Foundation for New American Art

Board of Directors (All Volunteer)

Phoebe Hemenway Legere, Founder, President (Eastern Abenaki/Cajun)

Phoebe Legere is a mixed-race, proudly gender-fluid multi-disciplinary artist who has worked for decades teaching children as a volunteer on the Lower East Side of New York City. She is an internationally known artist and composer who has conducted and performed with symphony orchestras. Ms. Legere has been shortlisted for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Her paintings are held by major museums and collections. While volunteering at the Rusk Institute, Legere invented an instrument for disabled children to assist them in making music. She refined her invention during her tenure as Artist in Residence at School of Visual Arts Graduate Computer Art Dept. and in 2015 she built a 15 person alternative fuel vehicle to teach children about upcycling, repurposing and the environment. She has been commissioned by the Theater for the New City to write a new play with music about Child Labor around the world today. The play: "A Child in the Machine: Savage Inequalities in the Rag Trade" will open Fall 2025. Legere's musical Speed Queen: The Joe Carstairs Story was the Dixon Place Hot commission for 2018. Legere played the title role of Joe Carstairs, a cross dressing gay butch billionaire who was the Speedboat Racing Champion of the World. Legere speaks French, Spanish, Chinese, Italian, German and is active in the Abenaki Language Recovery Movement. Legere is a lecturer in Feminist Art at Gallatin School. She has collaborated with Hunter S. Thompson, David Bowie, Larry Rivers, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Smith, Ethyl Eichelberger, Joni Mitchell and Peter Beard. She had formative friendships with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jack Smith, David Wojnarowicz, Richard Kern, and RuPaul. She is known not only for her college radio hit Marilyn Monroe (Island Records) but equally for her visionary and pioneering work as a Community Activist for Women's Rights, Gay Rights, Racial Justice, Environmental Respect, and Cultural Equity. Phoebe Legere is Head Writer and Host of the children's educational free streaming show The Color Wheel.

Susan Rakowski, CFO, Vice President

Susan Rakowski is an author, art curator and arts activist. She is a winner of the prestigious Acker Award for service to the Avantgarde. From her earliest years at Vassar College she has fought for equal rights for women and LGBTQ people. As bass player in the Arts Action Collective MONAD, a seminal East Village artpunk band, Rakowski worked closely with Legere to speak up for racial justice and equality for all. When MONAD opened for David Bowie on his National Tour they played songs like "The Patriarchy is BS and the Freedom is here." She MONAD street art perfomances in the East Village. Those performances grew into world changing musicals like Legere's Hello Mrs. President about the first female president of color and Queen of New England, about the Native American Holocaust. Susan Rakowski is Foundation for New American Art's Comrade in Arms, working, teaching, dreaming and doing. and As VP, CFO and writer for the Foundation for New American Art Susan Rakowski continues her tireless work on a global scale. Susan Rakowski worked with American Assistance to Cambodia to build a sustainable school /community center and garden in Stung Treng. She is the author of a series of books empowering young women. Her articles have appeared on the pages of the Wall Street Journal, The Advocate, and the New York Post. She became a renowned Gay Icon after the publication of her groundbreaking article on Gay Grief. Sue Rakowski's "Suetastic" series of books have changed the lives of thousands of grieving gay people. She is widely syndicated. Ms.Rakowski is the former Editor in Chief of Small Business Opportunities. A long time philanthropist and advocate for women and children, Susan Rakowski is a graduate of New York Junior League's Nonprofit Board Clearinghouse training program, "Leadership Through Governance." Susan Rakowski is the daughter of a Polish speaking immigrant orphan. "My mother, Jo Rakowski, taught me that the way to be truly happy is to serve the less fortunate.""

Dr. Barnaby Ruhe, Vice President

Dr Barnaby Ruhe, professor of art at Gallatin School of NYU, dancer, founder of Whitney Counterweight Museum Scaled Art Exhibitions in NYC, World Champion six times Boomerangist, healer, author, painter, advocate for women and children.

Urszula Abolik, Secretary

Urszula Abolik is an artist and community organizer. She has over twenty years experience as a teacher in the Pennsylvania public schools. She speaks Spanish, Polish and English. A scholar of Latin Culture and Dance, Abolik leads cultural tours of South American countries. She is a DJ and Dance Instructor in Latin American dance styles.

Our Staff

Lytza R. Colon, Set Design, Costumes

Lytza is a "Super Creative" from the South Bronx. Lytza is Latina, a person with disabilities, and a proud grandmother. Lytza has made sets on Broadway and Off-Broadway. Lytza assists with design, props, costumes, language translation. She has worked as prop and set designer for Foundation for New American Art for over a decade. She made the costumes and set for FNAA’s The Color Wheel - our Pandemic Streaming children’s educational show.

 

Brian Park, Sound Engineer, Lighting Designer

Brian is perhaps best known as the host of his own podcast, "Feeling Asian." Brian hails from Korea and lives in the East Village. In addition to his technical work, managing lights and sound, Brian brings his acting and comedic skills to "The Color Wheel" playing the part of "Mr. Kitty." Brian is always cheerfully available for our in-person shows and classes as well. He will be doing sound and lights for our Festival de la Posibilidad concert July 16.

 

Terry Lee King, Choreographer, Dance Instructor

Terry is an African-American Lower East Side legend. He is the beloved Dance Teacher for the children of the FNAA. Terry is a Performing Arts Professional. He is a proud LGBTQ Army Veteran who received an Honorable Discharge. Terry serves as Dance Instructor and mentor to students, supporting their artistic interests and dreams. Terry participates in "The Color Wheel" program, assists as an aide in our After-School Program and with the Lower East Side Children's Chorus, teaching movement, rhythm and choreography.

 

Haoyan of America, Director, Editor, Cameraman, Website Design

Haoyan is the brilliant director/cameraman for "The Color Wheel" He contributes his skills to our online learning sessions. His editing skills and technical knowledge help shape our programs into professional presentations worthy of our audiences. Haoyan was born in China and now lives in Brooklyn. He helps with language translation to expand our reach to the Asian community.

Danielle Hauser, Director of Arts in Education

Danielle Hauser is a mixed-race performance artist and activist from the tiny Caribbean island of Anguilla. She grew up seeing the negative affects that a lack of community programs and artistic outlets can have on both children and adults. After studying Gender Studies and Religion at Tufts University, she decided to combine her love of performance with her love for community activism. She has been the Director of Theater for the New City’s Arts in Education program for 4 years. She is dedicated, and honored, to bring creativity, good energy and imagination to children in the vibrant Lower East Side.

We educate, strengthen and nurture the artistic & musical spirit of children of low-income communities!

THE COLOR WHEEL SHOW: Phoebe Legere is Host "Bambi Bernstein"" (a small furry animal) with Puppeteer, & Set Builder Lytza R. Colon

Bambi Bernstein, a small furry animal aka PHoebe Legere and Lytza Colon playing La Glamorosa, our fabulous dinosaur puppet in the Color Wheel set.

Terry Lee King, Choreographer, Dance Instructor

Terry teaching

Let Every Child Sing!

Bijoux beams with flowers after singing with Lower East Side Children's Chorus.

Foundation for New American Art