Brenda Ann Kenneally

President
Founder

Brenda Ann Kenneally is a mother, multi platform documentary maker, Guggenheim Fellow, Pulitzer Prize Nominee, and formerly incarcerated youth. Over the past thirty years Kenneally’s long form, immersive projects have at once, produced visceral portraits of the personal experiences of disadvantaged children in America, and a ground up historic record of contemporary social and political values in The United States. Kenneally’s professional bio states ” I take pictures to remember what I’ve learned while I was busy taking pictures”. It was Kenneally’s need to share what she had learned from both her own childhood in Upstate New York and the twelve years that she spent recording the history of an extended family of young people as they came of age in post industrial Troy, New York, that lead her to form A Little Creative Class, Inc. Kenneally had been born thirty years earlier and one town over from the young people that she has chronicled in her book “Upstate Girls: Unraveling Collar City, published by Regan Arts, to be released in Spring 2017. Kenneally’s teen years and been strikingly similar to those of the young people that she grew close to through the project. As she witnessed many become further cemented in systems of, special education, juvenile detention, early pregnancy, dead end employment, and frequent crippling social anxiety and depression, she knew from her own experience that it was only her creative path as a photographer that lead her to the essential wider world of possibilities. She also knew, as the first person in her family ever to leave Upstate New York, that a radically expanded thought processes and physical experience had been essential to a life that was socially and economically improved in significant ways. Kenneally’s hopes that A Little Creative Class, Inc. will open up an array of possibilities to a population of young people who didn’t know they existed, and who in many ways stand to benefit from a broader cultural orientation the most. Kenneally received her GED from The State of New York in 1977. In 1994 she graduated with a BS from The University of Miami, where she majored in both Photojournalism and Sociology. In 2000 she went on to earn her MA in Studio Art and Art Education from New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education. Kenneally has been a frequent contributor to The New York Times Magazine, and has won several major journalism awards, including, The W. Eugene Smith Award for Humanistic Photography, The Mother Jones Documentary Award, A Soros Criminal Justice Fellowship, and several grants form The New York State Council For The Arts. In 2006, Kenneally abandoned the boundaries between life and work after completing her first decade long project about the Brooklyn neighborhood where she and her son lived. Money, Power, Respect; Pictures of My Neighborhood, was published by Chanel Photographics and was awarded best photojournalism book of that year by The National Press Photographers’ Association.

Don Shearer

Vice President

One of the original 20 artists who created Miami’s South Beach art scene. Don went on to be an aesthetic force in Wynwood and Miami’s Design District in1982 before he moved 2 NYC in 1995. Don returned to his South Florida roots just as the entire city became The Art Basel Capital that it is now.

True to his unique creative path, Don now lives in Hollywood Florida, where he lives, and loves, and makes every day art!!!

Shearer’s Positive Heart and All Out Shelter are ground breaking works of body, mind and spirit form an artist that has consistently remained truly ahead of his time.

The images on Don’s Face Book Page not only show what he makes but it is truly a chapter that will become part of The History of American Art.

Branda Miller

Secretary

Branda Miller is an internationally recognized media artist and educator, dedicated to explore new visions, use media for social change and support independent voices. With three decades of experience in youth media, community media, media arts and education, she seeks to expand documentary form through actively engagement and collaboration, and use art for creative community development.
A tenured Professor of Media Arts in the Integrated Electronic Arts Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (1991-2015), she played a key role in the shaping and development of the MFA interdisciplinary arts program and the BS Electronic Media and Performing Arts program at Rensselaer. Professor Miller’s course “Art, Technology and Community” connects RPI students to the community.

Professor Miller is a co-founder and Arts and Education Coordinator at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY. She was Project Coordinator for many projects, including “Green Screen Troy” (REDC/NYSCA 2014), “From Food Desert to Food Forest,” (DEC 2014), “Found Art in North Troy” (NEA Art in Pubic Places, 2013) and “Free Jazz from the Sanctuary” (Rockefeller Foundation, 2009). She has produced diverse events and educational workshops over the past ten years at the Sanctuary, with an interdisciplinary breadth including media and film, photography, public lectures and public art. She has developed and overseen dozens of community arts, education and training initiatives bringing teens, community members and creative professionals together on multi-media projects, to address neighborhood development and environmental issues in North Central Troy and the Capital Region.
Miller is currently the Arts and Education Director for Breathing Lights Bloomberg Public Art Challenge. Past regional collaborations include producing the “Be the Media!” workshop series (2009-20016), Troy Public High School (2004-2005), Mountain Road School (2003-2005), local PBS affiliate WMHT (2000), Rensselaer County Council for the Arts and several regional schools (1997-1999), the Ark in low-income projects of Troy, (1994-2000), and the collaborative community installation, Re-Visiting the Birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution (Art in Public Places, NEA, 1993). National media production and literacy projects include I.R.A. (Managing Information in Rural America, Kellogg Foundation with the University of Michigan) in collaboration with Athens Film and Video Festival (May 2000), Taos Talking Pictures Festival Teen Media Conference (April 2000), Banff Centre for the Arts (1999), N.Y. State Alliance for Arts Education with BOCES Distance Learning (1997), North American Association of Environmental Educators (1997), Cape Cod Community Television (1998, 1994), 911 Media Arts Center in Seattle (1993), and the Gulbenkian Foundation in Portugal (1989). For four summers, she led Media Production workshops for the Five College Institute for Media Literacy in Amherst (1995-1998), designed to educate primary teachers as well as community organizers on how to bring the theory and production of media into the classroom. In TV Apparatus at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, she directed Homemade TV, a video and editing workshop with museum viewers.

