About the organizers

Co-Founder & President JOHN AVELLUTO was born in Gravesend, Brooklyn and attended Brooklyn College, acquiring a BA in English and subsequently an MFA in Visual Art. Since then he has gone on to exhibit his work both nationally and abroad while remaining active as a conduit for arts in the public sphere. John is a founder (’09) of the Bay Ridge 5th Ave Storefront Art Walk (SAW) and The Bay Ridge Poets Society (’13), both of which are testament to his interest in the multifaceted relationships between Art and community. In 2014 John was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture by Brooklyn Magazine. In the same year John was lauded by the online forum for arts and culture Hyperallergic magazine for his solo exhibition, Disintegrator, at Studio 10 in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He is the co-owner and operator of The Owls Head Wine Bar in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn where he lives and works with his wife and two daughters.

Board Member KAYLA SANTOSUOSSO is a community organizer based in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. Kayla’s work primarily focuses on building up political and social capital of communities and neighborhoods. She proudly served as the Deputy Director of the Arab American Association of New York from 2013-2016, leading development efforts and tripling the budget in 3 years. Prior to her time at AAANY, Kayla led communications efforts for the Office of Sustainability at New York University, designing campaigns for environmental behavioral change. Kayla is deeply committed to combating racism and Islamophobia, and is one of the founding members of the NYC chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice – a group dedicated to organizing white people against racism. Kayla is an Arabic speaker and holds a B.A. in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York University. She hails originally from Medina, Ohio.

Board Member CHANDRA HIRA is a freelance Graphic Designer/Art Director with almost 20 yrs of experience in marketing design. A native of Bay Ridge (her family settled there in the early 1900s), she is very active in the community, currently serving on the board of Bay Ridge Cares, an organization dedicated to helping local families in need. In the past, she has served on the Bay Ridge Community Council and also the Bay Ridge Festival of the Arts executive board. She holds a M.A. in Graphic Communications Management and Technology from New York University, a Certificate in Marketing/Advertising from New York University and a B.A. in Communication Design from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.

Executive Administrator MOLLIE FLANAGAN is an arts administrator, curator, and bookkeeper with a specialization in non-profits. A resident of Bay Ridge, she currently works as the Financial and Administrative Manager at the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP.) Previously, she was the Program Manager and Curator at the New York Art Residency & Studios (NARS) Foundation in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, an organization committed to supporting emerging and underrepresented artists and curators on an international level as well engaging the local community in Brooklyn and the Greater New York area. She has also worked as the Gallery Director at The Space in Long Island City, Queens, as an arts administrator in the Photographs Department at Christie’s NY and as an arts educator and administrator at Claire’s Creative Adventures in NYC. She has curated and organized exhibitions several group shows at The NARS Foundation and The Space including Threaded Archetypes (2016), Unearthing Roots, Foraging Self (2015), over under, through (2015), Through the Vortex (2014), Layers of Response (2014), and Sunset Illuminated (2014). She has served as a visiting critic at Flux Factory and a consultant for NYFA Doctor’s Hours. In addition, she has written a review of the work of graffiti artist Candy Bird for Liang Gallery in Taipei. She received her B.A. in Art History from Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT and her M.A. in Modern Art, Connoisseurship and the History of the Art Market from Christie’s Education in NYC.

The Bay Ridge Storefront Art Walk, Inc., is a non-profit corporation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (documentation here) and registered in the State of New York (charity no. 447293). Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.