Bombazo Dance Co preserves, showcases, and educates people about Afro Puerto Rican Bomba and Afro Caribbean and traditional folkloric elements. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, founder Milteri Tucker holds degrees in Dance, Biology and Chemistry as well as a Masters Degree in Dance Education from New York University. She is the founder and artistic director of Bombazo Dance Co. Ms. Tucker has apprenticed and performed with Bomba elders and distinguished families in San Juan, Santurce, Loza, Cata, Ponce, Mayagez and Arroyo, Puerto Rico. As an educator and master Bomba dancer, she lectures on dance technique, figure and timing across the United States and the world. Milteri has worked with dance companies and choreographers in Puerto Rico, throughout the Caribbean and the United States. She’s performed and showcased her work at City Center, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, BAAD!: Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, Pregones/Puerto Rican Traveling Theater, Thalia Spanish Theater, Castillo Theater, El Museo del Barrio, Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, the Lehman Center for the Performing Arts and STEPS. Theater credits: “The Perils of Chencha”, written/directed by Anita Vlez Mitchell; YES I YES, written by Yolanda Garc Serrano/directed by Noelle Mauri; Amor Latino‚ written/directed by Angel Gil Orrios; La Negra Ms Bella” and “Llamada/Rally Cry”, written/directed by Nancy Nevarez; and Lulu En La Habana‚ written by Ntozake Shange/directed by Carla Pinza. She portrayed Josephine Baker in Macy’s Herald Square‚ tribute, “First Diva: Josephine Baker” in 2007. Milteri performed in Broadway’s Easter Bonnet competition at the Minskoff Theater in 2011 and was a featured dancer at the Latin Billboard Awards for Puerto Rican recording artist, Don Omar in 2013.
BxArts Factory is a grassroots, 501c3, non-profit organization that connects Bronx-based artist and community, in experiences, events and opportunities for connection, community development and healing. We assist affiliated artists to engage and advance the Arts in communities throughout the borough via a diverse set of arts-oriented programming and services. Through collaborations with local artists and community based organizations, we offer dynamic arts programming that incorporates education and showcase a variety of art genres. The BxArts Factory provides unique and engaging experiences to advance the Arts and cultural education in the Bronx. BxArts Factory is a project visualized by Laura Alvarez (local artist), Twahira Khan (Community Activist), Alexis Mendoza (founder of Alexis Mendoza Curatorial Projects) and Yolanda L. Rodriguez (Community Organizer and Teacher) in 2014. These four Bronxites bring forth knowledge and experiences that have secured the success of this development. BxArts Factory also include the talents of local Bronx artists and community members who join our Advisory Committee and Volunteer Staff every year. Our mobility allows us to bring art to everyone in the Bronx and contribute to bringing art to every household. With this purpose we plan and sponsor regular art exhibitions at venues in the Bronx, organize programs and networking events for artists, develop emerging artists through workshops and educational programs, collaborate with other organizations and local businesses to strengthen ties to the community and increase community engagement with art through workshops, street fairs, and other events.
