The mission of Doing Art Together (DAT) is to awaken and enrich the intellectual, social, and cultural development of under-resourced New York City youth, inspiring them to pursue their learning. We accomplish this by engaging youth in the visual arts, igniting the participation of their family network, and building enduring partnerships with their educational community.
We are a non-profit arts education organization that provides hands-on programs to under-served audiences. DAT’s programs build skills that enhance the ability to learn and are easily transferred from the classroom to life.
DAT aims to offer high quality arts education programs that level the educational playing field for children and youth (ages 2-22), who come from under-resourced communities. We use art as an entry point for learning for the participants and a tool for engagement for parents and families to get involved in their children’s education. We hope through our work that art will open minds, enrich lives and ultimately transform communities.
What We Believe
The DAT philosophy of art education emphasizes process. DAT believes that the greatest value to be gained from doing art is often the experience itself, internalized for future reference.
Trained art instructors encourage all students to experiment with a variety of materials, express their own ideas and feelings and make discoveries. With this emphasis on the relationship between thinking and doing art, students develop invaluable tools for everyday living — imagination, observation, and creative problem-solving skills.
The DAT philosophy embraces a non-judgmental approach to art in which no student’s work is considered better, or not as good as that of another. In this supportive environment, everyone succeeds and takes pride in a final exhibition.
Ms. Muriel Silberstein-Storfer
Founder and Creative Director of Doing Art Together Inc. (DAT) and author of Doing Art Together (Simon & Schuster 1982 & Harry N. Abrams Inc. revised edition, 1997).
Silberstein-Storfer was elected to The Metropolitan Museum of Art as a Community Trustee from Staten Island in 1971. Starting in 1972, she was an art education consultant at The Metropolitan Museum of Art where she founded and taught renowned Parent/Child studio workshops. Prior to that, Muriel taught at The Museum of Modern Art for eight years with Victor D’Amico, her teacher and mentor. As a sought-after consultant, she worked with numerous universities and museums nationally as well as with a multitude of cultural and educational organizations in New York City.
Always a community activist, she was appointed by Mayor John Lindsay to the Art Commission of the City of New York in 1971 and served for fifteen years, seven years as president. She was past-president of The Associates of the Art Commission, a member of The Board of Governors of Daytop Village and served on the Trustee Education Committee, the Visiting Committee to the Modern Art Department and the External Relations Committee at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She developed a CD-ROM about her Parent/Child workshops titled “Look what I see,” which won the New Media Software Award at the Bologna, Italy Children’s Book Fair.
In November 2000, the New York City Art Teachers Association (NYCATA/UFT) presented her with the Art Educator Award. She began her career by obtaining a BFA in Theatre Arts from Carnegie Mellon University and was Assistant Technical Director and Co-Scene Designer at the Pittsburgh Playhouse. Her own artwork, utilizing found materials, has been exhibited in New York City. Sadly, Ms. Silberstein-Storfer passed away in March 2014. Her legacy continues through DAT and her work with a multitude of other organizations, as well as her lifelong commitment to under-resourced communities throughout New York City.
Ms. Electra Askitopoulos-Friedman
Co-Founder of Doing Art Together, Inc (DAT)
Active Board Member
During her tenure at Lehman College in the Bronx, NY, she oversaw public school and social service agency programs, developed curricula, and also conducted staff development workshops for teachers and administrators. Askitopoulos-Friedman was the Artistic Director of the Summer Art and Dance Institute. Since 1978 she taught Parent/Child studio classes and Saturday Family programs at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is an artist-educator and has exhibited in the United States as well as around the World.
She studied and received degrees from the University of Fine Arts and has a BFA in Architecture and City Planning from the Polytech in Athens, Greece. She received a certificate from the Royal Academy of Design, London, England and took courses at The New School for Social Research, New York, and Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York. Since 1968 she taught art in shelters for abandoned children, in schools for special audiences and blind children, in the Westchester School System. In November 2002, Electra Askitopoulos Friedman was honored by the New York City Art Teachers Association/United Federation Teachers with the Art Advocate of the Year Award at their 22nd annual conference at LaGuardia High School of Music & Art & Performing Arts, because, for most of her adult life she has actively promoted the arts in education for all people in numerous ways. In 2007, she received the First Annual Herbert Storfer Service Award from DAT.
Board of Directors
A lifelong New Yorker, Gerald (Jerry) Galison was graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Colgate University and pursued an advanced degree at the Harvard Graduate School of International Studies. He served in the Air Force.
In 1978 he started a small business, Galison Publishing–now known in the industry as Galison/Mudpuppy, to create products based on museum imagery. At the time, museum stores, if they existed at all, were small and run by volunteers.
The timing was right, and as museum stores began to flourish, so did Galison’s business. Its first great success was boxed notecards. While this was not at all original, the industry standard at the time was a throwaway box useless when the cards were gone. Galison’s contribution was to package a well-designed, carefully manufactured box nice enough to keep or be given away as a gift.
Other museum-based products followed, such as jigsaw puzzles, journals, address books, calendars, recipe cards, books of days, and diaries.
