For over 25 years, cin has collaborated with musicians, visual artists and other poets in Chicago and around the world, in such groups as The Loofah Method, Betty’s Mouth and ten tongues, with whom she recorded the CD, “A Wide Arc.”



Widely published in journals and anthologies, cin’s first book “Looking for a Soft Place to Land” was published by Tia Chucha Press. Her second, “When I am Yes” will be published in fall 2013 by Jackleg Press.


Illinois Arts Council recipient and four-time Ragdale fellow, cin is co-founder with the Children’s Humanities Festival of the award-winning “Words@Play”, an after-school poetry program in the Chicago Park Districts.


An Emmy nominee for her voice-over and on-screen narration of the PBS documentary “From Schoolboy to Showgirl”, cin is living happily ever after with her young son, Leo.



Tracey Steffora

Tracey Steffora has been an artist since around the time that she learned how to run. She has also worked as a grade school teacher and a publishing executive and has a collection of education degrees and certifications, as all these things seemed responsible at the time. She can usually be found in the ceramics studio, on her bike, teaching her small friends in the Montessori classroom, or playing with her noble cat Bantam.


Paul Von Mertens

Paul Von Mertens is a Chicago-based composer/arranger and a performer on saxophone, flute, clarinet and harmonica. He has played and recorded with a variety of artists including Mavis Staples, Paul McCartney, Eric Clapton, Elton John, Stereolab, The Sea and Cake, Poi Dog Pondering, Broken Social Scene, Wilco, and Mono. He has been member of the Brian Wilson Band since 1999 and is currently music director. Paul joined Brian for the Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour in 2012 as co-music director.


Paul has written arrangements, orchestrations and performed for Brian Wilson's tour and Grammy-winning recording of "Smile", the Pet Sounds Tour, "Live In London" "Gettin' In Over My Head", "That Lucky Old Sun" "Wilson Reimagines Gershwin" and Brian's latest recording "In The Key Of Disney."


His arrangement of "Dvorak Re-mix Fantasy" was premiered at Orchestra Hall with Poi Dog Pondering and the Chicago Sinfonietta in 2005, and "Carmen Remix" in 2007.


Writing credits include music for Steppenwolf Theater, the Peabody Award-winning documentary "The Lost Children of Rockdale County"and "Merchants of Cool" for Frontline, and the long-running "Workplace Essential Skills" for PBS.


Paul and his wife, Cynthia Von Orthal, have created original puppet musicals "Akuba's Dream" "The Yellow Wallpaper" and "Tara's Story" for their own company, Von Orthal Puppets.