Janna Baty | Vocal Music Performance

Mezzo-soprano Janna Baty has performed with the Boston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Daejeon Philharmonic (South Korea), Hamburgische Staatsoper, L’Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Tallahassee Symphony, Tuscaloosa Symphony, Longwood Symphony, Hartford Symphony, the Orquesta Filarmónica de Bogotá (Colombia), Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Eugene Opera, Opera North, and Boston Lyric Opera. She has performed at the Aldeburgh and Britten Festivals in England, the Varna Festival in Bulgaria, the Semanas Musicales de Frutillar Festival in Chile and at the Tanglewood and Norfolk festivals in the U.S. Ms. Baty has worked alongside many composers, including John Harbison, Bernard Rands, and Yehudi Wyner. Her discography includes critically lauded recordings and in 2007 she joined the Yale School of Music faculty.


Joseph Cáceres | Fiction

Joseph Cáceres is a writer and educator from New York. He received a Bachelors of Science in Journalism and a Master of Arts in Sociology from St. John’s University. He has taught various subjects within the Humanities for the New York City Department of Education.  While in college he reported for local newspapers including the Bronx Times Reporter and the Queens Courier. Joseph is currently preparing for the publication of a book of short stories and a novella.


Gerardo Ciprián | Photography

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Gerardo Ciprián was raised in the Dominican Republic and New York City. He studied at the University at Buffalo, where he graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BS in Architecture. He continued his studies at the Yale School of Architecture, receiving a Master of Architecture in 2009. His has worked and studied photography, film, architecture and graphic design in London, Antwerp, Rome, New Delhi and Mexico City. Since 2008, he has expanded his portfolio into the world of photography and “Why Not Sneeze?” ( is the moniker and compendium of such work. He’s currently an assistant to photographer Mark Mann and is a founding collaborator of the artistic practice Felix & Dexter (


Dominic Colón | Playwriting

Dominic Colón received his BFA in Acting from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. He is best known for his work as an actor, most notably as Manny Spamboni on The Electric Company. Other guest appearances include: Blue Bloods, Nurse Jackie, Ugly Betty. In addition to being a full-time actor, Colón is a teaching artist and has taught acting and playwriting in high schools, hospitals, and juvenile detention facilities throughout New York City.  He has written the plays Hiro’s Wings, Sherita Blues, Crush, and Saint Jake, which have been produced at the New York City Hip Hop Theater Festival, Downtown Urban Theater Festival, Rebel Verses, the Nuyorican Poets Café and at schools, hospitals and prisons throughout New York City.


Donna Diamond | Printmaking/Drawing

Donna Diamond was born and raised in New York City. She attended Boston University School of Art where she received her BFA in Sculpture. Encouraged by Robert Blackburn, she pursued printmaking at the Printmaking Workshop. Ms. Diamond has created monotypes and drawings for books and her work has met with critical success and awards, including The Newbery Medal. She recently completed paintings that were published as a wordless book called THE SHADOW by Candlewick Press. Her recent prints have been exhibited in galleries across the country. Ms Diamond also received the BRIO Award in Book Art/Illustration in 2008.  She is currently creating prints and books in her studio and at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop.


Darnell Edwards | Painting

Darnell Edwards was born in New York, NY in 1972.  He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts, studied at the Art Students League, was apprenticed to Leonard Jenkins, and has completed course work at The Art Institute of Chicago. He has taught at Bronx Community College.  His exhibitions include a solo show at Claude Gallery, NY; group shows at The School of Visual Arts Gallery, NY; Agora Gallery, NY; Peter Cox’s Caravaggio Studios, The Museum of the Southwest, TX; Corridor/Red Clay Galleries, NY; and Gourmet Gents. He has works in the collections of the Audrey and Robert Lubin Foundation, Dr Uri Meller, The School of Visual Arts Library, and The Children’s Art Carnival.



Michael Ferris, Jr. | Sculpture

Michael Ferris Jr. received his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1991 and his MFA from Indiana University in 1996. Ferris has had solo shows at ATM Gallery in NYC, Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago, IL and most recently George Adams Gallery in NYC. Ferris’ group shows include the de Young Museum in San Francisco, CA; Queens Museum, Flushing, NY; Stux Gallery, NYC; Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL and The Islip Museum of Art, Islip, NY. Ferris has received numerous awards including Presidential Scholar, Washington D.C.; Illinois Arts Council Fellowship; Roswell Artist-in-Residence, Roswell, NM; George Sugarman Foundation Grant; Marie Walsh Sharpe Space Program, NYC; 2009 BRIO Award, Bronx, NY and a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, NYC.

