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 MEET THE 2012 BRIO AWARDEES
   

Manuel Acevedo / Installation Art

Manuel Acevedo is a Bronx-based multi-disciplinary artist. Currently, Acevedo is participating in LMCC's Arts Center at Governors Island Artist Residency and Round 36 at Project Row Houses in Houston, TX. In 2010, his critically acclaimed exhibition Keys of Light was presented at Bronx River Art Center (BRAC) in NY and the Latino Cultural Center (LCC) in Dallas, TX. Solo and group exhibitions include Maraya Art Centre, UAE, Cuchifritos, Exit Art, PS 1, El Museo del Barrio and Westfaelischer Kunstverein, Germany. His awards include the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, Longwood Arts Project and the Studio Museum in Harlem, AIR. Mr. Acevedo is working as an artist educator, developing and teaching workshops in collaboration with BRAC, Museum of Arts & Design, Newark Museum, and Rutgers University.

   

Igor Begelman / Instrumental Music

Award-winning and highly sought-after clarinetist Igor Begelman has received a steady procession of honors and engagements across the Globe in recitals and chamber music performances, and as a soloist with leading orchestras and chamber ensembles. From classics to jazz to kelzmer to tango to modern music, are just a few of the areas of his interest. An active educator and proud Bronx resident, Mr. Begelman is dedicated to bringing music to schools in order to enrich and diversify young generation’s interests.

www.igorbegelman.com.

   

John Benitez / Instrumental Music

Grammy award-winning bassist John Benitez was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico. A first-call bassist by 19 in San Juan's thriving Jazz and Latin music scenes, he performed with such well-known artists as Chick Corea, Lucecita Benitez, Batacumbele, Lalo Rodriguez, Cuco Peña, Roberto Rohena, and Justo Betancourt. In 1993, John move to New York, studied with Ron Carter and earned a BFA in music at the Manhattan School of Music. His education was not limited to formal classroom study, learning on the bandstand while performing with such Jazz and Latin musicians as Wynton Marsalis, Tito Puente, Michele Camilo, Dave Valentin, Eddie Palmieri, Bobby Watson, David Sanchez, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Danilo Perez, Kenny Kirkland, Will Calhoun, Chucho Valdez, Don Pullen, Dave Samuels, and Mongo Santamaria.

   

Michael Paul Britto / Mixed Media

Michael Paul Britto graduated with a B.A. from the City College of New York/CUNY. Michael’s works range from videos to digital photography, sculpture, collage, and performance. Britto has had residencies at the New Museum in New York, Smack Mellon, the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation and LMCC. Michael has been featured in shows at El Museo del Barrio, the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Zacheta National Gallery in Warsaw, the Kitchen and the Victoria and Albert Museum in England. He has been written about in The New York Times, Art in America and The Brooklyn Rail.

www.brittofied.com

   

Patricia Delahanty / Painting

Patricia Delahanty, the seventh of nine children, was born and raised in the Finger Lakes town of Auburn, New York.  Although she always appreciated art, it wasn’t until she moved to New York City in the late 80s that she pursued it. “I had to explore and fully exhaust every career idea before it occurred to me that making art was my destiny. All I’ve ever wanted to do was tell a story. My painting allows me to do just that and my history brings a certain amount of depth and compassion to each canvas.” Patricia considers herself to be the “Queen of Late Bloomers” and this BRIO award is the first of what she hopes to be many artistic achievements. She is very grateful to the Bronx Council on the Arts for this honor.

www.patriciadelahanty.com

   

Sharyn Finnegan / Painting

Native New Yorker Sharyn Finnegan, currently represented by the Blue Mountain Gallery in Chelsea, had numerous solo exhibits over a 40-year career as a figurative painter. Among other venues, she has shown at the Roswell Museum of Fine Arts, NM; the Dishman Art Museum, TX; the Queens Museum; Grey Gallery (NYU) and the Galerie Mani; Berlin. She paints her landscapes at artist residencies in Cornwall in the UK, Newfoundland, Denmark, Iceland, and the MacDowell Colony. In the Bronx, she paints self portraits and views from her terrace. Finnegan is a long-time faculty member of Parsons School of Design and had a monograph in the Fall/Winter issue of the Woman’s Art Journal.

