Meet the Artists: The Gem Project Initiative

Jade Charon
Instagram: @jade_charon


Jade Charon is an interdisciplinary artist, choreographer, filmmaker, and international dance educator, hailing from Milwaukee, Wisconsin living in Brooklyn. Charon received an MFA in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a BA in Dance and Theater from Columbia College Chicago. Charon was awarded the 2020 Hicks Choreographer Fellowship from the School of Jacob’s Pillow where she received mentorship from Dianne McIntyre and Risa Steinberg. In 2018, Charon was selected as the Chuck Davis Emerging Choreographer Fellow from BAM(Brooklyn Academy of Music) . She is an Assistant Professor of Dance and Technology at Medgar Evers College. As a filmmaker, her films have been accepted in festivals and conferences such as Montreal Independent Film Festival, Mke Film Festival, Toronto International Women’s Film Festival, American Dance Festival Movie By Movers, and The Outland Dance Project Dance Film Festival. She was awarded the jury select Cream City Award from Mke film festival and the semi-finalist for Best Experimental Film for Montreal Independent Film Festival.


Charon aims to use her art as a ministry to uplift her community and was selected to give a Ted Talk on using dance as a ministry for TedxUCLA. In 2013, Charon was selected to pioneer and design a dance program for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee through a national research study with The Wallace Foundation. This experience sprouted Charon into starting her own non-profit company, By Jade Charon Company. By Jade Charon has birthed films, arts curriculums, community outreach initiatives, and arts festivals, fusing art, education, mentorship, and social justice globally. Charon is also the founder 30:11 by Jade Charon LLC, a leotard and activewear line, designed to support all body types with the hopes of eliminating body shaming.

Jessica “JWoo” Woolridge
Instagram: @J_Jessica_Woo

Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, Jessica “J.Woo” Woolridge is an accomplished dancer, choreographer and managing director. Jessica received her Bachelor of Art in Dance, in December 2021 at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Today, Jessica is the Managing Director of Signature Dance Company, a non-profit organization where she teaches and mentors young girls. She is trained in various styles of dance, such as modern, hip-hop, ballet, contemporary, and African. No performance or choreographed piece by J.Woo can be assigned to one style. She infuses all her training and natural ability into unique art which will be recognized by her many audiences. Jessica is passionate and a natural-born leader known to woo everyone who crosses her path both on and off the stage.

Prince Adrean (He / Him)
Instagram: @Prince_Adrean

Prince Adrean (Adrean Maxwell) Started Dance at the young age of 3 at his church Mt Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church. At The age of 7, he Joined Ton Ko-Thi Children’s ensemble under the direction of Valencia Turner(2010-2012), DeMar Walker,(2013-Present), and Sonya Thompson(2013-Present). Adrean has been able to perform with many great organizations and local artists throughout his youth including TBEY, Dynamic Dance, Glow, Naima Adedapo, and Bemba Drum and Dance. Prince Graduated as Double Major from Milwaukee High School of the arts, Receiving Training from Sandra Jordan, Roxanne Kess, and Dean Drews. Currently, He is a Freshman Dance Major at Columbia College Chicago, Artistic Director of Milwaukee African drum and dance Company 2 and performer for Muntu Dance Theater of Chicago.

Letasha Smith of Noah’s Art MKE
Instagram: @noahsartmke

Facebook: Noah’s Art Mke

My name is Letasha Smith and I fell in love with painting while using it as a self-care tool. That inspired me to introduce the healing techniques that I’ve learned with my community and create more art projects that promote therapy, love and positive outcomes.




Shalina S. Ali
Instagram: @ms.ali2u

Shalina S. Ali, born and raised in Milwaukee, is a Mother, Artist and Entrepreneur. Her commitment to helping others and promoting self-care drives her career and serves as a constant motivation in her work. Shalina is the Co-Executive Director of TRUE Skool, Inc., co-created the Circulate Creative Entrepreneur Market and was awarded Creative Alliance’s “Creative Problem Solving Excellence” award for creating “Art of Coping” as a proactive approach to suicide prevention and addressing symptoms of depression. Most recently Shalina was the recipient of the “Non Traditional” Jacken’s award for her work outside of the society approved or bureaucratic norms.