STATEMENT ARTS- "The World Art Project"

The World Art Project blog is a forum dedicated to helping Katrina Victims share the experience and journey of a group of Professional Actors, Singers and Performers who traveled to the Gulf Coast to help uplift the spirits of those surviors. Our hope is to provide insight, knowledge and offer way for readers to get involved and help in forms of Donations, support or expression of opinions and feelings.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Meet the Staff and Performers


LIZA POLITI (Co-Founder/Creative Director - Statement Arts)
Liza Politi graduated from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, winning the Lee Strasberg Award for acting in her final year. She has spent the last 15 years working as an actress and model in New York City, appearing in countless television commercials and magazines. Liza has performed Off Broadway, in independent films and has been a spokesperson for Sensodyne, Volvo, Gerber’s, Olive Garden, and Allegra advertising campaigns, appearing in Martha Stewart Living, O! the Oprah Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, and Good Housekeeping.
In 2000, Liza was presented with the Joseph P. Reilly Award from the Screen Actors Guild in recognition for her efforts in resolving a national strike. After September 11th, 2001, Liza spent nine months at Ground Zero working with the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army. In 2003, the FDNY honored her for a community outreach program that she co-founded for them in 2001. Liza has also worked as an event coordinator for The Allison Getz Foundation; an AIDS awareness program, September Space; a 9-11 Community Center and for Kids with Cameras; a non-profit organization based on the 2004 Academy Award-winning documentary, Born into Brothels, whose mission is to empower marginalized children through art. She currently works as a coordinator for National Geographic photographers, organizing International photography workshops throughout Europe.

SARAH HAMILTON (Executive Director/Treasurer- Statement Arts)
Sarah Hamilton graduated from the prestigious New York University, Tisch School of the Arts where she worked with members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. She has appeared on New York and London stages as Cressida in Troillus and Cressida, Isabelle in Measure for Measure, and Katrina in Chapter 8 a play about prejudice written and produced by the performers themselves. She has performed in several film and television roles and as lent her voice to numerous national television and radio commercial campaigns such as the Chapsitck, Covergirl make-up, V-8 Splash, and Sony Televisions. She also was involved in the hugely successful CD-Rom game, The Longest Journey, where she played the character of April Ryan.
Sarah’s philanthropic involvement started because of two major life changing episodes, a 2002 diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis and a 2004 diagnosis of Cancer. Both of which remain symptom and cancer free after medication, surgery, and a series of treatments. However, because of this she found a passion for possibility and a new empowered belief that a problem is as only as big as we make it. She is harnessing these energies into Project: Urban Arts to head up a program for inner city kids to instill in them a belief that anything is possible no matter how dire the circumstances.

CORDELIA D. ROOSEVELT (Chairman of the Board- Statement Arts)
Cordelia was born and raised in New York City. In her senior year at Harvard University she won the John Brookings Imrie Memorial Award. Bestowed annually, this honor is conferred by a review committee comprised of both faculty and students. Prior to co-founding Urban Arts, Cordelia served as a board member and director of the children's art program for A Window Between Worlds, an LA-based arts organization.
In response to September 11th, 2001, Cordelia co-founded and co-managed a donation-driven warehouse during the nine-month Rescue and Recovery mission at the World Trade Center. For her work, The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, in conjunction with The White House, honored her with the President’s Volunteer Service Award. Cordelia also received three individual FDNY commendations in addition to an American flag that had flown over the site.
In October 2005, in association with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Cordelia is sponsoring a group of anthropologists, aid workers, and journalists traveling to the Kakuma refugee camp in northwestern Kenya. In Africa, she will oversee "Project Kakuma," the return of handwritten biographies compiled nearly 20 years ago by Sweden Save the Children. The restoration of these papers to their rightful owners will help Sudanese refugees obtain passports and other legal documents when they return next year to Sudan.
Cordelia currently volunteers in the New York University Hospital emergency department. She is a member of the Harvard Club and the National Arts Club, as well as a trustee of the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

GEORGIA DeFALCO (Co-Founder/Executive Producer – Statement Arts)
Georgia DeFalco graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 2000 with a BA in music education, minoring in vocal performance. After graduation, she moved to Chicago and sang at Davenport's Cabaret while teaching musical Hinsdale Middle School. In 2001, Georgia moved to New York City. Currently, she works at The High School of Environmental Studies, building the music program to include musical theater, a madrigals troupe, and several choirs. Her groups tour and compete around the United States.

