Director Profile: Aaron Feld -
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Talmage Thornhill has been involved in the fine arts since childhood. Years of her life were dedicated to the study of professional dance and performance. She holds her B.F.A from Florida State University, where she danced under famous ballerina Suzanne Farrell and dozens of other accomplished performers and instructors.
After moving to Miami from her home town of Chapel Hill, NC, Talmage danced for a professional ballet company before refocusing her energy on youth development in the non-profit sector. Talmage brings to the table an artistic eye and a keen business sense that was cultivated in part during her professional career at the City of Miami Beach. Her lifetime love of visual arts has fueled her recent choice to join the Life Is Art team.
Adriana, born and raised in Miami (yes a true native!) to Cuban parents, has had an interest in the arts since early on. Raised learning ballet and foreign languages, she spent her childhood watching her father, the true artist in the family, paint and sketch. Instead of following her father’s lead, Adriana chose writing as her creative outlet, reporting for both the Miami Dade College and the FIU newspapers throughout her higher education. Despite her desire to pursue more artistic outlets she went on to pursue a broader degree, a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, from Florida International University.
While studying for her double major at FIU in women’s studies, Adriana found a passion for the theatre. In 2004 she, with the collaboration of her fellow feminist students, directed and produced several performances of “The Vagina Monologues” on campus. All of the proceeds from these performances, centered on “V-Day” (http://newsite.vday.org/), were donated to local organizations that help end violence against women and girls. For her work on campus and within the community, Adriana was awarded a Women’s Studies Award for Excellence from the University.
Most recently she has become more of an appreciator of the arts than a participant, becoming a member of several museums (Bass, Miami Art Museum, GenArt, etc.) and attending art events whenever possible. When the opportunity arose to help found Life Is Art and to participate in facilitating an outlet for local artists, she could not pass up the chance. “I am excited to be a part of a grass roots movement to help give an opportunity for local artists to showcase their work and to help others gain access to the amazing regional artistry that surrounds them.”
Originally from the Dominican Republic, Emmy’s has been living in Miami since 2001. She is an FIU Alumni, with a degree in Management Info Systems. Emmy been a web developer for MTV Latino, and currently works for Univision. A long time Art aficionado and blogger, she publishes What Time is Your Flight? The unofficial festival survival guide. She is also a contributor to NightLyfe: WMC Uncensored Guide, and has covered Dance Music events and festival from all over the US including: DEMF, ULTRA, Decibel, and LoveFest.
R. E. Sanchez is a Miami-based artist whose work has been exhibited regularly in non-profit organizations and gallery venues. He is a Salvadoran expatriate who in 1989 relocated to the U.S. to pursue his passion for art. He received his Bachelor of Art (BFA) from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2000.
Since 1994 he has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally. In 2000 he was part of a very prestigious show for Artlink@Sothebys that traveled through Chicago Illinois, Vienna Austria and Tel Aviv Israel. In 2004 his work was presented in New York for the AAF Contemporary Art Fair as part of Miami-based Bettcher Gallery. During this year, he was awarded his first solo show at SBI Miami.
Most recently his work has been exhibited as part of juried shows which have included The Hibiscus 1st Juried Art Exhibition at The Lighthouse Center for the Arts in Tequesta Florida, 20 x 20 x 20 A National Compact Competition at Louisiana State University’s Union Art Gallery in Baton Rouge Louisiana, The Blanche Ames National Juried Exhibition at The Ames Mansion at Borderland State Park in North Easton Massachusetts and Field of Vision: Beijing at the Beijing New Art Projects in Beijing China. His work can be found in many private collections.
Susan J. Lewis, aka Soozin, is a south Florida native who has spent many years involved in the local music and art scene. She brings to the festival a great deal of musical experience on multiple levels. She has been DJing all over florida, and most recently Costa Rica, since 2000. She has held a weekly radio show on local underground station 88.5 FM radio x for the last four years in addition to a global broadcast on Pulse Radio over the same time period. She has been involved in the musical aspects of various fund raisers, art shows, gallery functions, and other events in addition to club and radio DJing. She brings experience and skill to the table as music director for Life is Art.
In addition to music director, she will also coordinate the “greening” of Life is Art. She has 2 graduate degrees in, and a great deal of knowledge and experience with, environmental conservation and sustainability. She currently serves as coordinator of an environmental education center in Miami, is on the greening committee for the Winter Music Conference, and is involved in numerous other related projects.
Life Is Art co-founders James Echols and Annette Peikert have been involved in both the arts and event production nearly all their lives. Directly out of college they started their own retail business in Dallas, Texas, which included a large selection of artwork. While running this business for four years, they participated in several events. They also produced many of their own events inside the store.
After closing the retail store, they went on to work with and manage a Renaissance recreation festival that employed over 100 staffers, actors, and volunteers, included dozens of professional performers, and hosted nearly 200 artists, crafters, and merchants. They then produced their own pop culture festival, which included an art show and auction of several hundred pieces.
The couple has long been art collectors, having purchased many dozens of pieces over the years. Since moving to Miami six years ago, they have become very involved in the growing art scene, being regulars at many of the local galleries and museums.
After meeting numerous wonderful local artists, they realized that Miami needed something to help support the native talent, and so was born Life Is Art, a Miami Featured Artist Fair.