Chancelier ‘Xero’ Skidmore
 Executive Director 


Chancelier “Xero” Skidmore is a poet, educator and organizer from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He has been ranked twice among the top five slam poets in the United States through that competition and in December of 2010 he ranked 3rd at the Individual World Poetry Slam Festival and in 2013 he ranked 1st.  You can find his work published in the anthology, Spoken Word Revolution Redux by Sourcebooks mediaFusion and the Spring 2010 volume of the New Delta Review by LSU Press.  Xero teaches poetry to teens in Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas through Forward Arts.

Donney Rose
Marketing Director
donney-FA website

Donney Rose is a poet, teaching artist, and community activist from Baton Rouge. He is the marketing director for the arts-based non-profit, Forward Arts, Inc. and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge. He is a 2018–2019 Kennedy Center Citizen Artist Fellow and a member of Baton Rouge Business Report’s 2017 Forty Under 40 Class. His work as a performance poet/writer has been featured in a variety of publications, including Atlanta Black Star, Blavity, Button Poetry, All Def Digital, Slam Find, [225] Magazine, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, Mocking Heart Review, University of New Orleans’ Bayou Magazine and Nicholls State University’s Gris-Gris literary journal. Donney also contributed two scholarly articles to the St. James Encyclopedia of Hip Hop Culture, 1st Edition (St. James Press, February 2018)

  Desiree Dallagiacomo
  Program Director

Ranking 3rd in the world at the 2014 Individual World Poetry Slam, 3rd in the world at the Women of the World Poetry Slam,  and 3rd in the nation at the 2014 National Poetry Slam, Desireé is an award winning writer, performer, and educator. She is the program director and a lead teaching artist for Forward Arts Inc, a literary arts non-profit in Baton Rouge, LA, and a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Gate,, Upworthy, Tulane University’s production of The Vagina Monologues, the New Orleans Fringe Festival, and Tandem Review. Studying creative writing and women & gender studies, she is a student at the University of New Orleans- where she is a recipient of the Ryan Chigazola Poetry Scholarship. She has taught and performed at colleges, universities, and youth organizations across the country. Desireé enjoys working with student and community populations in middle school, high school, college, and beyond. She is the author of the forthcoming book “Sink” (Button Poetry 2019)