Elizabeth Cheeseman-Martin - Bookkeeper
Elizabeth Cheeseman-Martin (bookkeeper) has been a part of the JCAL family since June 2017. She has also worked part-time as an usher at the Jamaica Performing Arts Center and is a licensed notary public officer. Prior to JCAL, Elizabeth worked as an Executive Administrative Assistant for 19+ years at F & R Installers Corp., a construction company. Outside of JCAL, she serves as Vice-President for the National Association of The Church of God Ushers and the State Ushers’ President of the Eastern New York General Assembly Ushers’ Board. She is a Minister, Trustee Board Member, Treasurer and Secretary of the Lafayette Avenue Church of God. She says, “Working at JCAL is all about teamwork!”
Courtney Ffrench - Interim Artistic Director
Courtney Ffrench is the Interim Artistic Director of the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. He is an alumnus of the City University of New York Queens College. Mr. Ffrench was born in Kingston Jamaica. His personal philosophy embraces art as a vital component in the growth of the human experience. In his professional experience, Courtney has been an adoption specialist for children in foster care and a math and social studies middle school teacher. Mr. Ffrench is the founder and director of the Vissi Dance theater. He has toured Europe and Asia as a professional dancer and choreographer.
Tyrel Hunt - Marketing Manager
Tyrel Hunt is a writer, filmmaker and Marketing Manager from Jamaica Queens, New York. After graduating as a Division One student athlete, he worked as a Content Marketing Associate for Fancy.com, then a Marketing Manager at Bareburger. At both roles he was in charge of website content, email marketing and social media. In 2017, he founded Grittyvibes.com, a popular platform for up and coming artists. The highly trafficked site features hundreds of interviews and articles, with an audience of over 1,500 reads per day. As a filmmaker, he wrote, edited and directed the award winning feature film "April Again".
Leonard Jacobs - Interim Executive Director
Leonard Jacobs (Interim Executive Director) was born and raised in Queens and fell in love with theatre in utero. He has worked as a playwright, director and producer, and became an arts journalist, editor and theatre critic not long after Thespis stepped out of the chorus line. Prior to JCAL, he was Director of Cultural Institutions at the NYC Dept. of Cultural Affairs, National Theatre Editor at Backstage and Founding Editor of Theatermania.com. He also created The Clyde Fitch Report, which published opinion and reporting from the crossroads of arts and politics. He graduated Jamaica HS, NYU (BA), and Hunter College (MA), and taught arts administration at Baruch College for three years.
Naomi Kuo - Visual Arts Associate
Naomi Kuo was born and raised in Houston, TX and has been based in Queens, NY since 2013. She received her MFA in Social Practice Art from Queens College and a BA in Studio Art and English at the University of Texas in Austin. Previous professional experience includes Teaching Artist with Thrive Collective and Bowery Missions Women's Center, Art Specialist with Center for All Abilities, Project Associate with Korea Art Forum, and staff with Transform Arts. In her artistic practice, Naomi utilizes drawing, painting, collage, quilting, and various collaborative modes to explore neighborhood identity formation in Asian American communities. Her work has been presented as part of exhibitions and programs at the Queens Museum, the American Folk Art Museum, the Queens Public Library (in collaboration with Queens Memory), and more.
Hernan Mery - Facilities Assistant
Hernan Mery is a motivated individual with 8+ years of experience performing general and preventive maintenance while working alongside the Director of Facilities to help operate the day to day operations of the organization to reach its goals.
Juan Carlos Salinas- Director of Education
Juan Carlos Salinas- is currently the Director of Education at Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. He has developed and implemented curricula based on various artistic disciplines, social activism, and leadership skill-building for more than twenty-five New York City schools and cultural institutions. He is a contributing writer of New York City Blueprint for Theater Education and is a contributor for Sing for Hope Art U curriculum. He has worked as Education Director of City Lights Youth Theater, Associate Director of Education at Yale Repertory Theater, and Education Manager of Ars Nova and Ballet Hispanico. Juan Carlos holds an MFA in Non-profit/Arts Management with an emphasis in Education from Yale University. He is the current Chair and founding member of the Yale Latino Alumni Association of the Tri State Area, and a founding board member of the Inter- Ivy League Latino Alumni Council. Juan Carlos is a proud native of Rio Grande City, in Starr County, TX.
Patrick Scorese - Director, Development
Until recently, Patrick served in JCAL's Education Department where he supervised the School of the Arts and helmed JCALs social practice and community outreach initiative. Patrick worked as a development officer for Primary Stages. He was also an independent arts producer for several years. In his off-time Patrick is a performance-based artist, writer, and historiographer.
David Smith - Program Associate, Performance
David Smith is the Program Associate at JCAL with years of experience in communication. His job consists of being in contact with a diverse number of artists within the community. He prioritizes developing strong relationships both professionally and personally. He helps setup and organize different events and programs in all areas of the arts. He provides professional advice to vendors or renters he works with if needed. He's also a Producer/Curator, managing rentals in JCAL dance studios.
Ben Uniacke - Manager of Digital Technologies
Ben Uniacke is the Manager of Digital Technologies for Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning. He is leading the technical transition of live events from in person to digital. Programs involving both remote and in person talent have now been presented live on both JCAL’s YouTube and social media, including the Building Equity Project, ARTWorks Artist’s Talk, Making Moves Dance Festival, and 2nd Thursday Night Jazz series. Ben first started working at JCAL during their 2019 summer jazz festival as the Assistant Event Producer and continued on working as their Audio Engineer. He also works at The Jazz Gallery, a nonprofit jazz venue in Manhattan, where he learned audio engineering and venue managing. Ben graduated from City College of New York in 2017 with a BFA in Jazz Performance.
Edward Wysocki - Director of Facilities and Operations
Edward Wysocki is the Director of Facilities and Operations for JCAL and JPAC. Edward has previously held facility roles at the NYC landmark building of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and at Trinity Wall Street in their real estate portfolio of 18 buildings. He has numerous FDNY certifications and NYS licenses for security and fire and life safety while providing leadership, direction and supervision in the key areas of property, project and maintenance management of building operations. Edward also holds a Facility Management Professional designation from IFMA. He enjoys playing guitar, the collecting and restoration of antiques and vintage audio electronics.