www.sharynfinnegan.com

   

Don Friedman / Instrumental Music

San Francisco native Don Friedman was born in 1935. His parents owned a piano store and he began playing at the age of four. Don studied jazz at Los Angeles City College and on his own by studying recordings of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis. He later worked with Shorty Rogers, Chet Baker, and Ornette Coleman, and did a major tour with Buddy De Franco in 1958. Don moved to New York in 1959, received a recording contract with Riverside records in 1961, made three trio records, and received five-star ratings from Down Beat Magazine. In 1962, he was awarded the New Star Award by the Down Beat critics’ pole. Don continues to play and record with various jazz artists including tours in Europe and Japan. He’s been on the New York University faculty since the 1970s.

www.donfriedman.net

   

Sean Paul Gallegos / Sculpture

With almost 15 years in New York as a Bronx resident Sean Paul Gallegos is at home. Spending his early career sewing in costume shops at the Julliard School and Public Theatre, he honed his craft. He then transitioned into fashion and launched his own clothing line at age 22, all the while expanding his performance skills on VH1 and in independent films. His sculpture draws from two key elements of his childhood, his Native American ancestry and his tween years in the family antique shop. Combining his past with the future to create the present is an exciting place for this artist to be. He will be performing in the Art in Odd Places 2012 Festival this October.

www.seanpaulgallegos.com

   

Nilda Garcés / Craft

Nilda Garcés is a self-taught artist in puppetry and mask-making. Her lifelong hobby of puppetry arts became her passion when she became a mother of three sons. She started performing for Head Start and neighborhood libraries and formed a family marionette troupe when her sons were old enough. They were sponsored by many schools, libraries and cultural institutions, including the Bronx Council on the Arts. Through her marionettes, she tells stories and folk tales in English and Spanish. In 1999 she received a Creative Arts Therapies Certificate from The New School, volunteering for six years at Montefiore’s Child Life Program and Free Arts for Abused Children using puppetry as therapy. Since then, she has designed 16 multi-cultural productions and done over 80 residencies statewide. In 2002 she was awarded a BRIO, a Puppeteers of America Grant and named Volunteer of the year from Montefiore.

   

Laura Jill Goldberg / Poetry

Laura Jill Goldberg is a poet and fiction writer from Brooklyn, New York. She earned a B.A. and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College, where she is currently employed. As a graduate student, she taught a writing workshop for inmates, age 16-24, at the Westchester County Correctional Facility and was a reader for the literary journal LUMINA. She has also worked as a clerk, a driver, a political speechwriter, and a freelance writer and editor. She is currently writing her first collection of poems.

   

Amy Gottlieb / Poetry

Amy Gottlieb's poetry, short fiction and essays have appeared in Lilith, Puerto del Sol, PresenTense, Nashim, Forward, Zeek, Fiera Lingue, Other Voices, American Public Media's "On Being" blog, and in other journals and anthologies. She was awarded a Literary Arts Fellowship and Residency from the Bronx Writers Center in 2009 and a BRIO Award for Poetry in 2008. She was a finalist for the Ellen LaForge Poetry Prize, a recipient of an Arts Fellowship at the Drisha Institute, and was nominated for a GE Foundation Writer's Award. She works as a freelance book editor and has recently completed a novel.

   

Matthew Jefferson / Vocal Music

YC the Cynic (Matthew Jefferson) is a 21 year-old Hip-Hop artist. Founding member of RDACBX, a hip-hop community center in the South Bronx, YC has been on a mission to revitalize the birthplace of Hip-Hop culture. He has been named "DXNext" by HipHopDX.com, one of the "Top 5 Underground Hip-Hop Artists in NYC" by Deli Magazine and has toured the country doing what he loves.

www.YCtheCynic.com

   

