Meet the Artists
305 Knowlton is home to various artist studios and small businesses. Ranging from painters to writers to photographers and more, the building is filled with creatives minds and entrepreneurs.
Ina is the owner of Emerging Voices Production Company, now in its first full season of production! A new venture which seeks to bring cultural relevant content to the Fairfield County Theater Community. With a love for seeing stories come to life on stage, she started in the industry as an actress and is now a writer and director. Ina’s work as a performer and writer/director has been seen in Bridgeport, CT, Brooklyn, NY and in Aiken, SC by thousands from around the area and many states.
As the former Director of MAAFA Influence Productions presents, Ina has written and directed performances such as So What, Now What (2008), Can These Bones Live (2010), I Am A Man (2011), Healing the Land (2011 & 2012), Sankofa; Looking Back Moving Forward (2013), The Journey of Shoes (2014), Shaking the Tree (2015), and For Every Mountain (2016).
In September, 2017, Emerging Voices Production Company made it’s opening debut at the Klein Memorial in Bridgeport, CT with it’s opening Musical Political Satire Show, TRUMPEDNOTIZED, and there is no stopping her or the company now. For more information visit her website below:
Alicia C. Cobb
Specializing in face and body art, fine art and art instruction, Alicia is inspired by people, humanity, transformation, color, and most of all, her children. She is a life long artist, but rediscovered her love of art and human connection in 2007 while experiencing a major life event. Face painting children was the catalyst to all that she currently does.
Alicia can turn a human body into a painted work of art in just a few hours. Her body art has been featured in several published magazines (S.L.A.M.M., 2013; and Skin Markz, 2015). She was also among the highlighted artists in New York City Body Painting Day (2014 and 2015), The Flesh Art Show (New Orleans, 2015), Stamford Art Walk (2015), Dinosaur's Rule (Public Art Exhibit, 2015), Stratford Street Sculpture (Public Art Exhibit, 2015). Alicia also placed top ten in the North American Body Paint Championships in 2016. It is the only sanctioned body art competition in the United States. Alicia says, "Painting the human body is particularly one of my favorite mediums because it's like being part of a metamorphosis and seeing people transform is always a special experience."
Facebook: Art Simplicated
Shaina & Arturo Diaz
Shaina and Arturo are a husband and wife photography and cinema team. Together they specialize in weddings and engagements, serving fun and authentic couples who are truly, madly deeply in love. Having been through the wedding planning process, they love being able to help their couples by providing them with plenty of wedding planning tips and advice.
Shaina also focuses on boudoir photography, while Arturo enjoys working to create marketing and promotional videos for many different types of small businesses.
Follow Shaina & Arturo
Facebook: Shaina Lee Photography
Instagram (Shaina): @shainaleephoto
Instagram (Arturo): @arturodiaz.slp
Pinterest: Shaina Lee Photography
A Brooklyn native, Herm was one of the first tenants to have a studio at 305 Knowlton here in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Painting from Indiana University. The artist draws his landscape inspiration from the motifs of Soutine, Cezanne and Picasso. He exhibits paintings primarily in the New York City and Northeast areas. Herm was awarded ‘Best in Show’ at the prestigious Silvermine 51st Art of the Northeast USA Annual Exhibition, and recently had a retrospective show of 47 landscape paintings from the previous 20 years in Westport.
In addition to his emotionally charged landscape painting, Herm Freeman has pursued his musical muse throughout the years, and still performs locally and in New York City. He taught art in Connecticut schools for 40 years, and is now painting full time.
"I am a sparkly, Christian Jewish, Black White Girl from the Bronx with green eyes and white skin. From a child I sketched ‘fashion girls’ of all colors, shapes and sizes on paper, walls and clothing to express my own individuality. When I was teased about my white skin or “nappy hair”, my art fueled my passion to be original on purpose.”
Today, Vernice draws from her diversity and experience that is vividly reflected in the many aspects of her creativity and her passion to challenge and empower young girls and women to grab hold of their true identity through her ‘Faith, Glam Art’ & Events.
As an accomplished fashion designer and multi-media artist for such retailers as Macy's, Nordstrom's, Dillard's, Neiman Marcus and several specialty store chains across the country, Vernice has traveled from Europe to the Far East shopping for the newest trends & styles to create her own artisan collections. Vernice has a penchant for using a variety of embellishments in her art including jewels, sequins, beads, lipstick, flowers, scented oils and of course glitter! Vernice’s art is available on canvas art, wall murals, pillows, wine glasses, knitwear & accessories. Her lifestyle fashion illustrations & art are available as stickers, stationery & planner supplies through the “Plan to Blossom” Etsy Shoppe.
Photographer, painter, and comedian
Nicole Cantore Koester
With a BFA in Communication Design from Syracuse University, Nicole specializes in painting, design, mixed media and more. She also holds a teaching certification for art in grades K-12.
