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2008 New Boston Fund Individual Artist Grant Award Recipients

Eileen Albrizio
Writer (Poet)
Eileen Albrizio is a writer of poetry and prose whose works have appeared in literary jounals across the Northeast. She is the author of three volumes of poetry: Messy on the Inside, Rain – Dark as Water in Winter, and Perennials: New & Selected Poems. “On the Edge,” a recitation of her poetry on CD, was produced with the help of a 2003 Fellowship from the Greater Hartford Arts Council. Additionally, she has penned two novels, several plays and is currently working on a compilation of fictional short stories.

After graduating from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Albrizio earned a BFA in theatre from Central Connecticut State University where she is now finishing her graduate thesis project towards an MA in English. In 2005, Albrizio left a twelve-year career as a radio news host and journalist. Nine of those years were spent working for National Public Radio and its Connecticut affiliate, WNPR. During her broadcasting career, her news stories were repeatedly awarded first prize honors from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. Albrizio has taught creative writing in several colleges and cultural institutions, including the York Correctional Institute, Connecticut’s only maximum security prison for women.

In addition to her writing and teaching, Albrizio assists her husband, Wayne Horgan, who is a Realtor with Prudential Connecticut Realty in Wethersfield, CT. The two have owned and operated Heroes & Hitters, a comic book store in Rocky Hill, CT, since 1989.  

David Borawski 
Visual Artist (Mixed Media)

Borawski’s work consists of conceptually based installations that draw upon recognizable materials and symbols, highlighted with titles and text, that address current social and political topics within an art context. Depending on the cultural backround of the viewer, different interpretations are possible and encouraged. Recent exhibitions include the Housatonic Museum in Bridgeport, New Arts Gallery in Litchfield and Artspace in New Haven as part of the “50,000 Beds” project.  Borawski is an active member of the Connecticut arts community, having produced a number of “do-it-yourself” exhibitions in area vacant buildings and curated several exhibitions at Real Art Ways.

Jenni Freidman
Visual Artist (Drawing)
West Hartford

Jenni makes prints and drawings as well as limited edition books under the name of Stone Dragon Press. She has shown her work in exhibitions across the United States and abroad.

In her work she actively searches for a quiet place of contemplation, an area of rest, a satisfying calm. She turns to nature as the subject matter on which this contemplation rests for its honesty and poetic beauty. Aspects of nature offer elements to build a personal narrative. In her most recent work she can imagine sometimes flying away, seeing things from different vantage point to be aware of where she is as a way to determine where she is going.

Jenni teaches at the Hartford Art School and at Trinity College and is on the Board of Directors for Paper New England. She lives in West Hartford with her husband Brian, daughter Nona and her dog B.

Zbigniew Grzyb
Visual Artist (painter)

Zbigniew Grzyb works with the elements of line and texture, creating paintings which challenge the eye. Shunning representation and 'meaning', his work requires that the viewer accept pure abstraction. His recent paintings use an earthy palette, which reinforces the organic nature of his painting process. The large scale of many of his works allows for a freedom of movement and gesture that is evident in the energy of the lines. He uses texture, sometimes adding sand or other natural elements to a painting, to create a depth and richness that grounds and complements his gestures.

Barbara Hocker
Visual Artist (Mixed Media)

Barbara’s work inhabits the expanded field between photography, printmaking, and digital media.  Inspired by her interest in Wabi-Sabi, she fuses a material sensibility with a love of nature to create mixed media works that capture moments and details that are intimate, subtle, and beautiful, as well as layered, fleeting, and imperfect.  Much of her work begins with time spent in Connecticut’s state forests and nature preserves with her digital camera.  Back in the studio, digital images are given form by attention to the tactile qualities of paper, encaustic, and branches.

A native of Norwalk, Connecticut, Barbara studied Fibers and Printmaking at Syracuse University and Cranbrook Academy of Art.  She has exhibited extensively in New England and currently resides in Coventry, CT with her own personal Muse (otherwise known as her husband Tim) and two very spoiled cats.

Adam MacHose
Visual Artist (Painter)

My paintings are of people in their twenties living in the Hartford area involved in various forms of counterculture. Counterculture plays an important role in American Culture. In some cases, such as war protest, counterculture is a serious critique of real problems. In other cases, counterculture is a self destructive resistance toward good aspects of society. “Rebel without a Cause” has been an American idiom for over half a century.

Raouf Mama

Dr. Raouf Mama is an internationally known bilingual storyteller, the only one in the world today who performs in English and French indigenous tales from his native Benin, a French-speaking country in West Africa. Drawn from one of the richest oral traditions in Africa, Mama’s stories have strong connections to African cultures on both sides of the Atlantic.


Nick Mathis
Vocalist (Jazz)

This choir director, community volunteer, writer, singer, songwriter, educator and producer began singing jazz forty-seven years ago in her cousin’s Club Society, in El Paso, Texas. Nicki’s fame commenced with Jerry Sandifer's Modern Jazz Trio; they opened the first Pass of the North Jazz Festival featuring Dave Brubeck, Chico Hamilton with Eric Dolphy, Lambert Hendricks & Ross, Chris Conner, and Maynard Ferguson with Annie Moss. It was at this event where Nicki was heralded ”the coolest of them all.” Nicki became an independent recording artist twenty years past, the same year she formed  her Afrikan Amerikan Jazz band and began producing The Many Colors of a W*O*M*A*N Jazz concerts in Hartford, celebrating jazzwomen and their original works. She performs across the US and abroad, most recently in Toronto with the International Jazz Association for Education/African American Jazz Caucus Dance Band. She has been named Best Performer at the International Women in Jazz Impact/Urban Artists Initiative and holds a Billboard Songwriter Certificate of Achievement, judged by Quincy Jones and Roberta Flack. Nick Mathis’ Afrikan American Jazz performs April 20th at the Mercy by the Sea Spirit Music Series in Madison, Connecticut.

Todd Merrell

Todd Merrell is a composer and musician who works in many styles, with a focus on transforming electromagnetic radiation in the environment into immersive musical soundscapes using single sideband shortwave radio, granular synthesis, and processing.
He studied music composition and voice at Berklee College of Music and with composer James Sellars of the Hartt School. He has worked with diverse musicians including BT, Aidan Baker, and Robert Black of Bang On A Can Allstars, performed at numerous venues including The Guggenheim Museum, Issue Project Room, and Real Art Ways, and recorded for the Whirlybird, Dreamland, and Archive labels. His work has been reviewed in The Wire, Signal To Noise, and The New Art Examiner, and he has been interviewed for Monitoring Times. 

Lena Stein
Lena Stein’s recent work is from two trips to Kolkata, India, where she volunteered at the Rainbow School, a specialized program designed to remove vulnerable girls of the streets. Since her return, she has shown her photographs and given lectures about her experience. She has also involved local communities in collecting books for the school. Her photographs were recently displayed at Trinity College and Wesleyan University. She will return to Kolkata this summer and continue to work on her project about “Rainbow Children” at Loreto Day School.
She also captured visual images of Kolkata during the monsoon season. Living in this city required surviving the brutal hot weather and living with the minimal comforts. Last summer she also traveled to Nepal to photograph people.