Alexis Marnel is known for her energy and creative approaches in the field of arts programming. Named Coty's 'American Original' Woman (Sept-Oct 2001), for her work melding arts and social services, she is a founding member and director of Artists Collective for Social Change. With a BA in Arts-Human and Social Services, Adelphi University, graduate courses in Social Work at Fordham University, and professional jazz-modern dance training she has worked over the past 18 years with public agencies and schools to bring performing arts to youth. Her social service experience includes group home and transitional living facility management, case management, fund raising, grant writing, community outreach, and arts program planning. Ms. Marnel is a highly in demand teaching artist and arts education/social service consultant who has developed and presented performing arts programs as recreational therapy for children and teens at a number of facilities in the New York/ New Jersey area, including conflict resolution and team effort as a means of conflict resolution, dance as a medium of expression for disturbed adolescents, dance to foster healthy body/self integration for children who have suffered sexual abuse, dance instruction for developmentally disabled young adults, dance history to promote cultural awareness and a cooperative dialogue, and helping youngsters to create their own work based on the concepts of compassion, diversity, peace, and hope. Through her work with the ACSC she has created multi disciplinary projects for at-risk youth living in various facilities and produced various plays and readings that raise important social questions. This includes "Words for the Journey” by Arthur Wilson (in conjunction with VSA Arts of New Jersey) probing the hearts and minds of people with disabilities and how those around them react. Over the past four years Ms. Marnel has been concentrating on creating music and movement workshops with percussionist Ron McBee to enhance educational and life skills learning for children and young adults with autism. Ms Marnel has been featured in the national magazine Mia in June of 2006, recently on New York One as “Person of the Week” while ACSC has been discussed twice in Eric Booth’s Teaching Artist Journal. She is working with agencies and artists in China, Kenya, and Uganda to visit their countries in 2009 to work with autistic children - those who have been abandoned, kidnapped, or orphaned and their caretakers how to utilize the arts to generate an understanding of education, peace, trust, and the concepts of grief and loss. In addition ACSC artists will work with elder artists and younger artists so that the traditions live on and a cultural exchange will be conducted over a three year period to create a multicultural show of understanding, tolerance, and diversity. On her own, Ms. Marnel’s latest projects include producing Niles Ford (artistic director of Urban Dance Collective) latest work, “Invisible People”; working as part of the Broadway A list production team on the musical “All That Glitters” by Alexander De Jong; working with Tony nominee Ted Levy (Jelly’s Last Jam) on two musicals that present African American jazz and tap legends; acting as movement director for the rock musical, “ Soul Searching” by Matt, in its preparation for an Off-Broadway run; and heading up two for profit arts ventures: Cocoa Bee Productions (for profit theater and film production company) and Green Mango Artist Services (for management and artists services representing artists of diverse ethnic backgrounds.) Ms. Marnel is working on her own play, Greek Scorpio Moon in Peri-Menopause Rising and takes on an occasional acting role.
Dominique Cieri is a graduate of Rose Bruford College in Kent, England where she majored in Theater. She worked as an actress in regional repertory in England and the United States. Dominique has been designing and teaching playwriting and theatre workshops in New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey for such organizations as Theater for a New Audience in New York, Philadelphia Young Playwrights, Playwrights Theater of New Jersey, New Jersey Youth Theatre, The New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Arts Horizons, Artist Teacher Institute and New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Ms. Cieri’s award winning play, Pitz and Joe, has been produced in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Essays on her teaching experience have been published in The New York Times and The Daily Record. Along with historian Gabriela Weiss, she co-authored the book, From the Attic, To the classroom, To the Stage: The Holocaust. Dominique’s theatre workshops range from four-day playwriting in the schools, to forty-day residencies. She adapts non-fiction based on the Holocaust into full length plays written and performed by eighth graders at Yavneh Academy in Paramus, New Jersey. This year's play will be performed at The John Harms Center in Englewood, New Jersey. Under her guidance and in association with Playwrights Theater and The Juvenile Justice Commission of New Jersey, a festival of plays, music and poetry generated from workshops with incarcerated boys ages 13-18 will be presented at the African Globe Theatre in Newark, New Jersey.
