A special thanks to our 2016 Review Panelists


Jean Appolon
Brenda Divelbliss
Joe Gonzalez
Merli V. Guerra
Pamela Newton

Jean Appolon is the Co-founder and Artistic Director of Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE) and a successful choreographer and master teacher based in Boston and Port-au-Prince, Haiti.  Appolon received his earliest training and performance opportunities in Port-au-Prince with the Viviane Gauthier Dance Company and the Folkloric Ballet of Haiti. Appolon continued his dance education in the U.S. at the Harvard and Radcliffe Dance Program (1995-1996, Boston, MA), Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (1996-1998, New York, NY) and the Joffrey American Ballet School (1998-2003, New York, NY), where he graduated with a B.A. from a joint degree program offered by The New School. In addition, he has also performed with Elma Lewis Productions (Black Nativity), Marlene Silva, North Star Ballet Company (Fairbanks, AK), Black Door Dance Company (Miami, FL), and the Atlantic City Ballet Company.   Appolon teaches regularly at Boston Ballet, UMASS Boston and The Dance Complex (Cambridge, MA), among other locations. Beginning in 2006, Appolon conceived, and has since directed, a free annual summer dance course in Port-au-Prince that serves young, aspiring Haitian dancers who do not have regular access to dance training. Appolon’s vision is to expand the summer course into a year-round dance program based in Port-au-Prince. Appolon’s Boston-based Haitian Contemporary dance company has performed at major venues such as Boston’s Paramount Center and Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, as well as at many schools and colleges and in city parks and community spaces providing free performances accessible to the public.

Brenda Divelbliss holds a BFA in Dance from the Ohio State University and an MFA in Dance from Smith College. She teaches dance technique and choreography at the Cambridge Rindge & Latin High School, and directs the CRLS Modern Dance Company. She served as Artistic Associate in the Dance Program at Harvard from 2001-2011, and was the resident teacher and choreographer for the Harvard-Radcliffe Modern Dance Company from 1999-2007. Her choreography has been supported by grants from the arts councils of Northampton and Somerville and by commissioning awards from Dance Umbrella and CrashArts.

Joe Gonzalez started dancing at the age of 13 at the Roxbury Center for the Performing Arts where he danced with the school's junior company followed by the senior company. Laterhe attended Boston Arts Academy (a high school for academic, visual, and performing arts) as a dance major.  Gonzalez has received numerous scholarships to attend renowned summer dance programs such as The Boston Conservatory Summer Intensive, American Dance Festival, Springboard Danse Montreal, and Bates Dance Festival. He received a BFA from The Boston Conservatory in 2011.  He has performed masterworks by Alvin Ailey, Anna Sokolow, Ronald K. Brown, Paul Taylor, Sean Curran, Nathan Trice, Pedro Ruiz Jr., Jose Limon, Rubber Band Dance Group, Ulysses Dove and Alwin Nikolas to name a few.   He has toured the USA, Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, South American, India and Scotland performing with Anna Myer and Dancers, Prometheus Dance, and has choreographed over 20 original works nationally.   Currently Gonzalez is performing with The Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco!) and is the Co- Artistic Director, alongside May-Lisa Chandler, Choreographer, of Jo-Mé Dance, a company dedicated to creating a full dance experience in Contemporary art.

Merli V. Guerra is a professional dancer and award-winning interdisciplinary artist. She is Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Luminarium Dance Company (Cambridge, MA), and a company member of Nataraj Dancers (Amherst, MA) and Deborah Abel Dance Company (Boston, MA). Merli has studied dance and performed lead roles on international tours to India (2007, 2012) and Japan (2009), while her choreographic works, dance-on-camera films, and video art installations have been selected for presentation across the country—from New England to New York to the West Coast. She designs the region’s leading periodical in contemporary arts and culture as Art Director of Art New England magazine, and is Senior Contributor to The Arts Fuse, critiquing and highlighting dance events across New England. Merli’s work with Luminarium extends beyond the traditional stage; her Night at the Tower project was recently honored as one of just three projects (out of 5,000+ across the state in 2014) to receive the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s prestigious 2015 Gold Star Award.