ARI MALDONADO ESPAY (Creative Consultant - Statement Arts)
After studying law and economics at the Universidad Diego Portales, Ari Maldonado Espay left the business world and enrolled in Escuela de Foto Arte Chile to follow his passion— photography. He graduated in 2001 with a professional’s degree. In 2003, Ari won the prestigious Fondart, a National Arts project sponsored by the Chilean government. He was a finalist in an international National Geographic photography contest the following year. Ari currently lives in Santiago, Chile, shooting freelance-publicity photography for a variety of companies, including Gillette, San Pedro Vineyard, Las Americas University, and Salo. Also, he has shot for many magazines, including Caras, Que Pasa, and In-Lan Chile, and his images will be seen in the coffee-table book, The Colors of San Miguel, to be published in 2006. Ari has had numerous gallery exhibitions in Santiago, Chile and at the prestigious SOHO House in New York City.


SARA KRIEGER (Musical Director): Sara Krieger has worked in virtually every aspect of "The Business"- From musical theatre and Off-Broadway to clubs, cabarets and recordings. She was been nominated in New York by the Concert and Cabaret Arts as ‘Best Female Vocalist’ and as ‘Entertainer of the Year’, as well as having been the featured subject of the P.M. Magazine Television news program “In Search of the Best Singers in New York”.
For four years she was a member of the popular vocal jazz ensemble “New York Voices” with which she recorded several very successful top ten albums, as well as touring extensively around the United States, Europe and Japan. She has worked with such luminaries as Dave Grusin, Patty Austin, Branford Marsales, Take 6 and David Byrne.
For the past ten years, Sara has turned her vocal talents to doing voiceover commercials and promos. She has been the account voice for American Express, Estee Lauder, Thermasilk, HGTV and countless others. She is currently the promo voice for Bloomberg radio.

KATE KONIGISOR: Kate is more than delighted to be a part of this marvelous group. Most recently she played Eleanor in THE LION IN WINTER and Kate in BROADWAY BOUND at the Surflight Theatre. Favorite credits include Emilia in OTHELLO (opposite Austin Pendleton) & Beatrice in MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING (West End Theatre Co., NYC); M'Lynn in STEEL MAGNOLIAS (Fireside Theatre, WI); the title role in SHIRLEY VALENTINE (Gretna Theatre); Bella in LOST IN YONKERS; Germaine in PICASSO AT THE LAPINE AGILE (TheatreVirginia); two seasons with the NYC's The Century Theatre Summer Reading Festival playing opposite both Kier Dullea & Eli Wallach; Off-Broadway, MINOR DEMONS (Blake Edwards, producer), Kate in both THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Shakespeare in Delaware Park, Buffalo) and KISS ME KATE (Center Stage). Kate is also a founding member and Associate Producer of Algonquin Productions in NYC.

SUE BERCH: Sue Berch has been acting since she was a child and has been fortunate enough to perform on 3 continents. Favorite roles include Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker, Rachel in Reckless (London) and Grumio in The Taming of a Shrew. In NYC, she does theater, film, television and commercial work as well as role-play work for law schools, medical schools and the NYPD. On stage, Sue has appeared on stilts, with snakes, in short sword and shield fights and loves the challenge of it all. She's even been a Who from Whoville in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. Sue is a proud member of AEA, SAG and BAE.

DOUG LORY: Doug Lory was last seen playing Big Roy on HBO’s award winning show The Wire and has also appeared on ABC’s One Life To Live. His screen credits include roles in Gods and Generals & Dakota Sunrise. He has taken the stage in numerous productions both in NY and across the country including Counsellor At Law Off Broadway and a national tour of Aladdin. He has served as a Board member of the Screen Actor’s Guild, and is also a member of AFTRA and AEA. Doug’s writing career currently has him working on two non-fiction projects including a memoir of his recent journey to Florence, Italy.