Though museums remained the focus, the company began to include projects with institutions such as the Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club. Private label products came to represent a significant portion of the business.
“Mudpuppy”, Galison’s children’s division which featured well-designed, educational, non-electronic toys and games, was added in 1993.
Holiday Time started in 1994.
The business has grown steadily since then. While museums remain an important part of Galison/Mudpuppy’s customer base, it has expanded to include upscale gift, stationery, book, and department stores. Exports are significant part of the business.
In March 2012, GMG Publishing was sold to the McEvoy Group, a San Francisco-based media company. Fellow Group members include Chronicle Books, Princeton Architectural Press, and Becker and Meyer.
Jerry is married with three children, each of whom has pursued diverse careers: Peter, Harvard professor and filmmaker, William, jazz musician, and Maria, entrepreneur.
Harry C. Gaveras
Harry Gaveras is founder of Propylaea, an interdisciplinary architecture and fabrication studio. Harry is licensed to practice architecture in New York State and within the European Union. Academically, Harry Gaveras received a Bachelor of Architecture from The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art. He earned a Masters of Architecture in Urban Design from the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
Professionally, Harry has built work in the United States, Europe and Asia as well as teaching experience in all three continents. Projects range from custom furniture pieces, private residential homes, multi-family midrise buildings, cultural facilities, restaurants and high-rise towers. He has several works by his hand in MoMA NYC permanent collection as well as having produced and fabricated work for leading architects and designers internationally.
In the past, he has been co-chair of the Emerging New York Architects Committee from 2004-2008 and proved to be a driving force in moving new organizational projects forward. Under his leadership the committee grew internationally and received numerous awards. Among these are a Graham Foundation Grant and the AIA National Emerging Professionals Program of the Year Award. He was nominated for the AIA National Young Architects Award.
Currently, Harry is an appointed member of the Board of Trustees for the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Cathedral. He also sits on the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council as well as the Cooper Union John Q. Hejduk Award committee.
Currently, Harry resides in New York City.
Pamela Markham Heller
In the early 1980s, Pam brought her children, now grown and parents themselves, to Muriel Silberstein’s parent/child workshops at the Metropolitan Museum. As a volunteer at the Met under Electra Friedman’s tutelage, she absorbed the educational techniques and distinct philosophy that have evolved to become Doing Art Together, Inc. She later served as both an advisory board member and a D.A.T. instructor, in which capacity she started the art program at Manhattan’s Gateway School. Her late husband Jim Heller was a long-time board member and at the time of his death in 2014, treasurer of Doing Art Together, Inc.
An artist and writer, Pam is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College and holds a B.F.A. in painting from the School of Visual Arts. Using her extensive background in photography and painting, she designs and prints folios, broadsides and artist books under the impression of 2Dog Press.
Working with a high school English teacher and an press mechanic, she recently refurbished a Vandercook printing press at her alma mater, Westover School in Middlebury, CT, and is proud of her role in enabling the school to establish an active and popular letterpress initiative where students learn to set type and print the old fashioned way, i.e., in the fine press tradition that dates back to Gutenberg. She is a member of the Contemporary Arts Council of the Museum of Modern art and the board of directors of the Providence Biennial for Contemporary Art.
Jason Leventhal is the founder and managing shareholder of the Leventhal Law Group, P.C., a law firm specializing in civil and criminal litigation and insurance law. Jason’s practice focuses on the prosecution of civil rights cases in federal court, and oversees the firm’s criminal defense, personal injury, medical malpractice, and insurance law practices.
Jason began his legal career as an Assistant District Attorney with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, where he honed his trial skills by investigating and prosecuting a wide array of criminal matters. Jason continued his career as a trial attorney for Allstate Insurance Company representing Allstate’s insureds in New York state courts. In 2001, Jason started his private practice in Staten Island and represented individuals and businesses in New York and New Jersey in matters ranging from business and real estate transactions to civil and criminal litigation. In 2004, Jason founded Leventhal & Klein, LLP, a boutique law firm in DUMBO, Brooklyn, specializing in civil rights litigation. In 2015, Jason founded Leventhal Law Group, P.C., also in DUMBO, with a focus on all matters involving civil and criminal litigation and insurance law.
Jason is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey State Courts, the United States District Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York and the District of New Jersey, and in the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Jason is a member of the Federal Bar Council, the National Police Accountability Project, the Brooklyn Bar Association, and the Richmond County Bar Association.
Fredric T. Schneider
Fred was born in Paterson, N.J., and educated by the public schools there. He graduated from Yale College and Yale Law School before moving to New York City where he worked as an attorney, investment banker and investor. He has served as an advisor and board member of local and national non-profit organizations engaged in arts, environmental, civil rights, health and educational activities. For more than twenty years Fred has collected and studied Japanese art – he is the author of The Art of Japanese Cloisonné Enamel: History, Techniques and Artists, 1600 to the Present and has lectured on Japanese art at museums, universities and other venues in Asia, the United States and Europe. Fred has served on the Board of Directors of Doing Art Together since 1996.