Xavier Figueroa | Installation

Bronx born and raised, Xavier Figueroa is a visual artist working in installation, painting, sculpture and other various media. With a background in carpentry, merchandising, graffiti, graphics and fine art, he has continuously strived to create work invoking a sense of familiarity of the urban environment using his Puerto Rican roots and personal memories. Xavier received his BFA in Sculpture with departmental honors from Lehman College/CUNY (2007) and has also studied at Bronx Community College/CUNY, The Educational Alliance and National Academy of Art and Design. In 2010, he launched the online magazine Bronx Art Guide helping support Bronx artists and local art venues. He recently participated in the Bronx Museum of the Arts’ AIM program.

Nadia Hallgren | Documentary Film

Nadia Hallgren is a filmmaker and cinematographer from the Bronx, New York. Her camera credits include Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 and the Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner and Academy and Emmy award- nominated Trouble the Water. Her first film Sanza-Hanza was acquired to air nationally on PBS’ Afro-Pop series after having an extensive film festival run. Nadia was awarded the prestigious 2010 Cinereach Reach Film Fellowship where she made her second film Love Lockdown that premiered at SXSW 2011. This is Nadia’s second BRIO, having won in 2009 for documentary film/video. She holds a B.A from Hunter College, City University of New York.



Skowmon Hastanan | Painting

In 1973 Skowmon Hastanan moved from Bangkok to the Bronx. Ms. Hastanan’s work is based on representation and transformation, ranging from painting to installation. She has exhibited at the Krause Gallery, the Women’s Building in San Francisco, the Elizabeth A. Sackler Center For Feminist Art, Brooklyn Museum, Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wave Hill, The Bronx Museum and the Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Community College. Her commissions include NYC MTA Arts for Transit (2005); NYC Board of Education, Percent for Art Commission (2001); and Asian Arts Initiative, Philadelphia (2005). Her fellowships include the Civitella Ranieri Foundation, Umbria, Italy (2010), the Urban Artist Initiative/NYC (2008), and The Lambent Fellowships in the Arts at The Tides Foundation (2007).


Ebony Lewis |

Pace University graduate, a member of the elite Writers Guild of America and a member of New York Women in Film and Television. In 2009, Truth Unspoken, a web series she has written and directed, became the official choice of the HBO’s Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival and Kodak Mid Atlantic Black Film Festival, was shown in the Women in Cinema Festival and at Los Angeles’ 16th Annual African American Film Market Place and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase. As Ebony’s audience grew so did their appetite for more episodes. She added a more diverse cast, widened the story line and went into production. The end result is Truth Unspoken the movie.


Derek Lively | Screenwriting

Derek Lively is a screenwriter, playwright, actor, and director. His solo show, Welcome to My Soul, was performed at HERE as part of PSNBC’s talent showcase for NBC executives. His screenplay, The Nigga, was the winner of the 2008 Hollywood Black Film Festival Storyteller Competition and was subsequently optioned by Harrison Reiner, production executive for the Academy Award-winning films My Left Foot and Cinema Paradiso. His play, Two Realities, was the co-winner of the Around the Block 2006 Short Play Reading Series and was a semi-finalist in the American Globe Theatre’s Fifteen Minute Play Festival. He was an invited participant in the HBO Writers’ Lab sponsored by the American Black Film Festival.


Steven Lubin | Instrumental Music Performance

Steven Lubin’s thirty-year-long international career has encompassed path-breaking work as a pioneer forte pianist and referential performances of the masterworks on modern piano. He has received critical acclaim worldwide, appearing as soloist in the great halls of fourteen countries (Lincoln Center, the Barbican Center, Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Concertgebouw, the Musikverein, Severance Hall, the Meyerson Center, Davies Hall, etc.). Mr. Lubin has been a featured soloist in many international festivals (Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, South Bank, La Roque d’Anthéron, and many others), and his orchestral solo engagements include appearances with the National Symphony, the St. Paul and Los Angeles Chamber Orchestras, the Odessa Philharmonic, and the Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg. He has made 20 CDs for Decca and other major labels including an acclaimed recording of the Beethoven-concerto cycle.