Fine Art Sculptor
Ricky is a Puerto Rican artist born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. At the University of Bridgeport, Ricky majored in Illustration and also took courses in Theatre and Photography. It was during this time that his work-study job put him in Bassick High School where he worked as a tutor and mentor for students who were interested in pursuing college education.
Ricky has also participated and curated different shows for several galleries in the Bridgeport area. He started with a show called "heavy-heARTed" which featured several artist friends who created pieces which were inspired by human emotions. Next came the idea to have a gay themed art show called "SameSex" and he introduced the idea to the City Lights Gallery also in Bridgeport. The result was one of the most well attended openings the gallery had ever seen and a number of art works sold. With the success of "SameSex" it was evident that it would become an annual event during gay pride month, June. The SameSex show in June 2013 landed a spot in the New York times featuring a color photo of Ricky's painting of a gay boy scout called "A Scout Is Proud". Ricky continues to produce his artwork, photography and video work and has begun combining different elements for live art performance pieces for various fund raising shows across the state.
Michael & Shane Michaud
Michael Vincent Michaud experienced first-hand the art of creating handmade jewelry and metal objects as a young man. Surrounded by the skilled craftsmen at his father’s studio he envisioned combining the master craftsmanship of his father with his own true love of “art glass”.
Michael pursued his passion studying at the prestigious UrbanGlass and Corning Glass Centers, working with some of America’s finest glass artists.
He began his career collaborating with his father by creating glass elements for jewelry collections licensed by The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and The Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
In 2011, Michael and his brother Shane Michaud, who manages the business, launched Michael Vincent Michaud with the Spring 2011 collection of exceptional cast metal and luminous hand-cast glass designs.
Rich Patton IV
Richard T. Patton IV is a contemporary fine artist and graphic designer. His artistic process began at an early age. As a child, he showed an interest and talent in drawing, that later grew into a career and life as an artist. In 2010, Richard obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from Western Connecticut State University, School of Visual and Performing Arts In Danbury, Connecticut. "After graduation, life led me to painting. My work is spiritual to the point that the act of painting becomes a form of prayer and meditation.” His work expresses emotions, feelings, ideas and beliefs; created through the use of vibrant colors, bold compositions textures, and patterns. Richard has exhibited his work in solo and group exhibitions throughout Connecticut, including the historical McLevy Hall where he was recently awarded a grant for his work “Ethiope” depicting “Little Liberia” and Bridgeport’s rich history. His art work is owned by private collectors in the United States and around the world. Richard's work is also in public collections such as Yale New Haven Health’s Park Avenue Medical Center. “Painting takes me back to my beginnings as a child where my mind and imagination are completely free and my creativity can run wild. It allows me to express my true emotions and feelings from my subconscious and give my perspective on the world and how I see it. It is a beautiful thing!”
Kevin Costa Poremba
Fine art painter
Born in Bowling Green, Ohio, Jill currently lives and works in Bridgeport, CT. She holds an M.F.A. in Painting from Western Connecticut State University, M.A. in Painting and Drawing from Eastern Illinois University, and B.F.A in Painting and B.A. in Spanish from Miami University. Jill actively studies art, archaeology, and art history in Rome, Italy where she is Visiting Professor with Rome Art Program.
Jill's work investigates feminine presence, derived from memory and observation of ancient Egyptian and Roman artifacts. She uses shifts in tonality and light to explore the duality between solidity and air, linking present and past.
Marianne grew up in the northeast with a focus on faith, family and competitive equestrian competition. After riding her way into the National Championships at Madison Square Garden she went on to college and her horses went with her. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. Her competitive past served her well in the corporate world of sales for nearly 35 years. She was a top performer wherever she was and in whatever role she played. Her last job as a Global Account Manager for a major manufacturer was cut short as her body began to show signs of severe wear and tear from her athletic past. After 13 surgeries in 6 years Marianne has re-emerged with gusto as a passionate artist and painter. Her life took a dramatic turn toward art due to one of the medications she was taking. It was prescribed for her in too high of a dose and it altered her brain and her abilities. Instead of doing irreparable damage, she suddenly had abilities she never had before. This is known as Acquired Savant Syndrome. She was able to paint as if she had done it all her life when in actuality she never had the ability to draw before. Call it a miracle, call it whatever you want but her passion for the arts is here to stay. Marianne has always had a heart for helping people in need. From serving as a trustee at the Bridgeport Rescue Mission or planning to take her art classes to a local prison. Now she hopes that through the art more can be helped and inspired and God will do the rest.
Katie is a portrait, event and concert photographer. Her photography career started as a child with her plastic camera and anyone who would stay still for her. She later took a chance in life, became a professional photographer, and found her calling. "Taking risks is definitely my biggest inspiration. Reaching for the impossible... Now mix that with music and people, and I become one with my camera. I gravitate towards vulnerability and specialize with the camera shy." Katie is also the house photographer at the Fairfield Theater Company's Warehouse and StageOne, as well as the Connecticut Post.
