A project of Bruun Studios, Autumn Leaves is an art exhibition with 7 events at Area 405 September 19 through November 2, 2014. Inspired by a series of 49 drawings Peter Bruun made just prior to his 50th birthday, Autumn Leaves is about nothing less than the meaning of life. It recognizes the deeper connectivity of our lives, and the importance of collectively gathering from time to time for no other reason than commemorating who we are, as individuals and as a community. Autumn Leaves brings Baltimore together in celebration and reflection, illuminating aspects of a diverse city we might otherwise never know existed. Autumn Leaves provides a novel, intergenerational artistic platform, establishing a new kind of community arts experience in which those younger than 50 pay tribute to those 50 or older—in appreciation of their life wisdom.

Each of 7 Autumn Leaves events highlights one of 7 different "event groups" (Ash, Birch, Chestnut, Maple, Oak, Poplar, and Sycamore), each group comprised of:

  • 7 "leaves" (individuals age 50 or above), the subjects of their event;
  • 1 visual artist under age 50, exhibiting portraits of their event's "leaves";
  • 1 writer under age 50, creating 49-word pieces about their event's "leaves"
  • 2 hosts under age 50, helping to organize and supporting their event;
  • 1 or 2 youth art groups, presenting and performing at their event.

Autumn Leaves is created and directed by Peter Bruun, with support from Project Manager Sarah Edelsburg, and volunteers including Michelle Gomez, Charles Mason III and Maggie McIntosh.


Ash "Leaves":

Elizabeth Faas-Hughes, a MICA 85' alumna, ran her own decorative painting company for 20 years after graduating. She then changed careers to become a hospice nurse, teacher, researcher, and now has become a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Sallah Jenkins is a ceramic artist, teacher, student, mom and grandma. She is known to attend community craft festivals as an ethnic face painter, painting only African inspired designs. Sallah received a Bachelor of Science degree from Coppin State College.

Liz Lerman left the dance company she founded after 34 years and now works on independent projects with many artists. A key aspect of her artistry is opening her process to various publics. She is a MacArthur “genius” Fellow.

Don Palmer lived and worked in New York City as a DJ, cab-driver, alternative newspaper editor, music critic and government bureaucrat. He oversaw various grants programs, including New York State’s Individual Artists Program, until he retired in 2010.

Geri Lynn Peak, head of Baltimore Youth Initiative H.S., is an evaluator/researcher, jewelry designer, fiber-artist, poet, dancer and organic gardener living with her husband, twin teen daughters, three mysterious cats, multiple computers, and “lots of clutter.”

Bea Scott has been a Baltimore City resident for over 40 years. She has taught in public schools in Baltimore, New York City, Tokyo, and Richmond, VA. She has an active civic life, serving as the President of the Ashburton Area Association, and more.

Florian Svitak was (in his word) “an odd child living an odd childhood.” He earned a BFA 1965 and an MFA 1973, and went on to a career as an educator and painter, with a particular fascination for creating landscapes of his beautiful Harford County property.

Birch "Leaves":

Juanita F. Brown is a single mother of 5 girls, grandmother to 9, great-grandmother to 2, and Godmother to another. She went to Marian house in 2004 and was given a new beginning in life. She has worked at T.A.S.C.O. since 2005 and loves to be with family.

Tori Burns has been fundraising for the Community College of Baltimore County since 2010 and has previously worked as a fundraiser for several arts organizations. When she’s not fundraising, she is busy designing and making clothes.

Paul Freedman hails originally from Connecticut and New York, but has called Baltimore his home for most of the past 30 years. He graduated from Union College and works in international business development and programs management at Northrop Grumman.

Robert Ginyard is an aide to City Councilwoman Sharon Greene Middleton, and a survivor of prostate cancer. He has become a passionate advocate for the power of positive thinking in the face of the trials and tribulations life presents to us.

Seth Knopp is a pianist, Artistic Director of Yellow Barn, and a founding member of the Peabody Trio. As a member of the Knopp-Melançon Duo, he was a winner of the USIA Artistic Ambassador Competition, which resulted in concert tours around the world.

