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Our Team

Meet Our Team & Partners

StreetPoetz would be meaningless without the individuals doing what it takes behind the scenes. Our team, which is made up of our direct staff, interns, and consulting partners, is committed to the success of not only StreetPoetz.com, but all those who strive to meet their goals as well.

Interested in becoming a part of StreetPoetz.com? Our doors are always open to focused and talented individuals with an ear, an eye, and a passion for the arts!  Our aim is to be a learning environment, one where students and graduates can put their studies to work to gain necessary experience needed in the working world.  We are currently welcoming volunteers & Interns in the following areas:

Bloggers

Editors

Guest Bloggers

Photo Journalists

Photographers

Videographers

Have some fresh ideas?  We’d love to hear them!

Click on each team member to learn more about their story and purpose.

Our Core Team

Founder & Creator

Carmel “Cece” Carson is the creator and driving force behind StreetPoetz.com™, a blossoming society of artists focused on supporting and highlighting artists from every genre.  Driven by the lack of support for artists, Carmel works to provide an open environment for artists to showcase their work through live and online events.

Carmel’s interest in the arts began at an early age.  She surrounded herself with all things creative diving in where she could.  She quickly evolved from drawings that only a mother could love to creations worth a few glances.  Sketches in an old spiral notebook just weren’t enough for her.  In addition to piano lessons, during high school and college, she took as many elective art courses as possible with mediums including charcoal, pencil, oils and watercolors.  While stage fright prevented her from stepping into the spotlight, she thrived in the background.

CNCarsonHer love for underground art forms began in the mid 90’s, when she noticed people receiving less recognition in the mainstream, yet they poured their hearts into their talents and abilities.  This drove her to look at art as a whole, understanding that many artists are recognized, appreciated and respected in death.  It was then that she decided to work towards providing a way for artists of all types to be a part a living organic community devoted to providing a supportive environment for growth and success in life.

“I’ve loved all of the arts, all of my life especially the ones I didn’t have the courage to take a part in.  While I don’t call myself an artist, I believe that art whether visual or performing lives in all of us.  To me, it’s all poetry, but it ultimately becomes a battle of the left and right brain to determine if it will become part of our being.”

The mother of one is the lead Web Designer for all of StreetPoetz’s web clients with a background in project management, finance, community initiatives, sustainability and advertising.  She received her Associates Degree in Business from Medaille College and her Bachelors Degree in Business Management & Economics with a concentration in Marketing from SUNY Empire State College.  While she did not formally pursue the arts, she is pursuing her dream of catapulting into the spotlight, all those who have..

CNCarson

Innovation Director

60746842764141547381-e1434943450855Kelly Marie is highly skilled in creating and integrating media formats, communication methods and developing and implementing branding guidelines and plans. Her skills transcend industry as she intuitively builds communications and marketing campaigns with the individual client in mind.  Her background in communications, web and media strategies includes: creating the Front Seat Chronicles: The Hope Movement; managing health engagement and outreach for the eight counties of Western New York; developing recruiting methods and print and digital materials for the undergraduate admissions department of a comprehensive college; and consulting with numerous business and organizations.

Kelly Marie is also the founder of Front Seat Life and creator of Front Seat Chronicles: The Hope Movement an organization designed to inspire hope in the lives of others.  As a hope sponsor, a survivor of sexual abuse, suicide attempts and an overcomer of chronic depression, Kelly openly shares her personal story of triumph. Being transparent about her life, Kelly offers people the opportunity to see inside the pain and betrayal she has experienced so that the barriers of abuse and mental health can be obliterated.

Kelly’s style is unorthodox and has garnered the praise of her colleagues and clients. Encouraging people to “ #bethelight ” Kelly shares her story of life with other survivors, caregivers, advocates and health professionals.

