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Who We Are

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Meridith McNeal

ART YARD BKLYN is led by Meridith McNeal. Meridith is a Brooklyn-based artist, educator, curator, arts administrator and hula hooper. Meridith has over 20 years of experience in the field of arts education. She has served as Director of Education at Rush Arts and as Curator and Director of Education at Rotunda Gallery (BRIC) in Brooklyn. She has served as Visiting Professor in the Art and Design Education Department at Pratt Institute, and has taught at the Brooklyn Museum and P.S.1 Museum of Contemporary Art. Meridith holds a BFA, an MFA, and New York State teaching certification. She has curated over 90 exhibitions and is on the artist advisory board of Kentler International Drawing Space; she has also served on the advisory board the Coney Island Museum of and the Curatorial Committee of the Brooklyn Public Library. Meridith regularly exhibits her artwork in the United States and abroad. Her work is represented by Figureworks Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

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    Teaching Artist

    Claudia Alvarez

    Claudia was born in Nuevo Leon, Mexico, raised in California and now lives in New York City. Working in ceramics and painting and drawing, Claudia’s art explores identity through concepts of memory portraiture, delving into the way social, political, and psychological structures impact our behavior and personal interactions. Her artwork is widely exhibited in the United States, Europe, Canada, Mexico and Japan. Claudia is the recipient of many artists grants and artists residencies. In 2017 she was On-site Live in Las Galerías at El Museo Del Barrio in New York City. Claudia is Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt Institute and Lecturer at New York University.

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      Teaching Artist

      Flávia Berindoague

      received her B.F.A. from Escola Guignard in Brazil, a Post Baccalaureate in Contemporary Art from Universidade do Estado de Minas Gerais, Brazil, and an M.F.A. degree from Montclair State University. Her work has been exhibited internationally and she is included in public collections such as Museu de Arte Contemporânea de Campinas em São Paulo and Centro Cultural de Curvelo in Brazil. Her work address subjects like collective memory and oblivion. Born in Brazil, a country with a history of political and social instability, she uses metafictional narratives as a way to visualize the tensions of postmodern society. Her sculptures, installations and photographs articulate memory as a displacement of past into present


        Teaching Artist and CREATE Program Manager

        Sarah Gumgumji

        Sarah Gumgumji works in a wide variety of materials and methods, often morphing ideas from one to material to another.  Her primary mediums include painting, drawing, digital media, photography, knitting, crochet and embroidery. She is passionate about fashion, meditation, travel, living a healthy lifestyle and food blogging.  ​Sarah believes that art defines our identity. She sees art as a way for us to heal, to connect with others, raise our society and environment and to always be inspired.


        In 2021 her work was featured in The Way We See It at FiveMyles Gallery in Brooklyn NY which was favorably reviewed in “Letting In The Light at FiveMyles”, Star Review, October 2021.  Sarah’s artwork has been exhibited at Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn, NY; 107 Bowers Gallery, Jersey City, NJ; Fairleigh Dickinson University Art Gallery, Teaneck, NJ; Fairleigh Dickinson University library, Teaneck, NJ; and the Gallery at PS 6, Jersey City, NJ.  Her work is currently on view in Your Flowers Are So Lovely They Have Made Me Well Again, STAR – Storefront Arts Recovery, a project of Tribeca Film Institute, Brooklyn, NY.


        Sarah was born in Saudi Arabia. She moved to New Jersey and graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University with a major in Computer Art and Design and minor in Psychology and communication degree. She has an interior design certificate from New York University. Sarah was an art education volunteer and Teaching Artist for Rush Arts. She is currently Teaching Artist and CREATE Program Manager for ART YARD BKLYN. ​ She is working on her Master’s Degree in Art Therapy at School of Visual Arts, in NYC. Sarah fluent in Arabic and English.

