Managing Director Ana Laurel is a recent graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, where she served as editor of the Bayou Review.
2012-13 Artistic Team
VBB Artistic Director/ Founder Sehba Sarwar has been leading VBB since its inception. She is a writer, multidisciplinary artist and activist. Her published works include a novel (Black Wings, Alhamra, 2004), and essays, short stories, and poems (in journals, anthologies, and newspapers including the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Callaloo and Asia). Her video collages have been screened in Pakistan, Egypt, India and around the US. Sarwar has been visualizing and producing VBB shows since 1999, and she produces VBB's living room art productions. Contact: sehba<at>vbbarts.org
Teacher Workshop Faciltator Marcela Descalzi runs the Teacher Workshop: Writing for Self-Discovery workshops. Descalzi is a VBB co-founder, educator and performance artist and has been writing intensely and performing on stage for many years by herself and through Houston Playback Theatre. As an educator, she works with writers and performer ages nine through sixty-three; she is fascinated by the many ways art and community intermingle to produce sublime manifestations of beauty.
Project and Technical Coordinator Eric Hester is a photographer/ filmmaker, who served on VBB’s very first Board while he was still at high school. Since then, he has earned a bachelor’s degree from Rice University, and has exhibited his work with VBB as well as at other spaces around Houston.
Shadi Jam, born in Tehran, Iran, was raised in Houston, Texas and Stavanger, Norway. A licensed New York attorney, she spearheaded the International Department for the Royal Bank in Baku, Azerbaijan, she recently returned to Houston to begin The Party Czar, an event planning company. Volunteer Coordinator for the Texas Chapter of the ACLU, she serves on the Advisory Board of Zan Magazine, and is involved with the Houston Palestine Film Festival, Our Image Film Festival and Pink Iftar.
Jacsun Shah, (M.F.A., Ph.D.–Creative Writing, University of Houston), writes poetry and creative non-fiction. She is a founding member of VBB, has received grants from the Houston Arts Alliance, and serves as the primary instructor for VBB’s youth workshops. Contact: jacsun<at>vbbarts.org
Jennifer Palermo (MA, LPC) is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston Clear Lake and an undergraduate Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art and Art History from Rice University. She has specialized training in art therapy and her first decade plus long career was as an arts professional producing the Art Car Parade as Assistant Director of the Orange Show Center for the Visual Arts. Her interests include the transformative power of creative artistic expression and the implementation of social change through discourse.
Yunuen Perez Vertti serves as VBB's Production Manager. She is working alongside Sehba Sarwar on VBB's living room art productions. Originally from Mexico City, Vertti is a photographer and filmmaker. Her films have been screened at Fotofest and at the Michelle Brangwen Dance Ensemble. Vertti also manages VBB's website. Contact: yunuen<at>vbbarts.org
Filmmaker Faroukh Virani has created three documentaries about VBB, including our 10-year anniversary video and Patti Smith’s performance with VBB. Based in Los Angeles, Virani continues to work with actively with VBB to create videos about our work.