Web Developer Evangelist

TreMichael Simmons, a Senior Application Developer at Starwood Hotels & Resorts, pursued his passion for  technology after a 10 year semi-pro football career to become a self-taught web developer.  With over 10 years of professional experience and a vast knowledge of front-end technologies, Michael has played an intricate role architecting and implementing new technologies to help build Starwood’s Brand Web and Mobile Sites.  With his love for technology and a big heart for helping others, Michael is highly regarded by his peers as a leader and a supportive mentor.

Assistant Coordinator

Susan Krystaf takes the world by the reigns and explores all of what life truly has to offer.  Her career has afforded her a great deal of experience and knowledge.  She has held many titles including, Banker, Compliance Manager, Traveler, Adventurer and most importantly Mother and now Grandmother.

Susan enjoys all forms of art and is eager to assist all current and future participants of StreetPoetz.com™, team and alumni.

Editorial & Online Communications (Intern)

Hannah 2Hanna Etu is a Buffalo, New York native passionate about writing, literature, and travel.  From a young age, she loved to read and write and attempted to write her own novels.  This love for words has continued on into the rest of her life through constant writing.  She is heavily influenced by the novels of Jane Austen and the dark humor of David Sedaris.

Hanna graduated from Canisius College in the spring of 2015 with a degree in English, Creative Writing, and German.  Throughout college, she began to focus more on creative nonfiction. She hopes to publish a few memoirs someday. She studied abroad at the Catholic University of Eichstätt in Bavaria, Germany in the spring semester of 2014.  During her senior year of college, Hanna was the co-editor-in-chief of the Quadrangle, Canisius College’s literary and visual arts magazine.

For Hanna, writing is about sharing a part of one’s creative soul. She sees writing as a way for creative people to show others little glimpses of their imagination that they would not be able to express otherwise.  Hanna writes to acknowledge art, beauty, and new and interesting places and people.

Animations Blogger

Charles Quinniey is an 80’s kid from Buffalo, New York who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons and eating bowls of sweet cereal.  His love for animated movies and shows lead him to pursue a career in animation after graduating from Morehouse College in 2001.  Charles studied 3-D animation at the International Academy of Design in Toronto, Ontario and earned a diploma in Computer Animation.  A few years later, he was hired as an animator and graphic artist for WKBW Channel 7, an ABC affiliate in Buffalo, New York.  After six years of working in news production, Charles began working with the Tri-State Christian Television Network and the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival.

Currently he is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Animation at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design.  The Adobe Creative Cloud and Autodesk Maya are the tools that Charles uses to create logos, character designs, motion graphics, and character animations.  After obtaining his MFA, Charles hopes to start an animation studio that specializes in creating content for websites and cloud streaming networks.  He will also continue to eat bowls of cereal and watch cartoons.

Public Reltions (Consultant)

Tracy Diina has been instrumental in helping StreetPoetz.com reach the public.  Her knowledge and expertise across a vast number of industries is what makes her the “go to” professional in public relations.

To learn more about her and Tracy Diina Communications, please visit her website.

Tracy Diina Communications

 

Contributors

Editorial & Online Communications (Intern)

Jonathan LoPresti was born and raised in Buffalo, New York.  From a young age, he was interested in the arts and anything that allowed him to use his creative side.  His love for all things music started in fourth grade when he picked up a trumpet for the first time.  As Jonathan’s love for music grew stronger, he took up the keyboard, singing in his school’s choir, and playing in his school and church teen bands.  With age, practice and attention to detail, he became a member of his high school’s Wind Ensemble, the Jazz Band and the Erie County Chorus.  Music was an outlet that allowed him to express himself artistically.

In addition to his love of music, writing became something that intrigued him as well.  He was fascinated with the creative aspect of it.  Jonathan received his bachelor’s degree in English from Buffalo State College, with an emphasis on communication skills.  His love for writing flourished throughout university.  He especially excelled in his literature and writing classes.