Nina Angela Mercer’s plays include GUTTA BEAUTIFUL; RACING MY GIRL, SALLY; ITAGUA MEJI: A Road & A Prayer; GYPSY & THE BULLY DOOR; CHARISMA AT THE CROSSROADS; and a collection of short plays, including A COMPULSION FOR BREATHING; A HUNGER/A SPELL; and SPARROW. She is also developing MOTHER WIT AND WATER-BORN (a trilogy of projects including a video and performance installation, and the live stage play BETWEEN WHISPERED BLOOD-LINES). Her plays have had stage readings or full productions at the former Warehouse Theatre (Washington, D.C.), The Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company (Washington, D.C.), Ira Aldridge Theatre (Washington, D.C.), Henry Street Settlement/Abrons Arts Center (NYC), National Black Theatre (NYC), The Schomburg Center (NYC), the former Brecht Forum (NYC), the Langston Hughes House (NYC), Rutgers University – New Brunswick and Newark, Drew University (Madison, NJ), and the Little Carib Theater (Woodbrook, Trinidad). Nina‚Äôs essays and excerpts of plays are published in The Killens Review of Arts & Letters; Black Renaissance Noire; Voices Magazine #SayHerName Edition; Continuum: The Journal of African Diaspora Drama, Theatre, and Performance; Break Beat Poets Vol 2: Black Girl Magic (Haymarket Press, 2018); and Are You Entertained? Black Popular Culture in the 21st Century (Duke University Press, 2019). Nina has performed with Betty‚Äôs Daughter Arts Collaborative; for Abigail Deville‚Äôs ‚ÄúAnd the Migrants Kept Coming,‚Äùdirected by Charlotte Braithwaite; and with Paloma McGregor‚Äôs ensemble for Building A Better Fishtrap/from the river‚Äôs mouth.Currently, Nina‚Äôs collaboration with director Toshi Sakai, ‚ÄúInvocation for Jose Antonio Aponte,‚Äù (a visual poem) is on traveling exhibition with Visiory Aponte: Art and Black Freedom. Nina is a doctoral fellow of Theatre and Performance at The Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is also a recipient of the Center for Humanities Autoethnography and Theater Fellowship for her work as a facilitator for devised theater with Theater for Social Change. Nina also teaches at Brooklyn College and facilitates workshops with multiple communities creating a new world view. Nina graduated from Howard University (BA) and American University (MFA). She is a mother to two daughters.
Peggy Robles-Alvarado is a New York City born Dominican and Puerto Rican tenured educator with graduate degrees in elementary and bilingual education and an MFA in Performance and Performance Studies from Pratt Institute. She‚Äô s a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee, a CantoMundo, Academy for Teachers and Home School Fellow and a two time International Latino Book Award winner and author of Conversations With My Skin and Homage to the Warrior Women. As a former teen mother, an initiated priestess in the Lukumi and Palo spiritual systems, and a proud grandmother, Peggy uses her rhythmic energy to celebrate womanhood and honor cultural rituals. She is a 2014 BRIO award winner and the 2015 Poet of the Year at the 7th Annual Taino Awards. In 2016 she was named one of the 25 Most Influential Women of the Bronx, a BCA Arts Fund, and Spaceworks Grant recipient. Peggy‚Äôs been published in NACLA, Manteca!, The Center for Puerto Rican Studies, The Bronx Memoir Project, and Latina Voices. She‚Äôs been featured on HBO Habla Women, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Poets & Writers, and The BADD!ASS Women Festival. Through Robleswrites Productions and with the support of The Bronx Council On The Arts and Spaceworks, she‚Äôs produced The Abuela Stories Project (2016), Mujeres, The Magic, The Movement and The Muse (2017), as well as directed the very successful poetic play Live Big Girl. For more information, an updated curriculum vitae, and upcoming projects please visit Robleswrites.com
Sage Rivera developed his craft as an entertainer at a very young age, from singing in church to various talent showcases. A student of Talent Unlimited, Laguardia, and The Harvey Milk School High Schools, Sage expanded his artistic horizons from not only performance art but visual art as well. Lending his various talents to causes he felt needed greater significance such as community empowerment and education. That cause has led him on a winding road using various social and artistic mediums to get the important messages heard. Upon graduating the NYDOH and Columbia University’s TEACH program in 2002, Sage has gone on to help create and implement programs in various agencies such as, GMHC, Hetrick Martin Institute, Mt. Sinai Hospital, Bronx Community Pride Center, Harlem United and many others. A credited Community Organizer, Director, Artist, Choreographer, Researcher, and Designer he uses his varied skill set to approach every project through multiple angles examining every possibility including his own education as he graduated Summa Cum Laud from the College of New Rochelle with a degree in Communications. At the age of 15, they was the very first Child of the House of Westwood. As such, they have competed in the House & Ballroom circuit performing throughout the country. Sage has served as the Chairman for the Bronx Pride Festival Planning Committee from 2007, to 2011 and returned this year as the Festival Director. Having been on the Board of Directors for both The Puerto Rican Initiative to Develop Empowerment (PRIDE) and The Gay and Lesbian Dominican Empowerment (GALDE) Organizations Sage has contributed immensely to the mission of uplifting those who are marginalized from his Native Caribbean communities and the world moreover. In the Entertainment industry Sage has excelled as Creative Director of Vogue Evolution, America’s premier vogue dance company 2008-11 and as a Gender illusionist he has performed nationwide and appeared on TV on shows like America’s Next Top Model, Rupauls Drag Race, the Music Video “”Home”” by recording artist Morgxn, and most recently the new Ryan Murphy series POSE on the FX channel.