Catlin Cobb (Brooklyn, NY) Artistic Director has choreographed since 1980 for her company, solo work, theater groups, and for small repertory companies in the United States. Her work has been presented in theaters around NYC including numerous productions at Dance Theater Workshop, Dia Center for the Arts, The Whitney Museum Equitable Center, Joyce Soho, in small theaters in the United States and company residencies at the American Dance Festival and the Yellow Springs Institute, PA. From 1984-91 she toured extensively throughout the United States performing and teaching in small communities as a soloist sponsored by Affiliate Artists. She has taught as a guest artist in leading dance departments around the country and as a teaching artist for organizations addressing special needs and at-risk populations in addition to mainstream populations of public schools. She has taught in Europe, including Finland where she was a Fulbright Scholar to the Theater Academy in Helsinki in 1994. Her dances have also been presented in Paris, Bulgaria, Hungary, Japan, Jordan, Tunisia, and Sweden and supported by various grants including fellowships from New York Foundation for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts and Art Matters. In addition she has co-created two 16mm black and white films, a video Left-handed Woman, and published articles about dance. She is the artistic director of the not-for-profit organization American Theatrical Motion Art which produces the work of Catlin Cobb Dance/Performance, and is a founding member of the Artists’ Collective for Social Change.
Natalie Alleyne was born in Brooklyn New York in 1963. Since early childhood,
she has always had an interest in art. She attended Pratt Institute
for a summer program at the age of eleven, where she won a trophy for
most creative art project. That summer inspired her to pursue a career
in the art field. She attended Art and Design High School, and the School
of Visual Arts for her Bachelors degree, where she majored in Advertising
and Graphic Design. From 1986 - 1990, Alleyne migrated to the island of St. Maarten, in
the Caribbbean. It wasn’t until then that her fire for painting
became ignited. The colors, patterns and texture of island life became
the backdrop for her canvases. Alleyne returned to the States in 1990. She didn’t think seriously
of exhibiting until becoming a teacher with the New York City Board
of Education, and participated in a group show compiled of educators.
Before the show even opened to the public, the painting was sold. Alleyne has actively pursued a career in art ever since. Her work has
transpired from figurative form using light and color, to a more textured,
abstract pattern. Although figures still play an integral part in her
painting, they are used as a vehicle to express emotions. Lines, shapes
and texture convey the inner workings of the soul.
Ron McBee is a professional percussionist who has been performing and teaching for over twenty years. He’s appeared on television shows such as the Conan O’Brien Show, Live w/Regis and Kathy Lee and the David Letterman Show. Mr. McBee composed and performed the percussion segments for the original New York, London, and Los Angeles productions of The Colored Museum; Blade To The Heat by Oliver Mayer presented at The Public Theatre; and the music for the currently touring Harriet’s Return, among others. Ron has been a guest artist with the Urban Bush Women and performed with the Charles Moore Dance Theater for many years. He has performed all over the world including The Moscow Jazz Festival and was one of twelve American artists selected to work with twelve Indonesian artists on Body Tjak touring the U.S. and Indonesia. He can be heard on recordings with Sun Ra, Hassan Hakmoun and on Jon Hendrick’s Grammy winning Freddie Freeloader. Mr. McBee is also co-producer, composer, and performer on the recordings of Heritage O.P. inc.. He enjoys teaching and regularly designs and conducts workshops and residencies around the United States. His repertoire is constantly expanding and includes congas, djembe, music of the U.S.A., Senegal, Haiti, and Brazil, shekere, caxixi, rain stick, berimbau, and agogo.
Xenobia Bailey has been featured in exhibitions at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and at the Stefan Stux Gallery, Studio Museum in Harlem, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York.