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          Teaching Artist

          Jane Huntington

          Born in Washington, D.C., Jane Huntington grew up in New York and Connecticut. She attended the School of Visual Arts and Art Center College of Design as an undergraduate, and received her MFA from Pratt Institute. Originally a painter and printmaker, she started taking photographs in the 90s. Her work has appeared in Vibe, Rolling Stone, Details, Blaze, Newsweek, Esquire, Fortune, Entertainment Weekly, New York Magazine, and several other publications. In addition to photography, she also works on video, audio, and installation projects. Currently living in Brooklyn, she has won numerous awards, and has shown her work at Hot Wood Arts, Harpers Books, Pratt Institute, Art Center College of Design, Hunter College, School of Visual Arts, Projects, and 200 Schermerhorn through the Downtown Brooklyn Development Corp. At the International Center for Photography, she has conducted several large format, lighting, printing and photoshop tutorials, as well as giving presentations and critiques as a visiting artist.

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            Teaching Artist

            Glendalys Medina

            Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, Glendalys Medina is an interdisciplinary artist who received her MFA from Hunter College. Medina’s work has been exhibited at such notable venues as The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Kitchen, The New Museum, PAMM, Artists Space, Museum of Contemporary Art in Vigo Spain, the Bronx Museum of Art and El Museo del Barrio. She was awarded a SIP fellowship at EFA Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in 2016, a BACK IN FIVE MINUTES artist residency at El Museo Del Barrio in 2015, a residency at Yaddo in 2018 and 2014, the Rome Prize in Visual Arts in 2013, a NYFA Fellowship in Interdisciplinary Art in 2012, and the Bronx Museum Artist in the Marketplace residency in 2010.

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              Teaching Artist

              Damien Quiñones

              Damian Quiñones is a musician, songwriter and artist based in Brooklyn. His songwriting draws on New York City's diverse musical scene and his Puerto Rican roots, weaving 60's rock-and-roll and Nuyorican funk with tropicalia, cumbia and Afro-Caribbean sounds. 

              Quiñones fronts an eight-piece Latin Rock-and-Roll band and an acoustic Pan-Latin trio, "Analog Experimental." A recording artist, he has produced four albums, most recently “Sleight of Hand in the Material Realm,” which he performs alongside projections of his original hand-drawn stop-motion animations. Quiñones has written music for television and film, and was awarded "best score" by the NYU Short Film Festival 2013 for his soundtrack to the film "Flood."


              Committed to equity and access, he is a teaching artist who has regularly worked with NYC public school students and communities, most recently for Lincoln Center Education. 

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                Teaching Artist 

                Fatima Traore

                Fatima was born and raised in Bronx, NY. She discovered her passion for visual art in Junior High School. She graduated from Virginia State University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. While getting her education, she studied abroad for a semester in South Africa at University of Johannesburg. Through her college experience she became most passionate about painting and traveling. Fatima is a figurative artist working primarily in acrylic and watercolor. She was a volunteer teacher at Bronxworks in the Bronx and has painted several murals for in disadvantaged schools and orphanages abroad. Beginning in the summer of 2017 Fatima worked as a Teaching Artist with Rush Education Programs. She loves teaching children art skills and techniques that will help them express themselves visually. 

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                  Teaching Artist 

                  Seldon Yuan

                  Seldon Yuan is based in Brooklyn and received a BHA at Carnegie Mellon University and a MFA in Visual Arts at Hunter College. He is both a published writer and exhibiting visual artist. He has published two books of poetry and has had poems published in Blunderbuss, Drunken Boat, and No, Dear; and has also completed poetry workshops at Naropa University and The Bowery Poetry Club. For the past decade, he has primarily focused on combining his poetry/text into his visual art. His art has been exhibited nationally and internationally in various galleries and venues including the MoMA, International Center of Photography, Smack Mellon, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Arario Gallery, Rare Gallery, La Generale (Paris, France), Gallerie 69 (Oslo, Norway), Around Space (Shanghai, China), and the Museum of New Art (Detroit, Michigan). He has also completed a commission for Socrates Sculpture Park (NYC) and was in the Bronx Museum of Art 2013 AIM Biennial. In 2015, Yuan received the prestigious New York Foundation of the Arts Fellowship in 2015. He has had residencies at Edward Albee, LMCC, Wave Hill, Center for Book Arts. Yuan is an arts mentor at Free Arts NYC, and has given lectures at colleges about surviving as an artist.


