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Expanding the Walls 2022

Grade: 11

Daniely Martinez is a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in Harlem. Her family is from the Dominican Republic. Her interests consist of journaling, painting, and photographing nature

Daniely Martinez is a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in Harlem. Her family is from the Dominican Republic. Her interests consist of journaling, painting, and photographing nature. She finds them to be very restorative and always leaves her feeling at ease. Daniely likes to practice self-care, such as taking walks, taking off days, or talking to her loved ones. She also likes to binge-watch her favorite YouTubers or shows. She is passionate about pursuing psychology as a career. She finds the human brain and behaviors to be intriguing. Her inspirations are her mother and her grandmother. She sees them as motivation to be successful with her life and to make something out of herself. Daniely joined Expanding the Walls because of her interest in photography. She likes to capture her day-to-day moments and believes she could provide her eye for detail to this program and others a part of it. 


Grade: 11

Jamier Parker is a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in Harlem. Jamier is on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop him from having an amazing life. Even though he struggled to

Jamier Parker is a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in Harlem. Jamier is on the autism spectrum but that doesn’t stop him from having an amazing life. Even though he struggled to fit in with his peers, he still has many friends. He spends his free time playing video games, helping his family with chores, and hanging out with his dad on the weekends. Jamier is inspired by his parents and Dhar Mann. He goes to an after-school program called BCNY, which is where he found out about Expanding the Walls. He joined the program to learn about photography and arts. Jamier wants to be a photographer so he can show the world his point of view. 


Grade:12

Wilhemina Atise was born and raised in Ghana. Wilhemina has interests in computer science and engineering and plans to major in these in college. She enjoys collecting vinyl records, retouching

Wilhemina Atise was born and raised in Ghana. Wilhemina has interests in computer science and engineering and plans to major in these in college. She enjoys collecting vinyl records, retouching pictures, and coding. She’s motivated to pursue her dream of becoming an engineer because of the low percentage of Black coders in the United States. Kwame Nkrumah, the first person to help bring Ghana to independence from the British, is Wilhemina's greatest influence. She joined Expanding the Walls because she believes in the importance of Black art in this community. Joining Expanding the Walls will allow her to learn more about digital photography while meeting a diverse group of people with whom she can relate. 


Grade: 9

Salvador Peña Nissenblatt is a fourteen-year-old student born in Harlem, New York and currently living in Washington Heights. His father was born in Talca, Chile, and his mother in Baltimore. Because

Salvador Peña Nissenblatt is a fourteen-year-old student born in Harlem, New York and currently living in Washington Heights. His father was born in Talca, Chile, and his mother in Baltimore. Because both sides of his family speak different languages (Spanish and English), being fluent in Spanish is a goal for him. His first experience in art began with dance and movement. Then he began sketching, painting, playing piano, knitting, writing stories and poems, and designing his own astronomy and literature magazine. When Sal was in second grade, his dream was to become an astronaut. That dream has morphed into the studying of astrophysics and an aspiration to become an astronomer. His inspirations are his mother, who is a poet and trained acupuncturist and healer, and his father, who plays guitar, works as a boom operator, and spends much of his free time reading and studying. Sal admires their passion and hardworking personalities and hopes to continue learning the way they share their work with the world. Sal joined Expanding the Walls because he wanted to expand his art mediums (through photography), learn more about the history of Black artists, and create new connections through its inclusive and educational program. 


Grade: 11

Aichatou Traore (Aicha) is a seventeen-year-old Malian woman. She is the oldest of nine children and currently resides in Harlem, New York. She was born in Mali and moved to the United States when she

Aichatou Traore (Aicha) is a seventeen-year-old Malian woman. She is the oldest of nine children and currently resides in Harlem, New York. She was born in Mali and moved to the United States when she was five months old. Aicha enjoys drawing, whether on paper or digitally. She also enjoys writing, cooking for her family, and anime and mystery shows. She also assists her siblings with their homework and her family with chores. Her mother is a source of motivation to persevere in the face of adversity—she is a pillar, exemplifying what it means to work hard by raising all ten of her children single-handedly without taking any breaks. Aicha grew interested in creating art that stimulates motivation in her community members as a result of her mother's tenacity. She entered Expanding the Walls to learn more about how art links with history and current challenges to create work that will inspire society to keep going forward despite the obstacles in their way, allowing her to contribute to a better world. 


