Chicago born, Aliza bennett is a self-taught artist, residing
in Hammond, Indiana. She is active in the northwest indiana
art community. Her work reflects her passion surrounding
social issues - the welfare of children and the struggles
of women. Family and friends are an endless source of inspiration.
Kendra Calhoun is a sound artist, songwriter, musician,
caretaker, and necromancer living in Chicago, IL.
Her honorary posthumous Americana summons old culture into
haunting nonstructures using intuitive and scientific decompositional
processes to revere the spirit of the sounds, leaving bones
buried where they belong.
In August 2009 she became part of the student body at the
School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently
continuing her studies in Sound and New Media focusing on
the experiential quality of her work.
Kendra has performed with other sound artists, improvisers,
musicians and ensembles in Chicago and her native Washington,
DC area since 1994 and remains devoted to the virtues of
peace, love, and empathy through art.
12”x12”, Acrylic on Gold leaf
Hanah Diab is a Palestinian artist born in Las Vegas. She
lives and works in Chicago, IL. Hanah Diab's mixed media
paintings narrate moments of real and imagined experiences,
and capture the spirit of struggle against injustice. Hanah
received her BFA from The Art Institute of Chicago in 1997.
She has exhibited nationally in venues such as The Williamsburg
Art and Historical Society in Brooklyn, New York; E3 Gallery
in New York; Gallery 2 in Chicago, IL; Reset Art in Philadelphia,
PA; The Athens Institute for Contemporary Art in Athens,
GA; and Marquette University in Marquette, WI.
“As a Palestinian woman born in the United States,
my work reflects the experience of never having truly been
home—of awaiting some unknown beauty—of longing
for a place that is alive only in my mother’s eyes.
My paintings and drawings document my own existence and
the existence of a culture that is often denied, either
through direct portraiture of my own family or a more abstract
depiction of patterns and colors to resurrect beautiful
memories and replace a much harsher reality.
The textural combinations of fabric, wood, wood stains,
acrylics, ink, charcoal, hand-made papers, and dried plant
materials create images that reveal a story over a span
of time. Through this layering, the pieces become an imprint
and a record—at once nostalgic and historical.”
Eunice M. Escobar holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting
from the University of Valle in Colombia. Eunice was a representative
to the Federation of Students of the University of Valle
and worked with afro-Colombian students of North Cauca building
bridges among the University students and the afro-Colombian
communities. In USA served on Cuentos Foundation Board as
a Treasurer until November of 2004.
Also almost since its inception had been a member of the
Committee Anti Militarization (CAMI) in the Pilsen Neighborhood
in Chicago, and is a Board Member of the following associations
working to influence USA foreign policy towards Latino-America
in particular impacting the life of indigenous and Afro-Colombian
people: Chicago Religious Leadership Network on Latin America
(CRLN), Association of Internally Displaced Afro-Colombians
(AFRODES) - USA and Witness for Peace.
Headed visits to the afro-Colombian communities of the
Cauca North region in 2006 and to the afro-Colombian communities
of the South Pacific coast region in 2007 and 2008. Participated
in 2009 in the VIVA Palestine Humanitarian Caravan from
USA to GAZA.
Roberto Ferreyra was born in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico
in 1957. He was initially drawn to the plastic arts from
the works of the great Mexican muralists Rivera, Siqueiros
and Orozco. When we look at his work today, it is clear
that we are in the presence of a gifted artist whose inspiration
draws strongly on the pre-Colombian culture and images.
Roberto’s works have been shown in Spain, Canada (Montreal,
Toronto), United States (New York, Chicago) as well as in
his own country. His works have also appeared in many art
magazines from Mexico and other countries.
Ferreyra is not only a well known painter, but is also
an acclaimed poet, winner of the 1985 2nd Bienal de Poesia
Breve, Valparaiso, Chile, and 1986 “Antologia de Poesia
Joven Latinoamericana”, Revista Mairena, Puerto Rico.
