We work with a cadre of seasoned teaching artists who are committed to both youth and their own artistic career. We are unique amongst New York City’s many excellent arts education programs in that we specialize in placing traditional and folk artists in schools to share their expertise with students and teachers. We also collaborate with contemporary artists whose own artwork explores the themes of community, identity, and history.
Cecilia Ortega is a freelance artist, dancer, choreographer, community leader and activist. She was born in the state of Veracruz, Mexico, but with her dance roots firmly based in New York City, Ms. Ortega proudly continues her family’s legacy in education by designing and leading cultural outreach programs. She teaches social studies through Mexican music and dance in NYC public schools. She is a founding member of Son de Monton, a NYC-based group devoted to the Son Jarocho and Fandango traditions; Co-founder and Water Woman of Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli, a community organization committed to preserving Mexican indigenous ways of life; and is a member of the Native American Church.
Clara Waloff is a community-based artist and educator whose artwork focuses on education and human development – both art forms in of themselves! Clara collaborates with artists, young and old, in a variety of media, including murals, puppets, masks, printmaking, bookmaking, quilting, and photography. She has worked throughout NYC, across the United States, and in Latin America. Clara joined City Lore as a teaching artist in 2009 and has also worked with BRIC Arts/Media/Brooklyn, LEAP, El Puente, the P.S. 56 Artists & Neighbors Collaborative, and Bauen Camp. She received her B.A. from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, with a concentration in community art and education, Latin American Studies, and Studio Art. Clara will receive her Master’s in Community-Based Learning from Bank Street College in 2012.
George Zavala is a visual and theater art worker with over 22 years of experience in New York City schools and community youth programs. He studied philosophy and art at Catholic University of Puerto Rico and has worked as a teaching artist and staff developer for organizations such as City Lore, Elders Share the Arts, Creative Alternatives and El Museo del Barrio. He was co-founder and artistic director of PAX Theater Company, a youth theater program, and has continued to work as a theater consultant for youth programs in the City. His visual artwork and installations have been shown at galleries in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Puerto Rico.
Guillermo Guerrerowas inspired to form the Andean folk music group, Tahuantinsuyo (which in Quechua, the Inca language, means “the four parts of the world”), dedicated to the research and performance of traditional music from the Andean countries that once formed the Inca Empire. Soon after his arrival, he cam across a vendor of Peruvian kenas, which reminded him of the beautiful music he had heard growing up in Peru. He was inspired to form the Andean folk music group, Tahuantinsuyo (which in Quechua, the Inca language, means “the four parts of the world”), dedicated to the research and performance of traditional music from the Andean countries that once formed the Inca Empire. The group has performed at concert halls, schools, libraries, museums, and folk festivals in the United States and abroad. Guillermo has taught Andean music and instrument-making for over 30 years as a teaching artist and performer in New York City public schools.
Haifa Bint Kadi is a first-generation Arab-American and enjoys sharing aspects of her Middle Eastern heritage in her school residencies. She obtained her M.F.A. from Istituto d’Arte per il mosaico in Ravenna, Italy. She has been designing and fabricating public art mosaics since 1997, and recently completed a series of sculptures for the State of New York at SUNY Oneonta. She has over 14 years of experience delivering art workshops that make meaningful and authentic connections between art and non-art subjects. Her passion for history is evident in the multiple art forms she works with, including bookmaking, mixed media, collage, assemblage, narrative figures, and wabi sabi-inspired art forms.
Peruvian drummer and percussionist Hector Morales blends the sounds of diverse musical traditions such as Afro-Peruvian, Jazz, and Latin Music into his playing as well as his composition. Hector is currently based in the NYC area where he leads his band “Afrodita” and participates in other musical projects with upcoming young artists of the NYC scene. He has recently been featured in a video produced by LP and has performed internationally on stages such as Lincoln Center Outdoors, BAM, The National Museum of Peru, “Society of Musicians and Composers of Chile Auditorium” and the Jerusalem Music Festival. Hector graduated from the prestigious William Paterson University Jazz Program and has been teaching in NYC schools since 2003.
Growing up in San Juan, Juan “Juango” Gutiérrez studied music at the University of Puerto Rico and the Conservatory of Music in San Juan before moving to NYC in l976. He continued his music education at the Manhattan School of Music and at Lehman College, where he received a Masters in Music Education. After a career as a successful Broadway percussionist and arranger, he devoted himself to the study of the Afro-Puerto Rican music traditions of bomba and plena. In l983, with renowned plenero Marcial Reyes Arvelo, he formed the group Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21) and became it’s musical director. A recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship, Mr. Gutiérrez has performed at major music festivals and events throughout the world. He has been a public school music teacher and teaching artist in New York City public schools for over thirty years.
Judy Hoffman is a visual artist living and working in Brooklyn. Her installations, sculpture, and artist books explore themes of birth, decay, waste, and regeneration. Combining disparate elements of industrial refuse, natural debris, ceramics, and handmade paper, she constructs microcosms, ecosystems, and other natural formations. Her site-specific installation venues in NYC and Europe include Wave Hill, Ceres Gallery, Central Booking, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, Nutureart, and the Frauen Museum and Kunstler Forum in Bonn, Germany. Hoffman’s artist books, sculpted from handmade paper and clay, are included in the special collections at Yale University, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Alan Chasnanoff Bookworks Collection, among others. She has been a teaching artist for over 17 years.
