MEET THE ARTISTS
Vera is an artist and educator working in a variety of mediums, from small drawings and comics to large scale murals and puppet performances. After receiving a BFA in painting in 2014 from The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art, Vera has taught and collaborated with youth and adult artists in Texas, Mexico, North Carolina and New York. She worked as the Arts Facilitator at El Puente’s Williamsburg and Bushwick leadership centers leading social justice oriented art projects with youth. Currently, Vera is enrolled in an MFA program at The University of North Carolina, expanding on her individual artist practice. Vera has been a member of Los Muralistas de El Puente since 2018, collaborating with adult and youth artists to create murals grounded in social justice.
Joe is a community artist, activist and educator who has made his home and practice in the Los Sures community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY since 1990. His training in community mural making began with Chicago Public Art group in the mid-80’s. Learning 1st hand while assisting CPAG muralist Olivia Gude in the summer of 1987 was especially transformative. Further study includes projects under the supervision of David Harding at Glasgow School of Art’s Environmental Art program in Glasgow, Scotland, and a year long residency in the Mural Arts program under the direction of Sri Gayarsilal Verma at Maharajah Siyajirao University in Baroda, India. These experiences led Matunis to develop a concept of community art practice in which the artist integrates into the life of the community and develops art programs and projects in conjunction with, and in response to the needs and interests of the community over an extended period of time.
He founded Los Muralistas, a multi-generational community mural group composed of adult and adolescent members who, since 1990, have created over 40 murals and other public works of art, including many interdisciplinary collaborations. He is also a co-founder of, (and was art facilitator until 2022), at El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice, a public high school located in Los Sures. Beginning in 1995 he led the annual Integrated Arts Project, which brings together teaching artists and academic subject teachers to develop and present original multimedia works of art based on year-long investigations of a theme connected to a social justice issue affecting the community.
Ana is a New York State certified art teacher for grades K-12 with a BS in Studio Art and Anthropology and MA in Art Education from New York University in 2008. Her graduate program’s focus in contemporary art, critical pedagogy, and social activism led her to develop a deep connection to community arts. In New York City, she sought out public schools with strong partnerships with community-based organizations, which brought her to El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice. At El Puente she worked alongside a design-team of teaching artists who developed and implemented interdisciplinary thematic units of instruction with an emphasis on social justice. Inspired by the mission and dedication of El Puente activists, educators, and artists, she became a member of Los Muralistas, which led students and members of the community through the mural creative process from beginning to end. In 2014, she left New York and moved to Antigua, Guatemala in order to become better acquainted with the art and culture of her heritage. She has continued the community-based work at Antigua International School, where she has been teaching for the past two years.
Rolando is a painter from the Dominican Republic and currently a resident of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn community. He has presented his work in various cities in the United States, and in his country of origin. He studied at the autonomous Santo Domingo University and at the School of Fine Arts.
Rolando Almonte, nace en San Francisco de Macorís Rep. Dominicana, un 28 de Diciembre de 1959, sus padres Teofilo Almonte y Leonida de la Cruz descubren una inclinación por el arte a muy temprana edad reforzada por su hermano mayor, se inicia como estudiante en la “Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes” >>1975-1981 << a los 8 años de edad, teniendo como profesor de escultura a Manuel Valerio y a Rafael Colon en el área de dibujo y pintura participando en las colectivas académica de esos años .
Cursa estudio superior en la “Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo.” “UASD”- Se inició como estudiante de arquitectura para luego ser transferido como estudiante de arte publicitario, donde participó en la primera “Expo-Arte UASD” bajo la orientación de los profesores Dionisio Blanco, Amable Sterling y el profesor Suncar. En 1981 estudió Arte grafica en la “Escuela Jaime Corson”, dirigida por el profesor, Agustín Rodríguez. Con esto conocimiento trabajó arduamente en la frontera Dominico Haitiana, ayudando a través del arte a los niños proveniente del nuestro vecino país, Haití. 1988 viajó hacia la ciudad de New York. Donde se permitió varias exposiciones, poniendo siempre de manifiesto su compromiso con la humanidad. Tanto en colecciones privada ,exposiciones colectiva y privada, en las ciudades de New Jersey, New York, y Providence.
Clara is a community-based artist & researcher whose work focuses on education & human development - both art forms in of themselves! Clara received her M.S. Ed in 2012 from Bank Street College of Education in Leadership in Community-Based Learning and her B.A. in 2004 from NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study in Community Education, Latin American Studies & Studio Art. Clara collaborates with artists - young and old - in a variety of media, including murals, puppets, masks, printmaking, bookmaking, quilting & photography. In 2010, Clara founded the P.S. 56 Artists & Neighbors Collaborative, an organization that links students, parents & local artists. The group has completed two large-scale community murals and received awards from the Brooklyn Arts Council, BRIC Arts/Media/Brooklyn, and the Citizens Committee for New York City.
Clara has worked throughout NYC, across the United States, and in Latin America, but her home base is at El Puente, where she works as Arts, Curriculum & Assessment Coordinator; Visual Art Facilitator; and Lead Trainer for the Global Justice Institute (El Puente’s internal & external leadership development team). At El Puente, Clara is proud to be a member of an impressive team of art educators, Community Artists' Development & Resource Exchange (CADRE) & Los Muralistas.