Donna Jackson Nakazawa is an award-winning science journalist, health advocate and author of such books as The Last Best Cure and The Autoimmune Epidemic. She received the 2012 AESKU award for lifetime contribution in health and immunology sciences.

Felton Williams, Jr. has served as a pastor for over 50 years, first in Michigan and now Baltimore. Married with five children (one deceased), and lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren, he has been a father to many men through his ministry.

Chestnut "Leaves":

Adote Akwei immigrated to the USA from Togo in 2005 with his wife and five children. He is currently working on two book projects (“Africa Runs Over: The Silent Book on the Continent” and “The Impossible American Dream: The New African Immigrant’s Choice to Think and Grow Rich”).

Alvin Eng is a native New York playwright, director, performer, and teacher in the Department of Theatre at Goucher College. He is currently writing Portrait Plays: A Cycle Of Historical Dramas About Artists. In 2011, Eng made his Asian performing debut.

Mel Holden’s college years were interrupted when he was drafted during the Vietnam conflict. Despite no formal training in computer science or business, he had a successful career with IBM managing large government contracts for the IRS, DHS and DoD.

Harriet Lynn founded Heritage Theatre Artists’ Consortium in 1994 and has served as producer/artistic director since its inception. She has produced and directed numerous museum theatre, oral history performance projects, and living history programs.

Zinaida Rozenberg was born in Riga, Latvia, just before World War II. "What I remember of my childhood is only hunger and starvation. In May 1945, we learned my father at age 27 had been shot on the streets of the Ghetto. All my extended family was murdered.”

Tamra Settles is “tantalizing, amazing, morally correct, magnificent, intelligent… a mother, a sister, an aunt, a daughter, a woman... motivated, full of life, spiritual, thoughtful, caring, honest, forgiving, strong, an overcomer, but mostly free.”

Marc Steiner has spent 50+ years of his life working on issues of social justice. He began working as a Civil Rights organizer at age 14 and was a Maryland Freedom Rider at age 16. For the past 20 years he has hosted the radio program, The Marc Steiner Show.

Maple "Leaves":

Lee Boot is an experimental media artist and researcher exploring new ways to represent knowledge in human environments. He is Associate Research Scholar and Associate Director at the Imaging Research Center at UMBC.

Gayle Carney moved from kindergarten teaching to technology “when PCs showed up.” She notes: “I think I have a knack for addressing the people problems underlying technology problems.” Her life’s goal is finding “a peaceful way to live in a crazy world.”

Carol Higgs is a Baltimore artist who ran a DC graphic design studio serving progressive causes for 30 years. She helped found the Cork Factory, was active with ACORN and works with the Greenmount West Community Association and the Cuba-Baltimore friendship program.  When not agitating for justice, she travels extensively, sketches compulsively and gardens meditatively.

Guy Jones, a native of Baltimore City, graduated from Baltimore City College High School, earned a BS degree from Morgan State College, and went on to become the first African-American to receive an MFA from MICA's Hoffberger School of Painting. He teaches at Morgan State University.

Ken Royster is an Associate Professor of Art at Morgan State University. His photographs have been exhibited nationally in such venues as The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, and The Studio Museum of Harlem.

Vincent Thomas is a dancer, choreographer, teacher, and Founding Director of VTDance Company. He received an MFA in Dance and a BME in Music and is an Associate Professor at Towson. His choreography has been presented around the world.

Debi Young is a professional makeup artist and aesthetician for the film and television industry, with her credits including the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Wire. Debi has performed numerous speaking engagements on the topic of beauty from the inside out.

Oak "Leaves":

Evelyn Chatmon was born in the Baltimore area, where she received her education in its segregated schools. Evelyn worked her entire career as an educator in Baltimore County Public Schools and since retirement has pursued a lifelong hobby of photography.

Julie Gabrielli is an architect, teacher, writer, and filmmaker. She explores ways to listen for and tell the new stories that are emerging in our culture. She is an award-winning architect, and her first novel will be published in 2014.

Jon Spelman has been called “World-Class” (L.A. TIMES), and “a stunning wordsmith and a riveting performer” (Washington POST). His work has been performed in 10 countries, at major festivals throughout the US, and at over 3000 other locations in North America.

