Category: News
Four black and white images of people and the text "Meet the Western New York Tele-Stories Artists"

Western New York Tele-Stories: Meet the Artists!

After the success of our Tele-Stories projects in Milwaukee and Detroit, TimeSlips is excited to announce the beginning of its latest Tele-Stories project in Western New York, generously funded by the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation. As a part of the first Western New York Tele-Stories project, TimeSlips has partnered with Hearts & Hands, an organization that connects frail or vulnerable older adults in Erie and Niagara counties with needed services.

Four local community-based artists have been matched with under-connected elders (30 in total) to facilitate creative conversations and activities with them by phone. We’re lucky to be working with a talented group of interdisciplinary artists from across Western New York, all of whom are trained in TimeSlips and received additional training to learn how to facilitate creative engagement by phone. 

Calls will be delivered for eight weeks and will lead to the creation of a culminating “Creative Gift”. These gifts will be made by each artist with words, ideas, and inspiration from the elders that they work with. This may take the shape of a poem, a song, a performance, etc. We’re excited to see what these artists come up with! Stay tuned for updates on this project, but in the meantime, we would like to introduce you to the artists making these calls.

Meet the artists!

Sukanya Burman (She/Her) is a dancer and choreographer born and raised in Kolkata, India. She began her formal dance training in Bharatanatyam at the age of 3 and trained in Kathak, modern, contemporary dance, and ballet. Sukanya holds a Diploma in Contemporary Dance and Movements Arts. She toured nationally and internationally as a repertoire member of Rhythmosaic Dance Company, later moving to NYC to pursue an Independent Training Program at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Since then she has taught classes and performed extensively both in the US and in India. She is a guest faculty at the Chautauqua Regional Youth Ballet and a guest performer at the Indorican Multicultural Dance Project. She recently founded Sukanya Burman Dance Company in Jamestown, NY. Sukanya is interested in exploring socio-cultural discourse with an emphasis on bridging the gap between Western modern and Indian classical dance. She also hopes to raise awareness, accessibility and provide opportunities in dance through arts education. Sukanya is currently a resident artist in the Curriculum in Motion Institute at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.

Christina Muscatello (She/Her/Hers) is an Art Educator and Creative Aging practitioner, who specializes in drawing out the innate creativity of people living with memory loss and older adults. Since 2005, she has worked with hundreds of people living with memory loss—learning, developing, and refining thoughtful ways to make the arts accessible for them along the way. She is the Founder of Memory Maker Consulting, where she offers private and small group Creative Sessions for people living with memory loss, as well as Creative Aging Workshops and Trainings for museums, care communities, and other organizations. She is also the Co-Founder of the Memory Maker Project, a grassroots non-profit project offering free art and advocacy programs for older adults, people living with memory loss, their loved ones, and anyone seeking an intergenerational experience. She loves a good story and deeply believes that everybody has one to tell.

Cynthia Pegado (She/Her) is the Founding Director of The Parkinson’s Performance Ensemble and Director of Artpark Bridges. An Interdisciplinary Artist, she creates and performs site-specific dance works and is an exhibited visual artist in mixed media sculpture, photography, and sensory drawing. She established Cynthesis Studios, a mobile hub for developing accessible, customized community engagement programs of therapeutic arts-wellness practices. These programs support people with diverse physical and cognitive abilities and under-served elders and children in the heart of our city. Art Moves Me, designed for Burchfield Penney Art Center, draws people with incurable neurological movement disorder disease and dementias into artistic, expressive dance within the galleries. Sound Dance created for Artpark, invites mindful interaction with nature, visual art, and communal sound-making. Cynthia earned a BFA cum laude from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, in Dance Performance and achieved a professional performance career dancing on stages across the world with ballet companies based in the USA and Europe. Cynthia loves to share her artistry with others through self-affirming, creative playfulness, and community-building. 

Julio Montalvo Valentin (They/His/Julio) is a co-founder of the late CringeWorthy Poets Press and the author of three chapbooks, the latest titled Those Who Pray to Rice (NightBallet Books, 2019). Julio is also a member of the Latino/a/x arts collective called Los Artistas del Barrio Buffalo (LAdB), a Teaching Artist at the Just Buffalo Literary Center, and holds an M.A. in English Literature from SUNY Buffalo State. They have recently completed a Poetry Mural project as the Poetry Teaching Artist for the “Woke Words” BPS program at P.S. 18. Julio is also a board member for the Spark Filmmakers Collective and a planning committee member of Lit Youngstown 2022 Literary Festival. Aside from joining the inaugural Teaching Artist Mentorship Program with the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable, you can always find Julio ready for the next writing opportunity to share his love of words with everyone they come across at (coming soon).

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