                    Web Consultant 

                    Roger Dapiran

                    Roger is a Brooklyn-based web consultant with over 30 years experience in media production and design. He has worked extensively in the as a designer and production professional for the custom publishing divisions of The New York Time, Forbes, American Express and Time Inc. As a web and digital magazine producer, his clients have included IBM's Beyond Computing, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure as well as designing and producing digital magazines for private clients. He is excited to bring his skills and expertise to ART YARD BKLYN and their students.

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                      Managing Director

                      Dennis Buonagura

                      Before his tenure as Education Coordinator at Rush Arts, Dennis worked with the Metropolitan Opera Association overseeing Quality Assurance and Staff Development. He is an active volunteer with Central Park PAWS (a program of the Central Park Conservancy), current President of the program’s Steering Committee and serves as Chairperson for their annual event MY DOG LOVES CENTRAL PARK COUNTRY FAIR, attended by over 8000 New Yorkers and their dogs.  He reads and writes in Braille and is an expert knitter.


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                        Teaching Artist

                        Evelyn Beliveau

                        Evelyn Beliveau paints human faces and figures with gestural and meticulous brushwork. Raised in Vermont, she earned a B.A. in Visual Arts from Bowdoin College in 2019. She also studied at the Siena Art Institute in Siena, Italy in 2017. 


                        A fascination for effects of light on human forms galvanizes Evelyn’s practice. She creates paintings on-site with live models, often finishing a painting during a single live session in order to respond to a moment in time. She aims to invoke awareness of tactile sensations in the viewer, portraying skin as both a sense organ and a sensory stimulant.


                        Her work has been featured in exhibitions in the northeastern United States, including a public art installation with fellow Art Yard Teaching Artists and several exhibitions at St.HROUDA gallery in Brooklyn, New York. Her work has also appeared on album covers and in publications based in New York and Maine. In 2021, she hosted art-making events in Brooklyn parks, inviting participants to paint together and draw inspiration from an atmosphere of communal creativity. Evelyn lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

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                          Teaching Artist

                          Cecile Chong

                          Cecile Chong is a multimedia artist working in painting, sculpture and installation in which she layers materials, identities and histories. She was awarded fellowships and residencies including Block Gallery/ AIM Artist Hub, BRIC Media Arts, Queens Council on the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Center, Wave Hill Winter Workspace, the Lower East Side Printshop, MASS MoCA Studios, Jerome Foundation Travel and Study Grant, The Center for Book Arts, Socrates Sculpture Park, AIM - Bronx Museum, Urban Artist Initiative NYC, Aljira Emerge and the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant. Her work has been exhibited locally and internationally. She received an MFA from Parsons the New School for Design, an MA in education from Hunter College, and a BA in Studio Art from Queens College. Her early schooling took place in Ecuador, Macau and China. Cecile is fluent in Spanish, English and conversant in Cantonese.

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                            Teaching Artist

                            Candy Heiland

                            Candy Heiland lives and works in NYC.  She earned her BFA from Ball State University with a BFA in Fiber Arts and a double minor in drawing and photography.  Using black paper and oil pastels, Candy is able to capture the texture of weaving while exploring images of color, light and the subculture of Coney Island and New York City at night.  Candy has worked in set design for the film industry since 1985.

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                              Teaching Artist

                              Reg Lewis

                              Teaching artist Reg Lewis is a native New Yorker who specializes in ink intense portraits & abstract landscapes he affectionately calls “playgrounds.” He has taught art to students ranging from the ages 3-70 with his highly intuitive approach. He also currently teaches English in the NYC Department of Education and lives in Harlem.