Linda Manning | Screenwriting

Linda Manning is an award-winning playwright and performer. This year, her new play Bite the Apple had a workshop production at The Directors Company in NYC. In 2010, she completed her third screenplay Learning to Drive. In 2007 her play GUY was a semi-finalist at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference. Her play DO SOMETHING WITH YOURSELF! The Life of Charlotte Brontë was published by Smith and Kraus. She co-founded The Invisible Theatre in NYC. Linda has been a resident of the Bronx for twelve years and has been actively involved in the community. She received a BA in Theatre from the University of Colorado and a MA in Theatre from Trinity Rep Conservatory in Providence, Rhode Island. Visit to learn more about Linda.


Urayoán Noel | Poetry

Urayoán Noel was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and lives on the Grand Concourse. He is the author of three books of poetry: Hi-Density Politics (BlazeVox, 2010), Boringkén (Puerto Rico: Ediciones Callejón/La Tertulia, 2008) and Kool Logic/La lógica kool (Bilingual Press, 2005). His creative and critical writings have appeared in Fence, BOMB, Palabra, New York Quarterly, Latino Studies, CENTRO Journal, and in anthologies including The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry (University of Arizona Press, 2007). He has taught workshops at the Millay Colony for the Arts, Acentos and the University of Puerto Rico. A contributing editor of Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas and a 2011 Ford Foundation postdoctoral fellow, Noel has performed internationally and is currently Assistant Professor of English at SUNY Albany.


Maxim Pakhomov | Instrumental Music Performance
Maxim Pakhomov has toured England, Scotland, Austria and Estonia in both solo and chamber music concerts. He is a founding member of The Bronx Chamber Players and principal pianist of the Bronx Opera Company. Maxim received his first BRIO award in 2007. His solo performances with the Orchestra of the Bronx include piano concertos by Tschaikowsky, Saint-Saens, Brahams and Beethovan.

Anna Purves | Fiction

Anna Purvis is a 1983 graduate of Smith College and received an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 1995. She grew up outside NYC, lived in Barcelona, Spain, and settled in the Bronx in 1992. She has taught creative writing, Honors English and literature at Lehman College/CUNY since 2002. Elena and the Minotaur, a novel which was submitted to BRIO, is a work of many years, dedicated to the spirit of empowering people to claim a destiny, especially young women. She received a BRIO award in 2004 for poetry. Her poem Twin for the Missing One was published in Earth’s Daughters Literary Journal. Her essay “Seen and Not Seen” was included in the trade anthology The Spirit of Pregnancy.


Diana Rivera | Photography

Diana Rivera was born a Puerto Rican-Czech, Kingsbridge, Bronx native. Mixed ethnicity drives the themes of identity prevalent in her work. Diana is a graduate of Tisch, NYU, earning her BFA, Summa Cum Laude — a Founder’s Day Award recipient — specializing in photography, writing, and art history. She exhibited in Melbourne, Australia and continued her photographic pursuits in Asia and Fiji. She received her MFA from NYC’s International Center of Photography. She transformed an abandoned Mott Haven storefront into an art gallery, the ClockTower Salon, which opened its doors to a reception of seven hundred plus. Rivera is ignited, using the Bronx as an extraordinary inspiration redefining art in NYC. With camera in hand, her passion to remain a core element of this movement is fierce.


Carlos Serrano | Playwriting

Carlos J. Serrano’s play No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy (No Hay Mejor Amigo, Ni Peor Enemigo) is in production at Repertorio Español. He is a Brooklyn College graduate and a current member and literary manager of the People's Theatre Project's resident playwrights unit. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Vaso De Leche Productions. Carlos’ play The Ortíz Sisters of Mott Haven was featured as the inaugural play for 47th Annual Puerto Rican Theatre Festival in San Juan in 2006. His other plays include 24 Hours at Tiempo, A Day a Mariachi Band followed Charlie Home, Charlie Needs a Shrink, Not Just Another Puerto Rican Love Story, The Blues of Daisy Peña, and Alter Ego. He is currently working on the first ever Nuyorican Circus and Medicine Show.


Jen Shyu | Vocal Music Performance

Vocalist/composer / multi-instrumentalist / dancer Jen Shyu performs her ritual-based music both as a soloist and bandleader, accompanied by dance, Taiwanese moon lute and East Timorese lakado in multiple languages. Shyu has performed throughout the US, Europe, Asia, and Africa in such venues as Lincoln Center, BAM, Blue Note, Merkin Hall, BIMHUIS (Amsterdam) and has collaborated with innovators such as Steve Coleman, Anthony Braxton, Mark Dresser, and Chris Potter. Since graduating from Stanford University, she has been awarded fellowships to do research in Cuba, Brazil, Taiwan, China, East Timor, and Indonesia (Fulbright). Based in NYC, Shyu has produced two albums as a leader, and will be releasing Synastry, a duo album with bassist Mark Dresser in September on Pi Recordings:,

