Alison Zapata is a Pittsburgh-born, second-generation Mexican-American visual artist and art educator. She works in oil, acrylic and watercolor. Her expertise lies in painting, portraiture, murals, collage, and sign painting. She is the owner/ lead artist of Zapata Studios. She has studied fine art/art education at Carlow University and is currently in the process of obtaining a teaching artist certificate at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She recently exhibited her work with Aqui, the Latino visual arts collective, in the Capitol Building, Education Department and the Vault Gallery at Susquehanna Museum of Art in Harrisburg PA through the invitation of State Representative Leslie Acosta as a part of Latino Heritage month. Her Sea Turtle painting was the featured image for the children’s tents at the Three Rivers Arts festival. She assisted on the mural, Lend Me Your Ears, in East Liberty. Alison has developed engaging arts programming in classrooms throughout Pittsburgh over the past eighteen years. Yearly, she leads several visual art residencies for students, including an Autism Support Classroom. Alison has received art education training through Gateway to the Arts, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, Lincoln Center’s Aesthetic Education, and Wolf Trap Institute. She is a resident artist in the Lifetime Arts and the Artists in Education program through the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. She was awarded participation in the Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad Art and Society: Brazil/U.S. Educational Partnership. She has professional experience in educational leadership. She is inspired to make art to build community and start conversations about identity and heritage.
Amber Michelle is a multidisciplinary artist that creates using various found and discarded objects from nature and other unexpected places such as thrift stores. The work that she creates is inspired by spirituality, humanism, and the occult. Amber also creates word art, developing pieces based on writings drawn from raw emotion, current and past life personal experience, and the things she sees through her "other eyes."
In the last few years Amber participated in the Pittsburgh Filmmakers Flight School Fellowship program and was a resident artist at Most Wanted Fine Art.
She is also a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council's Learning and Leadership Committee which serves to examine racial equity in arts funding as well as the Pittsburgh Arts Research Committee that takes a look at trends and provides feedback on arts research.
Amber is also known as HollyHood, the "mom of Pittsburgh hip hop", producing events, DJ'ing, writing songs, and performing at venues and events both inside and outside of Pittsburgh. As the founder of LOCAL 412, Holly strives to promote the fact that hip hop is an art and that artists and works created in this genre should be taken seriously and treated with respect. Holly has curated various art shows and hip hop events in the physical space where LOCAL 412 was housed. This space is now Arts & Crafts: Botanica & Occult Shop, of which she is co-owner.
Carolina Loyola-Garcia is a multidisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and educator. She works primarily in media arts, including single-channel video art, video installations, video design for theater, digital printmaking, documentary, and has ventured into performance through theater and dance.
Through her work she has explored topics related to social justice, the dislocated identity that results from colonialism and migration, and questionings around issues related to complex aspects of human existence such as relationships, memory, and the tense interaction between economy and the environment.
Her work has been shown in the United States and abroad, and has been supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowments, and the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, among others.
She received her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently Professor of Media Arts at Robert Morris University.
Fran (Ledonio) Flaherty
Fran Flaherty is a deaf artist living in Pittsburgh for over 25 years. As a first generation immigrant from the Philippines, her work is centered in issues surrounding migrant family relations and assimilation, maternal feminism, disability aesthetics, and social work. Her work is inspired by the care paradigm. A premise that human beings cannot survive alone and the progress of human beings, as a species, flows from our identity as social animals, connected to one another through ties of love, kinship, and clanship. It is the prospect of this harmony that inspired her to create Anthropology of Motherhood, an ongoing project which elevates the act of care-giving through fine art by transforming mundane objects of caregiving to into valuable art pieces such as paintings, sculpture, and mixed media pieces. She also transforms busy public spaces into immersive installations that serve as places of respite for young children and their caregivers.
A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh Studio Arts Program, Fran's work has been shown nationally and internationally. She was recently named in Art 511 Magazine’s “Top Ten NYC Artists Now”
She currently resides in Allison Park with her husband Tim, their sons, Liam, Sean, and Lucas, and her hearing dog Olympia.
María Eugenia Nieves Escoriaza, better known in artistic circles as Geña, is an interdisciplinary international recording artist residing in Pittsburgh, PA. She’s a singer, percussionist, dancer and teaching artist. Geña hails from Quebradillas, Puerto Rico where she was the lead singer for “Cannabix” and “Doppleganger”. In 1997 she moved to New York City. Through her work at the Theater for the New City, she received a full scholarship to attend a theater arts program at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. While in the Big Apple, Geña was honored to sing on the soundtrack for the film “The Believer,” Musical Director Joel Diamond. In 2004 she relocated to Pittsburgh to pursue her music education. She graduated with a Music major and French minor from the University of Pittsburgh in spring 2009.
