Rachel Brosnahan and Bernadette Peters in Coming Up Roses.
(Source: http://www.cominguproses-movie.com )

Here at the Alliance, we come across many creative and talented individuals. From the incredible young artists and writers that participate in the Scholastic Awards each year to the brilliant teachers and jurors that work with us, our staff is constantly inspired by people like you.

But, did you know that many of our staff members are also artists and writers?

Our Web & IT Director, Dominic Matar, recently surprised us with some awesome news – he wrote the soundtrack to Coming Up Roses, a film starring Bernadette Peters that’s currently playing in theaters! Check out the trailer below:

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What does the holiday season mean to you? To many, the holidays are a time for family, love, giving, and hope. Sixteen-year-old Will Newman’s Believe Again Project encompasses all of these themes. Will won a Scholastic Gold Key for Poetry as well as an American Visions Award and Creativity & Citizenship Award for Photography in 2011. Now, he is helping others through his gift of music.

When Will was 11, he visited a cancer center where his father was being treated for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) and met the president of CLL Global Research Foundation. He wanted to help the doctors and researchers who were determined to find a cure for his father’s disease and, together with his father, wrote Believe Again.

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Dominic with Yogurt the cat

Primary role:

As the Alliance’s web producer, Dominic Matar makes everyone’s life easier by building or improving our online tools and making sure everything works. He determines the Alliance’s needs, defines project scopes and works closely with a small team of fantastic programmers to bring them to life. He’s also pretty handy when a computer crashes!

Secret fact:

Outside of the Alliance, Dominic’s life is all about songwriting and soundtracks. He is currently at work on his fourth album called Carloman, which he describes as “pre-baroque indie pop”. Dominic also composes for commercials, documentaries and whatever else comes his way, and is working on his first feature-length soundtrack.
Listen to one of Dominic’s tracks, The Traveler, here.
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The Decades at "Now Showing," March 9, 2011. Photo by Ronnie Wright.

Recently, the Alliance and some of its good friends got together for a night full of art, fashion, music and fun. Now Showing, which took place on March 9, was a silent auction featuring emerging artists, beats spun by DJ Gilles Wasserman, live music by Max Vernon and a performance by chamber-rock trio Rasputina. To top that all off, there were also literary readings by Lili Taylor and Jesse Eisenberg.
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Aimee Brooks, "G is for Gibson," Age 17, Grade 12. Silver Medal, Art Portfolio.

Albert, a classical music major in college, asks for advice about breaking into the music writing business.

Albert asked:

I am just finishing a degree that requires me to write a thesis and I’ve become interested in pursuing writing as a possible fun and fulfilling part-time mini career. My skill set is mostly in music as a classical violinist. I’d like to write reviews on concerts and other musically oriented journalistic writing, maybe even music criticism, but since I’m new to the writing world, I’m curious to how to go about my new found interest. Read More

Venas Matthews-Bazin, Senior Manager of External Relations. (Credit: Alliance for Young Artists & Writers).

Primary role: As Senior Manager of External Relations, Venas Matthews-Bazin oversees all components of meetings and events here at the Alliance. Her keen attention to detail and communication skills play a big role as she works with multiple venues, negotiates contracts with vendors, selects event locations, determines the design and layout of event spaces, and oversees the audio-visual and special effects for programs. In addition, she’s in charge of organizing, launching and managing the Alliance’s fundraising campaigns, including the Gold Key Society and the Friends of the Alliance. Her job might sound tough, but she also gets to sample and select all of the yummy catering menus for events too!

Secret fact: Venas always wanted to be a lawyer. She also wanted to be a gymnast until five years ago when she actually practiced again on the uneven parallel bar.

Venas: One of my favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Before coming to the Alliance, I worked for Time Warner, The Apollo and MTV Networks—and when I say Networks I mean the whole company of MTV brands. Read More