Here's what some EmergeNYC alumni have said...

Kiyan Williams, Emerge 2014

“I’m so deeply grateful for your labor and imagination and vision of bringing EMERGENYC into the world—what a beautiful and rigorous and critical community you’ve cultivated; I’m so honored and proud to be a part of it. EMERGENYC remains one of the most seminal and transformative experiences I’ve had as a young creative trying to figure out how to be an artist, with no real idea or blueprint, but just moving out of feeling and impulse. And to have found people who helped me nurture that intuitive knowledge into something more tangible is a GIFT.”

Kiyan Williams (EMERGE ’14)

Damariz Damken, Emerge 2019 Flagship

“I would not be here if I had not gone through the Emerge experience. It changed my life.”

Damariz Damken (EMERGE ’19)

Ashley Marinaccio, Emerge 2008

“When I applied to EMERGENYC, I was eager to connect with individuals who, like myself, wanted to be intentional with the art they set out to create. As a formerly undocumented artist, much of my time in the American Theater scene has been making space for myself to exist, feeling like I didn’t belong. This was not the case at EMERGE. We were free, we were in-sync individuals that became a whole when the world began shaking. I looked forward to every Sunday, to recharge and learn more from each other. It is the first space I FELT I was accepted and existed along others without competing for space. I can’t thank Marlène and george enough for this opportunity and for providing their mentorship—even through COVID-19.”

Amalia Oliva Rojas (EMERGE ‘20)

Ricardo Gamboa, Emerge 2010

“EmergeNYC was hands-down one of the most transformative experiences of my life. I was placed in a community of other individuals creating work in arts and activism that directly affected communities and challenged power in real spaces, not just in the insulated safety of galleries and museums. I was introduced to histories of arts activism, language to understand and gain command of the work, and methodologies to incorporate into a creative arsenal; I was given a structure to develop and experiment. I was not alone. I had community. What is key about Emerge is that the arts activists involved in the program are not just on the cutting edge of aesthetics and politics, but of their own personhood and understanding of the self as a site for empowerment and social intervention. On that level, Emerge was also a force that propelled me to grapple with my sexuality and gender identity. I came out. I said I prefer they/them pronouns to a room of people for the first time in my life—indeed it was the first artist or activist space I was even asked. I think this speaks to the community Emerge creates and has been creating. It’s one that was ahead of its time, and that the world is only now beginning to catch up to.”

Ricardo Gamboa (EMERGE ’10)

Ashley Marinaccio, Emerge 2008

“You have managed to successfully do what so many NY theatre companies talk about (but never come close to) and that is creating a thriving, robust and supportive community for artists—in addition to quality work and programming. I will forever be grateful to you for the community that you’ve built and the opportunities you’ve provided. Over these years I think I may have recommended close to 10 of my own students to EMERGENYC (who are now alumni). You and George are truly special. The work we did 12 years ago in the first cohort has informed my entire practice over these years.”

Ashley Marinaccio (EMERGE ’08, inaugural cohort)

Aisha Jordan, Emerge 2008

“Having a space in which it’s okay to fail SAVES LIVES.”

Aisha Jordan (EMERGE ’08, inaugural cohort)

Sabina Ibarrola, Emerge 2013

“I had an amazing experience with EmergeNYC. I feel empowered by the performance strategies I learned in workshops, as well as by the support of the faculty. I feel energized and inspired in connecting with new collaborators and building community with Emerge alumni. I really appreciate being introduced to and getting to work with amazing established artists in NYC. The activism/social justice focus is definitely unique – I think that’s part of what sets Emerge apart from comparable programs, and what attracts such amazing artists to participate.”

Sabina Ibarrola (EMERGE ’13)

Jason Wang, Emerge 2021 Flagship

“Emerge is the co-learning environment that I deserve—it undoes the elitism that school has infused in me to survive.”

Jason Wang (EMERGE ’21)

Courtney Frances Fallon, Emerge 2020 Flagship

“There are few programs merging art and politics. EMERGENYC brings together early-career artists who are thoughtfully and actively engaged in a way that is accessible to the MFA holder and the self-taught. It is a special community of artists, scholars, and activists who are fighting against unjust political paradigms with collective and solo actions. It is a gift to be in conversation with these artists-activists. I can say without hyperbole that in every single Zoom session or one-on-one phone call with EMERGERS, I am awed by the wisdom, inquiries, and ideas explored. There is a shared urgency as well which also maximizes the depth of the conversations and the breadth of knowledge.”

Courtney Frances Fallon (EMERGE ’20)

Shenny de Los Angeles, Emerge 2019

“My time at EmergeNYC was one of the most heart-stretching experiences of my life. Not only was I able to birth a performance piece that has led me to multiple artistic residencies, but I also met incredible artists and collaborators who are deeply connected and intentional in community building. One of my greatest friendships, performance artist Emily Waters, came from meeting them at Emerge. We are bonded by the sacred experience of EmergeNYC, in which our creative curiosities and desire to uplift our ancestral rituals were nourished and met with tenderness. I came into the fellowship not knowing how to name myself as an artist, and I left affirmed that I am a writer. a storyteller. a healer. Since then, my work has gone on to be featured in different theatres around New York and film festivals internationally. My short documentary, “the ritual to beauty” is currently Oscar qualified. All of this couldn’t have happened without the care and passion the team at Emerge has for their artists. I originally was not going to be able to participate because I couldn’t afford the program, even with the scholarship, but they were adamant that I have this experience and made it possible for me. This is very rare to find in an organization. I knew I was being witnessed and celebrated. As emerging artists, you are constantly trying to find “someone” or “someplace” that will affirm you in moments of doubt and uneasiness. EmergeNYC believed in me when I wasn’t quite ready to claim that for myself. For that, I will always be in gratitude for their genuine support and kindness. Never expecting anything of me other than to just come as I am. Thank you, Marlène Ramírez-Cancio and George Emilio Sanchez.”

Shenny De Los Angeles (EMERGE ’19)

Getenesh Berhe, Emerge 2012

“The way in which the space was almost immediately cultivated as safe by everyone in the group, not just the facilitators, is extremely rare and one of the strongest components of the program. I have never never been in such a non-oppressive space.”

—Getenesh Berhe (EMERGE ’12)

Carolina Teixeira, Emerge 2021 Flagship

“O EMERGENYC é um programa maravilhoso que coloca justamente essas questões de luta, de ausência de representatividade que a gente vive como artista. Para mim foi uma honra dividir com vocês o EMERGENYC—e a vida.”

[EMERGENYC is a wonderful program that directly tackles issues of struggle, and the lack of representation we experience as artists. It was an honor for me to be your colleague in EMERGENYC—and in life.]

Carolina Teixeira (EMERGE ’21)

Pêdra Costa, Emerge 2021 Flagship

“I knew about EMERGENYC from the beginning, when it first emerged. Since I lived in Brazil, and the program was for people based in NYC, it wasn’t possible for me to participate. But when the program moved online, it was a unique opportunity to make my dream come true. I began to ask myself what kind of performance could emerge during the development of the online residency, after a year of uncertainties and changes. I think the freedom we had as an Emerge cohort, which made space for me as a person who doesn’t follow ‘the rules,’ enabled me to come out as a performance artist working on the concept of non-performance.”

Pêdra Costa (EMERGE ’21)