Center for Creative Education, Empowering Community Through The Arts


Micah Blumenthal, President

Micah Blumenthal, born and raised in Mt. Vernon, NY.  Has called Kingston home for the past 3 years.  In this time he has grounded himself in the community both personally as well as being co-owner of CIXdesigns, a web and graphic design company that works primarily with local businesses and organizations.  Most of all is a happy father of two.  It is both of these aspects which led him to CCE, where he and his son attend classes regularly.  From CCE, to his Yoga practice at Mudita, his livelihood of CIXdesigns,  his working at the Uptown Farmers Market (come say hi, on Saturday's), his Buddhist practice, and fatherhood, Micah is dedicated to creating positive change in his community.

Maureen Bowers, Secretary

Maureen Bowers has been a member of the CCE Board of Directors since its 1997 New York inception. Maureen serves on a variety of not-for-profit boards, and since 2002, has been a trustee of the Kingston City School District Board of Education. The collaboration between arts and education, the recognition of this importance, and the commitment to fund these initiatives is paramount.

Tamanika Hammond – Treasurer

Tamanika B. Hammond was born and raised in Harlem, NYC. She has a BBA in Business Management and certificate in advanced accounting. She and her husband recently moved to Ulster County to provide a quieter lifestyle for their children. Tamanika is the owner and operator of Hammond & Associates, an accounting firm located in Kingston, NY. When not crunching numbers, she loves to spend time with her family, read, dance, travel, plan events, sponsor fundraisers and shop J. She enjoys meeting new people and learning new things. “I’m always smiling even when smiling isn’t what I’m feeling. “  

Lee Anne Albritton

Lee Anne Albritton grew up in Miami, Florida in a family deeply involved in human rights and belief that community strengths take many forms. She found herself in the Hudson Valley in the late 90s and fell in love because of the many community-oriented activist groups she encountered, and now considers it her true home. Lee Anne is the Executive Director of Poughkeepsie Farm Project (PFP), a 15 acre urban farm that works towards a just and sustainable food system providing access to local Certified Naturally Grown produce for over 550 CSA member households, donates 37,000 pounds of produce to 9 emergency food relief community organizations, and hosts over 70 community gardeners who grow their own food. PFP also provides over 5,000 youth, adults and other community members with gardening and nutrition education programs. Prior to her present position, Lee Anne spent 16 years working for the YMCA of Ulster County running Childare and Camping Programs (where she first fell in love with the phenomenon of CCE), was involved in several community garden projects and healthier-school-food initiatives in the region, and was a co-founder of the Kingston YMCA Farm Project in Mid-town Kingston. She is most excited to be a part of CCE, and honored to be participating in such a a vibrant and valuable mission-driven community organization.

Marcene Basch-Johnson

Marcene has been the Director of Educational Services at The Brookside School, The Arc of Ulster-Greene since 1979, having started as a teacher’s aide in 1973. She is a native Kingstonian but has lived and raised her family in Stone Ridge since 1975 with her husband Bob. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the YWCA, the Rondout Valley Athletic Booster Club, and the Rondout Valley Little League. She is a past member of the NYS Early Intervention Coordinating Council appointed by Governor Pataki and has been an outspoken advocate for children with special needs for over 40 years. Marcene came to CCE looking for adult dance classes and found a home away from home. Besides the many wonderful years of dance she has personally enjoyed, she believes strongly in CCE’s commitment to the youth of this community and is anxious to further the mission.

Dana D. Blackmon, Esq.

Since 2005, Dana D. Blackmon, Esq., has been providing legal services for those in need in the Hudson Valley in the areas of Personal Injury, Real Estate, Corporate Formation, Wills and Estates, and Civil Litigation. Additionally, Dana is also an Ulster County Assistant District Attorney prosecuting crimes in various Ulster County Justice Courts. Dana resides in Kingston with his wife Jennifer and daughters, Dayna and Melody. Dana also volunteers on boards for the Kingston Boys and Girls Club as well as the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Elise Hunt

  Ms. Hunt is an ENL Teacher at J Watson Bailey Middle School in Kingston, NY. She received a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin and her Masters of Science, Literacy Birth-6th Grade from the State University of New York at Albany. Her daughter Ariel is a longtime member of the Energy Dance Company. "I have been an educator for over twenty years in public, private and international schools.   My background in theatre arts, dance and travel helped form my teaching philosophy: that education should be an integration of arts, academics, exploration and reflection. I have seen these same beliefs in the Center for Creative Education through our collaborative work in the schools and as the parent of an Energy dancer. Their work inspires my work."

Gwen Laster- Advisory Board

GWEN LASTER is a native Detroiter whose creative influences come from the Motor City's burnin’ urban and classical music culture. After earning a Bachelor and Master degree from U of Michigan School of Music, Gwen moved to NYC by the skin of her teeth. She’s since played with nationally, internationally musicians like Anthony Braxton, Nona Hendryx, James Jabbo Ware, Aretha Franklin, Alicia Keyes and Natalie Cole. Gwen's high school teacher encouraged her to pursue her voice and original projects that won her major performance, composition and teaching grants from the NEA, ASCAP, Lila Wallace, and a first place, $10,000 award from the Cognac Hennessey Jazz. A champion of intuitive education, Gwen is the visionary founder of the Creative Improvisers Orchestra (CIO) the first non-traditional music education program at Interlochen Summer Institute, the Sphinx Performance and Preparatory Academy, and the Eastman School of Music. CIO expands ways to reach and teach young musicians with the greatest needs and the fewest resources. Right now, Gwen is working with the Sphinx Symphony Orchestra, Go: Organic Orchestra, as she leads New Muse 4tet. She’s a teaching artist with the Orchestra of St. Lukes, an El Sistema-inspired program in Hell's Kitchen NYC. She continues CIO workshops in schools, camps and colleges. Gwen's music and books are available at CD Baby, iTunes and other digital media sources. Her discography as a leader includes Sneak Preview and I Hear You Smiling, which was chosen for airplay in the Adult Contemporary market. Her next recording, Gameboard, will be ready for release in 2016. CONTACT EMAIL. CONTACT PHONE NUMBER for Pre-registration/RSVP/ questions : 718-930-3522 Follow on Facebook: Creative Improvisers Orchestra.

Dr. Michael Tischler – Advisory Board

Dr. Michael Tischler is an internationally recognized leader in the dental field for his achievements in educating his colleagues through lectures and 40 published articles on the topic of dental implants and bone grafting. Michael is the Implant Editor for Dentistry Today The Nations leading clinical news magazine for dentists. He has received numerous awards for his skill as an implant and cosmetic dentist. Michael performs the surgical aspects of the Prettau Implant Bridge protocol. In 2012 Michael also embarked on a new project. Photographing and creating landscapes with New York City as his subject matter. From decaying subway tunnels to pristine bridges, to parks, promenades and Iconic landmark buildings, Michael’s dramatic and cinematic “Urban Landscapes” are powerful, sometimes peaceful and always thought provoking. Michael is now exhibiting his work at exclusive showrooms across the United States.

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