Our Team

The community engagement process of ArtSí Charlotte is supported by volunteer artists and community leaders who believe in the mission and the goals of this initiative.

ArtSí’s volunteer group is comprised of a diverse group of artists, from visual artists to writers and poets. Likewise, our volunteer artists come from different Latin American countries, including Mexico, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia, as well as from the United States.


ArtSí Community Leaders  2013 – 2015

Led by the Director of Membership Engagement, this group of volunteers will provide on-going feedback to ArtSí’ steering committee and will support programs and events execution by fostering stronger grassroots connections for the initiative.



Claudia Soria / Director


Through painting Claudia Soria has been able to unleash her creative side. From the moment she started painting, her style has evolved from painting in a realistic style to a more natural and fluid style that borrows light and color from the impressionists and surface and brushstroke from modern and abstract painters.

Claudia has been painting with renowned artist Andy Braitman since 2005. She has also taken workshops from renowned artists including pastel and oil artist Greg Barnes and figure and portrait artist Miriam Durkin.  She travels to her native Bolivia every year where she paints under the instruction of Bolivian painter Oscar Rodriguez since 2002.Traveling has provided Claudia with a diverse array of views for her landscape paintings which include images from North Carolina and Bolivia.  Although Claudia’s work has focused on landscapes, still life and figure in oil, she is currently experimenting with collage and mixed media techniques.

Recently, Claudia participated in the 2013 Arte Latino Now exhibition at Queens University of Charlotte, in the 2012 Latin American Festival, in the 2012 “In the Eye of Art” – Blue, Green, and Yellow exhibitions at Gil Gallery, in the 2012 Art for Autism event, an exhibition of regional artists benefiting the Autism Foundation of the Carolinas, and in the 2011 Annual Holiday Square Show at Providence Gallery in Charlotte.

Claudia lives in Charlotte NC with her husband and three children.

For more information about Claudia, or to contact her, choose one of the following options:

Email: claudia@artsicharlotte.org

Website: www.claudia-soria.com

LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/claudiasoria/

Twitter: @cbsoria

Facebook: facebook.com/claudia.b.soria.7


Jose G. Vazquez / Community Leader


Art is man’s pathetic attempt to emulate God.  – jgv

A self-described ArteSano (artisan), he was born in Mexico and has resided in Charlotte, NC since 1996. Writes poetry and prose, he is also a photographer and creates sculptures and paintings mostly with found materials. Vazquez believes that things, like people, deserve a second chance.  He can’t sing.

For more information about Jose, or to contact him, please choose one of the following options:

Email: jose@artsicharlotte.org

Website: artesanosdelapalabra.wordpress.com

Facebook: facebook.com/jose.g.vazquez.9



Kurma Murrain / Community Leader

Kurma Murrain graduated from the Universidad Nacional de Colombia and is a published writer and poet. Her works include a book of poems titled “Esta Soy” (This who I am) published in 1998 and various other literary works here in the United States.

Her poetry has appeared in international journals and online magazines such as El Tiempo, Que Pasa Mi Gente, La Noticia, Label Me Latino/a, and Iodine. In addition, she has translated books from English to Spanish that include “Life in the Shadow of the Swastika” by Frieda Roos-Van Hessen and “Honoring God with my Life” by Miriam Nadler.

She is a founding member of Charlotte’s ArteSanos de la Palabra - a group of poets who enrich the cultural and literary scene of the Queen City. She has volunteered with programs like ArtSi, Gil Project (Flag of Hope) and other arts education initiatives.

Kurma currently teaches high school mathematics and English as a Second Language with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, and is also part of the Charlotte Teachers Institute initiative participating in mathematics and literature seminars at Davidson College. In her free time, she teaches Zumba and tutors children and adults in Spanish. Her love of writing is best exemplified in her poetry readings that take place around Charlotte.

For more information about Kurma, or to schedule a poetry reading, please choose one of the following options:

Email: kurma@artsicharlotte.org

Website: artesanosdelapalabra.wordpress.com

Twitter: @kurma2011

Facebook: facebook.com/KurmaMurrain



Lynette Hinman / Community Leader

Lynette Hinman, a contemporary figurative artist, concentrated her studies in painting at the Ringling School of Art & Design in Sarasota, Florida. She spent nearly two years in residency at McColl Center for Visual Art, where she began experimenting with the use of roses in her work.

Lynette has demonstrated her technique of painting with petals for the Charlotte Artists Society, which gave the public a glimpse into her soft, emotional style of rendering images that embrace yearning, symbolism and complex spirituality. Her paintings and drawings have been shown in several group exhibitions including venues in Charlotte, Florida, New York, and France.  For the past 13 years, Lynette has been sharing her knowledge of Art with thousands of Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary school students as a full-time instructor of the North Carolina Visual Arts Curriculum.  Lynette realizes the importance of life-long learning, as she continues to develop her skills as an artist and teacher inspired by the developing cultural diversity of the Queen City.

For more information about Lynette, or to contact her, please choose one of the following options:

Email: lynette@artischarlotte.org

Website: www.theartistrose.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/lynette.hinman



Monica Veckruise / Community Leader

I was born in a little village located at the foot of the magnificent Andes Mountains outside Lima-Peru.

Growing up in a third world country in a modest family certainly had its joys and also challenges.

I spent school and college years in Lima and graduated with a Bachelor in Education and Major in Linguistic and Arts. I enjoyed my early teaching experiences and loved my students.

In 1995, I boarded a plane and entered the US with a small bag and tons of dreams. New York City was the first city. I start experiencing my new life in America.

Soon thereafter I moved to Charlotte, NC  I enrolled in an ‘Art in Metal’ class at CPCC.  It was the fulfillment of a dream for me. I grew up seen my father working with a torch and those memories had made the great impression on me while it was shaping my artistic side. This experience did open new creative doors to me.

After a year or so, I got the opportunity to further create my skills with canvas, oil and acrylics. I entered yet another art class. My instructor was the well-known local artist Elizabeth Ross, and my first class was full of very talented artists. I was learning in a very rich and encouraging environment. During the initial semester, I learned from everyone and the experiences and education they brought to class.  At the end of that semester, my very first oil painting was selected for the Annual Art competition at CPCC. With my pride and feeling of accomplishment, I knew that for sure I was heading in the right direction. Painting was my passion, and I was driven to continue which I do to this day.

Since that awakening and acceptance of my art in the year of 2003, painting has become even more of a passion and one in which I intend to spend more time and discovery.

My early style I consider was more a contemporary Impressionism capturing movements and nature, and later I started developing an abstract style, finding in this style a way to express my deepest feeling and emotions.

For more information about Monica, or to contact her, please choose one of the following options:

Email: monica@artsicharlotte.org

Facebook: facebook.com/monica.veckruise.1