Jody Borhani’s fascination with typography and ‘local color’ inspires her mixed media output, in which she asks questions about environmental & emotional responsibility, desire, race and animal nature. Primarily raised in Birmingham, AL, she has spent time as a Tisch film student, an NYC tour guide and an enthusiastic barista. She is at work on an experimental narrative film about a missed connection between aliens on an abandoned nautical planet, and recently completed her own 3D miniature interpretation of Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park.’s fascination with topography and ‘local color’ inspires her mixed media output, in which she asks questions about environmental & emotional responsibility, desire, race and animal nature. Primarily raised in Birmingham, AL, she has spent time as a Tisch film student, an NYC tour guide and an enthusiastic barista. She is at work on an experimental narrative film about a missed connection between aliens on an abandoned nautical planet, and recently completed her own 3D miniature interpretation of Manhattan’s Inwood Hill Park.
Lisa Crawford joined DAT in December 2014. Her background is predominately in Corporate America, however she recently became a Para-professional with the Department of Education (DOE) in 2013 where she worked closely on a daily basis with the Art Teacher at P.S. 35 – Manhattan High Sschool. Crawford’s experience also includes working with Universal Temple of the Arts (UTA) for over 20 years. UTA is a Non-Profit Cultural Arts organization which offers free cultural enrichment to the community. In addition to Art, their programs include Music, Sewing, Dance and Drama where she supervises after school programs and related outings. She was also instrumental in implementing a free Music Assembly program within schools in Staten Island for UTA . Students ages ranged from school age to adult.
Nina Tantillo Elton
Nina Tantillo Elton, Media Artist has developed many innovative programs to teach art and creative movement and “out of the box” thinking to children, teachers and adults. She has worked as Adjunct Professor and Supervisor at Columbia University, Adelphi University, SUNY New Paltz, and at the College of Mt. St. Vincent in Yonkers, NY. She, also, is an owner of Elton Associates, a marketing, public relations and business skills development firm. Ms. Tantillo Elton has served on the Board of Directors of Westchester Association of Women Business Owners, Women in Sales of Westchester, and the Garrison Art Center. She is experienced with hospice work, all ages on the autism spectrum plus the elderly with Alzheimer’s disease, and in the field of energy work. In the last few years she has published articles related to the value of the arts in these fields.
Rute Ventura is a fine artist born in Lisbon Portugal in 1982. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sculpture in 2004 and with a Masters degree in Fine Arts, 2006 from the School of Art and Design in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal. Rute started her visual arts education at António Arroio High School of arts and at the Portuguese National Society of Arts, in Lisbon. In 2005 Rute received a grand for an abroad program of studies at Accademia di Belli Arti in Venice, Italy. Recently she went to Italy to learn Trompe L’oeil techniques at the Accademia del Superfuluo in Rome. Rute Ventura’s artwork ranges from drawing, to painting, sculpture, video and installation. She moved to New York City in 2009 where she works as a teaching artist with the non-profit Doing Art Together, providing art workshops for under-resourced crowds in NY City Public Schools and alternative sites. She collaborates with The City College of New York incorporating STEM through STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) in elementary and middle schools in NY City, with the Romare Bearden Foundation and the Wallach Gallery at Columbia University.
Arturo Garcia is a Classical Realism Painter and Arts Educator.
Born in Mexico, was raised between Mexico and Spain. It was in Spain where he was introduced to the works of the Spanish Masters, and subsequently fell in love with Velazquez, Goya, and Sorolla. He attended The National School of Plastic Arts, “San Carlos” Mexico DF, whereupon graduating with honors, he began his career exhibiting in Mexico under the support and guidance of the celebrated Mexican author, Carlos Monsivais.
Shortly after, he moved to California and began his studies at The Atelier, in Oakland CA. It was not long after, Arturo, became affiliated with “The Water Street Atelier” in NYC, the premier school for classical realism painters, under its leader and mentor, Jacob Collins.
Almost immediately after exhibiting in the U.S. art collectors recognized the value and uniqueness of his work and was featured in numerous national and international artists’ magazines. Arturo’s works includes still-life, landscapes, floral, interiors, figurative, and sculptures. Arturo lives in a historic Victorian neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
Doing Art Together has received funds from generous corporations and private foundations, its Board of Directors, who obtain matching grants and perform numerous valuable in-kind services, individual donors, the New York City Department of Education and government agencies including:
Abyssinian Development Corporation
Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, Inc
Buck Family Foundation
New York City Department of Cultural Affairs
Columbia Community Service
Robert Lehman Foundation
The Liman Foundation
New York City Council, Council Member Carmen Arroyo, 17th Council District
New York City Council, Council Member Inez E. Dickens, 9th Council District
New York City Council, Council Member Robert Jackson, 7th Council District
New York City Council, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito
New York City Department of Youth and Community Development
New York State Council on the Arts
NYU Community Fund
West Harlem Development Corporation and the Tides Foundation
We also thank The Metropolitan Museum of Art and its Department of Education for providing in-kind office space and services in support of our organization from 1972-2003 and the JCC in Manhattan for providing in-kind office space and services from June 2003 to June 2006