The youngest daughter of Los Pleneros de la 21’s founder, Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera grew up dancing and watching bomba and plena luminaries, including Eugenia Ramos, Tito Cepeda, Marcial Reyes, and Paco Rivera. She began formal bomba lessons in l989 and her passion for music, dance and cultural work was cultivated through several years of training with the NY-based Bomba and Plena Ambassadors. At age 10, she debuted her first official performance with the group. Julia is now a proud member of the new generation of Los Pleneros de la 21’s staff, performing and teaching ensembles. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Milano, the New School in Nonprofit Management and Urban Policy.
Kwok Kay Choey was born in Singapore. He learned Chinese Painting with Chen Wen-hsi, and he attended the Teacher’s College of Singapore. He continued his education at the Art Students League, the School of Visual Art, and The New School. In l966, he won the McDowell Travel Grant to observe art in Europe, Asia and Africa. He is an Adjunct Professor for the Westchester Community College. He teaches Chinese painting at many institutions, including the Queens College, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Metropolitan Museum, and The American Museum of Natural History. He is a member of the Chinese Music Ensemble, and a Tai Chi Instructor. In his art classes in public schools, he always introduces students to Chinese music and Tai Chi.
Leo Schaff is an actor, a singer, a writer of songs, poems, and carried-away pieces. He (or his work) has been seen and heard from Carnegie Hall to CBGB’s to the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where “Give Us Hope” was performed at President Obama’s Inauguration. Using movement, improvisation, songwriting, storytelling, poetry, and scene study, he conducts workshops with multi-aged and at-risk populations throughout the New York area. He has led songwriting residencies for public school students through City Lore since 2001. He holds a B.A. in Theatre and Communications from the University of Wisconsin Madison and carried out post-graduate coursework in Rehabilitation Counseling and Recreation Therapy at New York University.
A graduate of the National Academy of Arts in Taiwan in drama and cinema, Mr. Yu is also trained in ballet and classical Chinese dance. He has appeared in more than thirty Mandarin films and numerous television series and films in the United States. Lu Yu’s acting and choreography credits include the Four Seas Players of New York, the Downtown Music Theater, the Berkshire Theater Festival, and Woody Allen’s Hollywood Ending. He holds a MS degree in Education from Long Island University, speaks five Chinese dialects, and has worked as a teaching artist in the NYC public schools for over thirty years.
Malini Srinivasan is a third-generation Bharatanatyam dancer and a disciple of the master, Sri C.V. Chandrasekhar in Chennai. She performs solo on a regular basis and has choreographed solo and group works including Tejas-Luminous and Siva’s Grief. Ms. Srinivasan has been teaching since 2004. She offers instruction for children in the technique and the hand gestures of Bharatanatyam through the Young Indian Culture Group, in Albertson, NY. She is also a staff member of the Asian & Asian American Studies Department at SUNY Stony Brook, offering university courses in classical Indian dance techniques, and in the history of Bharatanatyam, Hindu mythology and Indian theater traditions. Malini has been a teaching artist in NYC public schools since 2009.
Manuela Arciniegas is a drummer, songwriter, singer and dancer specializing in Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican traditional music. She graduated from Harvard in 2001 and has been working in education, cultural arts and community organizing, since then. Manuela performs and teaches Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Dominican music with various troupes around NYC, includingYaya All-Women’s Drumming Troupe, Alma Moyo, La 21 Division, Kumba Carey, Grupo Kalunga Neg Mawon, Nchila Ngoma, and William Cepeda’s Afro-Boricua. She has performed at Symphony Space, The Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center of out Doors, and Queens Theater in the Park. She is the recipient of the 2008 Urban Artist Initiative and the Founder, Director, and Program Coordinator of The Legacy Circle, a nonprofit she in 2005. Manuela is currently pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at the CUNY Graduate Center.
Margaret Yuen was born in New York, raised in Hong Kong, and received her dance training in New York and China with a certification in Chinese folk dance from the Beijing Dance Academy. Throughout her 30 years as a performer, instructor, director and choreographer, Ms. Yuen has initiated many projects to promote cultural understanding and youth participation in the arts, including the founding of Red Silk Dancers and Young Dancers of Chinatown. Her dedication topromoting Chinese dance and culture in New York has brought her numerous awards, including being named “Chinese American Pioneer in the Arts” by the City Council President in 1993 and receiving the “Outstanding Achievement Award” from the Chinese American Council in 1980. Presently, Ms. Yuen conducts Chinese cultural and dance workshops in NYC public schools and cultural institutions in the tri-state area.
Yahaya Kamate became interested in traditional dance and drumming as a child in Côte d’Ivoire, and as a teenager, began formal training with his country’s National Ballet. He has performed with Fotemoban Dance Company, Djensia Group, and Camodgen of N’guatta Dolikro Dance Company of Cote d’Ivoire and Affoubenou Sakassou Dance Company of Senegal. For the past 11 years, he has worked as lead dancer and choreographer for several companies in the United States, including Kulu Mele Dance Company and The Seventh Principle; and he has taught dance with organizations such as Djoniba Dance & Drum Center, Mark Morris Dance Group, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Harlem School of the Arts.
Yasser Darwish, a performer and teacher of Egyptian folkloric dance, was born in Alexandria, Egypt. At the age of 18, he became a member of the Alexandria Folk Dance Group.Later he moved to Cairo and danced with the National Folk Dance Company. In 2001, Yasser immigrated to Brooklyn, where he adapted group choreographies to solo shows and learned styles that appeal to his diverse New York City public. He is a popular performer of sa’idi tahtib, a stick dance from Upper Egypt, tannoura – a captivating secular Sufi spinning dance – and the Arabian horse dance, which he performs at festivals, theaters and weddings. He directs his own Egyptian Celebration Company. He began teaching residencies and workshops in schools through City Lore in 2008.