Founder and Executive Director
Frank Jackson, Founder and Director of Art For Progress (AFP), is an entrepreneur, businessman, DJ and music producer. Frank is a graduate of Pennsylvania State University.
After moving to NYC from Washington D.C. in early 1997, he immersed himself in the culture and diversity of the city. During this time, Frank had the opportunity to meet many artistic people including visual artists, musicians, fashion designers, and the like. He realized that most of them, though extremely talented, were not very successful. In knowing many talented artists, and understanding the struggles they endured, he set out to create a truly “outside the box”, multi- faceted organization that could achieve many positive results for both the artists and his community: he saw an opportunity to apply his business knowledge in the arts world.
With the launch of AFP’s art education program in 2006, the organization’s programs were set and Franks focus shifted to fulfilling AFP’s mission.
Through the years, Art For Progress has provided opportunities and valuable resources for many gifted artists and arts programming for hundreds of NYC public school students. Today, Frank continues to shape this prospering organization’s vision and development.
Arts Education Coordinator
Our Arts Education Coordinator, Barry Komitor is an artist and musician living in Brooklyn. Having grown up in Livingston, New Jersey; Barry developed an early interest in the arts through theater and music. A High School summer trip to France further ignited his interest in visual arts and architecture. Attending Middlebury College in Vermont, Barry received a B. A. in Art with an Architecture emphasis, studying under sculptor Eric Nelson among others in Vermont. A junior year in Paris with the Sarah Lawrence College program afforded him the opportunity to study drawing and painting under reknown Chilean painter Enrique Zanartu, an apprentice of Joan Miro. Barry has since focused on music production, songwriting, and playing guitar and bass in numerous projects across the musical spectrum, including dates with Buddy Miles of Jimi Hendrix’s Band Of Gypsies, and Bernie Worrell of Funkadelic and Talking Heads. His passion for education was borne out of a desire to always stay connected to youth and personal development. This was partially inspired by a unit at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, California on Early Childhood Education, where he gained insight into the human developmental process, and recognized that the same principles apply throughout our lives.
Allyson Jacobs, a native of Baker, Louisiana, has been involved in fashion design her entire life. From the age of three, she assisted her mother, Jean Jacobs, a designer of Mardi Gras gowns and headpieces. Jean taught Allyson about fabric, fit and style, which is the foundation of Allyson Jacobs Design.
Her clothing line, called Allyson Jacobs, is comprised of couture gowns and suits, as well as high-quality ready-to-wear pieces. Her clothing brings together the best of New York, with uptown quality and downtown cool. She has established a following in New York, Los Angeles, and Palm Beach, and plans to next enter the international fashion arena.
Allyson premiered her line at the first Art for Progress event in May, 2004, and has since become involved in the organization. As the Fashion Director, she works to seek out and support other emerging fashion and accessory designers who exhibit artistic talent and determination. Fashion shows are held throughout the year, and produced by Allyson. Designers are encouraged to become involved in the planning process, with the show reflecting their own style and message.
As the Fashion Director of Art for Progress, Allyson is working to establish the organization as a place to find exceptional emerging designers and artists in the fashion industry. With fashion-focused events taking place during New York Fashion Week, a few designers can collectively have a bold presence on the fashion landscape. Fashion illustrators and photographers are exposed to the industry as well, with exhibitions of their work being held during the events.
Manager of Event Production and Technology
Seiji Nakano has been living an eclectic, fulfilled, international life. He left his mother-country, Japan when he was 16, lived in New Zealand for 2 years and moved to the UK in 2005. During this time he managed to also spend a lot of time in many countries in Europe as well as New York. Seiji’s been involved in a number of artistic projects as a producer, manager and performer. He enjoys being creative and integrating his new ideas into his many projects.
He produced his first entertainment show in 2005, and in the following year, produced and directed an artistic planetarium installation. He also led the conceptual club nights project “Fusion Liverpool” and organized three club nights in Liverpool. As a freelance arts manager and web designer, he has been assisting a number of arts projects in both development and management. Recently, Seiji has written a few marketing research papers for a licensing company based in London, UK.
Currently, Seiji is conducting several diverse arts projects as a producer and manager for Little Sugar, and planning to expand his creativity. As an artist, he plays Shamisen (Japanese Instrument) and percussions in a band, hapytap. Hapytap has been performing in the UK and continues to create contemporary artistic projects. Seiji has been involved in Art For Progress since AFP’s second annual arts competition in 2007 and he plans to contribute to its mission in any disciplines.
Born in Osaka, Japan- 1986
Graduated Rangitoto College, Auckland, New Zealand 2004
Graduated BA (Hons) Arts, Music and Entertainment Management course at Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts 2008
Manhattan-based publicist Staci Smith has been doing press and events for 9 years with a focus on Arts & Entertainment, Lifestyle, and Publishing.
While Smith may now have her hands full with Arts & Culture clients – she originally began her career as a Healthcare and Pharmaceutical publicist. However, her own background in the arts as a singer and actress swayed her to steer her publicity career in another direction.
Now having worked with many different types of clients – in both press and marketing capacities – she enjoys and has become known for finding inventive ways to help clients reach a wider audience with recent media placements in The New York Times, USAToday, New York magazine, Surface Magazine, ZinK magazine, Bust Magazine, HX, Time Out, WABC-TV’s The Early Show, Fox Good Day New York, and CBS Sunday Morning.