He is also the founder of Nahui Ollin, a group of a spiritual
dancers called “Concheros” or Aztec dancers
and member of the musical troupe “Tarima”dedicated
to play afro-caribean Mexican music. He graduated from the
national School of Painting, Sculpture and Printmaking "La
Esmeralda". Roberto Ferreyra, a Mexican painter and
musician who actively works to contribute his artistic talents
to the Chicago community. Roberto’s bio is attached.
He is co-founder of Colibri Gallery in Pilsen.
A native Chicagoan, Dayanara studied art/Illustration at
Columbia College, and received certification through the
State of Illinois to teach Early Childhood Development.
She quickly changed her focus when a friend let her borrow
a sewing machine. In her work she uses a combination of
painting, machine sewing textiles and hand stitching.
She is active in the community choosing to do projects
that teach children about art and service to others. Impacted
by the scripture “ When you are in service of your
fellow man you are in service of your God”, she has
volunteered her time and ability to several organizations
throughout the years. She is currently on the Board of Directors
at the Cuentos Foundation and the Community Affairs Specialist
for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
As a former Early Childhood Educator, she understands the
need for open-ended play, simplicity, and nurturing, in
a child life. With that philosophy she designs and makes
all natural handmade toys and dolls for children. Her dolls
and artwork embrace the feelings of magic, sweet imagination,
daydreaming and wonderment. In the beginning of her doll
making adventures she made Art Dolls that were sold all
over the U.S. but her love for children ,children’s
books and toys made her shift gears.
PS- she never gave the borrowed sewing machine back to
Born and raised in Chicago, IL, Amy Glasser spent the last
four years at Pitzer College in Southern California getting
her bachelor degree in both Studio Art and Spanish. Within
her studies, she has had experience engaging with the Spanish
speaking community in artistic and innovative ways. She
has shared her artistic skills with children and workers
at a day labor center. She is a firm believer of art as
a way for social empowerment. Creating art with others has
allowed her to understand the importance of cultural expression,
political resistance, and interpersonal connection. Amy
is excited to reconnect with the Chicago community through
sharing her artwork.
Alan Hobscheid has been working as an artist in painting
and photography (both traditional and digital). Hobscheid
works on subject matter that range from landscapes and still
lifes to images from Jewish texts. He is a trained cartographer
and draftsman and have produced maps for a book on copper
artists of Michoacán, Mexico.
Hobscheid is currently developing a series of digitally
manipulated images based on the Book of Jonah, investigating
the nature of faith and fate. He also teaches geography
at Roosevelt University.
Flesh on Earth
Woodcut, 6 1/2" x 21"
Ellen Holtzblatt is a Chicago-based artist who creates
woodblock prints that are personal studies of biblical themes.
Recently, Holtzblatt completed a book of woodcuts based
on the biblical flood as an allegory of rebirth and spiritual
purification. The woodcut prints explore the archetype of
journeying through water as a mirror of the stark reality
of human existence – death, sex, gestation and birth.
She is currently working with the biblical narrative of
Hana, developing personal insights and connections to the
raw, emotional pain of Hana’s infertility and the
joy of her subsequent birthing.
Holtzblatt received her B.F.A. and graduate certificate
in art therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
She also earned her M.Ed. in special education from the
University of Illinois at Chicago. Holtzblatt exhibits her
work at diverse venues, including the Lancaster Museum of
Art, ARC Gallery, Chicago Cultural Center, Little Black
Pearl, Woman Made Gallery and Cuentos Foundation.
Kanaan Kanaan was born and raised in Amman, Jordan. In
1994, he moved to the United States and settled in Portland.
Currently, he is an instructor at Portland State University
(PSU) where he teaches courses in interactive media, including
Web design and computer graphics.
Mr. Kanaan launched his art career in 1991, studying at
the College of Fine Arts at Baghdad University. He obtained
his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and Graphic Design
from PSU in 1999, and he’s currently finishing his
master’s of Fine Arts program through Warnborough
University in the United Kingdom.
