Seeing Voices


Nelson M Soto

Hi there, I’m Nelson!

My mission in this chapter of my life is to help change perceptions by shining a spotlight on collective artists from ethnic diversity.

With a heritage rich in artistic expression through music, song, visual arts, dance, costume and flavors in food, art has always been a part of me and has enriched the Vision for CAfED.

NYC Beginnings

Presently, I am a husband of 30 years to my wife Sandra, a dad of three, a grandfather of a precious baby boy named Zen Nebel and a dance instructor of a small business I've operated for 20 years created by an amazing children's movement program located in Roanoke, Virginia called Kinderdance International.

IMG_4912 (1)
DSCN3335 (2)


Rich Heritage & Culture

I remember grocery shopping with mom in great markets filled with fresh produce, freshly baked goods and the finest cooked dishes from Italy, Ireland, Poland, Germany, Spain and the Ukraine. I was too young to comprehend why we had to ride a city bus or train to get to the closest market where we lived to purchase produce or spices for Puerto Rican or Cuban cooking.


Life's Challenges

I also remember having constant butterflies in my stomach when I would hear conversation from our non-spanish speaking neighbors regarding rumors of wars, young folks strung out on drugs, people fighting and rioting in the streets. It was painful when I would see my mom in tears over reports of Martin Luther King, John F Kennedy, and reports of buildings collapsing from flames in several American States.

Escape to Places of Peace

Music & Dance


Escaping The Chaos

My sister Evelyn and I would drown ourselves with music and dance just to escape all the chaos. Our first encounter with music began with The Beatles, The Supremes, The Beach Boys, Joe Cuba, Los Panchos and El Gran Combo.


Emotional Connection

Vocal Heroes

Soon after, I became emotionally attached to the voices of Leslie Gore, Patula Clark, Dionne Warwick, Tomás De San Juan Julian, Tito Rodriguez Lucecita Benitez and Edwin Hawkins and his Choir.


Variety in

Artistic Expression

Musically and visually I was captivated by stellar performances from Barbra Streisand, Aretha Franklin, James Brown and Pearl Bailey. It was all brilliant, unique, artistic, full of diversity and all working together.

The experience created a personal need to explore Art.

Here are illustrations and floral designs by Nelson Soto from his early artistic career.

House of contemporary designer Jay Jaxon



Challenges of

Artistic Diversity

Diversity was normal at Manhattan JHS 60, the High School of Art & Design, and at F.I.T. (SUNY Fashion Institute of Technology). Diversity was normal in my neighborhood. It was hard for me to accept that diversity was abnormal in fine and applied arts, and seldom seen in the industry. You can see by my artworks that I appreciate diversity in artistic expression.



Floral creations by Embellishments for
Mr. Mrs. Richard & Alicia Garcia


Auntie Macassar Collection

Stepping Out ...

I still remember during my freelance days being told in my face that I was nothing but a Goya Product and that is what the art industry will see me in my search for work.


Jay Jaxon for Pliers Daywear Collection

Crushed ...

That statement remained in my head for years. I could not shake it off. My dream job as an artist ended in 1980.

And Now ....

Renewed Hope

After many decades, I’ve decided to return to the art world and fulfill a vision that no longer requires a portfolio, art supplies, film equipment, instruments or dance shoes or anyone's permission to be who I am today.

Now, CAfED will bring together of talented artists from diverse backgrounds. Keep watch for more to come ...
... exhibitions, further artist additions, blog posts etc.


The journey continues...



2 (17)

“Live not yesterday, Look back and you may sorrow. Live precisely for today, Look forward to tomorrow. “

1 (7)

J.J. Hulsgen

- Nelson M. Soto


2 (17)

“Live not yesterday, Look back and you may sorrow. Live precisely for today, Look forward to tomorrow. “

1 (7)

J.J. Hulsgen

- Nelson M. Soto

Can you relate?

If what we are doing at CAfED resonates with you, I would like to stay in touch with you.

You can join our email list below.

I would be honored to keep you apprised of our efforts, events, and ways you can help us achieve our mission.

CAfED would love to keep you up to date with special events you don't want to miss. Sign Up to stay informed!

Copyright © 2019 - 2024 | Collective Artists for Ethnic Diversity Inc (CAfED) and Respective Copyright Owners of the Artistic Works

All Rights Reserved | Terms & Conditions