Staff, Board & Artists
Jessica Angel is a visual artist and arts educator. Her recent projects take over architectural interiors, exploring the possibility of visual illusion and space transformation with the use of perspective. She address a nontraditional experience of space, using mural painting, large scale drawing interventions and wallpapering, creating immersive environments that bring people closer to imagination and to the experience of unconventional sensations, enabling a disorienting encounter with reality.
Her last solo project in 2014, at the AC Institute in NYC, enabled forms of collaboration among sciences, philosophy, music, art and new media. She was invited to represent Colombia as an artist in residence at the 2015 Vancouver Biennale to continue these collaborative and socially engaging endevours. While living in New York City Jessica has been awarded the BRIC Media Arts Fellowship and the Cooper Union Summer Residency (2012), City Walls (2010) with the Brooklyn Arts Council and BOFFO-NY Artist in Residence (2009). She has exhibited solo at Juan Salas Gallery (2013), the Museum of Modern Art of Bucaramanga (2008), at Casas Riegner Gallery (2006 and 2009) amongst other. Her work has been showcased in group shows both locally and abroad in cities like Bogota, New York, Miami, Washington, La Paz and Mexico City.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Micaela%20Anaya.JPGbody
Self-taught, Chicago-born, artist Micaela Anaya has been cultivating her craft for fifteen years. Her figurative works, painted with a deep and vivid palette, speak to the social realist tradition of her family’s native Mexico. The subject matter is at once an exaltation of the sacred feminine and a challenge to the systems of oppression that seek to diminish it. Micaela believes in art as a necessary means of individual expression and a collective means for social change.
You may find Micaela’s art online at https://micaelaanaya.carbonmade.com/namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Ashton%20Agbomenou%20%282%29.JPGbody
Ashton Agbomenou is painter filmmaker from Harlem New York. His work seeks to explore peoples relationship’s with their environments and the ideas and policies that shape the way they interact with them. Ashton has previously worked with Matte Projects, MTV, Interview Magazine, Reebok, and sculptor Stephen Antonson. Currently he resides in Harlem where he freelances as a videographer and portrait artist. He is classically trained in oil painting and holds a BFA in Film Animation and Video from the Rhode Island School of Design.
Raúl is a muralist and illustrator whose work focuses on redefining the idea of identity and questioning societal roles in the world. In addition to working as a visual arts facilitator, Ayala has worked on murals and other artistic projects in Ecuador, New York, London, Portugal, Mexico, and Spain. He holds a B.F.A. from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Vincent%20Ballentine_Artist.JPGbody
Vince Ballentine received his BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, and continued education in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Cleveland Institute of Art. He has been trained in Illustration, Graphic Arts, Film/Video production and Art Education. Since graduating Ballentine has been a successful graphic designer for Hybrid Apparel and Fortune Fashions both based in Los Angeles. His paintings have been exhibited in Bo Bridges and Mid-City Arts galleries also located in southern California. Ballentine's canvas became bigger when he began painting murals, which lead himto New York to work with SpreadartNYC, Five Pointz creative and Groundswell. He was also able to edit a feature length documentary, Afraid of dark, which was showcased in such locations as the LIU Film Festival, Pomona College and the Chicago Cultural Center. Along Ballentine's travels he has worked with organizations such as Progressive Arts Alliance that went into schools and low-income settings to teach kids/adults art after their programs were cut from the budget. He believes that nothing is impossible with a proper plan of action. No one is lost when someone has left footprints. Ballentine encourages others to make their mark and pay it forward!namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/JoelBergner_Artist.jpgbody
Joel Bergner’s street paintings can be spotted across the globe, from the U.S. to Brazil, Cuba, Kenya, Poland, Mexico, Mozambique, El Salvador, Cape Verde and in the Middle East, where he facilitated projects in a Syrians in a refugee camp in Jordan and with Israeli and Palestinian youth in Jerusalem. Joel’s murals and canvases feature his trademark eclectic mix of vibrant colors and intense imagery, exploring social topics and presenting the stories of those who are marginalized by society. He organizes public art initiatives with youth and communities around the world battling a variety of challenging life situations including incarceration, armed conflict, mental and physical disabilities, homelessness and social exclusion. Participants learn valuable life skills and form healthy bonds with the wider community, creating public art that gives them voice in a society that ignores or rejects them.
- namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/LeolaBermanzohn_Artist.jpgbodyLeola Bermanzohn found her calling when she created her first mural in 2001. Titled "Women Warriors," this piece was featured on VH1 and published in On the Wall: Four Decades of Community Murals in New York City. Other prominent mural works include a solo exhibit at The Jewish Museum New York and Emma Goldman's portrait in "When Women Pursue Justice." In addition to portraits, she makes paintings of abstract animist forms. Bermanzohn is from Brooklyn, where she also works as a Pilates instructor.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/CrystalBruno_Artist.jpgbody
Crystal Bruno is an illustrator, muralist, and teaching artist born, raised, and based in New York City. Her work serves and celebrates women of color and communities of color. Her vibrant organic urban styles merge the intersections of culture, gender, spirit, and inner city life. Bruno has worked with several pioneering non-profit organizations serving local communities through dynamic youth programs. For five years Bruno was the Visual Arts Instructor at EL PUENTE, an afterschool community center in the heart of Bushwick, Brooklyn. As artist-in-residence and creative consultant at Girls for Gender Equity (GGE), Bruno transformed programmatic spaces and GGE headquarters. For almost a decade she has been an enthusiastic student, practitioner, and mentor in the rich legacy of Mural Art. Beginning in 2008, she has facilitated an assortment of public art projects all over New York City with Groundswell. With youth development at the heart of her work, she continues her practice as a teaching artist while furthering her studies at Parsons The New School for Design.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/default_images/MissingProfileImage.jpgbody
Christopher Cardinale is a graphic novelist and muralist but really he just likes to make images about things that matter to him. He grew up in five states from Ohio to New Mexico. While living in Guatemala and Mexico his work was inspired by encampments of striking workers and anarchist punk collectives. He has been publishing comics since 2001 when his first visual narrative appeared in World War 3 Illustrated Magazine. Since 1996, Christopher has collaborated on and led large-scale mural projects in a diverse range of communities in New Mexico, New York City, Italy, Greece and Mexico. His work addresses such diverse themes as labor organizing history, cyclist and pedestrian rights, post-Katrina New Orleans and his experiences working in the jail at Rikers Island.
Christopher illustrated the graphic novel, “Mr. Mendoza’s Paintbrush,” by Luis Alberto Urrea. It was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as one of 2010’s Best Books for Teens. He also illustrated “Which Side Are You On? The story of a song,” by George Ella Lyon which received the Aesop Prize from The American Folklore Society and The Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award.
He lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Sharon and their son, Macéo.
Art making and prime moving mostly, Julia Cocuzza is a Brooklyn-based painter, muralist, designer, printmaker, and educator born and raised in Reading, Pennsylvania. Her art often explores the loaded yet fleeting complexity and fragility of obsolete media, music, social interaction, language, and urban living. She’s smitten and haunted by fractured colors, broken lines, jagged perspectives, dissipating forms, repetition, outmoded objects, transit maps, memory, devastation, and other remains of day-to-day human biz. She completed her BFA from Syracuse University, MFA from Brooklyn College, and artist residencies with Wassaic Art Project (Wassaic, NY), Prairie Center for the Arts (Peoria, IL), and The Invisible Dog (Brooklyn, NY). She is also the Co-Founder and Creative Director of Griot Apparel, a Brooklyn-based “educational outfit” that promotes history, biography, visual art and story telling via the accessible medium of t-shirts. Fascinated with public art, murals, and graffiti since childhood, her professional concentration began in 2012 with a Mural Apprenticeship with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, where she continues to freelance. She has contributed to numerous major murals across Brooklyn and Philadelphia. In addition, she is an Adjunct Instructor at Brooklyn College and Guttman Community College (CUNY). Her free time is mostly spent dancing, spinning records, strap hanging, jay walking, and high fiving.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/DSCN0638.JPGbody
Yana Dimitrova is a Bulgarian artist who moved to the United States in 2002. She studied at the secondary School for Fine Arts “Acd. Ilia Petrov” in Sofia, Bulgaria and at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah and Atlanta, GA. Observing cultural and political differences, her large-scale explorations deal with ideas of immigration and social transformations and blur the perimeters of space. Dimitrova has exhibited in Eastern Europe, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the U.S.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/PROFILE.jpgbody
Born the second of six kids. The South Bronx is where he first opened his eyelids. A land shrouded in bright colored decay, the birthplace of graffiti and the hip-hop DJ! He paints fantasy worlds of elephants, and castles too! Accompanying this wonder is some whimsical truth. Charles has a voice that is seldom heard. A fusion of jazz, distorted guitars, and chirping birds.
