lashinsky, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, the hometown of famed boxer Muhammad Ali, has been writing poems since high school. What began as a practice to fight apparent boredom in class turned into a passionate, personal pursuit throughout college and beyond. Scott, who works as a video producer and photographer based in Amman, Jordan, has published four books of poetry and produced and released three albums, three EPs, and one single all under the moniker vagrant moon. His favorite poets are Rumi (as translated by Coleman Barks), Thomas Merton, and Anna Kamieńska.
- Actively give voice through a mix of formats and forms of expression
- Offer context that sets the stage for more accurate understanding
- Explore beyond the surface of cliché and stereotype
- Interplay various forms of art to tell stories honestly
- Explore contemporary cultural content
- Work with contributors from around the world
- Seek to avoid language that divides or incites
- Maintain high editorial and visual standards
Within this place of wonder we exchange ideas and create community, building bridges in an increasingly global society.
Our beloved name was birthed over the course of a few meetings at various locations around Music City USA (that would be Nashville, Tennessee) in May 2019. Akin to the songwriting sessions the city is known for, and like the creative types we are, our three-person core team discussed the positive and negative nuances, the imagery, the colors even, of all kinds of words. We began our naming meetings armed with suggestions from some of our regular writers, and argued and wrestled (metaphorically of course) our way to a name that hadn’t yet been claimed on social media, and that charmed us with its weirdness and just-might-work-ness. And then it endeared itself to us, wrapping us around its finger as we looked into its newborn eyes. Anthrow Circus had been born.
“Anthrow” comes from anthropology, because we approach our work like creative anthropologists, seeking to visit the homes and community gathering places and daily habits of the people of the world in order to discover how they and their cultures interact and what it all means. We like to climb behind the labels that can keep us separated from each other and introduce the beautiful people we discover behind the curtain of separation.
“Circus” is a simple English word that has different meanings for British English speakers (a circular road that other roads run into) and American English speakers (who only think of the traditional big-top tent type of circuses). Sometimes we’re not all saying the same thing even when we’re using the same word, which is the very type of cultural reality we love digging into. As for those big-top, high-wire shows, they are a wonderfully apropos picture of our project: a place where people of varied socio-economic statuses gather in the same tent, have an experience together, and then go back home to tell others about what they saw. The circus itself is a traveling community of creative people, usually hailing from all over the world, working together to help their audiences enjoy the world’s wonder. That’s so us!
Anthrow Circus entered the world with a history, a catalog of already written stories that make our age hard to pin down. The groundwork for Anthrow Circus was laid when members of our core team started running the editorial side of Jonathan Randall Grant’s Culture Keeper in 2016. Eventually the publication side of that project took on a life of its own and needed space to stretch and grow. Thus, Anthrow Circus is a relaunch and rebranding of what was started there, while Grant continues to maintain the current version of Culture Keeper. We are immensely thankful for how our collaboration with Grant and his generosity of spirit set Anthrow Circus in motion before any of us were dreaming of new big-top tents.