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Who We Are

 

We are committed to helping students develop visual and digital literacy from an early age.

—Executive Director Nelle Stokes

 

Executive Director

Nelle Stokes is Founding Executive Director of Magic Box. She is a member of the Media Arts Writing Team for the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards (NCCAS), and a contributor and Steering Committee member for the NYC DOE’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Moving Image: Grades K–12—the first sequential and comprehensive guide to media education programs. 

Nelle has designed curricula for schools and partnerships throughout New York City, and presents regularly on media arts issues at local and national conferences. She is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker.


Staff

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Alicia Benedetto, 
Program Manager

Alicia has dedicated her professional and volunteer careers to the betterment of human health and strengthening communities. She brings over 10 years of experience in marketing and advertising with one of the largest healthcare agencies in the world, where she worked to enhance disease awareness and treatment education of both physicians and patients worldwide. 

She's an active member of the Junior League of Northern Westchester where she serves as chair of new member recruitment and leads local philanthropic efforts. 

After a brief sabbatical to be home with her 2 young children, she's thrilled to be joining the Magic Box Productions team. 

 
 
 

Claudia Castaneda,
Communications and Events Manager

Claudia is an accomplished professional with more than 8 years of experience in communications and event planning.

She has a solid knowledge of creating new market development strategies on an international scaled honed from working in three different countries and multiple sectors, including education, technology and web-based organizations.

She is thrilled to be joining Nelle and the Magic Box Production's team. 

 

Nancy Bless,
Development Officer

Nancy has thirty years of experience in the arts as a curator, administrator, educator and journalist. Nancy worked for the Ohio Arts Council (OAC) for eleven years, for whom she managed artists’ residencies, and developed and directed the Summer Media Institute, a graduate level program in media production for K-12 teachers. Later, as a curator at the Kohler Arts Center in Wisconsin, and at Women & Their Work in Austin, she organized numerous exhibitions of national scope. As an independent journalist, Bless produced and co-directed the documentary “Third Ward TX,” which was broadcast nationally on PBS and has been screened internationally at film festivals and museums. For eight years, Nancy was the Executive Director of Texas Folklife, where she oversaw an ambitious calendar of education, exhibition and performance programs.  Moved to New York City in 2012 to be the Institutional Funding Officer for Aperture Foundation, before returning to her first love—media education--in her work with Magic Box Productions.  


Teaching Artists

Meet some of our talented teaching artists, all of whom are both practicing media artists as well as educators.

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Jon Appel is an artist, animator, and filmmaker from New York. He has been drawing his whole life.

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Chris O’Falt lives in Brooklyn where he writes about, teaches, and makes films. While working in the film industry for ten years, he got his start teaching film production and screenwriting at his alma mater Wesleyan University.

Alice Obar is a filmmaker, photographer and teacher. She especially enjoys creating GIFs, taking silhouette photos, and filming nature. Alice has worked with a variety of youth media organizations, including The Babel Project. She holds an MA in International Affairs, concentrating in Media and Culture, from the New School. 

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Camille Fleming's background as an artist, history major and musician fuel her passion as an educator. Camille currently teaches an African Arts Leadership program at Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center in the Bronx. Upon completion of her BA in Art History (minor in Global Black Studies) from SUNY Purchase, she plans to complete her MA in Community Arts to ensure that students in urban communities have access to arts education. 

Nora Rodriguez is an artist from New York City who makes animation and loves watching cartoons. Prior to Magic Box she worked at Cabinet Magazine as the Exhibitions Manager at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop.

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Danilo Randjic-Coleman is a director whose work has been selected for multiple film festivals. He has been with Magic Box since 2009, and is a licensed teaching assistant and substitute teacher. Danilo graduated from Hampshire College with a Bachelor’s degree in Film, Video and Music Production. 

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Andrea Goldman in an interdisciplinary artist and educator who makes video, photographs, and music. She is currently working on several projects, including me and ooooo, a collaborative music/video project about books, song, and the possibility of dialogue.

