Introducing Hiram Cray, Art Force 5 Teaching Fellow

ALFRED, NY – Alfred University’s team of creativity superheroes welcomes Hiram Cray as their first teaching fellow, a position funded through the State University of New York (SUNY) Performance Improvement Fund. Hiram will serve as a mentor and professor for the Art Force 5 program which has received national attention for their use of art to help communities address divisive issues. As part of the fellowship, Hiram will also be researching and developing new methods in which the arts may serve struggling communities.  

Hiram will oversee the Art Force 5 as they continue to provide their workshops and community-art programs to a dozen peer institutions throughout New York State during the 2018-2019 academic year. Hiram, a Buffalo native and graduate of Buffalo State College, will also be investigating the feasibility of an Art Force 5 Buffalo team to be tentatively launched in the summer of 2019. The Art Force 5 just concluded a similar summer residency on Manhattan’s Governors Island, serving NYC residents and visitors with engaging art initiatives. In 2016, a Rochester Art Force 5 summer team partnered with the Democrat and Chronicle Newspaper and Rochester Police Department to build projects to engage residents in difficult conversations. It is conceivable that summer 2019 will see the creation of three distinct summer teams in Buffalo, Rochester, and New York City.  

Hiram has more than twenty years of experience working in the community as an activist and artist. Starting out as a young activist in his community involved with 50 Women with a Vision on Jefferson Ave to help community wellness by participating in street beatification and resource accessibility within supermarkets, libraries, and media centers. Hiram’s early and continued civic participation has cultivated a deep rooted passion for community building and teaching. He was the lead teaching artist at Buffalo Center for the Arts and Technology, where he taught a diverse body of students ranging from adults, teens, and the incarcerated individuals. Hiram comes to Alfred University with a BFA from Buffalo State College, and Certification in 3 phases of welding from QTTI. He' recently graduated from Buffalo State College with a Master of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies with the goal of attaining a PhD in Art Practice.

His diverse vocational background includes experience in Maxillofacial Prosthetics at Columbia University & Bronx VA Hospital, work as a life skills coach and family resource specialist at Gateway-Longview, school support specialist / case manager at Mid-Erie, and an assistant martial arts instructor @ Summit Martial Arts. Hiram has worked as a traditional art teacher with various organizations and schools which include Tapestry Charter, Locust St Art, Langston Hughes Center and Albright-Knox Museum of Modern Art. Hiram’s work with youth includes children with emotional and developmental delays and he is certified in both Cultural Competency and DSW.

Hiram will begin his post at Alfred University on Tuesday, August 21 and can be reached at . Questions and requests regarding the Art Force 5may be mailed to

Dan Napolitano