Geña collaborates in the duo Geña y Peña playing traditional Latin American songs of love and life. This sublime duet is comprised of Geña on vocals and percussion, and Colombian-American Carlos Peña on guitar. Her latest musical projects include Calle Bomba, a music ensemble based on Puerto Rican Bomba; and Rumbón de la Calle, a percussion ensemble that features extraordinary musicians from the African diaspora, Anicet Mundundu, Elie Kihonia, and George Jones interactively performing their native/ancestral traditional songs. She is the lead singer for America’s Latin Orchestra. Geña is a guest artist on Christiane Dolores’ Amor Fati and Pantry of Salt and Sugar; and Phat Man Dee and Liz Berlin’s Social Justice Disco. She was the music director and lead singer of the Puerto Rican rebel roots and riot salsa band Machete Kisumontao. Geña was one of the original members of the group Preach Freedom & Connect. She’s collaborated with Noel Quintana and his Latin Crew; and with Herman "Soy Sos” Pearl on a “latin-techno" project called Ivivi Mori. Her recordings with Tuff Sound Recording Studio and collaborations with DJ Soy Sos in the documentary film “New Muslim Cool” led her to sing along El Mujahideen Team on the film’s soundtrack. In 2012, Geña wrote and recorded on an international collaborative album for the IR26 entitled “This Land is not for Sale‐ Ivere.” Her past projects include collaborations with Preach Freedom, Kenia, Colter Harper, Mathew Tembo, Cha, El Manjar de los Dioses, Dem Brooklyn Bums, and more... Geña is the recipient of the 2015 Fuerza Awards. This year she received the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council Artist Opportunity Grant to study at Escuela de Bomba y Plena Doña Caridad Brenes de Cepeda. She was also a recipient of the New Sun Rising and Heinz Endowment Transformative Teaching Artist Award. Geña is the proud mother of a 13 year old girl, Alondra Inarú and currently is a resident teaching artist with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Geña is extremely proud of her collaboration with #notwhite.
Brazilian born, Pittsburgh raised Liana Maneese is an award-winning activist, artist, visionary entrepreneur, and catalyst for new and creative ways to engage. She is an Afro-Brazilian transracial adoptee on a mission to excite folks around the power of personal responsibility, knowledge of self, and how that power can be harnessed to change the world.
Adopting Identity: The Exploration of Lies, Luck, and Legitamacy, raises questions about interracial relationships and building emotional resiliency. Through individually challenging ourselves to confront the hard truths of race, privilege, and admission, Liana seeks solutions that other families can use to become stronger.
She is the founder and co-owner of The Good Peoples Group that specializes in creative and cultural problem-solving through identity navigation, constructing and honoring resilience, strategic organizational development, and dynamic team building. Always pushing her own boundaries of self-discovery, her story motivates and inspires many through speaking, creative projects and her commitment to understanding people, processes, and equity in relationships and business.
Madame Dolores is a multi-platform, multi-disciplinary artist employing sound, vision, text, and performance as storytelling tools creating radical, controversial cultural engagements. At the root of her practice are questions about our humanity as she rewrites new mythologies. The questions emerge from political, cultural, natural, and sensual experiences acting as her muse, dictating the medium and discipline of her work.
She received the Pittsburgh Business Times WomenFirst award in 2017. Commissioned by the The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to create a song and lead Pittsburgh’s inaugural Complaints Choir, during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival in 2014. She is the winner of a 2010 August Wilson Center Fellowship; received a grant in 2011, from Advancing the Black Arts to market her second solo release, Amor Fati; a 2007 honoree at the New Hazlett Theatre “Celebrating Women in the Arts; a 2003 winner of the Pennsylvania Council for the Arts Fellowship for World/Jazz/Blues musical composition; and a 2002 Pittsburgh Magazine “40 under 40” award winner. She received funding from Sprout for two MiniM Music Festivals for the Blues and Jazz genres and for “Listen to This”, featuring poetess, Ursula Rucker; a commission from Pittsburgh Foundation to write her first play, Saffronia; funding from Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative to produce Saffronia: the Mulatto Slave, which came in 2nd place at the Trinidad Theater Festival, in 2016.
A SWPA native & Vassar College alum, I am a multidisciplinary artist and designer specializing in illustration, zines, and hand-lettering. My work explores femininity, community, and the occult with aesthetics influenced by 19/20th century illustration, psychedelia, and my heritage of printers. An important part of my practice is as an educator, focusing on elevating youth voices and promoting civic engagement through zines, drawing skills, and typography.
Currently, I am a freelance teaching artist having worked as the Education Coordinator at the Brashear Association as well as providing programming for MGR Youth Empowerment, Neu Kirche and many other Pittsburgh based institutions. Additionally, I have coordinated events for the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and sit on the organizing board of the Pgh Zine Fair.
