“Art Speaks” Artists’ Biographies


Get to know more about who presented for our night of cultural performances.
Izabela Gola, film

I was born in Poland, and currently I live and work in Brooklyn, New York. I am completing my BFA degree at Hunter College in the concentration of video art. This past spring I participated in a screening at the Film Department of the Research and Education Center at MoMA. I explore the narrative used in television and film genres, like documentary (in After and Documenta 29), American western (The Land), mystery, or film noir (Vignette). I use the narrative as both, a medium and as a subject matter. I often combine multiple narratives in a formally and conceptually parallel structure, like in Western Mix. By juxtaposition of various cinematic clichés, philosophical, and spiritual symbolism, I challenge the stereotypes of cultural representations in the media. The most common conceptual themes I work with are the cultural displacement, multilayered character identity, and spiritual transformation.

Clare Halpine

Clare is a dynamic individual. Hitherto receiving a number of prestigious certificates from participation in various leadership seminars and motivational speaking events, she received her BFA from Mount Allison University in 2009. Clare is a humor columnist for the Curator magazine and is working on writing and producing a series of short films. Want to see/read Clare’s work? If only there was like, one, big search engine where you could type in someone’s name and…

  • If you want to see Clare’s film “It Just Happens” presented in “Art Speaks”, check out this video link: http://www.vimeo.com/26494073 Password: itjusthappens

Alexis Kende, WYA Director of Cultural Programs & violinist

Alexis is currently the Director of Cultural Programs at the World Youth Alliance. In her capacity as Director, Alexis founded the World Youth Alliance Chamber Orchestra, a classical string ensemble for young musicians (ages of 10-17) from The Juilliard School, Manhattan School of Music and Mannes, cooperating to inspire international cooperation. She is also overseeing the Manhattan International Film Festival, World Youth Alliance’s international film competition for young directors. Alexis previously worked in grant writing and Special Events for the New York City Opera at Lincoln Center.

Alexis began her violin studies at age five, was accepted for professional training at the Juilliard Pre-College program at age twelve, and pursued graduate work in violin performance and pedagogy at the Peabody Conservatory. Alexis received her Masters in Performing Arts Administration from New York University in 2009 and her undergraduate degree from Princeton University.

Caroline Hewitt, actress

Caroline most recently worked with Theater For a New Audience as a participant in their, American Directors Project. Earlier this year she appeared as Leia in a reading of Stockholm, Pennsylvannia, at the Public Theater, and as Elvira in Blithe Spirit at the Gulfshore Playhouse. Other regional credits include: The Caucasian Chalk Circle (ensemble), directed by John Doyle at the American Conservatory Theater, A Christmas Carol at ACT (Martha Cratchit); The Winter’s Tale (Perdita) and Arcadia (Chloë) at the Chautauqua Theater Company, The Forest War with the Shotgun Players, Note to Sixth-Grade Self with Word for Word Performing Arts Company, The Grapes of Wrath and La Bete at the Theater at Monmouth, and As You Like It (Rosalind) at Vassar College. A recent graduate of the American Conservatory Theater M.F.A program, roles there included: Her Naked Skin (Eve Douglas) Macbeth (Lady Macbeth), Winter Under the Table (Florence), Hamlet (Ophelia), Clothes for a Summer Hotel (Sara Murphy), and The Diviners (Jenny-Mae). Caroline has a BA in French from Vassar College, and also works as a translator: she is currently collaborating on a production of her new translation of Rose, La Nuit Australienne by Noelle Renaude.

Melissa Miller, actress

Melissa recently appeared opposite F. Murray Abraham in The Merchant of Venice (Theatre for a New Audience- national tour). Other recent credits: Jason Grote’s premiere of Civilization (Clubbed Thumb), I Never Sang for My Father (Keen Company), Richard III (NY Classical). She made her Broadway debut in Tartuffe (Roundabout Theatre). Regional work at: Alley Theatre, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Williamstown, Premiere Stages, Chester Theatre. Television: NBC’ s Ed, All My Children, Fire at the Triangle (PBS). Vassar College (Phi Beta Kappa), RADA (Certificate). www.melissamiller.org.

Nina Zenni, photographer

“The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.”
– Mother Theresa

There are few means of universal communication. Variations in life act to alter our ability to comprehend worlds and lives unlike our own. Thus, these qualities of life—diversity in skin, religions, nationality, family—work to detract from out ability to relate and understand each other. The only real way we can relate is through our mutual experience with the emotional component of human existence.

Photography has serves as my portal through which to see, understand and relate to those tangible, relatable emotions we often ignore. By capturing moments, I have attempted to create a direct channel of understanding. If only for a second, I feel the walls of societal separation dissolve, leaving me and whatever or whomever in its wake—documented forever.

These universal emotions are exactly why photography is such a large component of my life. Through the lens, I feel connected to a deeper part of others and, in turn, a deeper part of myself.

Our modern world is characterized by means of separating ourselves from each other and our surroundings, leaving us with a fundamental misunderstanding of our own emotions. This collection attempts to explore the boundaries of loneliness and what it means to truly connect to someone else on a fundamental, humanistic level.

Nina Zenni is a current university student earning a degree in Communications with a focus in Visual Journalism. She has had basic photographic training in both digital and film photography; however, most of her knowledge of photography has been established during her extensive travels. With a particular interest in the power of photojournalism and travel photography, Nina comes alive in worlds unlike her own—attempting to document stories from all parts of the globe. From South Africa to Indonesia, she has worked to combine her love for the human person and powerful expression of photography.

David Galalis, photographer

The art of photography is, at its core, the ability to see what is revealed through reality. For the past three years I have been following the Good Friday Way of the Cross over the Brooklyn Bridge with my camera. I have been continually struck by the depth of longing that has been revealed in this public gesture of faith. It is a longing made particularly notable in its diversity of faces.

David is a documentary and street photographer based in Brooklyn, New York. His work is devoted particularly to revealing the “unseen Church” to contemporary culture. His work can be seen at www.davidgalalis.com. Inquiries about assignments, print sales, and licensing are welcome.


Sean Scanlin, photographer

Since childhood I’ve been trying to slow time. Perhaps I simply wanted to enjoy things longer, though more likely was my desire to stay a kid forever.

Early attempts to slow time included walking backwards at age 4, building a microwave time machine at age 6, and by age nine, I moved on to eating an entire bottle of flintstone vitamins. My rational at the time was if I was strong enough mentally, I could simply will the time stoppage into existence. This of course backfired and I wound up in the hospital. True story.

Years later I finally discovered the only solution to slowing time; photography.

Photos capture moments and not just the amazing things we remember but also the nuances we don’t. In these fleeting instants we gain insight into people, events and on the whole, humanity. When a photo can do this and show a glimpse into humanity or ourselves, I believe in some small way we managed to slow time.

I’ve photographed everyone from the President to factory workers, and everything in between. Everyone tells an equally valuable story.


Allison Elliott, poet

Allison Elliott grew up in Canada and Texas and was educated at Emory University in the South and Emerson College in the North.
She works in Public Relations and contributes regular book reviews to The Adirondack Review. When not working or writing, she can be found waiting for the F train.

Sarah Crawford, sculptor

Sarah Crawford has used art as a form of self-expression ever since she was a young girl. She discovered her passion for figurative sculpture early in her high school career and began a five-year dual degree BA/BFA program with Tufts and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts before double majoring in Italian and English. She has an MA in Italian Renaissance Literature from Middlebury and currently teaches Upper School Italian, Latin and Art at Brunswick School in Greenwich, CT.

More To Explore