Author and Illustrator of "Red, Yellow, Blue and a dash of White too!" and other picture books.
Stephano is a visual artist who draws from the history of social realism and Latinx and queer popular culture to unearth hidden narratives (personal and collective). His most recent work deals with childhood sexuality and repressed memories. He is interested in the aesthetics of social movements and the disruption of high-brow art spaces.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Marc%20Evan.jpgbody
Marc Evan is a Brooklyn based artist, illustrator, and designer working in print, television, film, and advertising. He has been featured in the Society of lllustrators and has exhibited in their Museum of American Illustration in NYC. Evan uses a variety of mediums in his practice up to and including pumpkins! As one of the preeminent professional pumpkin carvers of the world, he is a founder of Maniac Pumpkin Carvers.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Demetrius%20Felder.JPGbody
Paula Frisch is a printmaker, mixed media artist, educator and community organizer. Her work is driven by themes and questions surrounding cultural and environmental change. She is inspired by the visual patterns and rhythms that comprise communities, cultures and the physical world around us. Paula has led community arts programs in New York, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma, implemented mural initiatives, taught art students of all ages, and exhibited work in numerous shows around the country. Paula graduated from Allegheny College with a double major in Studio Art and Environmental Studies. Paula was born and raised in New York City.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Angel%20Garcia.JPGbody
Angel Garcia is a local artist from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, where he was born and raised. He is currently attending the Fashion Institute of Technology where he is pursuing a BFA degree in Illustration. Garcia has worked with Groundswell since high school. During his time as a youth participant with Groundswell, Garcia worked on various projects focused on topics ranging from immigration to gun violence. Some of the projects he contributed to include “Building Better Tomorrows” and “Piece Out Peace In.” He is now an Assistant Artist at Groundswell and is looking forward to being more involved in his community through the use of art as a tool for social change.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Jazmine%20Hayes.JPGbody
Born and raised in Brooklyn, Jazmine Hayes is a BFA student at Queens College. She began her work at Groundswell in the summer of 2011 as a youth artist. Since then Hayes has excelled and become one of Groundswell’s assistant artists. Her personal work focuses on the empowerment of women and diseases that affect the woman’s body.
Lehna Huie is a multi-disciplinary fine artist, arts educator, cultural worker and curator. With a continued practice in studio arts, Huie is committed to the fusion of arts and social change. Through being a teaching artist to students of all ages, as well as curating socially conscious art exhibitions, Huie has dedicated her life to recording life and memory through artistic expression. Her belief in the power of “multi-vocal” art draws through the rhythmical movements of her three homes: NYC, current; Jamaica, familial; and the African Diaspora; ancestral, in her work. She believes in art as a medium for critique, transformation, and celebration. Huie graduated from the School of Visual Arts as a Fine Arts BFA in 2010.
Additionally, she is working on a documentary film project that intimately explores the divine feminine through the individual stories of radical Black women in liberation movements.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20DonChristian%20Jones.JPGbody
DonChristian Jones is a painter and musician from Philadelphia who is currently residing in Harlem. A graduate of Wesleyan University with a BFA in Studio Art, Jones is a recipient of the University's prestigious Black Alumni Council Prize. He has recently performed at MoMA PS1 and at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where he was also involved with the "Blues for Smoke" exhibition in 2013. Jones is self-proclaimed proponent of visual and experiential learning and a believer in "speaking and meaning things into existence." He also loves words and sound and is working on incorporating the two into one another through his art practice.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Iris%20Loughran.JPGbody
Iris Ward Loughran is an artist, urbanist, and organizer. She graduated in 2012 from University of California San Diego, with a BA in Urban Studies and Planning and a Minor in Visual Arts. Her research on participatory planning and community engagement, coupled with her involvement in on-campus activism, inspired her to pursue a career as Community Organizer. After a brief stint organizing in Brownsville, Brooklyn, she is now exploring different intersections of art and social justice. Iris currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, where she is inspired by urban landscapes, her multi-racial identity, and public space.
