The team at Reliable Street is composed of entrepreneurs, artists, community planners, and civic leaders. Together we are applying our unique skill sets to generate a grass-roots model of cultural expression and sustainable business practice. We have all intersected with a vision that culture can thrive in a small city.

Lyndsay Audra Nissen is an artist and the Reliable Street visionary. Through a variety of media Nissen’s work focuses on socially engaged, interactive and performance art.  Her concept of MetaRegionalism reiterates Grant Wood’s belief that authentic culture grows from a place. Nissen was instrumental in the development of Design on Main, a creative outreach space for Iowa State University while working towards her MFA.  For over five years she has been active in Ames Collaborative Art, whose projects include Art Vacancy and Pop-Up Ames!  Nissen also is the co-owner of the Reliable Street complex. She performs and practices in Ames.

Elliot Thompson is the owner of Alluvial Brewing Company. He uses his love for design and people to create cozy “Third Places” that engage the public. He seeks to sustain business through moral practice and provide well-paying, desirable employment to the community. Thompson performs locally as Poetoaster and in Wav. an electronic band. He is the co-owner of the Reliable Street complex.

Sharon Stewart is the owner of Lockwood Café at Reliable Street.  Stewart, with a long standing carrier in the service industry, seeks to provide an inclusive space that encourages connection and fosters creativity.  Having spent most of her young life on a farm, Stewart is interested in the role local-affordable food plays in merging rural and urban.  As an artist, Stewart questions how textiles tell stories of time and place.  She has costumed a number of theatre productions and collaborated with an array of artists. 

Austin Stewart is an American artist who grew up on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa. He received his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA from The Ohio State University. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the Integrated Studio Arts and Sustainable Environments programs at Iowa State University. In the decade between his BFA and MFA he worked a range of jobs from farm hand, to cook, to carpenter, to hacky sack importer, to research and development manager for a tech startup in Silicon Valley before operating a design firm specializing in steel and electronics fabrication.

Dan DeGeest is a senior software engineer at Workiva, one of the largest tech employers in Ames. His passion for the arts and civic involvement bridges the gap between Reliable Street and city officials. DeGeest witnesses daily the necessity of a place that attracts and entertains highly talented young employees to ensure new business growth for the future of the city.

Alex Braidwood is a sound artist, media designer & design educator.  He has recently been an artist in residence in an Australian National Park, on an Iowa farm and at a mid-western biological field research station. Alex has exhibited work, led creative technology workshops, lectured on his research process, and performed live at a variety of events throughout the US, Europe and Asia. He is currently Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design, Sustainable Design and Human Computer Interaction programs at Iowa State University and is co-director of the artist-in-residence program at the Iowa Lakeside Laboratory field research station.