Seyi Adebanjo is a Queer gender-non-conforming Nigerian MFA artist. Seyi‚Äôs work is the intersection of art, media, imagination, ritual and politics. Seyi is on the faculty of New York University‚Äôs Tisch – Open Arts.. Seyi was recently awarded 1 of the 8 Exciting Filmmakers Shaking Up Hollywood by IndieWire. Seyi has been an artist in resident with Allgo. Seyi has exhibited at the Longwood Art Gallery, the Skylight Gallery -Restoration Plaza Corporation, Bronx Academy of Arts & Dance (BAAD!), MCNY, the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art & Waterloo Arts Gallery. Seyi is currently a fellow with AIM at the Bronx Museum and has been a fellow with The Laundromat Project, Queer/Art/Mentorship, Maysles Institute, IFP and City Lore Documentary Institute. Seyi‚Äôs current project I AM! We Are Here! is a photographic and film exhibition at The Point CDC documenting the vitality and spirit of Queer, Trans and Gender Non Conforming People of Color in the Bronx. Seyi‚Äôs powerful short Trans Lives Matter! Justice for Islan Nettles has screened on PBS Channel 13 Brooklyn Museum and continues to screen globally. Seyi‚Äôs award winning documentary ·ªåya: Something Happened On The Way To West Africa! is screening globally and on a speaking tour.
Natasha R. Johnson, J.D. is an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Human Services at the Bronx Extension Center of Metropolitan College. As an artivist (activist + artist), advocate, academic, and attorney, her work sits at the intersection of art and human rights. Based on her legal and education work, Natasha was a recipient of an Equal Justice Works Fellowship, a Fulbright Specialist Fellowship and a host of other awards. In art and design, she merges her legal and educational disciplines through photography, curation, and interior decorating. Natasha‚Äôs visual social ‚Äúcommentary‚Äù focuses on issues of injustice and artistically creating more equitable spaces through the seemingly disparate mediums of law, education, policy, art and interior decorating. Her efforts have been showcased in several exhibitions and her decor was featured in the popular blog Apartment Therapy. As a cultural and artistic curator, Natasha uses her critical eye to infuse equity and beauty in non-traditional spaces and has curated several cultural public programming projects, including the co-curation of a national exhibition on queer women of color in film. She lectures and consults with individuals/organizations locally, nationally, and internationally on issues of art, gender-based violence and human rights. Natasha earned her Juris Doctorate from CUNY School of Law and her Bachelor‚Äôs degree from Columbia University.
Lionel Cruet born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, lives and works in New York City and San Juan. Cruet received a Bachelor in Fine Arts from La Escuela de Artes Plásticas en Puerto Rico and a Master in Fine Arts from CUNY – The City College of New York, and Masters in Education from College of Saint Rose; was the recipient of the Juan Downey Audiovisual Award in 2013 at the 11th Media Arts Biennale at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Santiago, Chile. Cruet uses multiple mediums including experimental digital printing processes, performance, and audiovisual installations to confront issues that concern economics, geopolitics, and technology. Cruet’s artworks have been included in exhibitions at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (2017); Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse (2017); Museo del Barrio, New York (2013), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico (2013); and Universidad de Sagrado Corazón, Puerto Rico (2014); and a solo exhibition at the Bronx River Art Center (2015) and have been reviewed Made in Mind Magazine, designboom, Daily Serving California College of the Arts, and Latinx Spaces. Cruet works with New York City Department of Education, as well as multiple nonprofits that promote art and aesthetic education for immigrant youth.
