Emoti-Con is an annual “Con”-ference supporting youth to “Emote” or express themselves through digital media and technology. They share projects across a range of interest areas, and address pressing issues in their global, local, and learning environments. Emoti-Con is the largest event of its kind amongst informal learning programs in New York City. The event has been developed through a unique collaboration among NYC youth-serving organizations and Hive NYC Learning Network members, including MOUSE, Urban Arts Partnership, the New York Public Library, and Parsons The New School for Design. Emoti-Con addresses the need for cross-institutional collaboration and provides the much needed venue for youth to get offline and connect through their common identity as youth media producers and technologists.

Watch our 2014 Orientation Webinar to learn more about participating. Note that all dates reflect the 2014 event, view the Emoti-Con 2015 Link above for dates and links to 2015 registration (available in March).


The Emoti-Con! Design Fellows are the youth who make Emoti-Con happen! Design Fellows work on graphic design projects (signs, t-shirts, flyers), post on social media to spread the word and get people excited, and help teens get prepared to participate. They also help plan the day, coming up with ideas for everything from swag and giveaways to what speakers should be on the stage. On the day of Emoti-Con, the Design Fellows are the greeters, MCs, and show-runners, and create a brand-new game or design challenge every year that every single person who comes to Emoti-Con participates in!

Chloe Crawford: Having been an artist for most of my recollected life, I have struggled with finding the right way to use my extensive artistic vocabulary without finding some kind of pretentious tint or overly dramatic undertone in my pieces due to my of limited experience in the world. I am drawn to specifics in others’ pieces, and then in true magpie form, take and collect these entities for my own pleasure, in the hopes of someday creating something as captivating. The deafening sound of doubt echos through my mind, but I have found solace in my duplicitous artistic function. I am drawn to horror movies, glitter, nature, romanticism, music and pros, and find the juxtaposition of the old and new completely fascinating. As an artist, I find myself baffled by the stunt in my creativity due to the restrictions of my own mind at times, and try every day to push and escape myself. In a world full of tests, celebrities, tragedy and history, all I want to do convey is truth and play a satirical joke on those who take themselves too seriously.

Natashna Anderson: I work in the opposite. The final idea already fully vivid in my mind. I scramble to sketch and draw it out-then think of how I’m going to create such a thing. Working backwards, allows me to figure out the cause and effects of my choices and how they change my final product. One change of direction, color swap, material choice. Working very graphically and with plenty of wording, they come together seamlessly to form the foundation of my work.

Milanie Peters: My art emphasizes the visual effect of how color takes a huge impact on a person’s emotions. Choosing to draw with pencil to show the depth of black and white. Visualizing a world with no color. Coloring one aspect of the drawing to show the significance of how color triggers one’s feeling. All throughout my life I was exposed to many varieties of art. It all started at age seven, when my older sister drew flowers on the walls of our home. I remember trying the best of my ability to copy her work. However at a young age, I knew I wanted to convert her drawings into my version. To show the comparison of what makes me different from others…The sky is the limit they say, but what if going beyond into space or out of the box is more important. So anything can be limitless. It’s up to you.

Aiden Molina-Gameos: Art is everything, when it comes to architecture in the city, paintings in a museum, or the silly drawings in my book. My belief is that, no matter what you dedicate your time to, if you’re creating and you’re enjoying your time doing it, you’re an artist. I’ve been drawing ever since I was crawling, from sharpies on post-its and now with slightly less smelly markers and bigger paper. I’ve wanted to be an animator my whole life, and maybe even draw my own comic books. Whatever it may be, I want to dedicate my life to visual arts!

Mickell Ford II: I never used to see myself as an artist. I thought an “artist” was someone who is good at drawing, painting, or sculpting, and I was awful at all three. But, I understood that art was all about expression, and I plan to learn all different ways to express myself. I’m a poor black guy from the Bronx, surrounded by other minorities all of my life, and one thing I’ve noticed about my generation is that we fear and avoid expression. I used to be afraid of showing any emotion or creative expression, because it turned me into a target for my peers’ blind malice.Over time I realized that what they thought about my passions didn’t matter, and would only impede my happiness, and my ambition to become a game designer. Eventually I realized I could unite my deep love of gaming with my desire to express myself”

Bonnie Tang: I am not usually an artsy person. My strongest passion is expressing myself through writing and so I do a lot of writing here and there. The work that I have contributed for Emoti-Con mainly revolves around technology such as social media platforms. Although I am more of a writer/historian rather than a visual artist, when I doodle, my inspiration stems from events that are of our contemporary such as the 2016 presidential election. Other times, it reflects social issues prevalent in society such as the broken legal system through the creation of political cartoons.

Hala Saif: I see art different from other people , when people look at art they see drawing, painting,acting etc .. my point of view of art can be whatever you believe art is . you can say i see things different from everyone else but if everyone saw art the same way there will be no creativity and everyone will be the same and that’s boring , creativity comes from being unique. In emoti-con there is something for everyone creativity comes in all different forms . i express my creativity be using technology and emoti-con helped me with that .

Luis Feliz: Ever since i was a child, I’ve had a fascination with video games. My work revolves around designing videogames because unlike a simple book or movie, video games can be more engaging. You can make a open world game and make the player feel like they’re really climbing a mountain or make a horror game where the person feels like they are actually in a haunted house. With videogames the possibilities are literally endless.

Naloni Ferguson: I’ve always had a difficult time articulating how I’m feeling to other people. I have more memories of doing art more than having friends to speak to and nothing much has changed. I have used music as my main outlet but I also enjoy photography and illustration. There’s a certain left-brain type of form I try to capture whilst using right-brain abstract content. My creative roots stem from pastel colors and 17th century oil paintings as well as modern fashion illustrations. Aesthetic is often rather important to me, how things are curated are can change the idea my art conveys and I find it essential to take into account. Though I am not always completely happy with my work I still enjoy progressing in theme and style.

