Robert D. Bielecki is a Miami-based patron of the arts with a concentration in creative improvised music and contemporary composition, a passion for literature, as well as a visual arts care-taker with a particular emphasis on new media and video.
At the age of fifteen, his life was forever changed upon hearing Cecil Taylor, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Steve Lacy, Morton Feldman, and John Cage (who he had the pleasure of meeting in 1992 prior to his passing).
Music became the launching pad for a voracious interest in culture writ large.
Pre-Foundation cultural philanthropy includes: Sponsorship of the Charles Gayle Lifetime Achievement Award at Vision Festival 19, lead supporter of Bang on a Can’s 2014 season, seat naming at Roulette, sponsor of a Boru O’Connell O’Brien performance at the Kitchen, 2014 underwriter of music programming at Jack NY, 2014 artist grant to Jesse Fleming under the auspices of LAND, Producer’s Circle of NMC Recordings, Executive Producer of recordings by Ideal Bread (Cuneiform Records), Harrison Bankhead Quartet (Engine Studios) as well as Jemeel Moondoc and Evan Parker / Sylvie Courvoisier recordings (Relative Pitch). He has commissioned composers Poul Ruders and Frederic Rzewski.
Mr. Bielecki is on the Museum of Modern Art’s Media and Performance Art Committee and the Whitney Museum of American Art’s Digital Art Acquisition Committee.
Recent investments include Veenome (sold to Integral Ad Science); UKnow: Smart Tools that Connect & Protect Digital Families; and the latest, Cuseum: Interactive, Socially Engaging and Context-Aware Mobile Apps for Museums.
In 2014, he decided to formalize his music, art and literary philanthropy through the Robert D. Bielecki Foundation. Its maxim is: Earn it and return it.
(Screen capture from Daniel Rozin’s Mirror No. 10, courtesy bitforms gallery)
Gale P. Elston is an Artists’ Rights advocate who has fought for expanded rights for artists for over 30 years. Arguing in Federal Courts and the Second Circuit notable cases have created new law for artists. She also operated an art gallery in New York’s East Village in the 1980’s.
Her non-profit experience includes: served as a founding Board member of artists’ space WhiteBox in NYC and as Executive Director; served as a Trustee of the Marin Headlands Artist In Residency program in Marin, California; founded non-profit ReCreate, a non-profit matching artists with resources; and served as Board Member of Faith Ringgold’s non- profit encouraging artist practices for children in Harlem and recognizing artists of the African-American and African diaspora.
Steve Swell was born in Newark, NJ and has been an active member of the New York City music community since 1975. He has toured and recorded with many artists from mainstreamers such as Lionel Hampton and Buddy Rich to so called outsiders as Anthony Braxton, Bill Dixon, Cecil Taylor and William Parker. He has over 40 CDs as a leader or co-leader and is a featured artist on more than 100 other releases. He runs workshops around the world and is a teaching artist in the NYC public school system focusing on special needs children.
Swell has worked on music transcriptions of the Bosavi tribe of New Guinea for MacArthur fellow, Steve Feld in 2000. His CD, “Suite For Players, Listeners and Other Dreamers” (CIMP) ranked number 2 in the 2004 Cadence Readers Poll. He has also received grants from USArtists International in 2006 an MCAF (LMCC) award in 2008 and 2013 and has been commissioned twice on the Interpretations Series at Merkin Hall in 2006 and at Roulette in 2012. In 2014 he received a Creative Curricula grant from the LMCC.
Steve was nominated for Trombonist of the Year 2008 and 2011 by the Jazz Journalists Association, was selected Trombonist of the Year 2008-2010, 2012 and 2014 by the magazine El Intruso of Argentina and received the 2008 Jubilation Foundation Fellowship Award of the Tides Foundation in recognition of his work in NYC public schools. Steve has been selected by the Downbeat Critics Poll in the Trombone category each year from 2010–2015.
(Photo of Steve Swell courtesy Peter Gannushkin / DOWNTOWNMUSIC.NET )