top of page


James D_edited.jpg

James D. Gavins aka "Midwest James" is an interdisciplinary artist born and raised in Chicago. In 2008, James was granted the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Scholarship and attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he attained a B.A. in Theater & Drama.

In 2015, he graduated from UW-Madison and became a Practicing Professional Teaching Artist with the Wallace Foundation/Youth Arts Initiatives and served as a Performing Arts Director with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Milwaukee & Greater Green Bay. There he facilitated film, theater, and music programs with youth. He also served on the National Teaching Artist Advisory Board  with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. 

James also tours with the ShapeShift Theatrical Dance Company as a performer and Creative Collaborator. In 2019 he premiered his interdisciplinary theater show "Cicada" and in 2021 will be premiering the film adaptation of Cicada as Creator in Residence with the Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery. James is now the Creative Director of the First Wave Hip Hop & Urban Arts Scholarship Program at University of Wisconsin-Madison.

bottom of page