Staff

Margaret Jean Bernstein

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Margaret Jean Bernstein is the founder and director of Azalea Blossom, Incorporated and the SAFE through the arts program. Initially, Ms. Bernstein established Azalea Blossom, Inc. as the non-profit 501c3 sister organization to her music publishing company, Growing Azalea Music in order to facilitate musical projects aimed at Social Awareness.  Ms. Bernstein is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, composer, and flutist internationally known for her Socially Awakened Songs and Uplifting Instrumental compositions in addition to being a dually certified educator in New York State. A graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music (BM, flute performance) and Arizona State University (MM, flute performance), Ms. Bernstein’s recording credits include  four solo albums released on her Growing Azalea Music record label in addition to appearance as a flutist on over two dozen recordings including one produced by the Who’s Pete Townsend. She is also the songwriter for all of the songs on the “Songs from SAFE through the arts” CD.  Her musical compositions have been distributed and licensed worldwide including appearances in the Chelsea Lately Show and on PBS. In addition, Ms. Bernstein is the author of two original socially relevant children’s musicals, “The Little Seed” and “The Trees’ Song for Peace” as well as songs for children and school choruses, which have been performed at public, private, and charter schools throughout the United States. Two decades of experience as a classroom music teacher in rural and urban communities in California and New York State coupled with close encounters with domestic violence lead her to create the SAFE through the Arts program in 2007. A voting member of the Recording Academy, she is the mother of Julian Jacobs, a Sophomore at Oberlin College and the founder of the Youth Sahavas, an annual retreat for teenagers held in South Carolina. In addition to her work with Azalea Blossom, the SAFE through the arts program and the Bricks in the Wall project, Ms. Bernstein is the flutist with the Beguine Ensemble and is currently a co-writer on the recording project of Alexa Valentino, an upcoming singer-songwriter.

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Tyler Quick

Tyler Quick, Head Puppeteer/Teaching Assistant for Azalea Blossom’s SAFE Through the Arts program, moved to Brooklyn in 2016 after working as a puppeteer for Columbia Marionette Theatre in South Carolina. Along with Margaret Bernstein, the founder and director, Tyler will be touring to classrooms in and around NYC’s five boroughs, teaching students about bully prevention and how to care for one another. Tyler looks forward to having an opportunity to grow as a puppeteer and teacher while at the same time giving children an opportunity to learn and grow as individuals.

 

 

Amy Gong

img_8493Originating from Middlesex, New Jersey, Amy Gong is currently Director of Art and Design for the SAFE through the arts program and a sophomore at Rutgers University where she is an art and psychology double major with a minor in business administration. Having completed a successful internship with Azalea Blossom during the summer of 2016, she was able to stay on as an independent contractor, thanks to generous support from Stewarts Shops. Currently, Ms. Gong is working on re-designing the student handbooks for the SAFE through the arts program. During her internship, Ms. Gong created the designs for the sixteen puppet characters integral to the program as well as supplying the artwork for the CD art for “Songs from SAFE through the arts”. Ms. Gong is passionate about the arts and social justice issues such as human trafficking and child abuse. She has continued to use her skills in video editing, photography, oil painting, and graphic design to volunteer at the Zimmerli Art Museum, to work as a teacher’s assistant for Timothy Christian School’s elementary art classes, and to work as a visual display intern for Anthropologie. In addition, she currently serves as the Treasurer and the Media and Publicity Manager for her school’s chapter of International Justice Mission (IJM) which is an anti-trafficking organization based in Washington D.C. In addition, Ms. Gong is involved with Rutger’s Art and Medicine Society (RAMS), a group that strives to serve its community through art and science. Over the next several years, Ms. Gong hopes to continue her education and eventually pursuing a Ph.D. in psychology. She aspires to use the artistic skills and work experience gained from working with Azalea Blossom to continuing to help others through art.

Kelley Selznickunnamed
Kelley Selznick, the current puppet builder for the SAFE through the arts program, is a New York based puppeteer and textile artist. Kelley graduated with a Bachelors of Arts with Honors in Theater with a concentration in puppetry and costume construction from Cal State Northridge. Kelley apprenticed with shadow puppeteer Maria Bodmann in Los Angeles and with Jessica Scott upon moving to New York City. Kelley gone on national tours with Moosletoe, Jim Henson’s Dinosaur Train and Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo. Off Broadway credits include Real Boy at 59E59, La Divina Caracatura by Mabou Mines at LaMama and regional shows with Chinese Theatre Works and Shadow Box Theatre. Kelley has designed puppets for several LaMama kids shows and does custom commissions. Kelley is currently a puppet wrangler with Avenue Q and a Freelance designer who has worked with Spaeth Design on the the holiday window displays for Lord &Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Kelley resides in Brooklyn with their partner.