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                                Teaching Artist

                                Claude Viaud Peralta

                                Teaching Artist Claude Viaud Peralta was born and raised in Queens, NY. His family hails from the Dominican Republic and he is bilingual in Spanish and English. Along with fellow ART YARD Artist Vera Tineo he was a finalist for the open call for community murals for NYC Health + Hospitals’. He attended Queens College. Claude tells us: “I love to create in different mediums. I believe art can liberate us in many ways and allow us to learn from one another. I also believe that anyone has the potential to make something great. Therefore I am not a fan of hearing "I dOnT KnOw HoW tO dRaW". Claude enthusiastically looks forward to teaching ART YARD students of all ages!

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                                  Teaching Artist

                                  Ed Rath

                                  Ed Rath was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. After completing his art education at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design and the Yale University School of Art, he moved to New York City in 1977.  He lives and paints in Brooklyn, New York.


                                  Since 1980 he has participated in over eighty group shows, and produced thirty solo shows.  He has shown his work in Austria, Japan, South Korea, New York, and throughout the USA, and has published fivebooks about his art work.  His work on Dream Imagery and Animated Trees, produced by filmmaker Mark Khaimov, can be seen on You Tube. 


                                  Ed has worked as a Teaching Artist for over forty years, working with students of all ages in NYC, Japan, and other locales.  His lesson plans incorporate the study of old master works, poetry, and drawing from observation. 


                                  For more information visit the artist’s website at:

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                                    Teaching Artist 

                                    Quentin Williamston

                                    Brooklyn native Quentin Williamston earned his Masters Degree in Architecture from Hampton University in Virginia. He was a recipient of the Gordon Parks Centennial Scholarship which supported his college studies. Quentin enjoyed a longstanding relationship with Rush Arts Education Programs -- beginning as a young student, progressing to Intern and finally working as a Teaching Artist. He has made a commitment to bringing thought-provoking and inspiring art education to underserved youth. In the summer of 2018 Quentin traveled to Thailand to teach English in several elementary schools. In his own art practice Quentin enjoys working with watercolor, pen and ink. His artwork explores an intersection of abstraction and architectural wonder. Quentin’s artwork was included all annual Rush Education Exhibitions from 2005-2018 at Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn and Rush Arts Gallery In Chelsea. In 2017 Quentin’s work was included in Notes from Abroad at 107 Bowers Gallery in Jersey City, NJ

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                                      Kyra Novick

                                      Kyra was born and raised in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn.  She has a life-long passion for art and animals.  Kyra graduated from Mary McDowell Friends School.  She earned a Gordon Parks Foundation Scholarship to support her college studies as she attended SUNY Oswego and is currently enrolled at Brooklyn College.  Kyra is a licensed Squirrel Rehabilitator and has interned with many veterinarians on the city specializing in the treatment of exotic animals and companion animals, and at The Bronx Zoo.  She developed her excellent skills in Early Childhood Education as an intern with Rush Little Kids.  Collage is Kyra’s specialty in which her focus is her use of color, texture, and whimsy.  She exhibited her work regularly in the annual Rush Education Exhibitions at Corridor Gallery in Brooklyn and Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea.  Her collaged poster was used in the Kenneth Cole Art For Good public art campaign to bring awareness to Gay Rights and AIDS activism

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                                        Video Consultant and ART YARD Documentarian

                                        Scott Greenfield

                                        Scott is a Queens-based video producer and editor, and has a strong passion for both storytelling and collaboration. Scott currently works on the children's TV show, Wonderama, and whose work has also appears on VH-1, The Food Network, TruTV, Lifetime, and HGTV. He has also worked on numerous narrative and documentary film projects, and plenty of traditional corporate work.