Howard Berelson received his Bachelor of Industrial Design from Pratt Institute in 1962. He left the field of industrial design in 1968 and became an illustrator of children's books, both trade and text. In 1989 he studied printmaking and discovered personal vision. Exhibitions include: Johnson & Johnson World Headquarters; The Bergen Museum; Fairleigh Dickinson University; Ben Shahn Galleries at William Paterson College; The Interchurch center, NY; The Gallery at Presbyterian Church, Franklin Lakes, NJ; Passaic Community College; Children's Book Repository Archives, Rutgers University; Rabbet Gallery (New Brunswick); Artbuilders (Jersey City); Printmaking Council (Georgian Court College); Aljira (Newark); Printmaking Affiliates at John Harms; Tribecca 148 (NY); City without Walls (Newark); Phylis Rothman Gallery, FDU (Madison); Noyes Museum (Oceanville); Pleiades, (NY); Gallerie Renee Denise (Chicago). Howard is in the permanent collection of The Bergen Museum and the Children's Book Repository, Rutgers University.
Vincent B. Ector has worked as a drummer with jazz luminaries that include Freddie Hubbard, Gloria Lynne, Charles Earland, Bobby Watson, Grover Washington Jr. Most recently, Vincent produced his first CD as a leader entitled "Rhythm Master".This recording features Eddie Henderson on trumpet and two of Vincent's original compositions including his performance on drum set, djembe, and sangba African drums. Vincent produced a tribute recording for the late Charles Earland and can be heard on other recordings by Jimmy Bruno. He performs regularly in New York City with several ensembles such as The Spirit of Life Ensemble, The Next Legacy Orchestra (Brooklyn Conservatory of Music) and The Jason Linder Big Band. An accomplished musician, Mr. Ector has been featured as a Clinician at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Lincoln University and is currently the President and Executive Director of Arts For Kids Inc., a non-profit arts-in-education company providing workshops performances and professional development for schools in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. (www.artsforkids.net). He is also a sought after Artist-in-Residence for Arts Horizons Inc. of Englewood, New Jersey. Most recently, Mr. Ector was a featured teaching artist in the 200 Harcourt/Brace Media Literacy Video Series which will be distributed nationally, as well as internationally. Vincent is currently in demand as a recording musician and as a performer at jazz festivals throughout the world with numerous international artists such as, Gloria Lynne, The Spirit of Life Ensemble and Bobby Watson.
Rodney Gilbert has over twenty-five years of experience in theatre, working in various capacities such as actor, director, assistant director, producer, stage manager, arts administrator, and arts educator. Has had the pleasure of working at such theatres as Broadway’s Royale Theatre, Alaska Rep, Arkansas Rep, Cornell Center of the Arts, and The Duke TheatreNew Jersey Performing Arts Center, Wolf Traps ELTA, Playwright’s Theatre of New Jersey, The Newark Museum, Sharon Miller Academy of the Arts, The Artists Collective For Social Change, as well as develop programs for Newark Housing Authority and New Community Corporation. He is the founder of Yendor Productions Inc which produces art and educational programs.
Gaston Jean-Baptiste, known as "Bonga" is a musical virtuoso who has been performing and studying traditional Haitian drum, song and dance and song since the age of seven. He began playing drums in his family's peristil in his hometown of Croix-des-Mission in La Plaine, an area of Haiti known for culture and history. Bonga is regarded as a master of the Afro-Haitian drum with an extensive repertoire of pan- African rhythms. A dynamic performer, accompanist, session player and educator, Bonga works on stage, in the recording studio and in educational settings. He is one of the few drum experts and craftsmen outside of Haiti who continues to build traditional drums using centuries old techniques. He has performed at numerous worldwide venues and he is a featured performer with Grace Jones, Dan Zanes and Urban Tap. His drums opened the NY premiere of the Rolling Stones "Voodoo Lounge" tour and they are prominently featured on recordings by Wyclef Jean and Salif Keita. Bonga’s second CD, Ayiti Afrika (2006) received critical acclaim. Featuring cellist Rufus Cappadocia, multi- instrumentalist Peck Allmond and Guinean balafonist Famoro Dioubate, Ayiti Afrika explores the African roots of Haitian music.
