Founder / Artistic Director
Bernard Martinez is the founder / artistic director of ME Arts! He studied Musical Theater at the historically prestigious Howard University concentrating in dance, acting and directing.
He received the honorable Debbie Allen Trustee and Special Talent Scholarship and Academia Who's Who.
Bernard has served as artistic / creative director for Miss Black USA Pageant, Cast of Fame road tour and Black Entertainment Television (BET) among others.
As kids, Bernard and his sister Wanda were singers for Austin's legend "Joe Valentine", they tour all over Texas. When Bernard was a teenager he started his own breakdance company "Cosmos Crew" who open for the legendary "Grand Master Flash" and the infamous "Harlem Globetrotters". He also staged, choreographed for touring performance arts company "Road To Fame".
For the past seven years to current, Bernard developed enrichment programs, co-ordinates and produces programmes for the Austin Parks and Recreation Dept. while also teaching robotics and coding. He also does community service work by mentoring youth in under served neighborhoods.
Bernard's varied experiences have shaped his unique sensibilities and provide a deep knowledge of what it takes to create, market and grow a progressive, cutting edge performing arts program
Bernard has also created iconic images for "Outkast" and collaborating some of the biggest names in the arts entertainment business. His work as a creative video image consultant has been seen in videos for Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Dave Matthews Band, L'il Wayne, Enrique Iglesias and in promotional trailers for John Travolta, William H. Macey and Martin Lawrence to name a few. His television credits include fashion correspondants for red carpet events for E! Entertainment News, the Grammys, the Academy Awards, Ellen, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live and others.
While proud of his success in teh entertainment arena, Bernard's first love and life's mission has been his work in arts education with a focus on children. "In a community as diverse as ours, the arts serve as an essential bridge to educate across language and cultural differences. Me Arts! mission is to provide the skills children need to be successful by designing programs which are culturally enriching, stimulate creative expression, build self esteem and improve academic achievement" say Bernard. Guided by this passion, he has always found a way to stay connected to programs and causes that support the artistic development of young people
Kimberly C. Gaines
Kimberly also has a Master of Arts in Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design. She has taught photography and design to youth for over ten years. Her educational and non-profit experience has included media empowerment facilitation for youth and adults, curriculum development and management. Kimberly continues to do freelance photography and design which has led to many professional accomplishments including the Museum of the African Diaspora permanent exhibition, work for the Smithsonian Institutions͛ National Portrait Gallery, the American University͛s Katzen Arts Center and in the photo archives of Washington Express Newspaper and Washington City Paper.
In 2012, with fellow residents in the Deanwood community, she served as the Creative Director for the ArtPlace Temporium Grant awarded to the Deanwood x Design project. The project was a 5-month event that brought arts and entertainment to the ward 7 community which ordinarily has limited resources or connections to the arts. Building partnerships with the Center for Green Urbanism and the East of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative brought an impacting presentation of the arts to the community.
Kimberly is dedicated to creating programming for children, youth and families that honors the arts and culture in a 21st century atmosphere.
Always pushing for positive images of Blacks in the arts, Courtney has developed tributes presented before legendary leaders Maya Angelou, Cicely Tyson and Congressman John Lewis among others. Courtney wrote and directed the debut tributes for the U.S. Postal Service͛s African-American stamps honoring Paul Robeson (2004) and Marian Anderson (2005). He was a master teacher at Britney Spear’s Summer Arts Camp on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Courtney has worked with Diana Ross, Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Frenchie Davis, Tony Terry and many more. He has directed or taught notables including Cornelius Smith, Jr. (Scandal), Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black), Corey Hawkins (Straight Out of Compton), Isaiah Johnson (The Color Purple---Broadway) and numerous others.
In 2005, Courtney co-founded Restoration Stage, Inc., the premier Black-owned and operated theater company in the Washington, DC area. Perhaps best known for the critically-acclaimed musical ͞THE TRUTH, Restoration Stage, Inc. has been featured on AOL Black Voices, in CLIK Magazine, The Bleu Magazine, on Rod2.0.com, in The Washington Blade, Metro Weekly and in numerous newspaper articles. Other Restoration Stage, Inc. productions include All That Glitters, Chocolate Covered Ants, Drag On, The First Lady, Veils, and Silver Foxes.
In 2008, Courtney developed an original production for Dekalb County Schools in Atlanta, GA called They Keep Coming-Voices of the Civil Rights Movement. In 2013, Restoration Stage, Inc. provided entertainment for Martin Luther King III͛s celebration of his father’s legacy as part of the 50th Anniversary commemoration of the historic March on Washington.