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                                          Teaching Artist

                                          Golnar Adil

                                          Iranian artist Golnar Adili holds a Master’s degree in architecture from the University of Michigan, where she reviewed the Thesis Aware and the recipient of the2006  Booth Traveling Fellowship to Tehran. She the recipient of numerous prestigious artists residencies including Rockefeller Foundation for the Arts in Bellagio, Italy; SmackMellon; The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown; The MacDowell Colony; The Lower East Side Printshop; the Women’s Studio Workshop; and The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Golnar exhibits frequently and her work has been on view at Nurture Art in Brooklyn; the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and the Cue Art Foundation in NYC. Golnar has been the recipient of several artists grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York Foundation of the Arts, Puffin Foundation and the Urban Artists Initiative. In addition to ART YARD she has taught at PS 18, Spence and St. Ann’s.

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                                            Teaching Artist

                                            Aisha Tandiwe Bell

                                            Aisha Tandiwe Bell is first generation Jamaican & ninth generation traceable Black American. Her parents met at City College. Conceived in Tanzania & born in Manhattan, she was raised Bobo Shanti Rasta spending her early childhood on Bobo Hill in Bull Bay, Jamaica. Inspired by the fragmentation of our multiple identities, Bell’s practice is committed to creating myth & ritual through sculpture, performance, video, sound, drawing & installation. Bell holds a BFA, & an MS from Pratt & a MFA from Hunter College. Bell received a NYFA in Performance Art/ Multidisciplinary Work & has had artist residencies/fellowships at Skowhegan, Rush Corridor Gallery, Abron’s Art Center, LMCC’s Swing Space,LMCC Work space, Wassaic, The Laundromat Project, BRIC & more. She has been a fellow with DVCAI on International Cultural Exchanges (Jamaica 2012, Surinam 2013, Antigua 2014, Guadeloupe 2015 & 17, Belize 2019). The Museo De Arte Moderno’s Triennial 2014, The Jamaica Biennial 2014 & 17, The BRIC Biennial 2016, The Venice Biennial 2017, MoCADA, The Rosa Parks Museum, CCCADI, Columbia College, Space One Eleven, The Corcoran, Welancora Gallery & Rush Arts are a few spaces where she has exhibited, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband & two children.

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                                              Teaching Artist

                                              Richard Estin

                                              Richard Estrin’s love for art making and his love for teaching are thoroughly intertwined. In his classes Richard aims to create an environment of trust and comfort, where play, sharing and laughter support rigor and high standards.  Richard has 10 years of experience teaching at the university level, and has worked with all ages, from pre K to older adults. Richard states: “Like art making itself, the classroom offers exciting possibilities for growth, learning and deep satisfaction through the challenging process of developing technical, analytical and social skills.”

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                                                Teaching Artist

                                                Jordan Hendrickson

                                                Jordan Hendrickson is an award winning filmmaker, artist, teacher, and world-traveler from New York City. He studied in Budapest, Hungary and is  currently based in Boston. His films have been collectively nominated at sixteen international film festivals, including Istanbul's KisaKes Short Film Festival where he took home Audience Choice Award, Boulevard Film Festival where he won Best Art Direction, and the reputable Toronto Black Film Festival. Jordan spent several years running the Art department at the not-for-profit The Aloha Foundation.


                                                  Teaching Artist

                                                  Maraya Lopez

                                                  Maraya Lopez (Berdscarnival) lives in New York City. She earned her MFA in Painting/ Sculpture at Pratt Institute in 2010. She was born in Lubbock, Texas but moved to East Texas when she was 13. The silent expansive plains of Lubbock still influence her work today. Her work has been exhibited in numerous group and collaborative exhibitions in Texas and in NYC at Gallery 76102, Arlington, Texas in 2010, The Painting Center, New York City in 2012, Momenta Gallery, Brooklyn, NY in 2015, A.I.R. Gallery, Dumbo, New York in 2017, Flux Factory, Queens, New York in 2017, and the Whitney Museum of Art, New York in 2017. She has developed an autonomous mode of working where she acts as curator, artist and exhibitionist for public projects that she calls “strategies”. The projects entail fundraising and finding spaces off the beaten track that become her studio for a period of time. In 2015 she spent the summer working out of a carnival game trailer at Coney Island where she launched her Magic Machine 2015 strategy.