KRISTA RIVER: Winner of the 2004 Concert Artists Guild International Competition, mezzo-soprano Krista River has appeared as a soloist with the Boston Symphony, the Santa Fe Symphony, Handel & Haydn Society, the Florida Orchestra, Emmanuel Music, and the Pittsburgh Bach and Baroque Ensemble. Her opera roles include Rosina in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, and Nancy in Britten’s Albert Herring, among others. Ms. River’s 2004-05 season included her New York Recital debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, about which the New York Times praised her "shimmering voice…with the virtuosity of a violinist and the expressivity of an actress.” Upcoming engagements include performances with the Harrisburg Symphony and the Santa Fe Symphony, and a recital appearance at Columbia University's Italian Academy in New York. Ms. River began her musical career as a cellist, earning her music degree at St. Olaf College. She resides in Boston and is a regular soloist with Emmanuel Music’s renowned Bach Cantata Series led by music director Craig Smith.

JANE GENNARO: Multi-media artist, Jane Gennaro revels in an eclectic career devoted to art, performance and writing. Her plays THE BOOB STORY and REALITY RANCH were first produced by THE AMERICAN PLACE THEATER. Extensive voice-over credits include popular CD roms (MAX PAYNE, GRAND THEFT AUTO with Dennis Hopper), internet plays (SEEING EAR THEATER with Campbell Scott), and literally thousands of commercials. Dubious historical achievements include seven years as a stand up comic plus employment as the sole female comedy-writer slash character actor on IMUS in the MORNING. Recently, Jane has been a commentator on NPR's "ALL THINGS CONSIDERED" , performed her funny story SHAKING THE GOOSE EGG and exhibited her artwork (constructions of bone, eggs and insects) at the Time & Space Ltd. Gallery in Hudson, NY. Ms. Gennaro's current Art Installation, "CLOTHESPIN DOLLS" will be on view at the Hudson River Theater through January.

RON McCLARY: Ron McClary has delighted New York audiences for over ten years. Most recently, he originated the role of Gerritt in The Lightning Field (Outstanding Play, 2005 FringeNYC) at the Flea Theatre. Other New York credits include: Summer ’69 Off-Broadway, Gilbert Bruckholdt in Dear Vienna and Harry Van in Idiot’s Delight with Vital Theatre, Passion and The Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol with Dicapo Opera, Sir Toby in What You Will (or 12th Night) at the Connelly, Simenov-Pischik in The Cherry Orchard at the Ohio, Kulygin in Three Sisters with Greenwich Street Theatre. Regional credits include: Stephano in The Tempest, Dogberry in Much Ado with Actor’s Shakespeare Company of New Jersey (founding member). Television credits include: Law & Order, Ed, Law & Order: SVU. Film credits include: Neurotica, Crazy Little Thing, The Weatherman (opposite Nicholas Cage) and upcoming The Producers and The Pleasure of Your Company.

DERRICK McQUEEN: Derrick McQueen, due to a Dodge Foundation Grant, was the Playwright in Residence at South Jersey Regional Theatre, where his play, I Have Been Said to Possess was produced. As a performer, he has appeared as Narrator in Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar- has worked for New York Theatre Workshop, Mabou Mines, and is featured at each Cape May Jazz Festival. His characterizations he has created based on historical African Americans, include the journalist Alfred P. Smith, Congressman George White, and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Critically acclaimed, he performs Paul Robeson Through His Words and Music, interweaving two dozen songs Robeson sang, with a narrative of his life as performer and humanitarian. In July, 2006, this production will be part of the Equity Company, East Lynne, during their mainstage performing season. Lord, I Surrender is his best CD made to date.