Danielle McDonald is an artist, NYC public school arts teacher, and community worker. She has collaborated with schools, shelters, cultural institutions, universities, facilities for incarcerated teens, community centers, scenic shops, and walls throughout Philadelphia and New York City. She received a BFA in painting and an MA in arts education from the University of Delaware and NYU, and continues to pursue her growth as an artist and teacher through community collaborations, travel grants, and artist residencies. She is a passionate doodler and illustrator. She has directed community murals for various organizations throughout Philadelphia and NYC and has designed multiple sets for Opera Delaware and small independent films. Danielle believes art is vital in our ability to create a more just and sustainable future, and strive for ways to build creative personal and community spaces to realize this possibility.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Alexis%20Mena.JPGbody
Alexis Mena is an Afro-Latino interdisciplinary artist, born and raised in East New York. From an early age, Alexis gravitated towards art as a means of escape and meditation to cope with the day-to-day struggle of living in poverty. Introduced to graffiti in his adolescence, he began gracing the walls of New York’s landscapes and seeking refuge in the city’s transit system. Unhappy with the education of the New York public school system, he decided to self educate. By studying his environment, he acquired an interest in architecture, design, people, philosophy, class, and culture. In 2011, Alexis and a team of artists opened Kustom Journey, a business incubator that served local artists and the community as an event space and consignment-based retail shop. This past summer Alexis served as the project manager of Mi Tierra, an urban planning initiative that transformed a 10,000 sq. ft. vacant lot in East New York into a vibrant green space available for use by its underserved community. The park was built with sustainable practices, including the installation of solar panels and use of recycled materials for the design components and features a miniature golf course, a stage, and an outdoor gallery. Alexis currently teaches art history and studio art at Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan and is affiliated with various schools and non-profits in tri-state area.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/IMG_2549.JPGbody
Eric Miles is an artist and veteran educator who has worked as a visual arts instructor, arts administrator and community muralist for over twenty years. The focus of his career has been in support of New York City’s most underserved high school students as an award-winning teacher. In this mission, he helped found the theme-based art school BHSVA in the Bronx, administered a multi-disciplinary arts program at UAMA in Brooklyn, and led Pratt’s Institute’s student-teacher training program. Mr. Miles has also been an advocate for youth voice through his leadership in community-based mural projects locally and internationally.
Mr. Miles holds a BA in Art History and a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and Arts Education from the Pratt Institute. His leadership in the field of arts education has included experience as a writer of the NYC Visual Arts Curricula and the NYC Art Regents exams, and as a trainer for the NYC Blueprint for the Arts. Mr. Miles has presented his work at speaking events, including at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and has received numerous awards for his dedication and success as an educator.
Mr. Miles is currently working as a lead muralist for Groundswell NYC and lives with his wife and two sons in Brooklyn, NY.
Joiri Minaya is a multidisciplinary artist and arts educator. Her work deals with identity, otherness, self-consciousness and displacement, navigating binaries in search of in-betweenness and investigating the female body within constructions of identity, social space and hierarchies.
Minaya graduated from the Escuela Nacional de Artes Visuales (ENAV) in Santo Domingo, D. R. in 2009, the Altos de Chavón School of Design in La Romana, D.R. in 2011 and Parsons the New School for Design in 2013. She also attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in the summer of 2013.