Pamela Newton, Artistic Director of the Dreamscape Project Group, is a choreographer and working theatre professional.  Her study of dance includes years in NYC and Boston dance studios and is an ongoing way of life.  She started ballet at the age of seven and first enrolled for modern dance classes in her teens at the Martha Graham Studio in NYC; she then majored in dance at Sarah Lawrence College where she began teaching college students under the guidance of her “don” Bessie Schonberg.  Her Master’s degree in Dance Education was received from Teacher’s College at Columbia University where she also taught graduate students to teach college level dance classes.  Pam has performed in Boston with Anne Tolbert, Ina Hahn, Boston Dance Circle, the Newton Bodyworks, and Circles Dance Company, as well as being part of many larger concerts.  She has received Cultural Council Grants and choreographed countless dance pieces for her companies, theatrical productions, and musicals.  In recent years she has devoted much of her time to teaching dance, choreography, and stage movement at Boston College, directing a dance company, choreographing for young adult and adult dancers in Boston and Savannah, GA (AWOL = All Walks of Life), as well as coaching and mentoring young artists.

Visual Art, Film, & Video:

J. Alberto Guzman
Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr.
Janet Malenfant
Alexandra Photopoulos
Sandy Goldberg

J. Alberto Guzman is the Founder & Organizer of the Arlington International Film Festival.  Guzman, originally from Colombia, S.A., came to the U. S. in 1985, settled in Chicago and later moved to Boston. He is both an educator and a journalist. He has worked as an educator for 23 years in both the public and private sectors and believes that education is an essential tool for preparing our young people to assume their personal and social responsibilities. Guzman has enjoyed a successful career in journalism, in radio broadcasting as well as owning and operating a newspaper. From a young man Guzman has given of himself through community organizing and his work with human rights organizations. He is pleased to be organizing this Festival for the residents of Arlington and its neighboring communities. Guzman completed his studies at Inpahu University, Bogota, Colombia.

Calvin A. Lindsay, Jr., Producer/Director & Founder of Centurion Filmworks, began his career at WGBH-TV, Boston’s Public Broadcasting Station affiliate. He is a seven time Emmy Award winner who served as Series Producer for Say Brother, one of public television’s longest running local series. His credits include myriad projects ranging from political coverage to documentary and dramatic treatments. Lindsay conceived the award-winning documentary series Reflections. The Reflections series chronicled the lives, seminal moments and motivations of a number of artists, and cultural innovators including Judith Jamison, James Earl Jones, The Nicholas Brothers and Henry Hampton. Masterworks… another award-winning series featured some of the most notable musicians working in the jazz genre. He wrote, co-produced and directed The Devil’s Music: 1920’s Jazz, a one-hour film for the PBS series Culture Shock, which examined the often controversial relationship between art, morality and society. Lindsay co-produced the PBS nationally broadcast REBEL, a documentary feature about Loreta Janeta Velazquez, one of approximately 300 women who fought in the American Civil War disguised as male soldiers; REBEL recently received the Organization of American Historians’ Erik Barnouw Award Honorable Mention. His work has been recognized by the National Black Programming Consortium, The Association of Massachusetts Broadcasters, The New York Festivals, the National Association of Television Arts & Sciences, The Denver Jazz on Film Festival Series and the International Documentary Association. He sits on the Board of Directors of Documentary Educational Resources and the Brattle Film Foundation.    