A course that struck a chord with Jonathan was Creative Writing.  Not only was he able to express his ideas freely, but he also gained valuable interpersonal skills.  He learned the vital role that communication plays in everyday life.  This class developed his listening, as well as his verbal and nonverbal skills.  Creative Writing was a course that resonated with Jonathan because it gave him the chance to be himself.  He was able to research and write about topics that meant something to him.  Through his writing, Jonathan would love to make a positive impact on society.  Although, he believes if his writing can affect just one person, he will have made his mark.

Besides encouraging others through his writing, Jonathan wants to continue to express his love for the arts.  Music was something that truly captivated him from an early age and he intends on exploring this passion even further.  Jonathan is excited to join StreetPoetz.com and looks forward to expressing his creative interests.

Visual & Performing Arts Blogger

Autumn Echo is a 20 year old performance poet from Jamestown, NY.  She is the founder and Slam Master of Pulse Poetry Slam, the first and only monthly poetry slam in Jamestown, and hosts at least two poetry events every month.  Autumn is the Office Coordinator at Infinity Visual and Performing Arts, a non-profit youth development organization that offers the local community programs centered on arts education, where she has the privilege of fulfilling her life long dream of swimming in a sea of office supplies and organization, in addition to emceeing events, and assisting in marketing and promotion for Infinity.

When she is not eating, sleeping, and breathing all things poetry, she can be found rehearsing for the occasional local theater production or drinking coffee with her cat and her boyfriend.  She is in love with the universe and the stars and writes about/dreams of their vastness often.  Autumn believes in the power of positive energy and puts out as much of it as she can.

Performing Arts Blogger

Kara Mann is currently the director of Free Soul Dance, a studio designed to promote health & fitness through the art of dance to adults in the WNY community. The studio offers drop-in classes from absolute basic to professional as well as workshops and other fun dance related events in styles like Contemporary, Hip Hop, Dance Fitness, Ballet and more. The studio has also performed at many local Buffalo events such as Vegfest, Elmwood Artfest, and Buffalo Infringement Fest.

Kara grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, dancing mostly Ballet. She found courage and confidence through dance. As a child, she was very shy, but you would still find her organizing dance shows and classes with her neighborhood friends. Although she didn’t realize this would become a life goal, it is clear that it was something she was meant to do. As her interests grew to Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap and really any type of movement, she found the need to diversify her education. She traveled to NYC to attend classes at Broadway Dance Center with her dance studio Performing Arts Dance Academy, where she experienced first hand how far the world of dance actually extended beyond her experiences.

She went on to attend the University at Buffalo for Business, but she couldn’t help but adding in a dance major by her junior year. She was able to grow her artistry through challenges of new classes and opportunities to choreograph for student productions. She took an opportunity to study at a three week intensive at Point Park University and traveled to NYC as much as she could. She also began to teach more regularly, finding a passion for that as well. After graduation, she was lucky to join Buffalo Contemporary Dance company, which opened her network to an even wider range of dancers that were currently residing in Buffalo.

At this point, her goal was clear, she would make sure there were more opportunities for dancers in Buffalo. She loved NYC but she saw the potential and the fire that was just starting to burn in the dance industry right here in WNY. She helped to create collaborative performance groups and dance concerts, cultivated a network of professional level performers and dancers, and offered her support on other efforts towards the same goal in the dance community. This all led to the development of her biggest project to date, Free Soul Dance, the very first studio in WNY created specifically for the adult dance or enthusiasts. Currently, her studio also houses the Foxy Diamondz, a multi-talented group of professional dancers who perform at events all over Buffalo. She also personally performs and choreographs for the company as well.

As she concludes her 6th year of business, she has learned a ton about the dance community and the needs of an adult dancer. She is happily astounded by the proven value dance has had in the the lives of many, from growing confidence to finding a fun way to stay healthy to fulfilling a missing piece within someone’s soul. This is the driving force to Kara’s mission.

Additional Contributors

Faith Drew

Heavenlea Nicole

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