Sarah Souder Johnson
co-founder and chair of the board
Clinician at Sentier psychotherapy
Sarah is a mental health therapist and educator with a background in the arts as a performer, teacher, and director. She believes people develop as a result of their genetics, environment, beliefs, and lifestyle. She is particularly interested in how people with creative personalities learn, function in the world, and approach change. She started Dissonance along with David Lewis in order to provide broader access to wellness resources and to challenge the notion that artists must struggle to be successful.
Co-founder and advisory board member
communications manager at aalto university School of Art, Design & Architecture
David has a long history in arts advocacy as a publicist, flimmaker, and Director of Riot Act Media. He has worked in various institutions of higher education to help young people build sustainable careers in the arts. His understanding of the realities and demands of the arts world led to his interest in building programming around wellness and mental health issues for musicians and other artists, which became a founding principle of Dissonance.
owNer/MANAGER at middle wesT
Kyle has been an artist manager and entrepreneur for just over a decade. He has learned a lot in his career about doing good work within one's own field but also the tribulations that trying just a bit too hard can bring on. As someone who's suffered from and is still prone to anxiety and depression, he is part of Dissonance to help others learn the importance of self-care and stop the stigma about getting support. He's also a serious Treky.
maNager, public affairs and advocacy at hazelden betty ford foundation
Jeremiah is a licensed addiction counselor and recovery advocate with a background in journalism, business, and music. He has been alcohol- and drug-free since September 2006. Grateful for what recovery has meant to his health, relationships and spirit, he now devotes his career to educating others about the promise of recovery, smashing the stigma of addiction, and speaking into related public policy issues.
advisory board member
academic operations manager at milwaukee institute of art & design
Hayley has been surrounded by the arts and artists for most of her adult life and has been a strong and vocal advocate for the creative community. While receiving her Master's degree in Arts & Cultural Leadership, she was drawn to conversations surrounding the challenges faced by individual artists and the lack of resources or attention paid to supporting them. She made this topic the subject of her thesis and began working closely with Sarah and David, sharing ideas, resources, and plans to help eliminate the stigma of seeking help and overcome the romanticization of the struggling, broken artist.
minnesota public radio
Ali has a 25-year history of working in the music, arts and non-profit community in the Twin Cities. She has worked extensively in both large organizations and on behalf of independent artists, producing events, booking shows, and providing management and marketing/pr consultant services. She is passionate about creating safe spaces for creative people to do good work, while also creating moments of celebration that bring communities together, and believes with empathy and honest conversation both outcomes can be achieved.
singer-songwriter at communist daughter
Johnny Solomon writes and sings about his own personal struggle with addiction and mental health issues in his band Communist Daughter. Johnny's newfound health and creativity help him live a successful life as a touring musician. As an outspoken advocate for self-care, he came to Dissonance as a true believer in the mission of promoting wellness and busting stigmas about mental illness and recovery.
carl atiya swanson
associate director at springboard for the arts
Carl has always been an artist, whether in theater, drawing and visual work, or as a writer. He got sober in 2008, after years of buying into the myth of self-destruction-as-creativity. Being with people who believe in change and having conversations and support is what has made his new, creative life possible. Carl wants to spread that conversation and help people realize they are not alone.