Community Scholars: Cohort II

Cohort II

Cohort II of the Columbia Community Scholars Program:  Sheila Anderson, Eric K. Washington,  Martha Diaz and Adarsh Alphons (not pictured). Photo credit: Barbara Alper

Project: Apply University resources towards the growth of ProjectArt, a nonprofit arts education organization that serves the West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood communities.

Adarsh Alphons is the Founder and Executive Director of ProjectArt, an organization which provides free after-school art classes in public libraries in West Harlem to youth ages 4-17 years old, allowing opportunity for program participants to express their artistic visions, set goals and display their art in galleries. Alphons was named one of NYC’s 25 Rising Stars by Pave (March 2014), awarded the citation of “Hero of Education” by NYC Councilman Robert Jackson (June 2012), and was selected as the New Yorker of the Week by NY1 News (July 2011) for his work with ProjectArt. Prior to his work with ProjectArt, Alphons was General Manager at STREB Lab for Action Mechanics, Director of Visual Arts at the Harlem School of the Arts and General Manager of chashama, the largest studio-residency program in NYC. Alphons received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Maryland Institute College of Art and a Master of Science in Art Administration from Boston University.  

Project: Advance work and research on a book about the 1970s, produce an oral history of that period with trailblazers of the Civil Rights Movement and seek to present more jazz in Harlem.

Sheila Anderson is the Public Programs Manager at the Newark Museum, host of WBGO’s "Weekend Jazz After Hours," creator of "The Art of Jazz," a weekly 30-minute TV program for Time Warner Cable in NYC, and published author of “The Quotable Musician: From Bach to Tupac” and “How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed.”  Additionally, Anderson is a freelance writer and producer whose producing credits include the "Somerville Jazz Festival" (now the "Central Jersey Jazz Festival") and the Newark Museum’s "Jazz in the Garden Series".  Anderson also works with Jazzmobile, Inc. as a programing consultant for its “Saturday Jazz Workshop” and as a co-producer of "Harlem Jazz Shrines" and "Jazzmobile's Sumerfest", 2013.  Anderson has both teaching and lecture experience and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bernard M. Baruch College.udies in American History.

Original Project: Development of a hip-hop education teaching/subject certificate program to support teaching artists, activists and cultural workers working, both formally and informally, in education settings.

Martha Diaz is a community organizer, social entrepreneur, media producer, archivist, curator, and educator, who for twenty-five years has traversed between the hip-hop entertainment industry, public arts sector and academia as a creative social change agent. Diaz has worked in Hollywood and independent movie productions, producing short films, TV shows, documentaries, music videos, and PSA’s. As an educator, she taught middle and high school students in Harlem and the Bronx, and for four years was a part-time professor at New York University's Gallatin School. She has published research papers on hip-hop education and is co-editor of the Hip-Hop Education Guidebook, Vol. I and Rebel Music: Resistance Through Hip-Hop and Punk. Diaz founded the Hip-Hop Odyssey International Film Festival, the first and largest event of its kind, spawning an international movement. She also co-founded the Hip-Hop Education Summit, and has been the executive director of the Hip-Hop Association since 2004. In 2010, Diaz formed the Hip-Hop Education Center to cultivate and formalize the field of hip-hop-based education. Diaz has served as a resident curator of NJ Performing Arts Center’s Alternate Routes Program, fellow at the NYU Reynolds Program for Social Entrepreneurship, fellow at the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation – National Museum of American History, resident curator/scholar at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and a Columbia University Community Scholar. She has been a guest curator at the Museum of the Moving Image and The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Some of her archival projects include working with Ralph McDaniels (Video Music Box), James Top (Graffiti TV), and Parkwood Entertainment (Beyoncé Knowles-Carter). Her latest archive/documentary project is the Untitled, Tupac Shakur Documentary, directed by Steve McQueen. Diaz recently completed an appointment as a Hiphop Archive Research Institute and Nasir Jones Fellow at Harvard University, and is currently a Research Fellow at Harvard’s Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History.

Project: Advance work and research on book, tour and talk projects aiming to reclaim forgotten history and heritage from many of upper Manhattan’s languishing neighborhood sites.

Eric K. Washington is an independent historian and author, and the owner of Tagging-the-Past, which endeavors to reconnect forgotten history to present landscapes through articles, talks and tours. His book, "Manhattville: Old Heart of West Harlem," prompted a notable 2004 exhibition at The City College of New York. His research on Harlem, Trinity Church Cemetery and Upper Manhattan is reflected in numerous publications and presentations including the "New-York Journal of American History," the "Encyclopedia of New York State" and the Historic House Trust lecture series. Recently, Washington coordinated Harlem “Y” Talks, two pilot speaker programs in the Harlem YMCA Little Theatre. His honors include the Municipal Art Society’s 2010 MASterworks Award for his interpretive signage in West Harlem Piers Park, a Civic Engagement and Social Justice Faculty Mini-Grant from Eugene Lang College of the New School for Liberal Arts, and a Preservation League of New York Award. A licensed New York City tour guide, Washington is featured prominently in Phillip Lopate’s "Waterfront: A Journey Around Manhattan," and Jonathan R. Wynn’s "The Tour Guide: Walking and Talking New York." He is also the regular host of the Harlem Chamber Players.