Janie Baylor Stephens was 65 years old when God called her to preach the Gospel. "My four sons were on drugs. Through prayer, faith and trusting God, three are now drug free and the other in treatment. My youngest son is 20 years clean and an ordained minister.”

Lee Stierhoff for the past 38 years has sold property and casualty insurance, “but work is only part of my life,” Lee has been sober for more than 25 years, allowing him to be a father to his two sons, to pursue plein-air painting, and to practice meditation regularly.

Douglass Williams is a singer, actor, performer, storyteller, and “all-around good guy.” He has performed at venues throughout Baltimore County, including senior centers and as a member of the "Fabulous 50+ Players" and the Heritage Theater Consortium.

Traci Wright is a former cheerleader and currently works as Dean of Students at the Park School of Baltimore. Traci is active in the community, including playing a leading role in an annual Civil Rights trip for Park students and students of Baltimore's public schools.

Poplar "Leaves":

Bill Clark living in his eighth decade is a “serial entrepreneur” who has started, bought, grown or sold eight different businesses. He has had wonderful successes and equally painful failures. Today, he helps others grow themselves and the organizations they run.

Anna Davis is a proud mother of 5 children and 1 stepson, and she has 4 grandchildren. As a resident at Marian House, she has overcome a difficult past and is in recovery from addiction and mental illness; she has regained self-confidence and stability in her life.

Jeff Johnson for 35 years has been a research scientist, teacher and public health practitioner. He has been a spousal caregiver for much of the past 20 years, “an experience that can be exhausting but also provides a lot of insight.”

Gilda Johnson is an only child with a 19 year-old daughter—also an only child like her mother, grandmother and great-grandfather before her. After Gilda’s husband died in 2006 she returned to college: “going back to school was challenging but kept me sane.”

Walter Lomax was 20 years old when he was wrongly accused, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for a robbery and murder. Today, exonerated after spending 39 years behind bars, he is the Director of the Maryland Restorative Justice Initiative.

Dean Lynes is a veteran, Emmy-award winning television producer with more than 30 years experience. She serves on the board of Women In Transition, Inc. (WIT) that assists teen girls to transition out of foster care. Born in New Haven, CT, she resides in Baltimore, MD with her husband.

Selwyn Ray, a trained attorney and ordained minister, is an executive at a youth service organization, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake. "I love life and spreading love with the human family. Serving and giving makes me whole and content.”

Sycamore "Leaves":

Michael Burke was born in Baltimore and graduated from Forest Park High School #406, Class of '72. He began painting at a young age and continues to paint to this day. He presently works for AARP Experience Corps as a Senior Secretary.

John J. Campagna is the managing partner of Restore Capital, whose mission is to enhance the economics and environment of our working lands and waters through innovative investment strategies. Previously, John has been involved in projects ranging from high-tech start-up companies to organic farming.

Cheriyan Clinton is a 60 year-old African-American woman whose addiction lasted more than 20 years. She has been 6 years clean. Her profession is nursing and she is a Blues, Jazz, and Gospel singer. Music is her life and she is "a great public speaker."

Beth Fredrick is a Wisconsin farmer’s daughter, English major, and world traveler. She is a curious, compassionate and fierce friend, colleague and advocate. She has worked years advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in the U.S. and globally.

Monique (Nikki) Goss was born in France 1941 and moved to NYC in 1947. She had an early interest in art and went on to earn degrees in Art Education from NYU and Towson State. She has two daughters and four grandchildren, and is a Holocaust survivor.

Noel Russell is a musician and artist who moved to Baltimore from New Orleans with his wife and two daughters following hurricane Katrina in summer 2005. He has tried ever since to gain traction within Baltimore's cultural community as he had within New Orleans.

Jo Tyler is an educator, storyteller, mosaic artist, and organizational consultant. After 20+ years doing organization development work in the Fortune 500, she resolved to change her life, earning an Adult Learning and Leadership degree and never looking back.


Scott Burkholder, co-event advocate for the Ash Group, spent the last five years working on a city wide street art initiative called the Baltimore Love Project. He now works at the Baltimore Museum of Art in the director's office. His vision is to create a social venture capital firm to develop, grow, and sustain the creative community of Baltimore.