                                                  Furthermore, she has collaborated with numerous artists and groups throughout her career including Occupy Museums (OM), Brooklyn based artist Noah Fischer (OM’s initiator) and Marilyn Jolly of Dallas, Texas. In 2012, OM traveled to Berlin, Germany to exhibit in the 7th Berlin, Biennial.


                                                  Maraya splits her time between her on-site studio in DUMBO, NY and her job as a security guard at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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                                                    Teaching Artist

                                                    Felix Plaza

                                                    Felix Plaza was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Spanish Harlem, and has lived for over 30 years on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. He has been a practicing and exhibiting artist primarily focused on printmaking and painting for over 50 years. For more than 20 years Felix has been a Keyholder at the Lower East Side Printshop. Felix worked at the Williamsburg branch of Brooklyn Public Library for over 25 years as a children’s specialist, providing library programs and outreach for the community. Felix is fluent in Spanish, English, Italian, French, and conversant in Russian.

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                                                      Teaching Artist and Video Program Manager

                                                      Verá Tineo

                                                      Verá Tineo is an interdisciplinary artist from New York with roots stemming from Dominican Republic. Her work is informed with the attempt of communicating different ideas though the exploration of various mediums including paintings, drawing, sculpture, printmaking and installation. Verá describes her work as a language focus on the ideas of home, family, body and society. With her visual art she tells stories that need to be told with the goal of expanding the viewers perspective and experience.


                                                      Verá’s recent exhibitions include Stand Up, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis, MN; Hope/Revolution, Stay Home Gallery, Paris, TN; Your Flowers Are So Lovely They Have Made Me Well Again, STAR – Storefront Arts Recovery, a project of Tribeca Film Institute, Brooklyn, NY; In the Cards and Winter Members Show at Manhattan Graphic Center, NY; and Black Arts Matters Festival, Mead Art Museum, Amherst College, MA.  She was a short list finalist for Community Mural Project, NYC Health + Hospitals’ Communities. In 2021 and 2019 Verá created French Windows Dora Maar View a limited edition silk screen print and Art Totes for Les Amis de ART YARD, Norwalk, CT.  In 2020 she was Senior Curator for In Reflection, Kentler International Drawing Space, Brooklyn, NY. Verá is an ART YARD Teaching Artist and Video Program Manager.  She is a member Manhattan Graphics Center and participates in Figureworks Gallery Drawing Group. She holds a BA from Hampshire College, Amherst, MA. Verá is fluent in Spanish and English.



                                                        Teaching Artist 

                                                        Rachel Wren

                                                        Rachael Wren is a Brooklyn-based painter whose work evokes landscape space, light, and atmosphere within a geometric structure.  She received a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the University of Washington.   Rachael’s work has been exhibited at the Weatherspoon Art Museum, the National Academy Museum, Wave Hill, The Painting Center, Garis & Hahn, and Monica King Projects, among many others.  Rachael received the Julius Hallgarten Prize from the National Academy Museum and an Aljira Fellowship.  She has been awarded residencies at Emerson Landing, Chashama North, the Saltonstall Foundation, the Byrdcliffe Art Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, the Anderson Center, and the Artist House at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.  Rachael has taught painting and drawing classes at The Art Students League, Caldwell University,  Southern CT State University, and the College of Staten Island.

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                                                          Leslie Ramirez

                                                          Leslie was born in Mexico and raised in the Bronx. She graduated with honors from Essex Street Academy. She was awarded a Gordon Parks Foundation Scholarship to support her college studies as she attended Bronx Community College where she received her Associates Degree. She is currently enrolled at John Jay College of Criminal Justice majoring in Criminal Justice with a certification in Spanish legal translation and interpretation services. Leslie is dedicated to the practice of social justice and promoting rights for immigrant populations. She approaches that work through her educational pursuits as well as in her artwork.  Leslie was a panelist on the Gordon Parks Dialogues presented by NYU Tisch School of the Arts and Pratt Institute School of Art in 2017.  She is bilingual in Spanish/English.