The steering committee oversees and manages the Roc Arts United initiative and all of its committees.

Albert Abondado

Albert Abonado is a poet and essayist based in Rochester, NY. He is the author of JAW (Sundress Publications 2020). He holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. He has received fellowships for poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts and he was a finalist for the Kundiman prize. Albert currently teaches creative writing at SUNY Geneseo and the Rochester Institute for Technology. He is the former Director of Adult Programs at Writers & Books. He co-hosts New Ground Poetry Night along with the poet Jonathan Everitt. He hosts Flour City Yawp on WAYO 104.3 FM-LP and curates The Flytrap Series, a music and poetry showcase at Small World Books in Rochester, NY. His work has appeared in numerous journals including Boston Review, Colorado Review, The Laurel Review, The Margins, Hobart, Waxwing, Zone 3, and others.

Jason Barber

Jason Barber is an educator and artist with over a decade of experience in the arts and non-for-profit sectors, with a focus reaching out and initiating communications with leaders within the arts and cultural sectors along with the business sector for developing partnerships. He has worked as a creative consultant or as gallery director for the Rochester Brainery, Oxford Gallery, Memorial Art Gallery, Wall\Therapy, and the Yards Art Collective. He has been the professional face for the Yards Art Collective at many of their events, and has spearheaded designing and planning events at the Memorial Art Gallery (Museum of the Dead) and the Yards Art Collective (Artist in Residency and Spectral Carnival).

Don Bartalo

Donald Brian Bartalo (Bart) has been involved with independent, community theatre since 1964 when he acted in “The Solid Gold Cadillac” with the Victor Community Players. Since that time, he has acted, directed, or produced 80+ plays and musicals. Bart is currently the founder, producer, and director of the hummingbird theatre co., President of TheatreROCS [representing 22 theatre companies in the Rochester area], Artist-in-Residence at the Multi-use Community Cultural Center [MuCCC] and on the board of ROC Arts United. He has long been a strong advocate for independent artists working primarily from scratch and from event to event. Bart and his wife, Denise, are active participants in all forms of local art expressions offered in Rochester both as collectors, audience members, and contributors. Since the onset of the pandemic, he has been part of a New York City-based playwrights’ group working together every Thursday evening on Zoom.

Elizabeth Cameron

Elizabeth Cameron’s long-standing role as Archivist at Paley Studios provided her with a wonderfully creative and fast paced proving ground to hone a wide ranging skill set including asset and collection management, conservation, photography, authentication, curation, publication design, and public art process. In addition to heading the archive of Albert and Frances Paley, Elizabeth has provided archival consultation for Kaneko Studios and the Ilan Lael Foundation, among others, helping them plan and structure archival programs. When not organizing, cataloguing, and appreciating art, Elizabeth can be found hiking and running trails or reading books in her garden among her beehives.

Bleu Cease

Bleu Cease has worked as a museum professional, curator, and educator since 2002 and currently serves as the Executive Director/Curator of Rochester Contemporary Art Center (RoCo) in Rochester, NY. In addition to curating exhibitions of regional and national artists and supporting guest curators and co-curators, Cease helped to coordinate the Re-Energizing the Legacy of Frederick Douglass project, organized Current Seen, Rochester’s Small Venue Biennial for Contemporary Art, and initiated First Friday, Rochester’s Citywide Gallery night. Bleu has served on several boards including the Landmark Society of Western New York, The Arts & Cultural Council, Rochester Community Television and the Art Committee at the Memorial Art Gallery. Cease holds a BA from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina and an MFA from the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY.

Kelly Cheatle

Kelly Cheatle specializes in elegantly loud design and is a materials and process maven. Her artwork varies in scale by several orders of magnitude, from multi-story massive installations to sculptures small enough to sit comfortably on a penny. She is Artistic DIrector of Airigami, a team of artists who create large-scale installations, illustrations, and experiences entirely out of balloons—from small single sculptures to stadium-sized, record-breaking installations.

Amanda Chestnut

Amanda Chestnut is a multimedia artist, curator, educator, and local arts loud-mouth in Rochester, New York. She has made image-based art as a photographer for 25 years. Chestnut holds an MFA in Visual Studies from Visual Studies Workshop through The College at Brockport, SUNY. During her time as a student, she held graduate assistantships at Visual Studies Workshop and in the Criminal Justice Department, both at the College at Brockport. Currently, she is an adjunct professor at SUNY Geneseo and Saint John Fisher College. Recent lectures and radio appearances focused on community action, equity in user experiences in digital platforms, curatorial practices, arts funding, the English language, and the over-policing of Blackness in the United States.