Grade: 11

Brandon is a self-taught artist who has won multiple contests spanning from art competitions for MoMA, to track meets and other sports. Brandon is from both Harlem and Washington Heights. He likes

Brandon is a self-taught artist who has won multiple contests spanning from art competitions for MoMA, to track meets and other sports. Brandon is from both Harlem and Washington Heights. He likes watching anime as a way to study storytelling to use in his comic series. This comic is a lifetime project for him and is therapeutic. He plays volleyball and basketball with friends, or draws concept art. Brandon rarely does it, but he raps as well. He likes to observe and study any professional artist. 


Grade:10

Faride was born and raised in New York and is a first-generation immigrant. One of Faride’s many interests is fashion; with all the mixing and matching, expressing themself with this form of art is so

Faride was born and raised in New York and is a first-generation immigrant. One of Faride’s many interests is fashion; with all the mixing and matching, expressing themself with this form of art is so fulfilling. Their other interests and hobbies include crocheting, painting, baking, making jewelry, reading, running, and videography. Faride likes recording Youtube videos and editing clips. Their inspiration comes from Doja Cat and MarzTv, who are both confident and relatable. They applied to Expanding the Walls because they wanted to try out a different form of art and learn new skills. 


Grade: 10

Michelle Lucero is a fifteen-year-old high school student born and raised in New York City. Some of her interests include reading, journaling, photography, traveling, and hanging out with her friends

Michelle Lucero is a fifteen-year-old high school student born and raised in New York City. Some of her interests include reading, journaling, photography, traveling, and hanging out with her friends around New York. She enjoys spending time with her family and has an interest in real estate and business. She spends her free time reading and reviewing books on her social media platforms for publishing companies. Her inspirations are her parents because they are hard-working and caring. They are always supportive and cheer her on to thrive and succeed in the future. Michelle joined Expanding the Walls to expand her knowledge in art and photography, and to be able to meet new friends who she can share her love of photography with. 


Grade: 11

Mikai Kellebrew is a seventeen-year-high school student. He was born in Florida and raised in New York. His interests are basketball and movies. He likes experiencing new things. Mikai’s role models

Mikai Kellebrew is a seventeen-year-high school student. He was born in Florida and raised in New York. His interests are basketball and movies. He likes experiencing new things. Mikai’s role models are people who motivate him into committing to achievements and success in all aspects of life. He joined Expanding the Walls because he wanted to learn about how photography works and because it is an opportunity to learn more about art. 


Grade: 12

Sara is a senior in high school with roots in Ghana, West Africa, and who is currently living in the Bronx. Some of her interests include coding, photography, and engineering. Sara loves to braid and

Sara is a senior in high school with roots in Ghana, West Africa, and who is currently living in the Bronx. Some of her interests include coding, photography, and engineering. Sara loves to braid and style hair, a passion she hopes to one day turn into a business. When she’s free, she loves to travel and explore new things with friends or family. On the regular, she enjoys dancing and listening to music. Sara joined Expanding the Walls to explore the field of art, specifically photography, and to discover the different ways to express herself artistically. She aspires to use her skills to promote Black-owned businesses and highlight her culture and pride. 