Yah'Ya Kamate is a dancer, instructor, choreographer, masquerade artists and fire-eater from Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire/West Africa. He is a former dancer with the National Ballet Cote D'Ivoire, Cambodgen of N'guatta Dolikro Dance Company (choreographer 1989-1990), Affoubenou Sakassou Dance Company (1990-1992). Djensia Group (1991-1993), and Fotemoban Dance (Ivory Coast, West Africa). His current performance credits include Ballet D'Afrique Djoniba, MASK Dance Company, and solo work with various artists in the New York metropolitan area. He teaches at the Limon Center, Mark Morris Dance Group and Alvin Ailey and is a sought after teaching artist for Young Audiences New York and Arts Horizons. He is also one of the choreographers for the Charles Moore Dance Company. Yah'Ya has been performing and choreographing with The Seventh Principle performance company since 1997.
Mark Levine became a member of the Playwright/Director Unit of The Actor's Studio in 1992. His one-act play Catch a Falling Star was produced by The Studio, directed by Patrick O' Neal and subsequently was produced at INTAR . His play The Opening Of Mrs. Diaz was workshopped at The Actor's Studio under the direction of Estelle Parsons and given a reading by Joe Brancato, Artistic Director of Penquin Rep. He is a member of The Cherry Lane Alternative of The Cherry Lane Theatre and The Drama League . He is also an Associate Member of The Dramatist's Guild. His play Mutual Bond is being produced at The Triangle Theatre in New York, 2004 and Catch A Falling Star will be read at the Action Point Theatre in London as well as the American Comedy Institute in New York in 2004. Mark was commissioned by Ellen Burstyn to write a play with a World War II setting. His play Eyes Right has been in development at The Actor's Studio under the direction of Peter Masterson. Last year, a reading of Eyes Right was done for Gordon Davidson, artistic director of the Mark Taper Forum. Two of Mark's one-act plays, Mutual Bond & Gravediggers have been published in London by Encounters Press. He has received productions at the Old Red Lion Theatre, The Grace, Cafe Theatre, Springfield Park Tavern and Etcetera Theatre Club. Mark recently co-produced and directed a ten minute film with New York University experimental film professor Darrell Wilson based on incarcerated New Jersey youth. He is also creating The Young Playwrights Program at the YMCA in Paterson, NJ. Mark teaches Drama through Arts Horizons, Playwright's Theatre Of New Jersey, Arts For Kids, Inc., and Theatre For A New Audience in New York. He has given numerous Professional Staff Development Workshops in Conflict Resolution Through Drama, has taught for ATI at Rutgers University, and has been a Guest Artist at City College and Francis Xavier College. In addition he has taught acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. At Playwrights Theater of New Jersey, he has co-developed a drama program for imprisoned youths through the Department of Juvenile Justice. With Dominique Cieri, he instructs incarcerated young men, ages 14-17, in playwriting,acting, and production, completing the residency with performances of the student work at a professional regional theater.
Randy James currently serves as a full-time Assistant Professor of Dance in the Dance Department at Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University. Randy James Dance Works, founded in 1992, has toured extensively throughout the eastern Seaboard. He received the New Jersey Governor's Award in Arts Education on May 29th in a ceremony in Trenton, New Jersey. The New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State honored him with a 1994-95 Choreography Fellowship in recognition of his artistic excellence. He has been a guest artist at various institutions including American Dance Festival, Jacob's Pillow, London Contemporary Dance Theatre and School, and in university dance departments. His company performed at The VII Annual International Contemporary Dance Conference and Performance Festival in Bytom, Poland and Krakow 2000. He has been awarded a position on the artist roster for the New Jersey State Council on the Arts' Artists Residency Program for the state school system. The company is recognized for its community-based residencies, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, and workshops benefiting people of every age. RJDW has received formal recognition and financial support has been granted from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Meet The Composer, Alliance for Arts Education/New Jersey and the Joyce Mertz- Gilmore Foundation, among others.
Misha McGlowan is a multi-media artists. Her primary medium is jewelry and/or wearable art. She works extensively with clay and wire, which often results in something she calls,"Wearable Sculpture." Misha's jewelry has received worldwide recognition and can currently be found in The Studio Museum in Harlem as well as several specialty stores in New York, Michigan, and the Washington D.C. area. Misha regularly shows her work in exhibits, craft events, and private showings throughout the country. In addition, Misha is a writer and aspiring author. She writes and performs music and has put together a 10 song CD of original songs with musician-producer Steve Greenwall.
