Meet the Team
Max Levi Frieder is the Co-founder and Co-executive director of the international community-based public arts organization Artolution. He is an artist and educator from Denver, Colorado who is based out of New York City. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with honors and a degree in Painting with a focus in “Community Based Public Arts” and received his Education Masters in Community Arts in Art and Art Education from the Teachers College, Columbia University. He has worked with communities in different contexts across the globe. His work ranges from community building in refugee crisis, hospital workshops, abuse and addiction counseling through art, trauma relief, reconciliation and conflict resolution. He leads collaborative mural programs as well as creating the "Foundstrument Soundstrument Project, building interactive percussive sculptures out of Trash and recycled materials. His projects have taken him from Israel and Palestine to the Jordanian-Syrian border, Turkey, India, New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Peru, Mexico, Canada and throughout the United States. His work focuses on cultivating public engagement through creative facilitation and inspired participation.
Joel Bergner (aka Joel Artista) is an artist, educator and organizer of community-based public art initiatives with youth and communities around the world. He works in acrylic and aerosol, creating elaborate murals that explore social topics and reflect a wide array of artistic influences. Beyond his art, Joel has a background as a youth counselor and received his BA in Sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He has organized and facilitated community projects in over 20 countries across Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Europe and North America, along the way developing his unique combination of community work and mural art in partnership with dozens of institutions, community groups and local artists. His projects have addressed issues including the Syrian refugee crisis, mass incarceration in the US, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the plight of street youth, gaining attention from international media outlets like CNN, Al Jazeera and Reuters. Joel has a passion for connecting and sharing with people through collaborative art-making. His community and personal work can be seen at joelartista.com.
Project Manager, NYC
Driven by the communicative capabilities of the still image, Camilo Echeverri has developed his professional portfolio in documentary photography and arts education. Using the camera as a research tool, Camilo discovered essential cultural elements of underserved communities in Colombia, South America. He continued his professional career at a Human Rights Institution in Cali, Colombia as the Creative Director where he lead grassroots campaigns, community programming and public art projects. From there on, Camilo headed to New York City to pursue a M.P.S in Arts and Cultural Management at Pratt Institute where he found new creative outlets in public art and arts education. Currently, Camilo is a Program Coordinator at Brooklyn College Community Partnership for an after-school arts enrichment program while also working as a Project Manager for The Artolution.
International Partner Artists & Collaborators:
Dancer and all-around performer, London/ NYC
Karla-Jayne Thomas, also known as CJ and Karlinha do Tamborim, is a Jamaican-English artist and educator in the areas of dance, improv comedy, theatre, percussion, singing and creative writing. She has a talent for combining the arts with her passion for teaching young people. Karla specializes in samba dancing and is a prominent member of the London School of Samba and Samba New York, both of which crowned her Queen of the Drums, the highest honor for a samba dancer. In 2014, she paraded at Rio de Janeiro’s Carnaval as a passista in one of the world’s premier samba schools, Vila Isabel. Karla has performed in Hong Kong, Brazil, Germany, Spain, Finland, New York and her hometown of London, where she had the honor of performing for the Royal Family and at the 2012 Summer Olympics closing ceremony. She also has a passion for comedy and has studied improv, acting and writing comedy at the prominent UCB and The PIT, both in New York City, where she has also performed. As an official Lead Artist in Artolution, Karla co-facilitated a series of community-based public art projects in under-resourced communities across India in 2016, leading youth and adults in the creation of theatrical, musical and dance performances that addressed important social issues in their lives. She earned a BA in English Literature and Language from the University of Manchester, England and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.
The Refugee Camp Artists
Syrian artist teams in the Azraq and Za'atari refugee camps in Jordan
In the Azraq and Za’atari Syrian refugee camps of Jordan, Artolution has partnered with teams of Syrian artists living in the camps to facilitate community-based public art programs with children and adolescents. In Azraq, our team is led by artist and educator Mohammed Ibrahim. Hailing from Dara’a, Syria, Mohammed has a passion for using the arts to uplift his community and engage the youth. In Za’atari, we work with the artist collective Jasmine Necklace, whose 6 members have dedicated themselves to bringing color to the camp with their many murals, as well as teaching the next generation through workshops and public art projects. Artolution is supporting the process of setting up ongoing, sustainable arts-based programming in both camps, led by these resilient and talented teaching artists.
Artist and Professor, Central Valley, California
Bio: Richard Gomez is a Chicano artist and professor who follows in the tradition of the Great Masters, specifically those of the 19th century Realists. His philosophy on art reflects his many influences; he teaches that painting is very much a science whose precepts must be understood to make it an art. Gomez is deeply indebted to those who came before him, and feels a special connection to the European and American masters of the mid- to late 19th century, whose loose strokes and sound drawing are prevalent in his own work. His academic training is balanced by his roots in Mexican and Chicano art, which allow his own work a certain freedom in its conception and a radical purpose at its core.
Gomez received his B.A. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his M.F.A. from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco. He spent the summer of 2006 studying at the Ateliers du Carrousel les Arts Decoratifs in Paris. Gomez has been teaching a wide range of art classes through the Global Arts Studies Program (GASP) at UC Merced since 2010.