Wilhelmina Smith | Instrumental Music Performance

Cellist Wilhelmina Smith has forged a versatile musical career based on the strength of her beautiful sound, commitment to a vast repertoire and impassioned performances. She has been soloist with numerous orchestras since her solo debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra. In 2009 she was a soloist in Esa-Pekka Salonen's "Mania" with the Sinfonietta of Riverdale in the presence of the composer. She has performed recitals and chamber music across the US and Japan with such musicians as Paul Tortelier, Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell, Pamela Frank, Dawn Upshaw, and members of the Guarneri, Juilliard, and Brentano String Quartets. She is the cellist with Music from Copland House, the Variation String Trio (with violinist Jennifer Koh and violist Hsin-Yun Huang) and Artistic Director of Salt Bay Chamberfest in Maine. Her recording of sonatas by Britten and Schnittke is available on Arabesque.


Dianne Sposito | Playwriting

Playwright Dianne Sposito began her writing career as co-librettist, with late composer Mark Houston, on Commedia Paradia, Harbledown (both at The Coterie Theatre and Creede Repertory Theatre) and Heaven in Your Pocket, an official selection of the 2008 New York Musical Theatre Festival. Other original work for the stage includes Almost Full Circle at the Guggenheim and When There’s a Will, They're Away! (both at Emerging Artists Theatre) and Suddenly, Lasagna! Ms. Sposito is currently at work on Officials of the Stardust Mission, Time Squared and the screenplay Merely Immortal. A Writing Intensive specialist, she teaches in the Department of Speech, Communications & Theatre Arts at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY) and is a proud member of The Dramatists Guild of America, Inc.



Sarah Stern | Poetry

Sarah Stern’s first book Another Word for Love was just published by Finishing Line Press in May 2011. Her poems have appeared in magazines, anthologies, and online, and will appear shortly in Epiphany.  Sarah is a four-time winner of the Bronx Council on the Arts’ BRIO Award for Poetry. She received Honorable Mentions from the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Awards and Lilith Magazine’s Poetry Prize. She graduated from Barnard College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Ms. Stern has worked as a journalist, editor, writer, and press officer. She lives with her husband and two children.


Julio Toro | Screenwriting

Julio Antonio Toro was born and raised in the Bronx where he grew up with a love for comics, storytelling, and sequential art. He is a self-taught filmmaker who believes there is no better substitute for learning than doing. Julio is the co-founder and Vice-President of HollyHood Productions, a Bronx-based movie production company. Their “NY Short Buzz,” held at the world renowned Nuyorican Poets’ Café, is a screening series of the hottest New York-themed short films in the country. A winner of various awards for screenwriting and filmmaking, Julio is a two-time BRIO award winner. He is currently in negotiations with several production houses to sell his first screenplay, The Phenom.



Doug Wamble | Music Composition

A native of Memphis, TN, Doug Wamble has always been surrounded by a vast musical and cultural landscape. Since moving to New York City, he has performed and recorded with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Branford Marsalis, Bill Frisell and Charlie Hunter. Doug has composed and performed original works for the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Chamber Music America. He has performed film soundtracks for acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns including The Tenth Inning, Prohibition and The Central Park Five. Doug has released three solo albums: Country Libations and Bluestate on Marsalis Music/Universal Records and Doug Wamble on E1/Koch Records. His new album is due in late 2011.





» Back to BCA Grants Overview





Joseph Caceres | Fiction
Dominic Colon | Playwriting
Derek Lively | Screenwriting
Linda Manning | Screenwriting
Urayoan Noel | Poetry
Anna Purvis | Fiction
Carlos Serrano | Playwriting
Dianne Sposito | Playwriting
Sarah Stern / Poetry
Julio Toro / Screenwriting

Nadia Hallgren | Documentary Film
Ebony Lewis | Narrative Film / Video

Janna Baty | Vocal Music
Steven Lubin | Instrumental Music
Maxim Pakhomov | Instrumental Music
Jen Shyu | Vocal Music
Wilhelmina Smith | Instrumental Music
Doug Wamble | Musical Composition

Geraldo Ciprian | Photography
Donna Diamond | Printmaking/Drawing
Darnell Edwards | Painting
Michael Ferris, Jr. | Sculpture
Xaveria Figueroa | Mixed Visual
Skowman Hastanan | Painting
Diana Rivera | Photography

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