Maritza Mosquera is a visual artist, poet, painter, and cook whose creations often accompany
dialogues with community. Her visual works are installation “diaries” about relationships and
ideas referencing personal and public desires such as the earth’s healing from fracking, sexual
intimacy, criminal justice, the story of skin, the end of racism, home recipes, and the power of
Mosquera received her MFA from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and her BFA from
the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Massachusetts. Her written and visual work
has been presented regionally and nationally, as well as in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ireland, and Chile. Her work has been funded by the Multi-Cultural Arts Initiative of the Pittsburgh Foundation, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts, Americans for
The Arts, The Buncher Foundation, The Snow Foundation and Arts Midwest.
She currently works with elders and youth who face special challenges such as dementia,
incarceration, Alzheimer's, poverty, sexual victimization, and regular life. Mosquera was born in
Ecuador and is a citizen of USA. She resides at 9 Pines, Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania.
Sara Tang is an artist, illustrator, and creative facilitator who has called many places home, including Pittsburgh. Tang is the founder of the creative collaborations community Sip n’ Sketch Pittsburgh. She has worked with those who have been affected by cancer and other life experiences in creative therapy excavation workshops.
Tang’s purpose in all her creative gatherings, works, performances, and endeavors, is to Draw others In to a deeper empathic encounter with themselves, with others, and with the mystery of humanity and existence. Her pieces often explore the strange and beautiful, especially as related to multiracial and multicultural identity, generational story excavation, mental health, and the healing of health conditions.
She has studied the arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, and with Immanuel Icons.
Sarah was born and raised in a Pittsburgh suburb and lived in the NYC area for 15 years before returning in Pittsburgh in 2015. She has a degree in Theater Arts from Mount Holyoke College but has most recently been focused on her arts administration skills as the Director of Festival Management at The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. She also serves on the board of Sweetwater Center for the Arts and lives in Sewickley with her family.
Sarika Goulatia is a visual artist best known for her large-scale sensory sculptures and installations. Goulatia’s work is diverse in theme, material, process and approach; it is united conceptually and tactically in its reflection of an unambiguous idea.
Goulatia transforms ordinary objects into compelling works of art that reflect her own determination and fortitude through explorations of various mediums,
techniques, and genres. Her works range from sculpted ceramics to cast bronzes and aluminum, from extensively drilled/nailed wood to assemblages using found
objects. Each piece is infused with vitality, enthusiasm and an investigational approach.
She is driven by an irresistible impulse to make labor-intensive work. Despite the incredible labor involved in her process, the completed work indicates that all
questions and contradictions, especially those within the maximum and the minimal, disappear into a quiet place that invites contemplation. Noted for a dense
accumulation of multiple materials, her sometimes ephemeral, often poignant, environments create immersive experiences. Goulatia does not shy away from the challenging, the difficult, or even the disturbing in her installation-based practice, but she masks her intent through her onerous, labor-intensive techniques.
In addition, as a diaspora artist her work stems from the intersection of her dual national identity; the synergy of this distinctiveness allows her to break through
cultural barriers. She was born and raised in India and currently is based in Pittsburgh. Her extensive practice—predominantly in sculpture and installation—touches on the frailty of human experience, often drawing on personal challenges and socio-cultural issues.
Goulatia has had solo exhibitions at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts and was named the Emerging Artist of 2016. She has exhibited work in group and solo shows
through the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for the International Society of Sculptors Conference (2016) and as part of the India in Focus Festival (2015). Important group exhibitions include shows at the Westmoreland Museum of American Art (2016), The Mine Factory (2013 and 2015), the Associated Artists of Pittsburgh’s Annual at the Carnegie Museum of Art (2016), and Double Consciousness at the Mattress Factory Museum (2007).
Goulatia was the recipient of the prestigious 2017 Carol R. Brown Award Creative Achievement Award, provided through the Investing in Professional Artists grants
program, a partnership of The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation.
She is also the recipient of the Sally Gehl, Samuel Rosenberg and Elizabeth Jones Award in Humanities and Art at Carnegie Mellon University (2006). She has been
awarded residency/exhibition opportunities at Neu Kirche and the Alloy at Carrie Furnace.
Veronica Corpuz is a first generation Filipina American poet and multimedia artist. The former director of the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, Penn., she has previously served as the program assistant for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York City; as adjunct professor at Naropa University and Chatham University; and as guest speaker and poet at New York University and the Kelly Writers House at University of Pennsylvania. She has co-authored with Michelle Naka Pierce a book-length series of experimental poems exploring gender, sexuality and identity entitled TRI/VIA (Erudite Fangs/PUB LUSH, 2003). She is currently working on a memoir of prose poems about her late husband, Michael Grzymkowski, and his battle with brain cancer. Ms. Corpuz received her BA in English and American Literature with Honors in Creative Writing from Brown University and her MFA from Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics. She resides in Wilkinsburg, Penn., with her two sons, Nico and AJ, and husband Alex Thomson.