Youth Arts New York Team

DEBRA KAPLAN BRINDIS

BRINDIS-TEAM-PHOTO2-150pxCurriculum and Project Coordination: Debra has a BS in Education and MA in Behavioral Psychology from Columbia University. She worked for the NYC Dept. of Education for 25 years as an educator and educational evaluator. Most recently she served as the 10th grade learning specialist at East Side Community High School where she collaborated closely with the 10th grade Humanities teacher around topics concerning World War II and the dropping of the atomic bombs. Ms. Brindis has worked with Dr. Kathleen Sullivan in bringing peace education into high school classrooms for over fifteen years and has been part of Hibakusha Stories since the very beginning.

BLAISE DUPUY

DUPUY-TEAM-PHOTO-150pxBlaise is a freelance recording engineer and producer. He has worked with diverse artists over his 30-year career, including Diamanda Galas, Wu Tang Clan and Philip Glass. Blaise worked as technical coordinator for the Hibakusha Stories concert event “With Love to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, A Concert For Disarmament” at the NY Society for Ethical Culture in 2015. He and his comrade in love, Kathleen Sullivan, currently host The Parlor Series, a monthly Sunday jazz concert at his family home in Chelsea.

ANDREA LOWENKOPF

Consultant: Andrea has been a School Improvement and Literacy consultant since 1994, working throughout the United States and in Gabon, Liberia and Nepal. Her diverse experience has included improving education for incarcerated youth, assisting Liberian government agencies in their attempt to make education available to all, and helping administrators and teachers of high income students change the focus of education from competing in the free market to participation in civic life. She has worked with schools and school districts in adopting, adapting and/or creating curricula that are aligned with the Common Core State Standards. Andrea has taught middle school, high school and graduate school in areas that include English as a Second Language, Teacher Education and writing. She was Lead Regional Instructional Specialist for NYC Region Nine (that encompassed two hundred schools from Chinatown to the South Bronx); Coordinator of Literacy Staff Development for District Two; and a consultant and member of the Teachers College Writing Project.

KEN MECHLER

worked (1994-1999) as Program Coordinator for the arts & education programs of Rheedlen Centers’ Harlem Children’s Zone, developing arts and media literacy-based curriculum for grades K through 12, and mentoring youth-produced video and art for T.R.U.C.E.  In tandem with his work for Rheedlen, he worked with the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, The Robin Hood Foundation, The Park Foundation and the Children’s Defense Fund as an organizer, advocate and documentarian. He also worked as a curriculum specislist/consultant for Arts Connection and United Way CAPS throughout NYC public schools until 1999. In 1999 he became a new media producer for PRNewswire, where he quickly became Manager of International and Investment Web Services, supervising new products from concept to market. He also managed the migration of PRNewswire’s financial web products and personnel to Thomson Reuters in 2002. Before moving to NYC in 1994, he was a consumer advocate and habilitation technician at the STARLIGHT Project with Texas Mental Health Mental Retardation, developing art-based curriculum and therapies specific to dual-diagnosed individuals.  He also managed two group homes for the same agency. He is featured in the documentary film Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride.

ROBERT SINK

Web Design and Administration: Bob is a talented and inspired website designer who has brought all his skills to the fore and his ardent prayers for peace on behalf of Hibakusha Stories & YANY. He is an accomplished graphic designer of thirty+ years and a long-time filmmaker and editor, providing content to more than a half-dozen YouTube channels, and several Vimeo channels.

CAROLINA SOTO

is one of “the real women of Orange Is the New Black.” Unlike the fictionalized Yoga Jones, Carolina has a long history of work in social justice and advocacy and is a seasoned painter and visual artist. She is one of the founding members of the Re/Creation writing workshop at Restoration Plaza in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Since beginning her work in the Re/Creation writing workshop, Carolina has increased her confidence and aptitude with both the written and spoken word, composing speeches and essays for her advocacy work and as well as memoir writing. In particular, her writing illustrates her vast capacity for empathy in her descriptions of people with whom she shared time inside the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution. She now splits her time between living in New York City and the Dominican Republic.

SUSAN STRICKLER

Director and Producer of A Vow From The Ruins: The Story of Setsuko Thurlow, Susan has had a successful 22-year career as a director and producer for several network television soap operas. In addition to directing over 750 hour-long episodes for Daytime TV, she has won both a Daytime Emmy Award and a Director’s Guild of America Award. Recently, she has been working with Arc Media, Inc. creating online content for international clientele. As a Quaker and a feminist, she has always been passionate about global issues for peace and justice so it was a natural fit to produce this important film about Setsuko’s life.

MIYAKO TAGUCHI

Hibakusha Stories Fellow: Miyako is the founder of Miyako i Studio. As an accomplished designer, she has made major contributions to diverse creative projects for numerous Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years. Her belief in the power of art and the individual drives her activism for peace and disarmament. Both her parents are survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki. She was appointed to be a Nagasaki Peace Correspondent by Mayor Tomihisa Taue of Nagasaki City. Miyako created beautiful logos for both Hibakusha Stories and Youth Arts New York.

J. W. WALKER

Jay W. Walker (He, Him) has been involved in activism surrounding LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS issues for over 20 years. In 1998, he helped form the October 19th Coalition which used direct action activism to raise awareness of hate crimes targeting LGBTQ communities. He also volunteered with GMHC’s NY Citizens AIDS Network legislative public policy initiative. A founding member of Gays Against Guns and Rise and Resist, and a co-founder of the Reclaim Pride Coalition and The Queer Liberation March, Jay has conceived, produced and co-produced numerous fundraising events, public awareness campaigns, rallies, marches, and direct action protests focusing on hate crimes, gun violence prevention, HIV/AIDS, Anti-fascism, and to protecting and restoring our democracy.

YOUTH ARTS NEW YORK TEAM EMERITUS

Over the years we have had many remarkable members of our Youth Arts family.
We thank them for all they have done for Youth Arts, the students we serve, and the world in general.

Michael Cassandra
Rachel Clark
Marie Cochrane
Clifton Truman Daniel
Jonathan Fluck
Pamela Kingfisher
Emilie McGlone
Kazuko Minamoto
Hayato Nakao
Nina Reznick
Alice Slater