RITA SELBY: Rita Selby sings and writes songs to bring comfort into a world that has too little of it. To bring together people from all walks of life through the healing balm of shared musical experience. Her own songs – as well as her interpretations of classics from The Great American Songbook – explore the landscape of human emotion blending jazz-infused harmonies with lyrics that are at times metaphorical, always deeply personal.
After leading her band at New York's top jazz venues, ‘On Earth' (Snee Music) is the landmark all-original release of Rita's luminous songs following her critically-lauded debut recording ‘Serenade to Bluish Grey', the title track of which put her on the map as a songwriter of uncommon depth. Her crystal tone and impeccable rhythm result from her roots as a classical pianist, bewitched by jazz while earning her Bachelor of Music in Classical Piano performance at the renowned William Paterson University. 'On Earth' features the recorded work of bass legend Rufus Reid, and jazz stars Peter Bernstein, Freddie Bryant, Doug Weiss, Andy Eulau, Peter Brainin, Matt King, Anton Denner and Pete MacDonald.
Rita's December 6 CD release party at the historic Greenwich Village jazz club Sweet Rhythm (formerly Sweet Basil) was Standing Room Only. Her music is available through all Tower Records retail outlets.

VICKI WATSON: Vicki Watson divides her time between practicing law in NYC, running The Merion Inn, her turn-of-the-century restaurant in Cape May, NJ, and pursuing her passion of a cappella singing and arranging. When not frantically switching hats, she enjoys chilling out with her partner, jazz pianist George Mesterhazy. She is looking forward to traveling with Statement Arts and hopes to help raise spirits down South and awareness up North.

SANDRA M. BLOOM: Sandra M. Bloom just completed the popular HBO program “Autopsy 11 – The Andros Case” [in which she portrayed the murderer], “The Sopranos, ” and “Law and Order.” Between acting and singing jobs, she also works as a theatrical Stage Manager, a Writer and a Director. She works many of the theatres, films and television in and around the NY area and the nearby states of MA, CT, NJ & PA. This summer she added Denver CO to that list. Her latest projects have been several workshop productions, “Uncle Jed’s Barbershop,” which played both in Denver and NYC, and “Hear the Flowers Singing.” which originated in Atlanta and she joined in one of it's later incarnations in NY. A professional actress since shortly after college, she has performed roles that range from tragedy to farce. She was last seen as Marion in “The Decision,” a new play, and is frequently recognized when “Tootsie” plays again on television. She was the Production Supervisor of an Emerging Playwrights Festival, which benefited the World Trade Center/ Firemen’s Relief Funds. For the several years since 9/11 she has performed at the Fire Houses Xmas parties throughout NYC, which is how she became involved with the tour.

LIZ MAXWELL: Liz Maxwell is currently a third year theatre student at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA. She thrives on musical theatre and hopes to pursue a career that includes acting, singing, dancing, directing, and improv, while simulataneously making the world laugh, cry, and think. Favorite roles so far, from both NSU and various theatres around New Orleans, include Sister Mary Amnesia in Nunsense, Third Actress in The Dining Room, Older Female Actress in This is a Play, Ronnette in Little Shop of Horrors, and Hucklebee in The Fantasticks. She feels incredibly honored to have been a part of the Bayou Tour, and looks forward to contributing what she can to Statement Arts in the future. If you're ever in Louisiana, stop by and say hello to her.

MALINDI FICKLE (Director- Documentary Film Project): Malindi is thrilled to be documenting the Statement Arts' WAP Tour. She just finished post-production on her first documentary feature film By the People which is an inspiring story of average Americans struggling to uphold the most basic aspects of democracy during the 2004 Presidential election. Malindi’s been a director, producer and actor in New York City for over thirteen years. Directing credits include “Savior” at the Manhattan Ensemble Theater, produced by Beth O’Neal and “Cover, Stir & Fluff” at St. Famous. Producing credits include “Escape From Happiness” at the Judith Anderson Theater and the world premiere of “A Floating Roof Above Your Head” at the Chelsea Playhouse. As an actress, Malindi has appeared in many independent feature films including a supporting role in Sharon Pollack’s Everything Relative (Sundance Film Festival), leads in both Jacklight (Cannes Critic’s Selection) and St. Andrew’s Girls (TVA Films). Malindi graduated Summa Cum Laude from New York University. She lives in Manhattan with her husband Jason, daughter Dagny and cat Goose.


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