Janet Malenfant, a Cambridge based painter and mixed media artist, lives and works in Porter Square.  After a career as a graphic designer Malenfant began studio work and painting in 1990. She has participated in open studios in Cambridge since 1998 with NoCa, CAOS and Cambridge Arts Open Studios. In 2009 Malenfant joined the planning committee for Cambridge Arts Open Studios, working closely with the Arts Council to produce a successful city-wide event that supports artists and creates a vibrant Cambridge art scene.  Her work can be seen at

Alexandra Photopoulos, a native of Cambridge, received her BA in Visual and Environmental Studies from Harvard University, and her MFA in Studio Arts from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  As a working artist, Photopoulos has exhibited locally at the Carpenter Center, the Aidekman Arts Center, NAVE Gallery, 808 Gallery, Cambridge City Hall, the Boston Children's Museum, and Samsøn.  A devoted educator, Photopoulos has taught students of all levels, from adults, to college students, to kindergarteners.  She currently works in public education at the Morse Elementary School in Cambridge.  Photopoulos is also honored to serve as the Managing Director of Gallery 263, a nonprofit arts space in Cambridgeport dedicated to supporting and empowering local and regional artists and providing a public venue for a wide variety of creative experiences.

Sandy Goldberg is a writer, producer, and creative director of interpretive content for art museums. She often collaborates with contemporary artists to create audio, video, and interactive experiences in such museums as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum NYC, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Tate Modern, London, as well as other museums in the US, UK and Europe. She’s a past recipient of a MUSE award from the American Association of Museums, and has been a content crit panelist for Museums and the Web. She served on Cambridge’s Public Art Commission from Sept. 1999 – Sept. 2003.  For more information visit:


Mili Bermejo
Pete Cormier
Ilana Katz Katz
Magali Maïza
George Simpson

Mili Bermejo is a Boston/Cambridge based vocalist, composer, educator, Latin music and Jazz specialist, and Professor at Berklee College of Music for 32 years, where she teaches Jazz improvisation, Latin music, performance, and voice technique.  The daughter of Mexican composer Guillermo Bermejo and his wife Luz, an Argentinean tango singer, Bermejo was born in Buenos Aires, but raised in the socially and artistically diverse environment of Mexico City.   Bermejo didn't discover jazz until her college years when her brother introduced her to the music of Miles Davis. A chance encounter with pianist and Third Stream pioneer Ran Blake led to her first trip to America for a summer jazz program in Boston in 1978. She moved to Boston permanently to study jazz at Berklee College of Music in 1980.  Upon graduation in 1984 she was offered a faculty position at Berklee, where she continues to teach.  She was the first woman to receive the prestigious Achievement in Jazz Award from New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA). She is also a former Jazz Ambassador for the United States Information Service/Arts America, the recipient of multiple grants from New England Foundation for the Arts and Meet the Composer, and a board member of the Institute for Community Leadership in Seattle, Washington.  In the mid '80s Mili Bermejo joined musical efforts with her husband and bassist Dan Greenspan developing their unique bass and voice duo, which has anchored all of their subsequent projects.  DUO has recently been the foundation for her musical explorations, finding creative ways to blend the aesthetic of jazz with the colors, textures, rhythms and poetic content of Latin American music.  Bermejo and Greenspan have toured extensively and produced a dozen recordings.  
For more information about Mili Bermejo visit her website:

Pete Cormier is a community arts practitioner, nature-based artist, and educator.  His connection to Cambridge and the surrounding area results from his role as a recent alumnus of Lesley University’s doctoral program, where he conducted his dissertation research on the American Repertory Theatre (A.R.T).   Pete is also an adjunct instructor and student supervisor in Lesley’s community arts program, where he teaches courses to graduate students including an Internship Seminar and Arts-Based Research.  This work has brought him into the local community.  For example, he supervised one student who recently interned at the Cambridge Arts Council.  He has also taught students who interned at nonprofits located in Arlington, Jamaica Plain, and downtown Boston.  During the past year he has exhibited his nature-based art in Cambridge and Brighton and is a former member of the Sterling Cultural Council and a former chair of the Fitchburg Cultural Council.

