LES Community Culture Council

University Settlement and FABnyc have launched the Lower East Side Community Culture Council, and are looking for new members to join! 

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.

Get to know the current council and read their bios below:

Ariana Faye Allensworth

Ariana Faye Allensworth is a creative producer, photographer, and educator working at the intersection of art, culture, and activism. She is currently the Senior Manger of Teen Programs and Neighborhood Engagement at the International Center of Photography (ICP), where she leads efforts to fulfill the organization’s commitment to equity and social justice through photography. Prior to her role at ICP, she led school and youth programs at Youth Speaks, Urban Arts Partnership, and New Design High School. As an independent curator and researcher, she has produced exhibitions and public programs in collaboration with Pro Arts Gallery, Incline Gallery, Independent Curators International, and Open Engagement. Her research interests include social justice pedagogies, the history of photography, spatial politics and Black cultural and aesthetic theory. Ariana co-founded the New York City Chapter of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project in 2017 and is a 2019 and 2020 Create Change Artist-in-Residence with the Laundromat Project. 

Tareake Dorill Ramos

Tareake Dorill Ramos’s proudest affiliation is being born and raised in the Lower East Side, NYC. Tareake graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography. Mr. Ramos served as Student Body President at UNCSA and had the amazing opportunity of being a voting member of the university’s Board of Trustees. Tareake founded and serves as the Executive Director of Dorill Initiative, which is committed to engaging students through artistic and creative expression, academic enrichment, and community engagement to ensure student success artistically, academically, socially and professionally. Mr. Ramos is currently a member of the Angel Alliance Board of the Lower East Side Girls Club, co-chair and member of the UNCSA Alumni Association, and is excited to join the Lower East Side Community Cultural Council as a council member.

Gustavo Flores

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.

Felicia Gordon

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

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.

Cynthia Lully

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

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.

Saarah Medrano

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.

Kimani Muthra

Kimani Muthra is a 3rd-Generation organic farmer & lifelong artist. He is currently a CUNY Science Student, interested in researching the wellness of the human being from an amalgamated biophysical and ecological perspective. He has both worked with and is deeply fascinated by Information Technology, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, electrical wiring, Smart Technology, and the Internet of Things.  He is a 1st Generation Jamaican American of Ashanti, East Indian, and Gaelic Descent. Born and raised in NYC.

Sandra Santana

My name is Sandra Santana. I was born in Chicago but I have been raised in the Lower East Side since I was about two months old. My grandparents raised me in the same apartment where I raised my two daughters. I found a lease from 1973 that my grandma signed; I never knew another home but this one. I am a member of Middle Collegiate Church and a member of the Gospel Choir. My art is my poetry, my voice, my motherhood. To see my daughters strive is my greatest joy. I am looking forward to joining this community.

Tatyanna Santana

Bio coming soon.