Alexis Raskin is an award-winning video artist whose work has been exhibited at such venues as MASS MoCA, Platform China, the Rotterdam Film Festival, and Gallery Korea. Alexis received her BFA from the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Fluent in Mandarin, she was a teacher at Gong Yang University in Taiwan and has taught ESL for over 10 years. 

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Kostas Kiritsis is practicing artist. He uses photography as a tool to create Artist Books. His work is exhibited in galleries in New York and Europe. As Teaching Artist he uses his unique approach to teach, among other things, Visual Literacy, Digital Media, Film and Video and of course Photography. He is a PhD candidate at University of Arts in Poznan, Poland.

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Abby Verbosky has a passion for life and its moments—laughter, tears, intimacy, and despair, community and seclusion. She shares this passion with her students through the power of photographs. She is currently the artist relations manager for The Licensing Project as well as a documentary photographer.

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Peter Hoyle has designed curriculum and taught for The Manhattan New Music Project, Dreamyard Drama Project, and Urban Arts Partnership. He was senior teaching artist at the Metropolitan Opera Guild (MOG) Education Department, and has extensive experience creating and leading professional development for teachers throughout the U.S. 

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Hank “Coyote” Wagner is a media-in-education specialist who has worked for 20 years bringing creative projects into schools all over New York City and the surrounding area. He is the executive director of his own entertainment company, Coyote Love Entertainment and he brings his knowledge of music, digital media and creative entrepreneurialism to each class he teaches. 

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Katherine Bourbeau is a photographer, digital media specialist and teaching artist. She has worked as a photography editor for many media clients, including Time and Life magazines, ABC News and the New York Times. She loves introducing students to the art and science of digital photography, teaching literacy, collaboration and professional media skills along the way.
 

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Elizabeth Delaune Warren is a Brooklyn-based filmmaker, teacher, and activist. She believes in sharing stories, in hearing them and learning from them. Elizabeth is a founding member of the nonprofit Filmmakers without Borders and holds an MA in International Affairs with an emphasis in Media and Culture from The New School for Public Engagement.

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Sarah Nakhost-Karimi, a photography teaching artist, and specializes in showing the youngest of our students how to explore and create images with digital cameras for the first time. 

Barthelemy Atsin is an illustrator and animator based in NYC, who loves using fine art and graphic design as tools to create animated stories. He loves inspiring students to dream big and create ideas that will translate into imaginative animated stop motion and two-dimensional stories.

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Steven Hazlett is a photographer, teacher, and artist in resident based in New York City. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree at SUNY Purchase college in 2013, teaches the art of photography at several non-profit organizations. His style of photography is heavily influenced by his photojournalistic background, and has been part of the Eddie Adams Workshop alumni since 2012, when he began is photographic career. Steven has worked with such clients as Alicia Keys, Jungle City Studios, Madison Square Garden, and many more. 

 

Board of Directors

 

  • E. Annette Nash Govan, President
  • Nelle Stokes, Executive Director
  • Brette Westerlund, Treasurer
  • Nancy Camarata, Secretary
  • Chris Campbell, Trustee
  • Nancy Barry, Trustee

ADVISORY COUNCIL

  • Jordan Rosenbaum
  • Suzanne Storer
  • Carmel Corcoran Burns
  • Debra Sue Lorenzen
From left to right: Liz Norman, Jo Weiss (Focus 2015 Benefit Committee), Annette Nash Govan (MBP Board President), Laurie Goldstein (Focus 2015 Benefit Chair) and Nelle Stokes (MBP Executive Director), at FOCUS 2015 Gala.

From left to right: Liz Norman, Jo Weiss (Focus 2015 Benefit Committee), Annette Nash Govan (MBP Board President), Laurie Goldstein (Focus 2015 Benefit Chair) and Nelle Stokes (MBP Executive Director), at FOCUS 2015 Gala.

Magic Box Teaching Artists were fabulous–
very knowledgeable and enthusiastic!!
— Middle School Teacher, Springfield MA