COLLECTIVEPeoples Culture was conceptualized as a result of mutual passion projects. It has since evolved into a group of individuals from diverse backgrounds who share a common dedication of linking art and community. We create a space focused on societal betterment, where art is not auxiliary to sales. Read about us below!
SARAH M. BASSETT [executive director] is an urban thinker, artist, and producer whose work focuses on the intersectionality between art and representation, public perceptions of community, and space. She has worked on creative projects that have screened in internationally recognized venues and festivals, including the New York Times and has shown her work in community-based forums. Integral to her practice is a background as an urban strategist, having worked in research, non-profit, and consulting roles, she has contributed to affordable housing policy and advanced small-and-large-scale urban realm projects focused on civic empowerment. Sarah is recognized for her work on issues related to spatial justice, including during her tenure as a U.S. Fulbright Scholar.
NICHOLAS PILARSKI [artistic director] works to create art that facilitates dialogue through documentary. Central to this practice is a focus on activism and restorative justice through the art-making process. Nicholas’s work has screened both nationally and internationally, including with the New York Times, MoMa, DOK Leipzig, Chicago International Film Festival, among others. He was recently named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film. Informing his creative work, Nicholas is a practitioner in Theatre of the Oppressed, has both written and given masterclasses on his theory of practice, and frequently delivers lectures on computational media and film theory.
ANABELLA TURLIONE [collective member] is an Italo-Argentinian visual artist, animator, and illustrationist. She completed her physics Ph.D. in 2015 and since decided to focus on her other passion; drawing. Anabella began illustrating in 2011 while working on her dissertation on the cooling of neutron stars in binary systems, and began animating in 2013. One year later, she obtained two grants to produce and make her first animated film ‘Alunados,’ funded by Argentina’s National Endowment for the Arts and the Espacio Santafesino. Currently, Anabella works on a various projects as an animator/ illustrator where she attempts to find creative ways to combine her two passions; physics, and arts. Please check out more of her art here.
DESTINI T. RILEY [collective member] is an emerging artist and filmmaker originally from North Carolina. Her first film, I, Destini, has been showcased at film festivals nationally and internationally including Aspen Shortsfest, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and in the New York Times. Destini was also the youngest to be named as one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2016. Currently, Destini is pursuing a film degree in Chicago.
SALLY VOLKMANN [collective member] is an artist and documentary editor based in New York. Most recently, Sally worked on the Academy Award winning documentary feature Icarus. A film investigating the allegations of a Russian state-sponsored doping program during the 2008 winter Olympics - a testament to the grave sacrifices of truth telling. She began her editing career with The Hunting Ground, an expose of the institutional cover ups of student sexual assault crimes in American universities. The film debuted at The Sundance Film Festival in 2015. The film was nominated for two Emmy Awards: Exceptional Merit In Documentary Filmmaking; Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. Sally has been on the International Documentary Association Awards screening committee and was a Contributing Editor at the Sundance Institute’s Documentary Edit and Story Lab in 2017.
MATT ROPER [collective member] is a technical/ environment artist, programmer and network specialist with over 10 years experience, during this time he has worked at a number of studios on a wide variety of games, most recently working at Unity Technologies in the graphics foundation department. Matt develops the core systems for Fireflies of Brownsville and handles technical art like post effects, shaders, and FX including for the Desert Stars project. Matt is also known for various solo projects such as Exaro Online - a solo developed MMORPG and Unity environmental demos.
RAY GRAHAM [collective member] is a rising social advocate who focuses on creating new and innovative ways to ease tension between community and police in his neighborhood. A Brownsville, Brooklyn native, he is motivated to create dialog as a way to address issues of violence. Ray is also one of the primary developers and chief game designers for Fireflies of Brownsville.
ADRIAN RICHARDSON [collective member] is a developing audio/visual artist who works on issues of community building in his local Brownsville, Brooklyn neighborhood. He is also a key member of the Fireflies of Brownsville docugame. Driven by new experiences, Adrian believes we must create our own moments as a way to build creative solutions to our most pressing social issues. When not in the studio, Adrian is ‘just another’ free runner doing Parkour in NYC.