Mr. Kanaan’s work has received critical accolades
throughout the Pacific Northwest, having been shown in a
number of galleries, exhibitions and festivals including
the New World Gallery, the Noury al-Kaledy Scholarship Foundation,
the Fine and Performing Arts Gallery at PSU and the Hawthorne
Arts Guild. His graphics design of the t-shirt for the 1998
Portland Arts Festival/Rose Festival placed first and was
chosen as the official design for that year’s festival.
Mr. Kanaan has garnered numerous honors for his studies,
as well – the Oregon Laurels Scholarship, the PSU
Art Department Award and the position of Master Calligrapher
for the Oregon Folklife Program through the Oregon Historical
Society, among others.
In his spare time, Mr. Kanaan has volunteered with several
local associations including the Experiential Learning Institute,
Art Front Collectives and the Beaverton Arts Commission.
Miriam was born in Holland in 1960, a country of soft light
and little sunshine. At the age of 22, she studied for 4
years at the Royal Academy of Art. None of this prepared
her for the magnificent, bright, white light of Israel.
Gone were the greys of my homeland. Here she was inspired
to open her palette to the symphony of joyous colors you
see in her paintings now.
She is home and her paintings reflect this, some with
biblical characters like Sarah, Rachel; others independentof
biblical referends. But always beautifull, inviting, evolving,
serene yet becoming. Often, the main figurein my paintings
is gracefully enfolded within a kind of seed pod, we cannot
be certainif he or she is aware of this.It does not matter.
We know it!.
The world of these paintings is that of birth, rebirth,
potentiasl....always potential, like the seed that can always
be touched by the wind and burst open for a flower or a
tree to emerge miraculously. Welcome to her worlds of beauty.
It will surround you with the serenity, simplicity,complexity
,and colors, images and designs dancing around the figure
even through to the frame, which leads you into your own
world of beauty, peacefulness ,and joy. When you take it
home, sit and relax with it.You will see so much more that
will touch your heart and that you will enjoy.
Giselle Mercier currently serves as the Executive Director
for Pros Arts Studio, a community-based, youth focused arts
organization in the area of Pilsen in Chicago. Prior to
this appointment Ms. Mercier was the Administrative Director
of the Art Education, Art Therapy, and Arts Administration
and Policy departments at the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago. Mercier has worked for over twenty years in
educational programs with organizations such as the National
Museum of Mexican Art, Randolph Street Gallery, Performing
Arts Chicago, The Dance Center and the Center for Community
Arts Partnerships-Columbia College Chicago.
An accomplished lecturer and curator, educator and international
artist, as well as a Panamanian citizen, Ms. Mercier brings
a rich bi-cultural and multi-disciplinary approach to community
work of all kinds. She has extensive experience in curriculum
development and in implementing arts education programs
in a number of disciplines. Ms. Mercier received her Bachelors
and Masters degrees in Fine Arts from the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago.
Exhibitions: Chicago State University, Cuentos Foundation,
Chicago, The Art Center, Highland Park, Illinois, Huellas,
Panama Rep. of Panama, Polvo Art Studio, Chicago; C33 Gallery,
Columbia College, Chicago; Humboldt Park Stables, Chicago;
Collage de las Americas, Chicago; Prospectus Art Gallery,
Chicago. Publications: Co-author, Metropolitan Universities
Journal: Trust Building: The Secret to Highly Collaborative
Partnerships; Author, New Art Examiner, Speak Easy: 'Reality'
Beyond Labels: blind faith in the power of words. Awards:
Governor’s International Arts Exchange Program, Illinois
Arts Council Grants; Department of Cultural Affairs Grants.
Malkah Nadoff is the daughter of Michele Feder-Nadoff,
the founder of Cuentos. These photographs were taken during
her gap year in Israel. She is now a freshman at Hampshire
College, in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Michele Feder-Nadoff was born in Chicago, Illinois where
she lives and works, along with Mexico. She received her
BFA (1977) and MFA (1979) degrees from the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and was awarded the Edith
Halkin Memorial Scholarship from the Painting and Drawing
Department in 1977. She returned to SAIC to study foundry
in the late 80’s-early 90’s and completed a
Professional Certificate in Art Education in 1996.