Swati Khurana / Mixed Media

Swati Khurana has shown her work locally at Bronx Museum, Queens Museum, BosePacia Modern, Center for Book Arts, Exit Art, Momenta Art, Jersey City Museum, Art-in-General, WhiteBox & Rush Arts; and internationally in Costa Rica, The Gambia, Italy, India and Nepal. Her numerous awards include Jerome Foundation Travel & Study Grant, Bronx Museum’s Artist-in-the-Marketplace, and Aljira’s Emerge programs. Swati has had residencies at Wave Hill, Cooper Union, Henry Street Settlement, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Pace University, BCAT/Rotunda Gallery, and Kartong Village Development Committee (The Gambia, West Africa). She has given talks at several colleges and universities including Bryn Mawr, Columbia, Emory, Harvard, Hunter, Oberlin, Princeton, University of Pennsylvania, Vassar, Queens, and Yale.

www.swatikhurana.com

   

Adel L. Morales / Narrative Film/Video

Adel L. Morales, a high school English teacher-by-day and a filmmaker-by-night, will begin his studies at the NYU Grad School Film Program in fall 2012. Bronx born and bred, Adel received his B.A. in English Literature from Pace University and his M.A. in English from Lehman College/CUNY. After working on several student films, he caught the filmmaking bug and in 2004 co-founded HollyHood Productions, Inc. Adel, already a SAG member, became the President of NALIP NY in 2008 and in 2011 appeared in the critically-acclaimed feature film Gun Hill Road by Rashaad Ernesto Green. He wrote, directed, produced, and starred in HollyHood’s fourth short film, Promises Promise; is in preproduction for a web series, Pushing Dreams; and is working on a horror feature called The Congregant.

www.hollyhoodproductions.com

   

Alethea Pace / Dance

Alethea Pace is a dancer, massage therapist and yoga teacher from the Bronx. Alethea has had the opportunity to work and perform with several New York City-based choreographers including Karl Anderson/Slam Fest, Doug Elkins/And Friends, Sita Fredrick/Areytos, Erick Montes, Marta Renzi, Richard Rivera/Physual and Marlies Yearby. She was awarded the Bronx Recognizes Its Own Award (BRIO) in 2004 and 2008 from the Bronx Council on the Arts for excellence in dance.

www.aletheapace.com

   

Elle Perez / Photography

Elle Perez is a Bronx-based photographer whose work focuses on themes of gender-based identity, queer self-awareness and youth culture. Her work has most recently been exhibited at such galleries as Conner Contemporary Art (DC), Spattered Columns (NYC), and the University of Nebraska. In 2011, Perez was awarded the Jane Meyer Traveling Fellowship to produce a new body of work titled The Outliers: Regarding the Space(s) Between Genders. Perez has previously taught photography at the Educational Alliance Art School, a non-profit program with a focus on accessible art education for youth. In 2011, she received a B.F.A. in Photography at the Maryland Institute College of Art.

www.elleperez.com

   

Sima Rabinowitz / Poetry

Sima Rabinowitz, a resident of Spuyten Duyvil, is the author of an award-winning collection of poems (The Jewish Fake Book - 2004), and a poetry chapbook (Murmuration - 2006). Her poetry and creative prose have appeared in Sentence, Hamilton Arts & Letters, Trivia, Hotel Amerika, Prairie Schooner, Water-Stone, and Tampa Review, among many other publications. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she has received fellowships and awards from the Minnesota State Arts Board, SASE/The Jerome Foundation, and The Loft Literary Center. Her essay, “Consuming,” was listed as a “Notable Essay of 2003” in Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Essays. She received a 2009 BRIO Award for nonfiction and earns her living as a communications professional with clients on the West Coast, the Midwest, and the New York City metropolitan region.

   

Stephanie Rodriguez / Illustration/artist Book

Stephanie Rodriguez was born and raised in the Boogie Down Bronx. She graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2011 and has been cranking out illustrations ever since. She enjoys store front awnings, obnoxious colors, street photography and slushy drinks. Stephanie currently lives in the Bronx without a cute cat or dog to keep her company.

www.stephguez.com.

