Sewn's mission is to improve public well-being through the integration of art & culture into civic life.
With a focus on the intersection of arts & wellness, Sewn is a non-profit organization that aids civic institutions – such as hospitals and health & human service agencies – as they leverage the transformative power of art & culture to improve their mission and business objectives.
Founded in 2020 in response to the need for an organization that serves as an intermediary between artists, civic institutions, and funders, Sewn co-creates exemplar programs, provides capacity building services to those in the civic sectors, and strengthens the field of arts & wellness stakeholders.
Ahmariah Jackson is a high school Language Arts teacher with Atlanta Public Schools. A native of Helena, Arkansas, he developed a passion for writing as a member of the academic program Odyssey of the Mind. He is a cum laud graduate of Morehouse College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. Both an accomplished poet and emcee, he is also a published columnist, motivational speaker and youth mentor. He has served as an editor and contributing writer for Supreme Design Publishing since 2008. "Locked Up but not Locked Down" is his first published book. His upcoming projects include a book on fatherlessness in the African diaspora and a stage play about disenfranchised youth.
Aliya Bhatia is the Chief Operating Officer at Vot-ER, an organization at the crossroads of health and civic engagement. She previously served on the founding team of Purpose Built Schools. Aliya began her career as a Teach For America corps member and as a strategy consultant at the Boston Consulting Group in Atlanta. She completed her Masters in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School as a Sheila C. Johnson Leadership Fellow and is a graduate of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Aliya dabbles in the arts including improv, painting, and writing.
Chelsea Ulrich Tarnoff is a Senior Consultant with Positively Partners and brings an array of experience in business operations, human capital, and talent management through her work in local and national organizations and across start-ups, non-profits, and government. Formerly Chelsea worked with Civic Dinners as Chief Operations Officer, leading the strategy and implementation of organization and people operations. She previously worked for Teach For America Metro Atlanta as Managing Director of Alumni Engagement, with Teach Plus, a national teacher policy and leadership nonprofit, leading evaluation strategy and recruitment, and with the State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia as a Research Assistant. In addition to her board service with Sewn, Chelsea serves on the Board for Junior League of Atlanta as Director of Impacts and Measurements and on the Board of Directors for Ethos Classical Charter School. She holds a B.A. from University of Texas at Austin, an M.Ed. from Georgia State University, and an Ed.S. from the University of Georgia.
Darius A. Jones is a charismatic leader, visionary, and provocative thinker who prides himself on service. An astute business professional and preeminent scholar, Darius holds a BBA in Finance from Georgia State University, M.Div from the Interdenominational Theological Center, and MBA from Emory University. Darius is currently the Director of Corporate Strategy & Operations at Zuora. Prior to joining Sewn, Darius served as the founder and Lead Pastor of the City of Hope Church in Decatur, Ga and the City of Hope Community Development Corp which was focused on providing resources and empowerment sessions for disenfranchised families and youth. In addition, Darius is a member of the 100 Black Men of America, DeKalb County Chapter and served on the Juvenile Justice Project committee, a group that addresses “at risk” youth that are facing criminal charges. When not working and serving his community Darius enjoys personal fitness, spending time with his family, and watching basketball.
Elise Lockamy-Kassim is a Board Member of Sewn Arts. Her vocational and extra-curricular experience sits at the intersection of public health and the arts. A health system administrator, Elise's current service includes board membership with Empowerment Resource Center, Inc, a health care resource agency for persons at-risk for contracting HIV/AIDS; she is also a program consultant for Run Arts, an arts entrepreneur development start-up. A Brooklyn, NY native, Elise matriculated from Georgetown University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Elise lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Ayo and dog Pepper.
Lucy is a mental health researcher with a commitment to advancing health equity and a passion for finding interdisciplinary, data-driven solutions for complex health and social problems. A Philadelphia native and long-time Atlanta resident, she started her career in behavioral health services in the Edgewood community, working closely with patients and providers to expand access to care and enhance trauma-informed practices. She has since worked with state governments, federal offices, foundations, and non-profits to implement and evaluate programs and policies with the goals of developing innovative models of care, improving mental health, and eliminating disparities. She holds a Master of Public Health from Emory University and is pursuing a Doctorate of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. She likes to explore nature, art, music, and food in the Atlanta area with her husband, Jon, and dog, Molly, in her free time.
Chris Appleton is Founder & CEO of Sewn Arts. With nearly two decades leading organizations that leverage the power of the arts to transform lives, Chris is a national award-winning social entrepreneur who believes in the importance of working across lines of difference to effect lasting change. Prior to founding Sewn, Chris was Co-founder and Executive Director of WonderRoot, a nonprofit arts & social change organization that he led for 15 years. Chris's current and former board service includes Americans for the Arts, Alliance Theatre, and Vote with Dignity. When not working, Chris enjoys baking, running, and hosting a dinner party. Chris and his wife, Annie, live in Atlanta, GA with their son, Alexander.
Thad Sheely came to Atlanta seven years ago to join the Atlanta Hawks as Chief Operating Officer and to lead the real estate and business operations of the team under new owner Tony Ressler. After completing the development of a new practice facility, new minor league arena, and renovation of State Farm Arena, Thad started his own real estate firm focused on mixed-use, residential and entertainment development in Atlanta. Prior to the Hawks, Thad worked at the intersection of sports and real estate for the Miami Heat, New York Jets, and Related’s Hudson Yards project in NYC. Thad lives in Virginia Highlands with his wife Gabby, two sons Ben and Nick, and their three dogs.
Caroline Schick is the Founding Operations Manager of Sewn Arts, where she is responsible for the day-to-day operational activities, including finance, human resources, external communications, and program evaluation. In addition to her role at Sewn, Caroline is a Project Manager at HealthMPowers where she works on the Girls Empowering Movement Project (GEM). GEM is a statewide initiative that aims to empower middle school girls to be physically active. Previously, she held the role of Health Educator at HealthMPowers. Caroline is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in public health and is a member of the 30 Under 30 by Young Nonprofit Professionals Network. Outside of work, Caroline enjoys reading, crafting, and baking bread.
Adrienne Shelnutt brings a background in theatre arts, nonprofit management, and social activism to Sewn Arts' team. She has developed and implemented arts-based programming that centers community agency while integrating arts and advocacy in schools, detention centers and community-based organizations with companies including The Unusual Suspects Theatre Co., Teatro Milagro, and Democracy Council of California. Adrienne’s work has given her the opportunity to travel and collaborate with local organizations in Kenya, Nicaragua, Colombia, and the UK. Adrienne received a B.A. in Theatre Arts, Political Science, and Social Justice from the University of Portland and a M.A. in Theatre and Global Development from the University of Leeds.
Sewn's purpose of advancing health & wellness through the arts is only possible if we are prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organizational practices. Each year, Sewn conducts an annual equity audit to uncover and address the inclusion of and investment in women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ community. You can view the results of the most recent equity audit by downloading the file below.
Sewn Arts 2020 Equity Audit
Sewn's annual 990s and financial statements are made available to the public here. Since Sewn just completed its first year in operation, those statements are not yet complete. Please check back to download and review them when they become available.