BronxArtSpace is a non-profit gallery that promotes the innovative ideas of underrepresented and emerging artists and curators. Started in 2008 by Linda Cunningham and Mitsu Hadeishi, BronxArtSpace is dedicated to exhibiting the highest quality artwork from the Bronx and around the world. Our mission is to foster dialogue around the contemporary local, national and global issues while advancing local arts education and opportunities. BronxArtSpace is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non-profit arts service organization, and is generously supported by private donors and public funds from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with City Council, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, The New York State Council on the Arts, and the New Yankees Stadium Community Benefits Fund.
Heidi Maria Lopez (she/they) creates Love Healing and Liberation by curating experiences that support reflection, connection, healing and joy for the purpose of releasing trauma and living liberation NOW! They are a first generation, queer, Black, Quiskeyana woman who believes in people, our power to shape our lives, and create new possibilities. She builds relationships that create transformational organizing so that people of color, particularly those most impacted by systems of violence, take back what has been taken from us, (re)claim our history, and build our futures. They learned this work by experiencing it through their mother who created home as sanctuary even in the midst of storms. She/they honor, give gratitude and praise for all the sacrifices made from all people, places and things so she gets to do this work in the world. You can find a bit more about them at www.lovehealingliberation.com
Born in the South Bronx, Ivan Velez has used cartooning to help create social change for over 30 years. ‘Tales of the Closet’ was one of the first publicly distributed interventions for LGBT youth. Starting his pro comics career at the multicultural MILESTONE, he wrote several mainstream comics series and helped install diversity of color, gender and orientation. His work continued for Marvel and DC Comics and has been included in several award-winning comic anthologies, and is translated and shown in three continents. Ivan is also a teaching artist for New York libraries and museums, and is proud to be the creator of The Ballad of Wham Kabam, a comic series funded by the 2015 Creative Capital Visual Arts grant.
Laura Alvarez was born in Valencia, Spain and studied an MA in Fine Arts in Spain and England. In NYC, she juggles between her city job, her artist career, and her commitment to her Bronx community. She has been a teaching artist with more organizations and city agencies she can remember, but what she does recall, is all the lives she has touched through the years thanks to the arts, and she knows there will be more. Laura is interested in how art interacts with people, and what better place to do this than the streets? She has taken her artwork out the studio working in walls and step-streets in different countries and NYC neighborhoods, to bring her colorful designs and joy to the community while planning what’s the next wall she’s going to tackle. Laura is the Co-Founder, Vice-President and COO of BxArts Factory, a non profit organization whose mission is to make art accessible to everyone in the Bronx. They believe everyone is an artist and they will help you unlock it. She has received several awards and grants that she has used to continue promoting the arts among the Bronx youth and to create work that starts a conversation, touching issues like ecology, womanhood, racism, tradition, inequality or immigration. She has exhibited all over Europe and New York in collective and solo shows. In most of her shows she tries to program free workshops to pass along her love for art and her mantra: “everyone is an artist.”
Ndlela Nkobi is a filmmaker, video content creator and teacher based in the Bronx, NY. A child of former South African exiles, he moved to the US to attend college at Howard University and and went on to Columbia University for graduate school. He has been creating short videos for many years which have included interviews, profiles, and narrative shorts. His short film Tried To . . ., shot on location in Johannesburg, South Africa, was screened at the San Diego Black Film Festival and Planet in Focus Film Festival among others.