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The Cuentos Foundation and La Casa de Arte y Cultura “Calles y Sueños” Gallery
mosaic artists



Montserrat Alsina    

Aliza Bennett

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

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.


Smokeless Fire

12”x12”, Acrylic on Gold leaf


Hanah Diab

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

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

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.


Dayanara Garcia

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 her friend.


Amy Glasser

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.

Shannon Heffernan    

Alan Hobscheid

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

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.

    Sarah Joy

Kanaan Kanaan

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 Mehadipur

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

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

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

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

Leah Salkoff Pohl is a photographer and owner of Leah Salkoff Photography ( 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 events.


Elvia Rodriguez Ochoa

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 College (2005).

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 Arts Studio


Ines Sommer

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 post-production.

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 ( 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.

Zak Starer    

Unseen, 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 get.


Alfred Li Tsao

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.

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