Saturday Series

Saturday Series: Inclusion in the Arts – Shameka Andrews

This week (8/1 at 8pm), we are excited to welcome Shameka Andrews to ITOWNY’s Series on Inclusion in the Arts!

About Shameka:

Shameka Andrews is a disability advocate and consultant she provide resources to people with disabilities, their families and community organizations. She currently is the Community Outreach Coordinator for the Self-Advocacy Association of NYS. The Self-Advocacy Association of New York is an organization for and run by people with development disabilities. SANYS helps people with developmental disabilities speak up for themselves and others.

Shameka is the author of the children’s book Butterfly on Wheels and has collaborated with other author book projects such as Behind the Smile : 15 Women Who Survived the Storm

Shameka is a member of the Commissioners Advisory Council of the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. She also serves on the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, The board of Catholic Charities Disability Service. Shameka has an Associates Degrees in Business Management from Mildred Elley Business School.

In 2006, Shameka was the title Ms. Wheelchair NY after being second runner up in 2005. Ms. Wheelchair America is an organization that promotes Disability Awareness and celebrates and the accomplishments of women and girls in wheelchairs.

In 2013 Shameka became the State Coordinator for the Ms. Wheelchair NY Program

When she is not working Shameka loves traveling, listening to music and going to Zumba and Yoga classes.

This is a FREE event! Email to register!

Saturday Series

Saturday Series: Inclusion in the Arts – Amy D. Shephard-Teal

This Saturday, 7/25 at 8pm, we have the honor of having Amy D. Shephard-Teal hang out with us and discuss inclusion in the arts!

About Amy:

Amy teaches both private voice lessons and the Sophomore and Junior voice classes at Niagara University. She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and a Master of Music in Music Education with NY Teaching Certification from The Eastman School Of Music. Amy enjoys a busy and diverse teaching and performing career in the WNY region. As a performer, she has been described as “delightful in her absolutely-rock-solid performance” (Buffalo Rising), and “perfect in voice and comic timing,” (Buffalo News). As a classical artist, Professor Teal has performed with The Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Lytes, Opera Sacra, Cheektowaga Symphony, Amherst Chamber Ensemble, Genesee Valley Orchestra and Chorus, Erwin H. Johnson Memorial Fund Concert Series, Opera Buffs Concert Series, and Buffalo Opera Unlimited. Some of her operatic roles include Despina in Cosi Fan Tutte, Madame Warblewell in The Impresario, Susanna in The Marriage of Figaro, Gretel in Hansel and Gretel, Gianetta in The Elixir of Love, and Cunnegonde in Candide. A crossover artist, equally at home on the musical theatre stage, she has performed roles at Art Park, The Riviera, Lancaster Opera House, & O’Connell & Company. As an educator, she believes in creating strong relationships with her students and in fostering mutual respect. She was honored to be nominated by a student and included in “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” Music Honors Edition, as a “teacher who made a difference”. Her students have won contests, and placed in competitions such as, Classical Singer Magazine, Golden Voices of America, BPO Idol, The 10,000 Maniacs tour and NBC’s The Voice. In addition to her work at NU, Amy directs plays and musicals for Lewiston Porter School District and owns and operates Teals Niagara Theatre & Music at The Niagara Arts & Cultural Center in Niagara Falls.

See you at 8pm on Saturday.

Saturday Series

Saturday Series: Inclusion in the Arts – Verneice Turner


ITOWNY’s Special Saturday Series returns THIS SATURDAY, July 11, 2020 at 8pm EDT on Zoom with the magnificent Verneice Turner!

To register in advance, please email For the safety of our attendees, the zoom meeting information will be .posted on our Facebook page Saturday. We look forward to this incredible event!

About Verneice:

Verneice Turner, performance artist, Artie award winning actor, a director is a native of Buffalo, NY. She started out at the African American Cultural Center, studying drama under June L. Saunders-Duel.. She continued her studies in the performing arts at SUNY at Buffalo. She has worked with directors Edward G. Smith, Saul Elkin, Richard Gant, Lorna C. Hill and others. Verneice is happy to be a guest of ITOWNY!

Verneice has performed in numerous productions here in WNY as well as in New York City (off off & off-Broadway), Washington, D.C. and other cities as an actor, singer, dancer and poet. She ran the art space Buffalo East from 2009-13 and grateful to have shared that experience with so many other artists & young people.

Verneice is thankful to and for all who contribute to her growth as an artist, a person, especially late husband, Douglas H. May & their daughter, Jasmine L. May.

Saturday Series

Saturday Series: Inclusion in the Arts – Julio Montalvo Valentin

This Saturday, June 13, 2020 at 8pm EDT, poet Julio Valentin joins ITOWNY’s Special Series on inclusion in the arts! This week we’ll also discuss social justice issues and their impact on the arts.

The event, as always, is free and open to the public. ALL are welcome!! Hope to see you there!!

(For the safety of our visitors, the link to the event will be posted in the comments of this post at 7pm on 6/13)

More about Julio:

Julio Montalvo Valentin (they/them) is the author of three chapbooks, Those Who Pray to Rice (NightBallet Press, 2019), Don’t Give up the Ship and Ship Lost (CWP Press, 2016; 2017). Julio was a guest editor for Mutata Re, Plurality Press, Portrait, and co-founder of the late Cringe-Worthy Poets Collective. Their work has been published in Thimble Literary Magazine, Cavity, Bangor Literary Journal, and Aisthesis: The Interdisciplinary Honors Journal. Their work has been anthologized in Boricua en la Luna: An Anthology of Puerto Rican Voices, A Flash of Dark, Mansion, and My Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry. Aside from being a Poetry Editor for Coffin Bell Journal and Variety Pack, Julio is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in English Literature while working on their next project; converting a school bus into a poetry caravan.