Founder & Violin Instructor
Ms. Forestieri, originally from various parts of Louisiana, Michigan, & California, grew up in a low socioeconomic environment. Her favorable uprbringing she gives credit to her parents, their altruisitic thinking, and having always been surrounded by music. Her mother has been a violinist for over 50 years. Through music she says, " I have learned that by honing an artistic ability, you develop not only a sensitivity and understanding of that art form, but of the world around you; thereby the people in it! It is for this reason, I have chosen to utilize music and the arts as the medium by which to enlighten the hearts and minds of our youth."
Her objective is to create opportunities and provide resources for children who are not only in desperate need of them, but would not otherwise have them. She says, "With rare exception, people are merely a product of their environment. Without the opportunities and resources children need in order to develop their spirit, sense of direction, and their passion in life, we will continue to see more failure, more crime, and more poverty. I firmly believe that with passion comes purpose. With no purpose, you have no inspiration, and with no inspiration you lack the driving force to develop as a human being; thereby any chance of contributing to society becomes nonexistent. My purpose is to facilitate the acquisition and retention of passion."
PhD, Rev, M. Ed, MA
Dr. Pandwe Aletha Gibson began her career as an early educational pioneer serving public schools and co-found ReNEW, the first Charter Management Organization (CMO) of its kind. Dr Gibson forged new educational structures in the Southern United States by perfecting scalability as she opened 6 schools in one year, 11 the second year and 16 the following year. During the last 5 years her focus has shifted from social service to corporate in an effort to increase scalability and sustainability. She supported varieties of businesses to grow through “Mom and Pop” phases to midsize companies. In 2013, she took a courageous leap into the entrepreneurial world and founded EcoTech Visions, a community development firm where she is leveraging her past experiences and skills to develop commercial properties that will revitalize communities and promote economic development. One such development is the EcoTech Business Incubator which will house and support green businesses with a focus on those that have a light manufacturing component which focuses on converting traditional blue collar workers into “green-collar” ones.
Dr. Gibson has a Bachelor of Arts from Scripps College, a Master of Arts in Teaching and Learning from Claremont Graduate University, a Master in Leadership from Harvard Graduate School and a PhD from Claremont Graduate University. She has lived, studied, taught and worked international at notable universities such as the University of Logon in Accra Ghana and Oxford University in Oxford England.
Ms Rae, as known by her students, is a member on our Board of Directors. She plays plays a key role in fundraising, the sharing of resources, the development and overseeing programs, strategic planning, & the ensurement of legal and ethical integrity within the organization.
Ms. Rae is also the Founder of Art Studio Inc., which she founded in Miami, FL in 2007, after working professionally for over twenty years in NYC, DC, and LA in creative areas of corporate multi-media, educational publishing and advertising/marketing, as a director managing project teams of 100+ employees. Also a freelancer she worked as a content developer, graphics and website designer and mural painter. Because of her interest in real estate development and her additional studies in urban community design, and sustainable environments, she utilized her project management skills to work on neighborhood renewal projects in Brooklyn NY and has project managed the renovation of over five multi-million dollar buildings and homes. During her corporate work she also utilized her arts & education degrees serving as a volunteer teaching artist working with at-risk youth evenings, weekends and holidays in New York, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Los Angles CA.
She first earned an A.S. degree in Fine Arts and Art Education from Cazenovia College in New York State. She then continued on earning a B.F.A. degree from Moore Collage of Art & Design in Philadelphia, PA where she continued her studies in Fine Arts and Art Education. She continued her education as a Teaching Assistant in various areas of educational study in Steiner, Waldorf, and Montessori. Later she studied Positive Psychology, Conscious Discipline, Mindfulness Energy Flow, Yoga and Qi-gong, as well as Dis-Ease Prevention and Nutritional Medicine with Doctors at both Mt Sinai NYC and Miami and Columbia NYC. She continued to receive specialized training and certifications as a Teaching Artist through intensives at the Community Word Project in NYC, Arts For Learning in DC, C.A.P.E arts training, based in Chicago and the Hall Farm Art Integration Curriculum Training offered summers in Vermont working with academic classroom educators to cross train artists with teachers to develop arts integrated curriculums. Her areas of interest and specialty are networking outreach within community collaborations and curriculum development to bring creative thinking tools to youth and families in communities in need.
Ms Rae knows first hand that creating sustainable art integration programs to educate and empower at-risk youth towards successful futures, is the solution needed to halt the “cradle to prison path” plaguing impoverished communities. If the same tax dollars used to build future prisons were spent on providing LIFE ARTS prevention programs we would see hope in action create positive change. I am an example of what art integrated education and project-based learning can do for a struggling student. I know this first hand and through my continued involvement with art education, I know the need continues to be there for many students. I see this as an opportunity to find my place as a positive role model and art educator. I plan to continue my life’s mission, expanding with other artists; groups and arts focused organizations as partners, collaborators and to learn from. In closing I would like to reiterate that my commitment and involvement in art education today has developed from my own experiences and from being a child who greatly benefited from art programs. My journey towards becoming an adult with a positive outlook on life started out as a struggle but it was one that has now given me tremendous compassion for what parents, teachers, mentors and the youth of today are experiencing as creative thinking tools like the arts, are removed from schools. I am a sincere example of what caring teachers and mentors using the arts in education and positive encouragement can do to turn a teenager’s life around. I want to now carry that message by example and return the arts to all areas of education.
