Artist Bios

Literary Arts

David Crews David Crews ( is author of the poetry collections High Peaks (RA Press, 2015) and Circadian Rhythm (Paulinskill Poetry Project, 2014). High Peaks catalogs his hiking of “The 46ers” in New York’s Adirondack State Park. His poems have appeared in The Southeast Review, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, Stone Canoe, and others. Essays can be found in Adanna Literary Journal and SPECTRUM. Crews received an MFA in Poetry from Drew University, serves as Editor for The Stillwater Review, and has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He both teaches and lives in northwest New Jersey. (Follow on Twitter at @dcrewspoetry)


Gustav GuantlettGustav Gauntlett is a professional teaching artist leading bi-lingual workshops around the world. Emphasizing in Theater & Hip Hop songwriting, Gustav’s process is very straightforward: Establish trust through sharing stories, build confidence with unconditional love, then create art in a safe space where everyone’s creative spirit can shine. To learn more about Gus, please visit his website at



Carly SusserCarly Susser is the editor-in-chief of The Platform Review, and host of The Platform reading series. Her work has been featured in Word Riot and other publications. She earned her BA and MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, where she served as the fiction editor for The Sarah Lawrence Literary Review, and the nonfiction editor for Lumina. In addition to teaching writing, Carly also teaches yoga to adults and children. Visit her blog,



Visual Arts

Jean Choe is an artist based in central New Jersey. She works with various media including watercolor and acrylics. Color is her biggest source of inspiration. She understands how colors in everyday life can affect people’s moods, thus she gravitates towards bright and cheerful colors. She loves to paint people, nature and abstract ideas. She also practices modern calligraphy, sews, and repaints furniture to give it new life. She holds a B.S. in Clothing and Textiles and is currently working with ARTS By The People. She runs fine art and craft workshops at Lester Senior Housing in Whippany, NJ. You can find out more about her work at

Julie Friedman Julie Friedman has been painting her entire life. With a BFA from the Mason Gross School of Art, Julie worked primarily in oils until she studied with Christina Debarry and Wolf Kahn and “was drawn to the immediacy of pastels as well as their color and vibrancy.” With ARTS By The People, Julie volunteers her time and studio space and mentors a group of Morristown High School and post-high school art students. To learn more about Julie, please visit her website at

Jerez-Portrait César Jerez sketches and paints landscapes and seascapes from Maine to Hawaii, in Spain and in the Dominican Republic where he was born. He uses light effects in his plein-air paintings to create a sense of distance and drama while capturing both the weather conditions and the specific time of day. After years of figurative study, Cesar directed his attention to painting. Today, as a self-termed “abstract realist”, Mr. Jerez captures the life of the subject by identifying the essential components of an object or scene and depicting them in the most simplistic manner to convey complete realism without neglecting the artistic elements of form and strong composition.

foto simone linkedin-02 Simone Li has made an artistic turn in her life since 2014. Before that, she worked as an urban designer for a Dutch consultancy firm. She really enjoyed the job, but then she was given the opportunity to relocate to the USA. She jumped at it and here she is, a blogger, living her dream, dabbling in paints and growing her art. Inspired by urban dynamics, pure landscapes and expressive figures she is bringing her passion to life in her paintings using a variety of media such as watercolor, acrylics, oils and pastels. With ARTS By The People, Simone runs creative workshops at Lester Senior Housing in Whippany. To learn more about Simone, please visit her website at

Libby Mislan Libby Mislan is a poet and teaching artist specializing in interdisciplinary performance. Her poetry shares a heart with music and dance and is often performed accompanied by ambient grooves and dance. She gravitates towards tales of transformation, healing and epiphany, and is heavily influenced by the natural world as well as the landscapes and culture of her New York City home. Deeply inspired by hip hop and the power of rhythmic certainty, rhyme weaves its way through much of her work. Libby is the co-founder of Expression Sessions (, an interdisciplinary arts space/workshop for creative exploration, healing and growth through meditation, movement and poetry. To learn more about Libby, please visit his website at