Ilana Katz Katz is a blues and old-time fiddler, singer, and songwriter. While her music mainstays are Blues and Old-time Appalachian fiddle, her versatility as an improvisational musician beckons her to play all kinds of music. Ilana performed on the streets of Cambridge for many years and loves performing in Boston’s subways, but she frequently entertains audiences all over New England and wherever the road takes her. Ilana has had the great honor to perform with many great musicians including Ronnie Earl, Bobby Radcliff, Joe Moss, Cedric Watson, and Diane Blue, amongst others. Her original song “Marlyn’s Blues” recently won “Coolest Blues Song in the World for 2015″ from Big City Blues Magazine and Ilana was recently nominated for best acoustic musician by  For more information about Ilana Katz Katz visit her website:

Magali Maïza is a French arts management professional. Before moving to Cambridge two years ago, she worked as director of administration in several cultural institutions in Paris such as Le Palais de Tokyo (a contemporary art center), the Louvre auditorium, and the Music Museum. She founded a design edition company dedicated to the production of objects designed by emerging artists. She holds a Maste’s Degree in Management from Audencia Graduate School of Management (Nantes, France), a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from Paris-Dauphine University (Paris, France) and is certified in nonprofit management from the Harvard Extension School. Magali works as an Operations Manager for Convergence Ensemble, a newly founded chamber music collaborative ensemble based in Dorchester; whose mission is to present unusual chamber music programming by supporting a diverse group of musicians that engage local audiences, inspire local pride, and strengthen the connections between various Boston neighborhoods.  In this role she sets up the administrative foundations of the musical nonprofit and helps Convergence Ensemble founder develop her strategic plan. Magali is a member of the development committee of the International School of Boston and volunteers as an art administrator at The Art Connection, a nonprofit that connects artists and donors to community service organizations through the placement of original artwork.

George Simpson brings two decades of experience and leadership at the vanguard of arts education to the Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) as the head of the visual and performing arts program there. Prior to his appointment to CPS, Simpson served as the principal of the prestigious Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA), from 2008-2014. Under Mr. Simpson’s leadership LACHSA heightened its local, state, national, and international profile. In 2013, LACHSA was named “best public high school” in Los Angeles by Newsweek Magazine, one of many such recognitions, as LACHSA continued to send more than 95% or its graduates to college. His tenure was marked by increased student achievement, intensive faculty development, the establishment of several new initiatives, the construction of a brand new school facility (the first in the school’s history), and key partnerships with the LA Philharmonic, and others. Prior to joining LACHSA in 2008, he served as director of the Roland Hayes School of Music, a public high school with a focus on music. From 1999 to 2006, Simpson was a founding faculty member of the award-winning Boston Arts Academy (BAA) and the Berklee College of Music Preparatory School in 2000 and served as its founding director until 2008.  Simpson has served or continues to serve on the board of directors for the Cambridge Creativity Commons, Arts Schools Network, the Grammy Museum, the Music Center Education Council, and the Arts High Foundation. He has been recognized for his leadership by the Boston Arts Academy, the Berklee College of Music, and has received several awards including Principal of the Year (2010), the Distinguished Educator of the Year by CSULA’s Charter College of Education (2012), and the Bertha Savage Award for Music and Service (2013).

Theater, Literature, & Multidisciplinary:

Lee Mikeska Gardner
Jean Dany Joachim
Elsa Mosquera-Sterenberg
Jim Petosa
Kate Snodgrass

Lee Mikeska Gardner begins her third year at as Artistic Director of The Nora Theatre Company, where she performed in and directed a number of plays.  Gardner has a B.F.A. in the Performing Arts from George Mason University and an M.F.A. in Acting from The Catholic University of America. Hailing from the Washington, D.C. region, Gardner has an extensive background in the theatre arts, education and administration. Gardner professional experience includes roles as Associate Artist with 1st Stage, Artistic Associate at Woolly Mammoth for ten years, Managing Director at Rep Stage for two years, and Managing Director for Washington Shakespeare Company for five years. Gardner spent seven years as Associate Artistic Director with the Shenandoah Playwrights’ Retreat working on plays in development with many varied playwrights.  As an educator, Gardner has taught or served as a Guest Artist at over 15 different universities across the US and and founded the Acting Classes at Woolly Mammoth and Washington Shakespeare Company.  Her work ranges from plays in development to the classics. She has helmed over twenty world premieres, three of which earned nominations for the Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding New Play. As a performer Lee has earned a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Lead Actress for the role of Mary in A House in the Country with Charter Theatre, Her performance in Emilie: The Marquise de Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight at the Nora earned her an Eliot Norton award for Lead Actress, Small Theatre.  She also played Carla in the IRNE nominated Chosen Child at Boston Playwrights Theatre.  Overall, her productions have received twenty-five Helen Hayes nominations.