Naushin Khan: Since moving to this country, art has been a critical lifeline for me to explore my new home and to create a future. Art effects my life the instant I open my eyes to watch a beautiful sunrise. It teaches me history, and keeps me aware of current events that are happening throughout the world. Then, it allows me to respond to my world and share my opinions with spectators. My current art works reflects on my past, but also speaks of my future. They are fusion of my childhood memories and dreams. As a patron of art, I admire all forms of artworks that are either created by using technology or through physical painting or drawing. Coming to in Emoticon have helped me to expand my view of learning art in a new form. Being exposed to this new form of creating art, I’ve realized that there are many things that i have yet to discover and experience in order to vision myself as an artist

Stacy Martinez: When I produce art, the aesthetic comes first. I’m inspired by the world and the details that make the things in it visually appealing. For as long as I can remember, i’ve been inspired by different artist who’s work I’ve seen at school or online (A big inspiration to me would be Ebony Junior, a computer graphics teacher at the High School of Fashion Industries). I am into using any color that fits the mood of my art and what I want to draw, whether that be black and white or blue, red, yellow, etc. I wouldn’t compare my art to anyone else’s, simply because I believe in style and not everyone has the same. However, I can use other art to help me do better later on in my illustrating career. I like taking my time on my art pieces so that later on, I value it a lot more than just a rushed piece. When the piece is cared for, people understand the concept a lot more and it gives the artist a sense of pride and joy.

Caitlyn Pierre: Where you go, who you meet, and what you do in life to succeed is not only determined by your aspirations, it is determined by your actions. I’ve always had a profound love for the visual arts, studying everything from just drawing in sixth grade to visual merchandising currently.It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I learned what it is that I am most passionate about, advertising. Advertising in a sense is a social science. You’re learning what stirs people’s emotions and how you can invoke your own emotions to cause a chemical reaction. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution suggests that through the process of natural selection only the strongest will survive. I am a very hardworking student that wants to advance as an artist and a person. As E. Paul Torrance once stated, “You need courage to be creative. Just as soon as you have a new idea, you are a minority of one. And being a minority of one is uncomfortable — it takes courage!” You can’t let your fears of rejection or feeling belittled hold you back from greatness. Fear of the unknown is merely a social construct, don’t let it get to you.

Ken King: Create to change history not to Make it.

James W. Berry (Class TA): Strawberry

Milo Roth (Guest Fellow): In my eyes everything is art, but not everything is good art. The world around us if filled with unknow artist. The conversation I heard passing down the street, the beautiful engagement of sticks I saw in the park the other day, the scratched pattern in the dirt. All of this is not necessarily good, but it is nice. I love working from my indignation pulling these ideas that have been rattling around in my brain and combining them into something great, or something not so great. Whatever it is it’s there, and it makes me feel amazing.


Dixie Ching is a PhD in Educational Communication and Technology program at New York University, and leads the Youth Trajectories & Pathways Study for the Hive Research Lab, a two-year research-practice partnership between Mozilla Hive NYC Learning Network, Indiana University, and New York University. A former cell biologist, Dixie is interested in helping people see the relevance of science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM) to their lives and in developing a better-informed public through STEAM education. You can follow Dixie at @dixie_nyu.

Marc Lesser is a specialist in the field of educational technology and digital media for learning with broad experience designing programming and learning spaces in local and national learning contexts. Since March of 2008, Marc directs the design and development of web-based and live learning environments for MOUSE’s national program network. His experience is shaped by previous roles as an educator, trainer, and specialist in the area of arts, media, and technology education. Marc holds a Master’s degree from NYU’s Digital Media Design for Learning program, is the co-founder of Emoti-Con! NYC’s Youth Digital Media and Technology Festival, and in 2012 was named a National School Boards Association “20-to-Watch” among national leaders in education and technology. You can follow Marc at @malesser.

Armando Somoza is a NYC-based new media artist, social entrepreneur, and educator who has committed his life’s work to the empowerment of young people through the fusion of education, innovation and the creative arts. He is committed to the creative application of digital technologies as an agent of provocation, education, community empowerment, cultural entrepreneurship and change. Armando is a Program Director at Urban Arts Partnership, NYC’s largest and fastest growing arts education organization. UAP’s mission is to promote the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students and close the achievement gap. As Program Director, he leads three programs where he pilots new initiatives, including an advanced programming for high school students, college-age students, and Teaching Artists in Digital Media practices including Coding & Game Design, Digital Video, Music Production, Photography and Design. UAP delivers cutting-edge arts programs designed to develop student voice, strengthen academic performance and position graduates as agents of change in their communities.

Julia Vallera has been working in the arts as an educator, printmaker, public engagement artist, illustrator, consultant, production designer and installation artist for 14 years. She is a huge fan of technology and works with many people to invent new ways to use it for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) education. As Programs Manager at Hive Learning Network NYC Julia works with 55 cultural organizations to create new strategies that enable innovative education practices across the network. Together they create Connected Learning pathways for youth, educators, families, artists, programmers and more.

Jessica Walker directs the Summer and Pre-College Programs at Parsons The New School for Design. In this role she collaborates with faculty and community partners to develop workshops, classes and other opportunities for students to engage with art and design, portfolio development and college readiness. Jessica also teaches drawing and digital media within the undergraduate program at Parsons and is a practicing artist and filmmaker. Her work focuses on the overlap between creative practice and social science. Jessica’s latest project, “366” is a documentary film in which she meets with New Yorkers on their birthday to document how this day is spent across different age groups and cultures.