Artist Statement: My current work explores the many dynamics of Public Art and how community engagement dictates the experience and models the outcome. It is my intent for the subject matter to promote cultural traditions reflective of the community, resulting in a sense of ownership and unified identity. My work aims to address and change rooted stereotypes and visual clichés of culture and identity of the traditionally marginalized and challenge the canon of American Art
Artist And Educator, Chile/ NYC
Iván Asin is an NYC-based art educator from Santiago, Chile. His work focuses on organic art processes and community engagement through art. He studied Visual Arts at Montclair State University, earned a Masters Degree in Art & Design Education from Pratt Institute and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in the Art Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Since 2010, he has taught visual arts in the New York City public school system and community-based art programs in Amsterdam and New York. In 2015 he founded the Center for Art Education and Sustainability (CAES), an itinerant project that has carried out community-based organic art processes workshops in United States, Peru and Argentina, as well as professional development for art educators at conferences and higher education institutions. He has collaborated with Artolution on youth projects in Queens, New York and Lima, Peru. caes-eco-art.net
Art Therapist and Multi-Media Artist, Delhi, India
Zeba is a self taught artist, story teller, educator and community mobilizer, based in New Delhi, India. She specializes in using exercises from various art-forms such as art, craft, theatre, story telling, poetry and creative writing, to design group and individual interventions. Her work is aimed at providing therapy and using art for healing, empowerment, communication and training children in other essential Life Skills. Zeba has worked extensively with under-served communities, schools, children with special needs as well as survivors of abuse and conflict. She is passionate about making art with children in which they get to tell their stories in ways that are fun and creative, and at the same time give room to introspective dialogue and collective action. Her formal education has taken place all over India, with her finally settling for a Masters in Social Work from Delhi University. As a professional, Zeba doesn’t follow a strict schedule, instead trusts the structure to unfold itself in a way best suited for the children she works with; her belief is that though some of us may have lost this gift, children know how to be guided by pure, raw energy, which can never lead us wrong! Day to day, Zeba can be found swimming, procrastinating, failing miserably at cooking but still trying it the next time, looking at turtle and sharks on Instagram etc etc ad infinitum.
Painter, Muralist and Educator
Ilana Price grew up outside of New York City in Connecticut, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She has been a practicing painter and sculptor for over a decade. She has had solo shows in Virginia as well as been part of Group shows in Yonkers and Manhattan. She started her experience mentoring and working with kids, some with special needs, in Middle School and High School. As an artist she believes in the empowering and healing process art can have on a person as well as a community. As well as working with Artolution on several projects in India and Israel, she has done communicative and therapeutic community projects in Israel, Mexico, and Yonkers. Graduating with a Bachelors in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology she is currently on the path to becoming an art therapist and predominantly works as a muralist for the Bronx Arts Ensemble in NYC.
Liliana Riva Palacio
Performance Artist and educator, Mexico City
Liliana is a Mexico City-based actress, clown, educational psychologist and lighting designer for performing arts. She is the founder and general director of Concentrarte, an organization that utilizes the arts to engage disadvantaged children and youth, develops non-formal educational processes, and organizes participatory community-based initiatives. She has over 25 years of experience working with children, focusing on promoting resilience through the arts. Liliana and her Concentrate team have partnered with the Artolution on multiple projects across Mexico. Together, they have engaged kids with cancer in the Hospital Infantil (Children’s Hospital) in Mexico City through music, painting and performance. They also led educational workshops in rural and Indigenous communities, facilitating community mural projects and addressing issues important to these communities, including domestic violence, environmental education, social justice and healthcare. concentrarte.org
Yusra Ali and Ali Kiwan
Teaching Artists in Syrian refugee camps in Jordan
Yusra Ali is a painter, educator and humanitarian worker in the Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan. Yusra is of Palestinian origin and grew up in Iraq, but has lived in northern Jordan with her family for many years. She is passionate about working with children and engaging them through the arts, and her bright spirit and positive energy are an inspiration to everyone who has the privilege to work with her. Ali Kiwan is a Syrian artist and educator who lives in the Za’atari refuge camp. He specializes in the ancient Arabesque art form, which features complex Arabic geometric patterns. As a Math teacher, he combines the arts with geometry. Yusra and Ali partnered with the Artolution directors Joel Bergner and Max Frieder and the organizations aptART, ACTED, Mercy Corps and UNICEF to facilitate many community-based mural projects and educational workshops with Syrian refugee youth in the Za’atari and Azraq refugee camps and in host communities across Jordan. Their work combines public art with workshops that focus on important issues for children and families in the camp.
Mike Maka is a painter who works in a variety of media mainly on walls, canvas and illustration on paper. An active member of Everfresh Studio since 2006, Mike has exhibited extensively through Australia as well as group shows in Brazil, Japan, Miami and New York, and has works in private and public collections locally and abroad, including aquisitions by the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra. His work is preoccupied with the interface between man, beast and machine. Presenting a visual riot that stimulates the mind, Mike’s art conveys an imperative message to those confined in the concrete jungle to stay connected to the animal within them that lives in the natural world. He is based in Melbourne, Australia, but has been known to wander in other dimensions. Mike partnered with the Artolution on a series of projects across Australia, engaging remote Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander communities. They facilitated collaborative mural projects with local residents and worked with youth to create community sculptures that functioned as giant percussion instruments made with trash and found objects. makatron.com