Jean Dany Joachim served as Poet Populist of Cambridge, 2009-2011. An author of short stories and poetry, Joachim is also a playwright. He has created the Many Voices Project, a series of readings and follow-up poetry workshops, inspiring conversations about race and equality. He has published two collections of poetry, Crossroads / Chimenkwaze (2013) and Avec des Mots (2014). He is the Director of City Night Readings, a series featuring diverse poetic talents, writers and artists. His work has been published in numerous international and national anthologies and magazines.  Learn more about Joachim’s current projects by visiting: or


Elsa Mosquera-Sterenberg is the Director of the Arts Program overseeing a number of IBA's offerings that include programming for the gallery, dance and art studios, and the main hall. She has over 20 years of experience as manager in communications and publishing, and as consultant for the creative industries. Past projects include designing a portfolio of cultural programs for a small city, executing sales strategies for independent authors and implementing communications campaigns for colleges and universities. Her educational background is in Literature and Business Administration and she holds a Professional Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Harvard University. 

Jim Petosa has been the artistic and educational leader of the Boston University School of Theatre since 2002. In August 2012, Petosa vacated his post as Artistic Director of Maryland’s Olney Theatre Center for the Arts, a position he has held since 1994.  In 2008, Petosa established the Boston Center for American Performance, the professional extension of the BU School of Theatre; he has served as BCAP’s Artistic Director since its inception.  Currently Petosa is the Artistic Director of New Repertory Theatre in Watertown, MA.  Petosa also serves as one of three artistic directors for PTP/NYC, a company devoted to the presentation of political works since 1987.  He has directed many plays and operas. As a guest artist, he has directed at the John F. Kennedy Center, Studio Theatre, Round House Theatre, and Rep Stage. Petosa also directed the Theater J production of Collected Stories, for which he received a 2001 Helen Hayes Award nomination for outstanding direction. For BU, Petosa has directed the School of Theatre plays including Merrily We Roll Along, Trumpery, and Stuff Happens, among others. Petosa has served on the faculty of The Catholic University of America, the University of Maryland—College Park, and the Heifetz International Music Institute at St. John’s College. He has been a visiting professor at Middlebury College, an artist-in-residence at George Washington University, and a guest artist at Georgetown University, Wolf Trap, and the Smithsonian Institution. In 2008, Petosa was named Montgomery County’s Outstanding Artist/Scholar at the Montgomery County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Awards ceremony in Maryland. Petosa has served as director for the New York Theatre Studio, Theatre Matrix, and as performing arts coordinator for the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. A member of Actors’ Equity Association, Petosa has served on the board of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Catalyst Theatre, and Playwrights Forum. He was educated at The Catholic University of America.

Kate Snodgrass is the Artistic Director of both the award-winning Boston Theater Marathon and of Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at Boston University, the “Home of New Plays in Boston.”  The author of the Actors’ Theatre of Louisville’s Heideman Award-winning play Haiku, her plays have been recognized with two IRNE Awards and a Steinberg Award nomination.  She runs the Graduate Program in Playwriting at Boston University and has lectured at Suffolk, Lesley, and Harvard Universities among others.  Acknowledged by Boston’s StageSource in 2001 as a “Theatre Hero,” Kate is a Playwriting Fellow with the Huntington Theatre Company.  As a producer, she has collaborated, in Cambridge most particularly, with The Nora Theatre Company and Underground Railway Theatre at Central Square Theatre.  She received the Boston theatre critics’ Elliot Norton Award for Sustained Excellence in 2012 and a Tanne Award in 2015.