Our Mission


We invite artists of any race, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability, and religious affiliation to take part in our mission to embody our core values: flexibility, generosity, humility, curiosity, and care. We're committed to providing underrepresented artists a radically generous place to create art and nourish one another through shared meals, shared dialogue, and shared inquiry. To honor our commitment to interrupting and destabilizing oppression in our own community, we offer training opportunities for collective learning around power, privilege, and oppression.

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Queen Bees


Chinyere "Chi" Achebe
 Certified Reiki Practioner who channels Divine Inner-G for the purpose of healing through art, touch, intuitive readings, music, play, envisioning and movement by accessing all of the resources of this ABUNDANT UNIVERSE. 

Enid Munoz
Enid is a trained Actor, passionate writer, and a recreational creator. She's been working alongside the brilliant minds of FEMelanin and feels honored to be surrounded by more brilliance, the SWARM Hive Queens. When she's not creating, planning or eating you can find her feeding her melanin under ANY rays available.

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Vince Pagan

Vince Pagan is a baker, storyteller, teaching artist, and development professional from Chicago, IL. He holds a BA in Theatre Studies from Ithaca College and currently works in development with the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, a Consulting Associate with Morten Group, LLC and is a company member with both 2nd Story and For Youth Inquiry. Visit Vince the Baker [www.vincethebaker.com] to find out more about Vince, what he's all about, and why he bakes.

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Amanda Staples

Amanda is an independent arts administrator and curator, currently involved with Swarm and Emulsion Lab. She is a performance and installation artist, whose artistic achievements includes performances in the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival US Tour (DfbrL8r-Chicago, 2017), the International Art Expo Borders Festival (Venice, Italy, 2016), and artist residency programs in Berlin and Chicago. She steams from a non-traditional background in the arts, with a professional career background in criminal rehabilitation, mental health, and nonprofit administration.

Nik Zaleski
Nik is the Arts Justice Director for the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health (ICAH) where she designs participatory theater experiences about sexual health and sexual violence with the FYI Performance Cadre. Nik is an Artistic Associate for Sojourn Theater, a company member of Erasing the Distance,  and has directed performance for Redmoon Theatre, Northwestern University, Ag47, and Urban Gateways. She completed her undergraduate degree in Performance Studies and Gender Studies at Northwestern and holds an MA in Interdisciplinary Studies from DePaul University, which combined Public Health and Directing coursework.


Zoe Schwartz
Zoe is a comedian and performer in Chicago. She performs with Barrel of Monkeys, does comedy at many bars, and runs Smooch Castle: A Live Dating Game show. She helped create Swarm in the summer of 2015 and still can't believe we've gotten this far!

Brandy Parker
Brandy is a lifelong gardener, preserver, and visual artist. After a career in medical anthropology and design, she obtained a masters in nutrition. When she’s not studying, you can usually find her brewing up some sort of concoction, or out wandering with her dog and man. Brandy has faith in getting dirty, and believes we are nourished by, and through, what we do with our hands. Visit her at Pastoralist , where she documents her adventures in making and doing.

Alyssa Vera Ramos
Alyssa is a theatre artist and educator in Chicago with an emphasis on social practice and participatory engagement. Alyssa is a member of For Youth Inquiry (FYI) Performance Cadre and WOC artist collective FEMelanin. She is also a DCASE and 3Arts grant recipient for The Scarlet S Project presents: I AM THE RAT, which she developed and directed. Current projects-in-development include EPIC TALES FROM THE LAND OF MELANIN, an experiential TYA play centering revolutionary young girls of color (with FEMelanin), and LA OPERACIÓN, about the forced sterilization of Puerto Rican women (with her novelist mother Marisel Vera).

Danielle  Littman
Danielle holds her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Creative Writing from Northwestern University, where she focused on Playwriting, Devising, and Creative Nonfiction. While at Northwestern, she also completed the Civic Engagement Certificate Program in the School of Education and Social Policy. Today, she holds a position as a Cultural Liaison for the Chicago Park District Department of Culture, Arts, and Nature, and teaches writing and theatre workshops throughout Chicago. Her plays have been developed and produced with Northwestern University, Collaboraction Theatre, Next Theatre, Vivarium Theatre, The New Colony, and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Former Queen hall of fame

Maggie Mascal

Maggie Mascal is a collaborative musician and writer braiding together operatic spectacle, sacred ritual, and folk music's intimate, simple warmth. Dispersed through albums, installations, folk-operas and objects, Maggie's work is meant just for you.

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haydée souffrant

haydée "hr" souffrant is a Chicago-based Haitian American writer and artist-healer whose work weaves cultural memory through storytelling and creative writing. As an arts administrator, haydee’s work through arts programming, restorative justice and creative arts workshops has connected cross-cultural communities together to create spaces of empathy and social justice.
haydée’s literary work has been featured in numerous online literary and print publications at Oberlin College, Hair Trigger Issue 41, Sixty Inches from Center while her performance work featured at The Whitney Biennale under the Dance Diaspora Collective, Links Hall @ Constellation, Threewalls at Navy Pier and other venues in and around Chicagoland. 

A graduate of Oberlin College with a BA in African American Studies and English, haydee is currently an MFA Creative Writing candidate at Columbia College Chicago. Some of her work can be viewed at hrsouffrant.com.



Swarm is the brainchild of Zoe Swartz, and was founded by Zoe, Morgan McNaught, Lee Stark, and Nik Zaleski.