Yael Ozsinay is an animator and animation director and producer. She is the founder of Mind the Gap Animation studio, which aspires to make films that make a difference and focuses on social and artistic issues. In addition to filmmaking, Yael conducts poetry and animation workshops for youths and adults, and is the producer of the Asif Animation Competition and Events in Tel Aviv. Yael’s films have participated and won awards in numerous festivals around the world. To learn more about Yael’s work, please visit





katie Katie Stehura received her BFA from The Ohio State University, graduating magna cum laude with honors and distinction in dance. She received a grant to conduct dance research in Vienna, Austria, and her choreography has been presented in Ohio, Florida, New Jersey and New York. Katie has worked with established artists such as Lisa Race, Larry Keigwin, Kendra Portier, Jenna Riegel, and Tara Burns among others. As a teaching artist for ARTS By The People, she has designed and implemented dance and choreography programs for senior residents and middle school students in New Jersey, as well as choreographed and directed “Across the Platform.” To learn more about Katie, please visit her website at


Diana Crum Diana Crum is a choreographer, dancer, teacher, administrator and advocate. The roles overlap and inform one another. Her choreography has been presented in cities including NYC; Atlanta; Salt Lake City; Vienna, Austria; and Nancy, France, at venues such as CPR – Center for Performance Research, Danspace Project, and Movement Research at the Judson Church. She is currently Program Director of Movement Research Dance Makers in the Schools. She has taught as Adjunct Faculty/Visiting Artist at Washington & Lee University (Lexington, VA), University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA) and Hollins University (Roanoke, VA) and as a teaching artist in NYC preK-12 public schools.

andrea Andrea Jane Dispenziere began cultivating her artistry in the Garden State (New Jersey), where she grew up dancing, drawing, painting, acting, singing, and playing piano. She holds her BFA cum laude in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. She’s performed and toured the works of Alwin Nikolais, Charlotte Boye-Christensen, John Jasperse, Carolyn Carlson, Larry Keigwin, Doug Varone, and Danielle Russo. Andrea also creates her own freelance choreography under the name MUSE309 and teaches yoga for senior citizens. Her work with ARTS By The People, a program called “Moving Words”, stems from this love for bringing movement to seniors. In “Moving Words”, Andrea collaborates with Paul Rabinowitz to perform dance movement and spoken-word/poetry, using famous poetic works, as well as works written by the seniors in attendance.

Holt-Daniel-Headshot_-_2-1 Daniel Holt hails from Central Valley California. He received his BFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, Spring 2011. Daniel now resides in Brooklyn, New York where he teaches dance, and runs his dance company, Dirt, as well as his video company, Scarecrow. He has performed at Joyce SOHO, Jacob’s Pillow’s Inside/Out stage, The New York International Fringe Festival, among others. Daniel also teaches across NYC, including at Dance New Amsterdam, and Broadway Dance Center. Daniel has worked with ABTP as a teaching artist, hip hop dance instructor and a videographer, shooting and editing short promos for ABTP’s main stage shows. As a performer/choreographer/director, Daniel has performed in both “Across the Platform” and “Eastbound 80” (a show that Daniel both co-directed and presented work in). Find more about Daniel Holt’s work at


Street Art

biscoBrad “Bisco” Smith is a creative professional based out of New York City and Los Angeles who focuses on music, design, art, and mentorship. In addition, he operates a boutique design studio, IV.Creative, founded in 2002, which develops branding, print, web, and mural design for clients around the globe. With ARTS By The People, Bisco brings “Arts By the Street,” a workshop that intends to acquaint its participants with modern day visual street arts through history and the use of mediums commonly found in urban landscapes around the world. He has also done Art Installation and Live Art at the Morristown High School Art and Design show. He led a street art workshop in Jerusalem in July 2012. To learn more about Bisco, please visit his website at


Leland Baker is a New York City based jazz saxophonist who grew up in Providence, RI. He has lived and spent time honing his craft in the city of New Orleans, LA and New England. While his short time here in New York City, Leland has had the opportunity to play with Alicia Keys, and study and play with some of jazz’s titans including Lawrence Clark, Kahlil Bell and Roy Hargrove. He freelances as a musician, teaches music, and leads his own quartet by the name of The Free 5. Leland continues to pursue his vision as an artist in hopes to make a positive difference in the world by bring souls together and challenging the spectrum of superficial reality.

