Kendall Owens (dancer, performer, choreographer, instructor, registered nurse, entrepreneur) is a multi-talented leader and advocate for health promotion and the arts.
Ms. Owens graduated from Western Michigan University as a Presidential Scholar with a Bachelors of Arts in dance and a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Her education and dance training began in the inner city of Detroit. Later, she attended schools in the suburban area where she noticed a difference in the availability and quality of opportunities, education, and training in the fine arts. Taking advantage of these resources, Kendall received dance and festival scholarships to travel within the United States that advanced her training and exposed her to endless possibilities. New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles expanded Kendall’s network and perspective of the arts as each city embraced the arts community in a way that her community did not. In her travels, it became evident that something was missing - the presence of other underrepresented ethnic groups. She was grateful for such opportunities and wanted her fellow artists of color to experience the same despite probable life struggles. As an African American, woman she realized the economic, financial, and social struggles that underrepresented groups face in today's society. In addition, Kendall is aware of the emotional and mental impact associate with being a minority and a participant in the arts. She is a firm believer that the arts can be utilized to unify diverse populations and promote health and well-being in society.
Since childhood, Kendall has been dedicated to caring for and cultivating the lives of others. This led to her interest in nursing. Through direct experience and her studies, she discovered that the arts do not discriminate their powerful impact on any people. As a fourteen-year old assistant dance instructor teaching Down syndrome students, Kendall developed a passionate interest in the effects of fine arts on individuals with developmental disabilities. She wanted to provide more opportunities for the developmentally disabled including fine arts activities that would improve their quality of life, increase public awareness, and promote the appreciation of fine arts.
As a member of the esteemed 2015-2016 Western Dance Project at Western Michigan University (WMU), Kendall choreographed and staged the inaugural tap performance, Tapestry, for the collegiate tour. She partnered with a featured celebrity at Dancing with the WMU Kazoo Stars in October, 2016. Kendall performed in the stage play Spare Change IIwith recording artist, Vicki Winans at the Detroit Music Hall in 2014. She has had the honor of being on faculty at the St. Louis Tap Festival, Big Apple Tap Festival, 2017 ACDA East Central Conference, and has taught at numerous dance studios in Michigan. She served as Assistant Director and Captain of the Detroit Hoofers Club, “An Exclusive Tap Company” under the tutelage of her mentor, Professor Robert L. Reed and had the privilege of assisting him from 2013-2015. During her time at WMU, Kendall was casted in numerous works for the annual Winter Gala Concert including Charanga by Frank Chavez, Rekenen by Liv Schaffer, Continuum by Rennie Harris, Kyr and Anaphase by Ohad Naharin, GlassHouse by David Curwen. She was honored to have been selected to feature her work, Friday After 5, as the first tap dance in WMU’s Winter Gala Concert.
New Generation Fine Arts Foundation (NewGen), a public charity, was established as a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt, non-profit organization. Kendall created this organization to enhance awareness and respect for the arts in Metro-Detroit. The mission of NewGen is to offer greater accessibility and opportunity in the fine arts for aspiring, underserved ethnicities, the developmentally disabled, and those with mental health concerns in emerging generations. Kendall aims to nurture a unified community that elevates socio-cultural awareness, empowers individuals to bridge divisions between diverse populations, and promotes artistic exploration to illuminate shared experiences that inspire interest in fine arts as a vehicle to enhance the health and well-being of our community.