Maisy Cottingham, co-event advocate for the Oak Group, was born and raised in Louisville, KY, and came to Baltimore to attend Loyola University Maryland. She has strong ties to the equestrian world, riding horses through college and continuing to stay involved in the sport. Maisy works for Johns Hopkins Imaging at Green Spring Station.

Damien Davis, co-event advocate for the Poplar Group,is a Director and Portfolio Manager for Brown Capital Management in Baltimore. Damien was an all-star lacrosse player when he attended high school at the Gilman School, and went on to become one of the best defensemen in Princeton lacrosse history.

Lindsey Davis, co-event advocate for the Ash Group, holds degrees in Public Administration and City and Regional Planning. Specializing in the impact design has on behavior and community, she is co-organizer of Create Baltimore, grant director for Ignite Baltimore, and co-founder of Light City, the first large scale light festival proposed for Baltimore in fall 2015.

Pamela Eisenberg, co-event advocate for the Chestnut Group, is a writer, editor, and communications professional with a background in theater and education. Born and raised in the Baltimore area, she has a talent for storytelling and a keen interest in using storytelling, performance, and events as a way to bring people together in the community.

Rodney D. Foxworth, Jr., co-event advocate for the Maple Group, is a social change advocate, community builder, and grassroots grantmaker. He works as Community Engagement Manager of Black Male Engagement (BMe), and is co-founder of SocEnt Baltimore, a non-profit organization focused on cultivating emerging social entrepreneurs and innovators.

Kevin Griffin Moreno, co-event advocate for the Chestnut Group, is a shape note singer, storyteller, and sometime actor. He chairs the board of the Strand Theater Company and co-chairs the Baltimore Art+Justice Project.

Danielle (Dani) Johnson, co-event advocate for the Poplar Group,is President and CEO of Special Gathering, LLC, dedicated to strategic branding campaigns, events and meetings. Dani works closely with clients to conceptualize and produce a range of events locally, nationally, and internationally including large-scale conventions, galas, and summits.

Thibault Manekin, co-event advocate for the Sycamore Group, is a co-founder of Seawall Development, a company that develops affordable housing for teachers and mixed-use community space for non-profits. Thibault’s company led the critically acclaimed development projects creating Union Mill and Miller’s Court in the Hampden and Remington/Charles Village neighborhoods of Baltimore.

Leonora (Lola) Manekin, co-event advocate for the Sycamore Group,is a co-founder of BlueGreen Acupuncture & Bodywork in Towson. She was born and raised in Florianopolis, Brazil where she received her bachelor's degree in "Naturologia" and learned how to treat patients through various forms of therapies, such as reflexology and aromatherapy.

Brad Rogers, co-event advocate for the Birch Group,is a father and serial co-founder of social- and environment-minded building firms, including Baltimore Green Construction and Baltimore Landmark Homes. Brad recently served as the Community Projects Manager at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center, and is a self-proclaimed “marginally adequate guitar player.”

James Stierhoff, co-event advocate for the Oak Group,is a Baltimore native who works for Brown Advisory. Outside of work, James rides as an accomplished steeplechase jockey. He is best known for his partnership with “Twill Do” which has resulted in two Maryland Hunt Cup victories for the pair in 2010 and 2012 respectively.

Jennifer Strasbaugh, co-event advocate for the Birch Group, directed the Thomas Segal Gallery, a private art gallery in Baltimore, from 1996-2010. She now works as an independent fine arts appraiser, teaches at Towson and Stevenson Universities, and is mother to her eight-year old son.

Visual Artists:

E.L. Briscoe is a professor at Morgan State University. He works from photographs, and for this project will spend part of one day getting to know his subject(s), and then create images from there.

Zoë Charlton approach is to convey story through a combination of pose, expression, distortion, make-up, and accessories or clothing. She works from life.

Ian MacLean Davis’ work is more conceptual than literal: his “portraits” draw from images, stories and biography; in abstracting his imagery they take on private meaning.

Paris Johnson works “in a cartoon style done super realistically. "He likes to draw from life and photographs, and his methodology will vary in this project from portrait to portrait.

Tiffany Jones is an artist based in Baltimore. After hearing their life stories she will photograph her subjects in a way that will best reflect their story.