ABTP_BIO_PICS_ALICEAlice Leon is a Rockland County, New York based award-winning singer, songwriter and producer. Her recording, television and film credits include MTV, Food Network/Crayola New Products/Network Television, including Disney, CBS, NBC, BBC and more. She has recorded with Sony records and created the Kean University Alma Mater. Her band, The Alice Project, has toured extensively and has released four albums that have received worldwide airplay. Her passion for songwriting and performance has brought her to ARTS By The People, where she has created a workshop for high school and middle school students that details album creation from inception to completion, ending with a professionally recorded CD.

Nina RangelNina Rangel is a classically trained vocalist born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey. She recently graduated from Montclair State University with her BA in music therapy and is currently pursuing her masters in music education in hopes of becoming a future choral director and educator. She currently works as a private vocal and piano instructor and is the children’s choir director at St. Virgils Parish in Morris Plains. Nina has performed in a wide range of venues, from local bars with her old band to the Sydney Opera House with the MSU singers. She loves the communal power of music and loves to share, spread, and create music with others.

stephanie Stephanie Rooker is a composer, vocal performer, cross-cultural music educator, and sound healing facilitator. Her teaching is grounded in over 16 years of vocal technique training, a research background in Ethnomusicology, and a deep study of the fundamental elements of sound healing. Stephanie employs a distinctive grasp of the evolution of Afro-Diasporan music, cross-cultural indigenous archetypes, incisive listening, and mindful facilitation to demonstrate the vast possibilities of healing through music. Her mission is to help people use their voices as tools to promote physical & mental well-being, empower creative expression, and create individual & collective consciousness.

Ill Spokinn With a focus on staying true to Hip Hop’s roots while also propelling it toward the future, iLLspokinn has garnered a worldwide following, both through the two albums he released as the lead vocalist of the band Spokinn Movement, who was named one of the “Rawkus 50 (next important Hip Hop artists)”, and maintaining an extensive international touring schedule. Closer to home, iLLspokinn wears many hats. He is an educator/mentor holding Hip Hop workshops, a Vinyl DJ Instructor, and CEO/Host/Producer of New York’s longest running live band Hip Hop open mic, Freestyle Mondays.

Alex TremblayAlex Tremblay was born and raised in North Providence RI and came from a family of musicians who enabled him to hone his craft at a young age and study at the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. There he was a student of the school’s renowned jazz department that was founded by the legendary Jazz Saxophonist/Composer, Jackie McLean. It was there that he met and studied with one of his bass heroes, Professor Nat Reeves. He currently resides in Brooklyn and is an active member of the music community in and around New York City. He has performed at many venues in New York and abroad including The Blue Note, The Cotton Club (Tokyo), Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Iridium, and Shanghai Jazz. His web site is:

Horticultural Arts

IMG_0601MeganBioMegan Fainsinger is a graduate of the New York Botanical Gardens, where she studied Horticultural Therapy. Born and raised on the Indian Ocean, a native to the bounty of botanical diversity in South Africa, Megan grew up in a subtropical world of flowers and temperate African landscapes. With a background in Special Education, Megan draws on her teaching experience, passion for gardening and professional skills in floral design, to create educational, creative and enriching indoor and outdoor horticultural programs for seniors.

The touch, taste, smell, sound and sight of plant materials serves as a trigger to stimulate our inherent human instinct and attraction to what is beautiful and awe inspiring. Megan’s goal is to reconnect individuals to our collective sense of wonder in the outdoor world as a vehicle of engagement, connection and purpose, thereby enhancing the participants day to day quality of life.




Jewelry Design

emilybittnerEmily Bittner is a polymer clay jewelry designer who resides and works in Northwest NJ. She holds a BA in Art History from SUNY New Paltz. She also has a background in graphic design and printmaking, and is an active member of NJPCG (NJ Polymer Clay Guild). Emily’s unique jewelry combines a treasured past combined with modern design elements. Emily uses image transfers in many of her pieces and enjoys the “unveiling” process. Her work is sold online, and at craft shows and boutiques in the area. Emily has been with ARTS By The People since Sept. 2013. She hosted a workshop at Cooks Pond in Denville, and is currently working with ARTS By The People at Lester Senior Housing in Whippany.