Marriage & Family Therapy Graduate Student
Sharonda holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from North Carolina Central University; and is currently in pursuit of a Master of Science degree in Counseling Education: Marriage and Family Therapy at the University of Miami. Miss Adams has worked with adolescents since high school. She has served as a teacher's assistant, assistant professional in several community outreach programs, tutor, nanny, and an intake specialist for a behavioral health and human services agency. Sharonda is originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina but has resided in Miami, Florida for 2 years. "I grew up in communities very similar to those which our students reside in. Luckily, we also had similar programs that exposed us to different places, skills and ideas. I feel that those experiences greatly contributed to the person I am today; and I believe it is imperative that I pay it forward so that today's uses may be afforded the same opportunities."
Alexandra Sommese is originally from Northern Virginia. Currently a sophomore at the University of Miami and majoring in motion pictures, minoring in vocal performance, and women & gender studies. She is also involved in many extracurricular activities including her acapella group, BisCaydence, and Miami Motion.
She has dancing since the age of three and has ample experience in all genres of dance including ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, modern, and lyrical/contemporary. All throughout high school she was on a competitive dance team, where they competed at local and national competitions doing kick line and pom performances.
Alex says, "I absolutely love inspiring my students to express themselves through dance and hopefully find a passion for it. I also strive to expose my students to a variety of dance genres to ensure that they become well rounded dancers with open minds for anything. However, my main goal for these students is for them to realize that they can do whatever they set their minds on, and to really strive to achieve what they truly want in life. These children need someone to look up to, and I am very proud that I can be that role model for them."
Voice & Piano Instructor
Tara Sperry currently resides in Miami, Florida and is the Voice Instructor for Inner City Youth Performing Arts.
Tara spent her summer performing with The Ohio Light Opera singing Saffi in Strauss’, The Gypsy Baron, Tuptim in The King and I, and Josephine Vanderwater in Gershwin’s, Lady be Good. Other operatic credits include: Kate (The Pirates of Penzance) Opera Roanoke, Nadina Popoff (The Chocolate Soldier) Ohio Light Opera, Girl in the American Premiere of John B. Hedges A Shipwreck Opera with Long Leaf Opera, Madmoiselle Warblewell (The Impresario) Capitol Opera, Frasquita (Carmen), Une Pastourelle (L’enfant et les Sortilèges), Fanchette (The Lantern Marriage), and Millie Owens in the World Premiere of Picnic by Libby Larsen, under the direction of Maestro Ted Taylor.
Tara has been the soprano soloist in numerous concert works including Mendelssohn’s Elijah with the Greensboro Choral Society, Schubert’s Mass in B, Bach’s Magnificat, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Rutter and Faure’s Requiem, and Beethoven’s 9th Symphony.
Tara can be heard on Albany Records ‘ recording of The Carnival Fairy, where she performed the role of Princess Alexandra Maria in the American Premiere with The Ohio Light Opera. Opera News reviewed her performance: “Tara Sperry, as Princess Alexandra, is a first-rate leading lady. Her fresh, youthful soprano produces a steady flow of gleaming tone. Her rhythmic address is forthright, and she knows how to “speak” text on a legato line, thus bringing immediacy to her singing.”
Tara has experience directing and assistant directing at The Ohio Light Opera, Opera Roanoke, Greensboro College, and The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Tara recently directed and produced a fully staged production of Poulenc’s La voix humaine, where she performed the opera’s one-woman role.
Tara Sperry is a former faculty member of voice and vocal pedagogy at Greensboro College, where she instructed both music and theatre students in vocal technique and performance (2010-2013).
Tara earned her Master of Music degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Utah.
Join Our Team!
By volunteering, you are serving a greater purpose. If you have a gift, it has been given to you so that you may share it! We ask that you donate a few hours of your time to share the beauty and wonder of your art so that, just as you have created a fulfilling life and career out of it, we may provide that opportunity for children who would not otherwise have it! Please take this opportunity to change someones life.
Tom Bowden, the percussion instructor for Inner City Youth Performings Arts, is currently pursuing his Doctoral degree in percussion from the University of Miami at the Frost School of Music. Outside of teaching percussion to the students at Inner City Youth Performing Arts, he is also a percussion instructor at Mays Conservatory in Goulds, Florida, which is run through the University of Miami Frost School of Music’s Frost Music Reach program. Locally, he performs in Miami with the Frost Symphony Orchestra. Nationally, he has performed with the Philadelphia Wind Symphony, Symphony in C, and with Nexus’s Bob Becker during his studies at the Bob Becker Ragtime Xylophone Institute at the University of Delaware. He offers concert percussion, rudimental drumming, and drum set lessons for beginning to advanced players.
Our Yoga program is outsourced by our partnership with Modern Gypsy Yoga. Thanks to Ana we are able to provide this experience and education to our students. For more information on Ana & Modern Gypsy Yoga, please visit her company website directly at www.moderngypsyyoga.com.
Tae Kwon Do
Our Tae Kwon Do program is outsourced by our partnership with Master Sang's TNT Martial Arts. Thanks to him and his team we are able to provide this experience and education to our students. For more information on his program and methods, please visit his company website directly at www.sangsacademy.com.
Bio coming soon...