   

Hrvoje Slovenc / Photography

Hrvoje Slovenc is a Croatian photographer based in the Bronx. He holds an M.S. in Biochemistry from University of Zagreb and an M.F.A. in Photography from Yale University School of Art. His photographs have been exhibited in dozens of shows nationally and internationally including Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, Museum of New Art in Detroit, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Croatia, and Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Croatia. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago and the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Zagreb, Croatia. Hrvoje currently teaches at Parsons, The New School for Design and County College of Morris.

www.hrvojeslovenc.com

   

Tiffany Soriano / Fiction

“I was born and raised in the North East section of the Bronx. My writing talent was discovered by my third grade teacher who encouraged me to write often. My love of writing continued throughout high school and college. I had dreams of pursuing a career in Journalism, but chose to get a degree in Accounting for financial reasons. I went to Baruch College/CUNY at night, while working a full-time job. My novel has been a work-in-progress for the past two years. I was chosen by Sapphire as one of six students to workshop my writing. BRIO is my first successful win as an artist and I am truly honored to begin my career with such an acknowledgement.”

   

Jennifer Tomaiolo / Painting

Jennifer Tomaiolo received her B.F.A. from The School of Visual Arts and her M.F.A. from Brooklyn College/CUNY. She moved to New York City at the age of 18 and developed a love for the urban landscape, particularly the natural elements within the urban landscape. She likes to travel and experience the urban landscapes of other cities while taking advantage of their museum collections. She plans to take in the landscapes of Greece and Turkey.

http://jennifertomaiolo.artistswanted.org/jennifer-tomaiolo

   

Rafael Torres, Jr. / Performance Poetry

Divine, aka Don Divino, was born Rafael Torres, Jr. He began his career in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with rap songs of survival. Drawing from musical inspirations like Afro Latinos Ismael Rivera and Cortijo Y Su Combo, he constructed clever, gritty rhymes in Spanish and English. Divine helped pen the music to the Grammy-nominated "Guajira (I love You Too Much)" and recently wrote the theme song to UPN's new series "South Beach". He was responsible for "Babyface", a solo track on "VOL II: Get Free Or Die Trying"; the second installment of the Dead Prez mix tape series; and is the founder of the group the DEY. He’s performed at Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center, SOB's, Central Park Summer Stage (where he opened for Celia Cruz), and Bowery Ballroom.

www.rbgtube.com/play.php?vid=7935

   

Rodrigo ‘Rodstarz’ Venegas / Vocal Music

Rodrigo Venegas is a middle child, with an older and younger brother. He was born in Chertsey, England after his parents fled Chile in exile after the Pinochet led military dictatorship of September 11, 1973. He grew up in Chicago and currently resides in the Hunts Point community of the South Bronx, where he has been organizing young people since 2005. He became a break dancer at the age of 11 and has ever since  been in love with Hip-Hop culture. Rodrigo has become a full-time performer and teaching artist with Hip-Hop musical duo, Rebel Diaz, and helped found RDAC-BX in 2008. His favorite books are Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas and The Alchemist by Paulo Coehlo.

www.rebeldiaz.com

   

Ajene D. Washington / Playwriting

Ajene D. Washington is a playwright, director, set designer and actor. He received a B.S. degree from Lincoln University and an M.A. from Northern Illinois University. At present he is the Acting and Playwriting Workshop Coordinator at New Federal Theatre. The Arkansas Repertory Theatre “Voices at the River” national competition selected his play, Almost September, in 2007 for development. His play Lock & Load was selected for the Dark Horse Theatre Festival. In addition, his play A Shadow in Time was selected as one of the finalist at the O’Neil Center. Woodie King Jr.’s Black Touring Circuit commissioned him to write Chisholm, a Catalyst for Change which premiered at the Castillo Theatre. Ajene is a member of The Dramatist Guild, AEA, SAG, SSDC and AFTRA

   

Randal Wilcox / Painting

Randal Wilcox is an artist, independent curator and writer, born and currently based in New York. His art has been reviewed in The New Yorker and exhibited at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, the Studio Museum in Harlem, Artists Space and Anthology Film Archives. Exhibitions that Wilcox has co-curated have been reviewed in Artforum and The New York Times. Wilcox studied painting and filmmaking at the School of Visual Arts. His work is in The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Museum of New Art (MoNA) and various private collections. He is working on a graphic novel and an animated feature-length film with critically acclaimed composer and alto saxophonist Darius Jones.

www.randalwilcox.com

   

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