Monique is a fashion and Accessory designer who designs and sculpts unique hand painted cakes that push the boundaries of the celebration centerpiece. Originally from The American Paradise of ST.Thomas USVI and formally trained in the Fashion and Accessory Field she is fond of baking, Art, and many creative mediums from a young age. She has a business designing and making handbags and custom made footwear. She also teaches Fashion and Accessory design as well as cake decorating to childre in local school districts, fulfilling her love of working with children. About a year ago Monique decided to take her creativity to another level. She bought several cake decorating books and practiced many different decorating techniques. Monique states that she didn't go to culinary school but buying all those books were a bit costly, yet less expensive then a culinary school. "I am self-taught, although a lot of it came naturally - other things took a while to perfect, like my color mixing and cake painting techniques. As a child I never really played with clay so I had to practicing molding the frosting. Now I can sculpt a cake into anything from a car to a handbag and shoes. Any design that's possible to imagine can be made to order. I started having cake tastings with my close friends then I did some cakes and cookies for friends, church and special events, which showcased some of my creations." Monique’s Unique Cakes was then born and is based in Brooklyn, New York.
Ted Sod was Artistic Associate/Director of Education from 1998-2001 at George Street Playhouse (GSP) in New Brunswick, NJ. At GSP, he has directed AGNES OF GOD (2004), A NIGHT IN TUNISIA (2002), TALLEY’S FOLLY (2001) and WIT on the main stage (named one of the 10 best productions in NJ of 2000 and best play new to NJ by The Star Ledger) as well as numerous touring shows. Sod is also an occasional playwright (“Satan and Simon DeSoto”/Heinemann Books); actor (Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent (NBC), Jonny Zero (FOX), 3 productions of Guare's "Landscape of The Body" (NYC, LA, Seattle); and filmmaker (produced, wrote and acted in "Crocodile Tears," now available on DVD). He has implemented numerous in-class, after school, teacher development and family workshops and residencies for various theatre companies: Roundabout, New Victory, Theatre For A New Audience, TDF, Seattle Rep, George Street Playhouse, Artists’ Collective for Social Change,etc. These workshops focus on arts standards, playwriting, acting, directing, and using theatre in the classroom. He has impacted thousands of students throughout New York City, New Jersey and Washington State. Sod also functions as The Roundabout Theatre Company’s (RTC) education department dramaturge; where he implements pre- and post-show discussions, the lecture series and does interviews of generative and interpretive artists for RTC study guides.
Leslie Strongwater has studied at Circle in the Square, Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, British American Drama Academy, and Hampshire College,where she received her BA in theater studies and art history. After assistant directing Lone Wolf Tribe's production of BigTop Machine in 2004,she joined the company for three years, filling roles from assistant director to puppeteer. Her work has been shown at HERE arts center, The BRICK, Ontological-Hysteric, Dance Theater Workshop, Galapagos, Thirteenth Street Repertory, Manhattan Repertory Theatre, Mabou Mines and Dixon Place. She recently directed and produced for Obie-award-winning Peculiar WorksProject's East Village Fragments and Suzan Lori Park's 365 Days/365 Plays at the Public Theatre. Currently, she is the Director of Programming andCurator of Puppet BloK at Dixon Place. She is a proud to be a teaching artist for Arts Horizons and the Artist Collective for Social Change where she teaches Shakespeare and puppetry to students throughout the NJ/NYC public school system.
Arthur Theodore Wilson a poet-playwright, director, and educator. He received his B.A. in Humanities from the New School of Social Research, an M.A. In Philosophy at the University of London at Bedford College, and an M.A. In Social Studies Education from New York University. Arthur has been associated with Manhattan Community College, Hunter College, Long Island University, Drew University, New York University Graduate Plays and Musicals Department, and St. Mary’s University as an adjunct drama professor, playwright, and dramaturg. During the last 30 years he has been actively and professionally involved in private industry, community centers, multi-disciplined arts projects, and high schools. Arthur hastaught, acted, and directed for the theater; he has also coordinated programs in the arts and the humanities while facilitating liaisons among several arts institutions. He has appeared frequently on the radio and in various television documentaries. Most recently he was captured in action conducting master classes for junior high school students which focused on issues of teenage identity on a PBS documentary.