Feder-Nadoff has spent numerous apprenticeships under traditional
coppersmiths in Santa Clara del Cobre, Michoacán,
Mexico for research and community organizing initiatives
on behalf of the nonprofit Cuentos
Foundation, which she founded in 1998. She initially
studied under Maestro Maximo Velazquez Correa in Cecati
166 in 1997; subsequently she was accepted to study in the
family studio of respected village elder, Maestro Jesús
Perez Ornelas, who is her mentor.
Feder-Nadoff’s work has been included in exhibitions
at the Phyllis Kind and Tough Gallery in Chicago, the Venice
Biennial, ARCO Madrid, and Rockford Art Museum and has been
awarded numerous grants from the Illinois Arts Council.
Her work is in private and public collections including
the Illinois State Museum.
Leah Salkoff Pohl is a photographer and owner of Leah Salkoff
She specializes in maternity and infant photographic art
and has expanded into family portraiture and event photography.
With an educational background in Latin American Studies
and returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Guatemala, Leah
is delighted to share her passion and eye for photography
with Cuentos Foundation. Currently she is documenting the
museum quality copper art pieces from Santa Clara del Cobre,
Mexico, as well as periodically photographing Cuentos Foundation
Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator
and administrator, active for the past fifteen years. Completed
a B.A. in Fine Art from Trinity Christian College in 1992
and earned an M.A in Inter Disciplinary Arts at Columbia
As an administrator and an artist, she has collaborated
in the creation and maintenance of many non profit organizations
in Pilsen. Among them are Taller Mestizarte (Mixed Art Workshop)
where she served as President in 1998 organizer for La Voz
de Los de Abajo, and a board member for Calles y Sueños.
Elvia has also contributed to other existing organizations
such as the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Fiesta del
Sol/ Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Marshall Square
Boys and Girls Club, and Gallery 37 as an educator and an
artist. Elvia is the Director of Community Programs at Pros
Ines Sommer is a Chicago-based independent filmmaker whose
work ranges from documentaries to experimental films and
videos. She will present a selection of her short videos
as part of MOSAIC, including “mud & glory,”
a lighthearted meditation on American masculinity and myth.
Among her latest projects is “Beneath the Blindfold,”
a feature-length human rights documentary about four international
torture survivors who live in the U.S. Co-directed by Kathy
Berger, “Beneath the Blindfold” is currently
In addition to her personal film and video projects, Ines
has worked as a cinematographer on numerous documentary,
educational and dramatic projects by other independent filmmakers.
She edited Michele Feder-Nadoff’s poetic documentary
“Huele de Noche.”
In the curatorial field, Ines currently directs the ten-year-old
film and discussion series Reeltime Independent Film &
Video Forum (www.reeltimeevanston.org)
and co-founded Evanston’s Talking Pictures Festival
earlier this year.
Ines received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute
of Chicago, where she also taught film as an Adjunct Assistant
Professor throughout the 1990s.
Acrylic on canvas, 24" x 18" (view for up close)
Unseen- People often judge others from a distance. When
they do not concede to convention and take a deeper look,
they will often discover that what you see is not what you
Alfred Li Tsao is an alum of The School of the Art Institute
of Chicago. He graduated in 2002 with a BFA specializing
in Visual Communication, but his true passion is painting.
He paint whenever he have the opportunity. Alfred have had
his artwork displayed at the James R. Thompson Center in
downtown Chicago, Harold Washingtin Library, The Chicago
Cultural Center, Gallery 2, Sullivan Galleries, and Barewalls.
He also have works permanently on display at private businesses.
Alfred style of painting is modern contemporary Asian with
Chinoiserie/Japonaiserie influences. Being an Asian American,
it is important for him to reflect his dual identities in
his work. By blending both backgrounds, he create hybrid
paintings with an East-meets-West sensibility. He combine
painting techniques by creating traditional style Asian
paintings using non-traditional style mediums such as acrylic,
oil, and mixed media. For example, he may paint a traditional
watercolor or sumi ink painting first as a mock up, and
then translate the painting into the final form.