Exhibitions include a solo show at the Centro de la Imagen in Santo Domingo and group shows in New York, Boston, Spain, Dominican Republic and Trinidad and Tobago. Minaya is the recipient of a main award in the XXV Concurso de Arte Eduardo León Jimenes in 2014 and the Great Prize in the XXVII National Biennial of the Museum of Modern Art in Santo Domingo in 2013. She has participated in the 2015 NYFA Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, the 2014 L-EST European Performing Arts, Transmedia Lab at MA Scène Nationale, Montbéliard, France, the 2013 Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture arts residency and will begin a residency at Guttenberg Arts this winter.
Minaya lives and works in Manhattan, US, maintaining a strong artistic presence in the Dominican Republic.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Lina%20Montoya.JPGbody
Based out of Brooklyn, Jessie Novik is a healing arts facilitator, teaching artist, and muralist with a masters degree in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute. She earned her BFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2009 where she concentrated in painting and sculpture. Her artwork has been exhibited in countless galleries and public locations, primarily throughout New York and Connecticut. Drawn toward fantastical realism, Jessie loves to paint landscapes and figures based on observation and travel, filtered through her rich imagination. Besides making art and fostering creative expression in others, Jessie has a third degree black belt in karate and teaches self-defense classes to children and adults. Whether it be visual or martial arts centered, Jessie is passionate about teaching practical skills to young people and modeling how to process feelings in a constructive way.
Marina Perez-Wong a.k.a. Micho P. Wong is based in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Born and raised in San Francisco's Mission District, she was influenced by the muralists, craft makers and social activist that lived in the neighborhood. After completing her Bachelors of Arts degree at the California College of Art & Crafts, she began her career as a public artist and art educator with a strong emphasis on street art and community. In 2013 Marina co founded Twin Walls Mural Company along with her long time colleague and best friend, Elaine Chu.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Jess%20Poplawski.JPGbody
Jessica Poplawski holds a BFA in printmaking from Pratt Institute. She has worked with Groundswell as both an artist and a staff member for over four years. A Chicago native, she is now a Brooklyn-based artist involved in the self-publishing and independent music communities in NYC.
Jose de Jesus Rodriguez holds a degree in Fine Art with a concentration in painting and printmaking from University of California, Santa Cruz. He has a special interest in using art as a vehicle to socially engage youth and communities. As of summer 2014, he is an assistant artist at Groundswell.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Alison%20Rutsch_Artist.JPGbody
Alison Rutsch is an artist and educator from Silver Spring, Maryland. She spent the past seven years in Providence, RI where she moved for the Brown/RISD dual degree program, studying Illustration and Education. Much of her education happened outside of college, working with children and youth at after school and summer programs including a radical studio space for teens called New Urban Arts. Working on the fringes of Providence's segregated public schools made her wonder about what public school is for. She spent a year interviewing Providence public school students about how they would like to see their schools change and making art about “dream schools” together. While many of the young people she's worked with experience marginalization in school and beyond, she sees art as a crucial tool for youth agency--a way to think critically about the world, imagine different possible futures, and act to create change. In her own art practice, Alison draws the world the way she wants it to be, creating surreal, utopian images of her neighborhood where people are brave, wild, and care for one another. She paints, prints, cartoons, and is the editor of the New Folklore Anthology, an annual comics collection featuring dozens of artists. She recently moved to Brooklyn and is so excited to continue her work with young people here and to be part of the beautiful, powerful projects Groundswell does all over the city.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Victor%20A%20SaintHilaire.JPGbody
Victor A. Saint-Hilaire is a multidisciplinary artist residing in Yonkers, NY. He received his BFA at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Victor has a passion for knowledge and believes it to be a powerful tool for personal and social change. His artwork often revolves around spirituality and other concepts depicted via storytelling. You can find him drawing people on the train or attending museums and galleries to practice his craft and get inspired.
Chris Soria is a visual artist, illustrator, and professional creative who works in traditional, digital, and mixed-media. His concentration in the visual arts began very early in childhood with the encouragement of family, friends, and teachers alike, later attending Parsons The New School for Design to study Illustration and Art Education. In addition to creating for art’s sake, Soria also services outside interests and has illustrated for clients such as MTV, BET, Mark Ecko, Zoo York, Code and Theory, Yankee Stadium, and many more. His murals decorate walls throughout New York.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Misha%20Tyutyunik.JPGbody
Misha Tyutyunik is a Ukranian-born contemporary painter, who moved to the United States when he was seven. A BFA graduate of Pratt Institute, Tyutyunik paints, creates murals, and works as a graphic designer for companies such as A&E Television Networks, ENK, Brooklyn Arts Council, and Coca Cola. Since the spring of 2009, Tyutyunik and a partner have operated a business called Collective Consciousness NYC, providing creative services, mounting exhibitions, and promoting the arts. Tyutyunik has exhibited his artwork throughout New York City, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. He currently lives and paints in Brooklyn, New York.