Maria is a growing artist specializing in painting, ceramics, drawing, and mix media. She received her BS at Southern Connecticut State University, majoring in Art Education. Maria is an art educator in the Stratford Public School system, and has always been passionate pursuing an artistic career path from a very young age. Her art is heavily influenced by surrealism and abstract expressionism, as she loves to experiment with bold color schemes and monochromatic studies. As an art educator, Maria's next step in her career is to become an art therapist, in hope to heal all different types of learners through the beauty of creation and imagination.
Zaibel is the photographer and founder of ZaiPhotography and the Youtube series Creative Twist. She has always had a fascination with the arts, from drawings and paintings to photography and graphic design. As all photographers, Zaibel has a style that really portrays her artistic style and is always looking for new ways to keep her creative juices flowing. Her areas of specialty include portraits and events.
Walsh Public Relations was founded in 1997 by Greg Walsh as a full-service public relations agency that caters to select clients.
With 30+ years of media experience, Greg Walsh is an accomplished public relations practitioner and account manager. He founded Walsh PR in 1997 with a primary focus on bringing senior level attention to each and every client. Now celebrating more than 20 years in business, Greg has clearly driven Walsh PR to become a leading agency for PR support to consumer product companies, nonprofit organizations, and businesses seeking elevated awareness in corporate branding.
A former journalist, Greg has a unique media savvy expertise that could only be acquired from working in the heart of the field. As a news reporter prior to working in public relations agencies and internal corporate PR positions, Greg has the practical knowledge, media respect, and ambitions to provide the most efficient, effective, and latest approaches while promoting the clients of Walsh PR.
Contributing a rare and creative approach to his operational skills, Greg has successfully represented/represents some of the world’s most renowned licensed properties characters, and brands. These include Ziggy, U-Haul, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Slylock Fox, as well as international toy companies (Wild Republic, Tucker Toys, Tactic Games, Uncle Milton, R&R Games, Fashion Angels, Playroom Entertainment), consumer electronic manufacturers (Timex, Iqua, Honeywell, Hideki, Oregon Scientific), publishers (Strang Communications, HCI, CTC Publishing, Dragonfly Publishing), authors (Tom Wilson, Dr. Don Colbert, Stevanne Auerbach (aka Dr. Toy), Karen Carney); nonprofit organziations (American Kidney Foundation, Larry King Cardiac Foundation, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, American Pancreatic Foundation), and marketing service firms (Power Marketing Partners, Ryan Partnership, Catapult Marketing, Heavybag Media). Greg is a significant and valued member of the media community and within the industries in which Walsh PR operates for its clients.
Greg holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Mass Communication from St. Bonaventure University. In 2005, he was named one of the 40 Under 40 Top Business Executives by the Fairfield Country Business Journal. Greg is a member of The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA), the Fairfield and Westport Chambers of Commerce, The Knights of Columbus, and is a YMCA of the USA certified personal trainer in Connecticut, where he resides with his wife and two children.
Lee is a mixed media collage artist, furniture designer and photographer. With a keen eye for design and a love of art, she considers herself a ‘Dadaist’. For Lee, who has always been in the creative field relating to the arts, fashion, theatre and design, everything is and can be art. Her work has a multi-dimensional potential for creating and changing not only an original piece of art, but “Functional Art” where one can participate the the creative process. Lee’s work, in various mediums, have been shown at the Monmouth County Museum in New Jersey, as well as many juried and group shows in Connecticut. Lee is a member of the Westport Artist Collective, Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, Black Rock Art Guild, Rowayton Arts Center and Westport Arts Center.
Jonathan Wilner an American artist, born in New York in 1953, and began his studies in Drawing at the Art Students League. It was there that he took an interest in and began his study of Japanese Brush Painting with a private teacher. He has also studied under the guidance of noted marine painter William P. Duffy whose direction made him aware of the subtle interplay of hue, intensity and value likened to notes on a score for a musician or the words of a poet.
Inspired then by the U.S. Landscape Movement of the 19th Century, and looking to the Tonalists and Impressionists for inspiration, he turned to the study of artists of the Hudson River School, Scalp Level, New Hope, Old Lyme and California Impressionists and later Surrealists for further inspiration. In his own words, "I began chasing the ghost on the canvas, and the images simply emerged then from my own unconscious mind, and as I had often painted landscapes from imagination, I have come to the conclusion that it is far more effective to simply 'liberally interpret nature as well as opening a door to the hidden recesses of the mind.'"
In the studio, Wilner explores other subject matter and paints from inner inspiration that which he is still internalizing from his travels and imagination. "These are impressions through the eyes of a 'visitor' who has taken snapshots in 'memory' and 'imagination' laying his inner psyche to bear, of streets, edifices, statues and shadows with the 'intent' of bringing them to life through painting," he says. "Art school may give one the tools, but the responsibility rests with the artist to find the courage to make his own way, and discard what does not apply."