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Creative spotlight: Simone A. Medina Polo

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From Mexico City, Mexico, Simone A. Medina Polo is a trans, Latinx scholar and artist. She started taking a BA in philosophy at Concordia University in 2013, followed by a three year break after graduation to work in the arts. This then led her to MacEwan University’s arts and cultural management program, where she is currently finishing her last year.

Recently Medina Polo became The Nextfest Arts Company’s new festival producer, a job that she is very passionate about. “I have been involved with Nextfest in some capacity for five years … I was involved mostly as an artist in different shows, and then this last year, I took on a more involved capacity being the curator for the pride night club,” Medina Polo said. After this last festival — for which she was both curator and consultant for the responses to Black Lives Matter — ended, a few arts administrators (mostly women) decided that it was time for some changes.

Her work this last year and the changes initiated allowed Medina Polo to find her new place at The Nextfest Arts Company. “I’m currently informing my artistic practice by putting queer and trans folks like myself as well as BIPOC at the front of shows that I curate … I got to share and host debriefing sessions with our artists and anyone in the community that wanted to get involved. So I had a pretty important opportunity to educate folks on COVID-19, and also Black Lives Matter and having that discussion made me realize that I was ready to take on a more intensive role in the arts as an administrator.” In October, she jumped into the role and is already working hard to navigate how they respond to areas like Black Lives Matter and their commitments to not only BIPOC communities but also LGBTQ communities that are very present in the organization. Supporting artists is of the utmost importance, with workshops and providing accessibility to those artists who need it most.

Along the way, Medina Polo has had the opportunity to work with Fringe Theatre Adventures, Fun Fest, and The Sewing Machine Factory, which have enriched the experience she brings to the table when working with other artists and has helped her as an interdisciplinary artist. She has done theatre, poetry, and visual arts, though, at this stage, she feels like she is leaning more towards music. Medina Polo started her love of music in grade three, but over the last year, she began producing her own with a release of an EP album on Jan. 1, 2021, under the name pseudo-antigone. “It marks a very significant leap in my work as a musician … I have started moving on into a very peculiar genre that has started going off since 2016 but really prominent as of last year called Hyper Pop,” says Medina Polo.

Once Medina Polo graduates, she is looking forward to hopefully having her permanent residency in Canada, as dealing with immigration has not always been easy. But above all, she is very much looking forward to her continued work in the arts.

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