Shelancia Daniel

Shelancia Daniel M.Ed. is the founder and Executive Director of the Creativity Shell. The organization teaches classes such as sewing/textile arts, cooking, building and other creative trades to students in their private studios, libraries, schools, ABA therapy centers, the juvenile justice system as well as shelters that rescue children from homelessness and human trafficking. All of their classes are designed to teach children essential life and practical skills. Shelancia has a technical diploma in costume design, a bachelor’s degree in finance, a master’s degree in educational psychology (with a focus on creativity, cognition, innovation and development) and is currently working on her Doctorate in educational leadership and mental health. In her spare time, Shelancia loves to explore the outside world by traveling with her husband and three children.

Quajay Donnell

Quajay Donnell is a Rochester, NY based photographer and writer with a passion for public art and capturing his community. His work has been published in Departures Magazine, The Washington Post, CITY (Rochester, NY), The Democrat and Chronicle (Rochester, NY), 585 Magazine (Rochester, NY), The Waterbury Observer (Waterbury, CT) and seen on WXXI (Rochester, NY). Quajay is a WALL\THERAPY crew photographer, and the recipient of the 2020 George Eastman Museum Award for the Rochester Contemporary Art Center’s 30th Annual Members Exhibition.

Luticha Doucette

Luticha Doucette is a 36 year veteran disability justice advocate who hopes to one day get out of that job. Luticha lives as a free black person and business owner in Rochester, NY with two cats, Luna and Callie. Luticha is a graduate of the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program, an AUCD Emerging Leader and an inductee into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame established by the National Disability Mentoring Coalition. Luticha’s research and writing has been featured in various publications such as Insect Molecular Biology, Toxicon, The New York Times, and Yes! Magazine. She is the owner of Catalyst Consulting, which helps organizations, leaders, and advocates examine equity across race, gender identity, and disability in policies, practices, procedures, and relationships.

Hannah Lightbody

Hannah Lightbody is a career arts professional polymath with world-class experience. She is an alumna of Emma Willard School and holds a BFA in Studio Art from Rochester Institute of Technology where she extended her studies to include art history, photography, graphic design, and gallery management in New York and abroad. Professionally trained at Paley Studios, her proficiencies grew to include archive and collection management, studio operations, domestic and international logistics, marketing, publications, and public art. She curated the first-ever temporary sculpture exhibition for Sonnenberg Arts at the Gardens in 2016, assisted with the logistics of the Garth Fagan 75/45 fine art auction, and has aided in the management of the Bausch + Lomb corporate archive and rotating art program. A natural hype machine, she is undoubtedly here for whatever it is you got going on.

Mona Seghatoleslami

Mona Seghatoleslami is the host and producer on WXXI Classical 91.5 FM weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. She also hosts the lunchtime concert series Live From Hochstein, interviews musicians, produces special programs, and works on any project she can find that helps connect people and music. She books the bands for one of the coolest live music venues in Rochester – The Little Theatre Café and serves on the board of creative modern chamber music ensemble fivebyfive. When she’s not on the radio, you can find Mona attending concerts and movies, playing viola in community orchestras, occasionally strumming the ukulele, riding her bike everywhere, and reading as much as she can – especially The New Yorker and sci-fi novels.

Thomas Warfield

Thomas Warfield is a Senior Lecturer at NTID/RIT in Performing Arts Program in the Department of Cultural and Creative Studies – teaching dance and social science. He has performed, from stage to television to film, in more than 100 cities around the world as a singer, dancer, actor, model, composer, choreographer, director, producer, educator, activist and poet. His numerous performances have taken him to a variety of forums, including La Boheme at the Metropolitan Opera, concerts on Martha’s Vineyard, a circus in Japan, solo concert at the Franco American Institute in France, and three maximum-security prisons in the United States. Mr. Warfield has worked with AIDS patients in Thailand, blind students in Taiwan, the homeless in Utah, inner-city youth in North Carolina, elementary school children in Maui, Hawaii, community building through the arts in Idaho among thousands of others worldwide. He is the founder/artistic director of PeaceArt International—a local/global outreach not-for-profit organization utilizing the arts and the creative process to foster world peace. He attributes his passion and blessings in life to the SPIRIT of love.

Communications Committee

This committee oversees and manages the Roc Arts United website and social media.

Bleu Cease
Kelly Cheatle
Annette Ramos
Eric Townell

City of Rochester Oversight Committee

Amanda Chestnut

Monroe County Oversight Committee

Bleu Cease

Assets & Facilities Committee

The purpose of this committee is to map and track creative assets in the Greater Rochester Area as a tool for creatives, patrons, developers, government officials, and the general public to ultimately grow and support the creative economy. The Assets & Facilities Committee oversees the central listing of art venues and organizations contained on this website.

Don Bartalo
Elizabeth Cameron
Karen Dieruf
Cecelia Horwitz
Olivia Kim
Hannah Lightbody
Annette Ramos
Mona Seghatoleslami
Karen Tuccio

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