Nicole Buckingham Kern currently works at CCBC managing the galleries and teaching art. For this project, she will arrange photo shoots and make drawings from the photos.

Ernest Shaw is an artist and educator, teaching and inspiring young people in a variety of settings. His approach is to work from photographs.


Fire Angelou (a.k.a. Nakia Brown), writer for the Sycamore Group, is a dynamic, disastrous yet dainty woman of words. Influenced by the powerful movement of Hip Hop culture fused with the essence of short-story writing, Angelou provides a unique story-telling experience through her use of lyricism, entendres, and multi-syllable devices.

Jeremy Chase-Israel, writer for the Maple Group, is a graduate of Goucher College. A writer and amateur cryptozoologist, he has authored a number of short stories. Locally, his work has appeared in Baltimore City Paper and What Weekly Magazine.

Kevin Griffin Moreno, writer for the Chestnut Group, is an actor, shape note singer, and founder of The Potluck, an occasional arts and storytelling series. He has appeared onstage as part of the Stoop Storytelling series, Baltimore Playwrights’ Festival, and in many other plays and storytelling events.

Jen Grow, writer for the Oak Group, is the Fiction Editor of Little Patuxent Review. Her stories have earned nominations for Best New American Voices and a Pushcart Prize. Her collection, My Life as a Mermaid and Other Stories, won the Dzanc Books Short Story Collection Competition and is forthcoming in 2015.

Art Vandalay (a.k.a. Victor Rodgers), writer for the Birch Group, is a Baltimore-based spoken word artist, who performs at dozens of events around the city, and is involved in leading several spoken word workshops, open-mics, and community events that inspire youth and adults to express themselves through poetry and performance.

Steve Levya, writer for the Ash Group,is the co-creator of the poetry reading series, Kick Assonance, which was named a “critic’s pick” by Time Out New York in 2011. His first collection, Low Parish, was published earlier this year. Steve holds a MFA from the University of Baltimore, where he teaches in the undergraduate writing program.

Laura Shovan, writer for the Poplar Group,is a Maryland poet, author, and educator. After moving to Maryland in 1999, Ms. Shovan became an Artist-in-Education with the Maryland State Arts Council, conducting poetry workshops for school children. She now teaches poetry workshops throughout the region.

Youth Art Groups:

901 Arts, youth art program for the Oak Group, is a community-based youth arts center dedicated to providing art and music programs to the children and teens of the Better Waverly neighborhood. Founded by parents and adults in the neighborhood, 901 Arts is a project of the Better Waverly Community Organization.

Encouraging The World, co-youth art program for the Maple Group, engages Baltimore's youth (ages 12-18) through acts of service both locally and abroad, in order to increase their global competence and local community involvement.

Goaldiggers: The Sankofa Project, youth art program for the Birch Group, connects underserved teen girls of African descent to education and college. The program includes mentoring, college readiness training, guest lectures, educational trips, group projects, and fostering empowerment in the young women.

Muse 360 Arts, youth art program for the Chestnut Group, is a non-profit organization that uses the arts to educate, build confidence, instill discipline, and drive cultural awareness for Baltimore youth, while creating and empowering leaders in the Baltimore community.

TwentyOne0six (2106), youth art program for the Ash Group, is a ministry committed to developing and jumpstarting careers of young artists. 2106 promotes modesty and incorporates it into any interested individuals career—from runway modeling, print modeling, music production, to everything in between.

Unchained Talent, youth art program for the Sycamore Group, is a youth-driven performing arts and mentoring program, using the arts as a hook to keep youth engaged in their education and their lives. Its after-school programs use a variety of arts activities to capture and focus the attention of young people on their education and lives.

Walks of Art, co-youth art program for the Maple Group, created to fill the void between urban youth and the arts, provides a forum or young people to showcase and build upon their talents and interests. It offers out of school time workshops to allow youth to channel energy into positive outlets, in secure and organized environments.

The Youth Resiliency Institute, youth art program for the Poplar Group, through an arts-based Rites of Passage process, offers training and services to children, youth, and adults to create civically engaged, intergenerational teams of community-based advocates working to form a healthier and stronger Baltimore.