Grade: 10

Michelle Ben Appiah is a fifteen-year-old sophomore who attends St. Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan. She comes from a family full of Ghanaians and was born and raised in the Bronx. She enjoys

Michelle Ben Appiah is a fifteen-year-old sophomore who attends St. Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan. She comes from a family full of Ghanaians and was born and raised in the Bronx. She enjoys reading romantic novels, appreciating nature and art, learning new things about life or herself, sleeping, playing video games, playing the piano, and listening to music. She has a variety of interests and is known to be active in and outside of school. Michelle is the representative for her homeroom class, a volleyball player, a school ambassador, a scholar attending Columbia’s High School Law Institute and Fordham University Science and Technology Program, and a dancer on her school’s step team. This year, Michelle found a way she could express herself and cope with her anxiety/stress: through photography. Through Expanding the Walls, Michelle hopes to find a way to capture a moment or event and to share it with others. Michelle hopes to build a new family and learn how to collaborate with her peers. She also hopes to accomplish finding a strategic way to create a statement in her photographs or artworks. She’ll challenge herself to learn that art does not need to be perfect. 


Grade: 11

Omar Lashin is a compassionate and well-rounded facilitator whose willingness to try anything allowed him to reach new heights and versatility. Growing up in the South Bronx in a Puerto Rican and

Omar Lashin is a compassionate and well-rounded facilitator whose willingness to try anything allowed him to reach new heights and versatility. Growing up in the South Bronx in a Puerto Rican and Egyptian family, Omar experienced a variety of cultures, traditions, and values that shaped him to be the person he is today. Now trying to combine these perspectives with his personal vision, he hopes to make an impact with his passion for photography while connecting with others and furthering his skills with the help and support of the Expanding the Walls program. 


Grade: 10

Alexis was born in Manhattan and raised in East Harlem. His parents and ancestors are from Mexico. Alexis loves to bike and play sports (even though he isn’t the best at some sports). His inspirations

Alexis was born in Manhattan and raised in East Harlem. His parents and ancestors are from Mexico. Alexis loves to bike and play sports (even though he isn’t the best at some sports). His inspirations are his parents. He strives to make them proud and work as hard as they do. Alexis joined Expanding the Walls to get better at photography so he can capture his favorite moments. 


Grade: 11

Maya Williams is a sixteen-year-old junior who attends St Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan. She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. She is of African American and Puerto Rican descent

Maya Williams is a sixteen-year-old junior who attends St Jean Baptiste High School in Manhattan. She was born in Manhattan and raised in the Bronx. She is of African American and Puerto Rican descent with a Dominican influence from her close cousins. Her favorite sports are volleyball and softball. She enjoys working on art and is particularly fond of photography. Both of her parents, who work in law enforcement, along with her older sister are her main inspirations. She is interested in pursuing a career in criminal psychology due to her parents both having extensive knowledge in forensics and criminology. Maya believes that hobbies and interests such as photography and other types of art keep her calm and relaxed and recommends such activities to other youth. This is one of the main reasons she joined Expanding the Walls—so she could express herself through art with other people around her to help guide her in the right direction. Through this program, she believes she will gain more experience, live up to the standards she holds herself to, and better her understanding of the hobby she loves so much, photography. 


Grade: 11

Kevin Marshall (aka Kc) is a sixteen-year-old Nigerian high school student raised in the Bronx. From age five to ten, Kevin spent time with his aunts, who were fashion designers. He traveled with them

Kevin Marshall (aka Kc) is a sixteen-year-old Nigerian high school student raised in the Bronx. From age five to ten, Kevin spent time with his aunts, who were fashion designers. He traveled with them throughout New York City and was introduced to many creators, designers, models, and celebrities. He now wants to pursue a career in photography. His mom had been a major contributor to his success in middle and elementary school and, since she was his principal, was an active member of his school life. Kevin strives to make a name for himself and make his mother proud. 


Grade: 11

Matthew is a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in Washington Heights. Matthew’s interests range from reading manga, spending time with friends, and playing sports. He likes reading

Matthew is a sixteen-year-old high school student born and raised in Washington Heights. Matthew’s interests range from reading manga, spending time with friends, and playing sports. He likes reading and enjoys being immersed in the story of the characters and feeling how they feel. His inspirations come from friends and family who push him to his limits and force him outside of his comfort zone, and who always make sure he's on track. Matthew joined Expanding the Walls to prepare for college and to capture important moments of his life through photography.