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Shirley Sarmiento

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Shirley Sarmiento earned a Master of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2000. She is the Co-founder/Producer of Buffalo Urban Arts and has worked with over 100 unknown, upcoming local artists of various mediums to evolve their individual projects and complete them for public viewing. She also has arranged readings, performances, and workshops for the artists.

Ms. Sarmiento's professional and literary accomplishments are extensive. Her screenplay, Tolley's Place, was selected for the second round at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. She taught the Coppertown Writer's Workshop at the Langston Hughes Institute and was recruited to be a host for the International Women's Playwrights Conference in Buffalo. She worked in casting for the major motion picture The Natural which was filmed in Buffalo. In addition, she is editor of Urban Arts' first anthology, Drum Beats. In 1999, she produced her first play, The Meeting, at Hallwalls' Black 'n Blue Theater. She has organized numerous poetry group, rap readings, and plays in alternative places throughout Buffalo and Western New York. Ms. Sarmiento also received the 1999 New York State Arts Council individual artist's award.

Prior to the above-referenced work, she was a product of the CETA program where she developed her outreach and recruitment skills as an orator (rapper). She spent several years as a community health worker responsible for counseling youth and families.

She has several works in progress including two plays, a film, several short stories, and has submitted her autobiography, 2Black and 2Powerful, for publication review.

In 1980, Ms. Sarmiento worked at the battered women's shelter, Haven House, where she counseled abused women and their children and advocated for families in the courtroom. She was a Peace Advocate Educator and conducted a program on alternatives to the military for city and suburban high schools. Through the Peace Center she became a national committee member at the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is very active in the community and continues to volunteer for numerous agencies.

She has organized lectures and workshops at Orleans Public Library, Canisius College, Gloria J. Parks Community Center, Hallwalls, Inc., Burchfield-Penny Art Center, WBNY-FM radio, Wendy Correctional Facility, Just Buffalo Literary Center, Inc., and Gemini, Inc.

Ms. Sarmiento is the mother of a daughter who is studying to become a librarian. She also has two grandsons, Damiko and Joshua.