Esteban del Valle is an interdisciplinary artist currently living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He completed his BFA at Southern Illinois University, where he received a 2007 REACH Award and became a McNair Scholar, and his MFA at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2009, where he received a Presidential Scholarship and the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship. Del Valle has produced murals in New York, as well as in Chicago, IL, San Antonio, TX, and Kansas City, MO. Exhibitions and publications include the 2009 New Insight exhibition at Art Chicago, Geography of Imagination curated by Phong Bui in New York City, and the East/West 2009: Emerging Artist Exchange at the CoCA in Seattle. Residencies include a 2009 Hub-Bub residency in Spartanburg, SC; and a 2010 Institute for Sustainable Living, Art, and Natural Design in Michigan. Most recently, del Valle was a 2011 participant at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Nadya_Voynovskaya.jpgbody
Nadya was born in St. Petersburg, Russia and raised primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. Beginning in 2011, she was immersed in the mural making process through True Colors Mural Project, a public art program focused on developing site-specific murals that incorporate themes of social and environmental justice, culture, and collective good. She was able to collaborate with various communities throughout Berkeley and Oakland, as well as assist in teaching the mural making process.
Nadya is currently completing her BFA in Illustration at School of Visual Arts. In her personal practice she is exploring painting and collage, and draws inspiration from her bicultural reality, Russian folk art, and the natural world. She seeks to combine aspects of both the ancient and contemporary, challenge power structures and celebrate that which affirms life.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Artist%20-%20Nadia%20Wescott.jpgbody
Nadia Westcott grew up in Boston, MA and received her BA from the University of Vermont. She is currently living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Born of Indonesian and American heritage, she was raised in a culturally rich and diverse environment, where her family traveled the world learning and collecting cultural artifacts that inspired her curiosities and subconsciously enabled her to create her own iconography inspired by the world and cultures around her. Through meditation and inner stillness, the line she creates is a spontaneous story, that unfolds a universal aesthetic informed by African and Asian textiles, Pacific North West totems, Javanese shadow puppets, and Japanese Calligraphy. Her work is a conversational melting pot of culture, her own influence and heritage, as well as the spaces and communities that her art occupies.
Katie Yamasaki earned her BA from Earlham College and an MFA degree in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Yamasaki teaches fourth through eighth grade art at Ballet Tech, The New York City Public School for Dance. Prior to her graduate studies, she also taught Spanish in both the New York City and Detroit public schools. Yamasaki's murals can be found in schools, libraries, churches, theatres, and outdoor walls in New York City, Detroit, New Jersey, and Indiana. Her illustrated books for children range in theme from imaginative, whimsical tales, to weighty historical fiction and biography. She is deeply devoted to the use of public art and education as a vehicle for communication and social change.namehttps://www.groundswell.nyc/sites/default/files/Debra%20Zechowski.jpgbody
Debra Zechowski is a large-scale painter/draftsperson focusing in the depiction of her working-class family. She investigates memory and nostalgia through revisiting found photographs of their domestic life. Growing up in Greenpoint, Brooklyn (on the boarder of Williamsburg) gentrification has significantly impacted her family. In response to a growing sense of cultural erasure, Zechowski boldly asserts complex images of their working class identity.
Debra completed MFA study at CUNY Queens College with a focus in painting and drawing. Having auditioned for and attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Arts, she has a first hand experience of the benefits of rigorous arts education within public school curriculum. She understands and appreciates the importance of artistic outlets for adolescents struggling with personal and political complexity. In her upcoming work with Groundswell, she aims to facilitate a sense of agency within the artistic expression of her students.