LES Community Culture Council
University Settlement and FABnyc are partnering to launch the Lower East Side Community Culture Council!
The LESCCC is an intergenerational team of community residents, University Settlement staff, and FABnyc staff. The council will explore opportunities to bring creative programming to public and community spaces in our neighborhood. We will select and collaborate with artists and/or community partners to envision and plan creative actions that support greater access and equity.
Stay tuned for updates on events and programs the council will be organizing.
Get to know the council and read their bios below:
My name is Gustavo Flores, I was born in Managua, Nicaragua in 1972. Since an early age I wanted to travel and know the world, but also started to feel passion for film and acting. When I was 13 I applied for a full scholarship to study in Cuba, after a few months I moved over there along with 500 other children to start Secondary School. Originally I expected to stay only for 6 years but ended up staying for 13. After returning to Nicaragua I worked as Staff Attorney for different non-profit organizations. In the last one, I had the pleasure to work as a script writer and actor for three years. That was the most amazing professional experience ever. When that project was done, I decided to move to the United States to keep trying to fulfill my dream of making films. I lived in LA first, then I moved to Chicago. After three years there I decided to take a graduate program on Film Production in Barcelona Spain. When I returned in 2017 I decided to move to NYC to keep trying. It’s been almost two years since then, and I have embraced this wonderful city keeping my dreams alive.
Noelle Flores Théard
Noelle Flores Théard is a New York based educator and arts administrator with a BA in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, an MA in African Diaspora Studies from Florida International University, and an MFA in Photography from Parsons. She is the Programs Manager at the Magnum Foundation, a nonprofit that expands creativity and diversity in documentary photography. Noelle is also part-time faculty in the Parsons BFA photography program. She is a cofounder of FotoKonbit, a non-profit that teaches photography in Haiti.
Felicia Gordon is a life long New Yorker. Whom has resided in the Lower East side for over two decades. What attracted Ms. Gordon to the community, was its cultural diversity, and thriving art scene. She states “Since childhood, I have found refuge in the arts. My first love however, is dance. I found my voice in movement. And that voice is loud, bold, and self assured” Qualities that Ms. Gordon has honed, and utilizes on a daily basis as a community activist. She is the President of Raphael Hernendez Resident Association. And has committed herself to ensuring that truly affordable housing is a right, not a privelege. She also champions, and supports a number of local non profits. The most recent “LESCCC” The opportunity to share the wonderment of artistic expression with her neighbors, she declares with a smile “Is A Dream Come True”
Kendra Krueger is an intersectional scientist, educator, artist and human of color on many edges. Raised by artists, educated as an electrical engineer and trained in anti-oppression facilitation, theater, mindfulness and permaculture. Her work and research is a convergence of these many waters. The intention of her work comes down to healing. Healing ourselves, our communities and our Earth. Her teaching and research pedagogy advocates that science can be transformative for the external and internal world and art is a means of research. She founded 4LoveandScience as a platform to teach transformative science at universities, in k12 schools and in community spaces/gardens throughout the country. She has also developed performative art and installations that integrate stories of nature, science and identity. She currently works as a Youth Science Educator at CUNY’s Advanced Science Research Center and supports the East Village arts organization founded by her parents in the 1970s known as Minority Photographers Inc.
As a recent transplant to the East Village, from Roosevelt Island, I’m still acclimating myself to its storied history, its inexorable gentrification and its unconventional vibe. I’ve been a photographer for decades, for work and for art, and as I practice my favorite genre, street photography, I appreciate the opportunities to record this amazing neighborhood and its citizens. I come from a multicultural family – a French mother and Puerto Rican father. We moved every three years for my father’s assignment in the military. Houses and friends changed constantly, and I never quite felt “at home,” never belonged. But when I moved to New York City a few decades ago, something clicked for me. I was attracted to its textures, colors and energy. I met people who didn’t always follow a traditional path to living. I added my creative impulses to the fabric of this city. And I continue working to fit in here. My participation includes membership in Albert’s Garden, one of the many community gardens scattered throughout the Lower East Side; work at my local community board; service as a board member of the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association; and volunteer activities in communications at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery. My daily life practice includes shooting photos of the street art, the in-real-time human tableaus or dramatic plays of people on the streets, the funky and gorgeous fashion, the shifting flashes of light and shadows on ancient tenements, all worthy subjects for my lens and curiosity.
Cynthia Lully is a Brooklyn-born New Yorker who grew up downtown. A singer, dancer, photographer and graphic designer, Cynthia’s honed her creative talents while studying at Convent of the Sacred Heart, Syracuse University and New York University. She interned at the United Nations in 2010 and has since worked for the Dag Hammarskjold Library. A member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, her professional experience includes work in IT, retail and non-profit fundraising. She attends St. Augustine of Hippo Episcopal Church and is a New York Junior League volunteer. She also sings soprano with the UN Singers who travel the world spreading the message of peace.
Jonathan Martinez is a lifelong Scholar and Educator native to New York City. Sinplicity, his first book of Poetry, was self published in the summer of 2018. A collection of early works meant to serve as an introduction to the three personas of ‘The Mad Poet’. The poems were all meant to be spoken aloud, a poetic mask that empowers the reader to shed their mundane inhibitions and enjoy life. He has been dubbed the “Street Art Historian” due to his recent work with respected members of the Graffiti and Urban Arts Movement in NYC, by way of his social media platforms. As an artist Jonathan is a self taught photographer who also enjoys creating original paint and graffiti pieces. Jonathan is currently working on Vol 2 of Sinplicity along with the publication of other original comic books and graphic novels. 2018 also saw the foundation of the Deathwish Society Art Collective.
My name is Saarah Medrano, I was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States at a very young age. I was raised in Chelsea and in my early teens my family moved to the Lower East Side and have been there since. I developed a passion for the Arts in my early pre-teen years when I attended an afterschool program which offered theater classes at Hudson Guild Theater. As a result of my training, I was afforded the opportunity to perform in various theater productions, both in Spanish and English. I have appeared in several short Spanish films, the most recent one in my native country, the Dominican Republic. I like to explore new things and take on new challenges. I recently ventured into the television industry and became a certified Studio Producer at Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN) Studios. Aside from my theater experiences, I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life and have a passion for different types of cuisine. My best role in life is being a mother of three beautiful children and four awesome grandchildren whom I adore. They are my inspiration to spread my wings in each step I take in my journey through life.
Bio coming soon.
My name is Hong Hong Wong. I prefer to be called Juna. In 2014, I have moved into the Lower East Side community. Wow. It has been five years, yet there is so more to learn about this community. Dance and art helps bring cultural diversity to our society. Everyone is created differently and practices differently. Our cultures are what shape us to be unique and be our individual self. I would love to contribute my knowledge of Asian culture into our community. Beside, I would love to learn about your culture too. Art and dance have a huge impact in our lives. It allow us to freely express our feelings and thoughts. The Lower East Side Community Culture Council opens opportunity for us to fully express our creativity. As a future early childhood educator and a mother of two children, art and culture are essential to contribute to our community. Our children are our future.