Since the mid-eighties, Branda Miller has collaborated with several community and youth groups around the country in Empowerment Video Workshops to produce award-winning tapes, including: We Have the Force (Citizens’ Committee, 1989), talkin’ ‘bout droppin’ out!!! (the ICA/Boston Public Schools, 1989), The Birth of a Candy Bar (Henry Street Settlement, 1988), and What’s Up? (L.A. County Juvenile Detention and Mark Taper Forum, 1987.
She is also an Emmy award-winning editor who has worked extensively in the media industry of Los Angeles and New York City. Professor Miller’s media art works have been screened at festivals, museums and exhibitions, broadcast nationally and internationally, and used NYSCA, Paul Robeson Found, Andy Warhol Foundation, and Nathan Cummings Foundation. Her work is distributed by the Video Data Bank and Electronic Arts Intermix.

Samantha Box

For the past 10 years, Samantha Box has documented New York City’s community of LGBTQ youth of color, the social issues affecting these young adults, and the structures of family, intimacy and validation that bind and protect them. The resulting body of work, INVISIBLE, is a continuing multi-chapter exploration into the lives of this young community.INVISIBLE has been widely recognized, including by EN FOCO’s New Works program in 2009, and with a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in 2010. It has been repeatedly exhibited, most notably in 2010 at The Sanctuary for Independent Media in Troy, NY; in 2011 as part of the Open Society Foundation’s “Moving Walls #18” exhibtion; and in 2013 as part of the The Leslie-Lohman Musuem of Gay and Lesbian Art’s “Queers In Exile” exhibition. Images from INVISIBLE are part of the permanent collections of the Open Society Foundation, EN FOCO, Light Work and The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art. Since 2011, Samantha has coordinated the Photography Internship at the Hetrick-Martin Institute, an intensive, thrice-yearly 15-week class that introduces 10 young people to the techniques and concepts of photography as a visual arts practice, with a particular focus on the importance of community- and self-generated storytelling and documentary method.

Samantha was born in Kingston, Jamaica, was raised in Edison, New Jersey and is now based in Brooklyn, New York.

Murray Cox

Murray Cox is a community artist and activist utilising data, media and technology as a storyteller for social change.

Murray founded Inside Airbnb in 2015, a data activist platform to help cities and communities respond to the threat of Airbnb on residential neighbourhoods throughout the world.

He is a facilitator and board member of DIVAS for Social Justice, which uses STEAM to equip youth to have a positive impact on their under served communities in Brooklyn and Queens, NYC.

As a photojournalist, Murray is currently working on “The Bed-Stuy Food Project” which documents this changing Brooklyn neighbourhood by recording food memories, food cultures, and food sovereignty projects. In 2008, Murray completed “Cooperativo Aracal” – documenting the intersections between rural activism and Venezuelan government policies on agrarian reform, food security and sovereignty, sustainable and cooperative farming, participatory democracies and alternative food economies.

In addition to community projects, Murray has worked for technology startups throughout the world, focussing on Product Design and Management, User Experience, Analytics and Technology Strategy.

Andrew Meier

Andrew Meier is a nonfiction author and journalist who writes on political and foreign affairs.  A former Moscow correspondent for Time, and at present, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine, he is the author of BLACK EARTH: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall (W.W. Norton, 2003),  widely hailed as one of the best books on Russia to appear since the end of the USSR, and THE LOST SPY: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service (W.W. Norton, 2008), a biography of the first-known American to spy for the Soviets.

Meier is at work on a biography of the Morgenthau family—four generations spanning the presidencies of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy—to be published by Random House.   A graduate of Wesleyan and Oxford, he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Alicia Patterson Foundation, the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library, and the Leon Levy Center for Biography at the CUNY Graduate Center.  Meier lives in New York City, where he teaches in the Journalism+Design program at the New School University.

Debra Stocklas

Debra Stocklas is a native and life long resident of Troy, New York. Debra attended Alternative School One in Troy. Debra is the mother of eight children and has been empolyed as a house keeper, a cook at an assisted living facility for handicapped adults, a school bus driver, a Fed-X driver and currently as a City Bus Driver.

Dana Marie and Elliott Wells

Dana Marie Wells is a mother of four, who moved to Troy, New York as teenager. Dana attended, Troy high School and later Hudson Valley Community College. Dana plans to write a book about parenting and her own life experiences growing up in upstate, New York. Dana is assistant manager at Family Dollar in Troy.

Elliott Wells is father of four who coaches Pop Warner Football. Elliott is a graduate of The Culinary Training Instutite and a formely incarcerrated youth.

Elliott was four years old when moved to Troy, New York with his mother, two sisters and his brother.

Christy Stocklas

Youth Ambassador

My name is Christy Stocklas. I am a Junior at Troy High School. I was born and raised in Troy, New York to Debra and John Stocklas. My interests are traveling, learning about different cultures, and fashion design. I have a love for animals and my family. I am told that I have good decision making skills. I am artistic, compassionate and I always look out for others. My hobbies include, video gaming, listening to music, reading, writing, swimming and hanging out with my friends.