Sacred Arts Research Foundation (SARF) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to provide support for the sacred arts through the provision of funds, space and resources for artists. Our base is at The Ark, a space in Brooklyn, NY where many of our activities occur. SARF seeks to support those who create in the realms of visual arts, music, crafting, performance and healing arts.

SARF makes its space (The Ark) and its promotional network available for this purpose. SARF is a community organization which was bred out of the Golden Drum community in Brooklyn, NY. Under the guidance of community leader Maestro Manuel Rufino, we have come together to create a home for the Sacred Arts in America.

Our goal is to create a sustainable organization supported by government funding, grants, donations and income generating activities. High-quality art is a community asset and for this reason we give our time, money and energy to this cause. Please visit our sister site at www.goldendrum.org


Maestro Manuel Rufino

Maestro Manuel Rufino is a recognized elder in the Taino tradition and World Director of M.A.I.S.C. He is a spiritual guide, gifted ceremonial leader and teacher of sacred initiatic traditions of the world. Maestro Manuel is also an artist, certified iridologist, naturo-therapist, vegetarian chef & the visionary guiding the Golden Drum community and many vegetarian restaurants including Jungle Café in Brooklyn. Guided by his teacher, Maestro Domingo Dias Porta, Maestro Manuel has been following the trails of indigenous healing arts for over 48 years. Maestro Manuel travels around the world sharing initiatic traditions, leading workshops, lectures, sweat lodges and healing rituals.

In 2010 Maestro Manuel and a number of his students opened Golden Drum as a space for sacred traditions in New York City. Founded to give voice to the worldview of Native Americans, indigenous peoples and the esoteric schools, Golden Drum features living representatives and students of these great traditions.

In 2014 Maestro Manuel dedicated The Ark as a space for the arts to fulfill the mission of The Sacred Arts Research Foundation.


AJ Block

AJ Block is a musician, healer and teacher inspired by spirituality and sacred traditions. He is a student of Maestro Manuel Rufino and co-director of the Sacred Arts Research Foundation. As director of the New York didgeridoo organization Didge Project, AJ has spent nearly a decade developing creative businesses. As a Certified Integrative Sound and Music Practitioner AJ works with individuals and groups who seek healing through sound and music, most often with the didgeridoo. AJ is also host of the Golden Drum Podcast. Listen to AJ's music at www.ajblock.com


Xango Shola

Shola is one of the pioneers of the Sacred Arts Research Foundation; an NPO that provides educational programs that support the exploration and disciplines of the sacred arts. She is a disciple of Maestro Manuel Rufino and an active member of The Golden Drum, a cultural community center for consciousness in Brooklyn, and a member of the Universal Initiatic College, learning the traditional Native American healing ways and sacred wisdom traditions. Shola’s mission is to be in service to the preservation of the sacred traditions of the earth and enrich communities through education and service. She is a song carrier & drummer; singing traditional songs from around the world and has been weaving music, art and native healing practices to empower the human heart towards a more gentle, peaceful and purposeful existence. Shola has been studying ceremonial artistry for the pa years; she has been given the permission and blessing by the elders of the Taino, Huichol, and Mexica traditions to travel the world and share this work.
She is the director of ade in Prayer, a collective that empowers communities by hosting educational programs that guide you through prayerful art making. Made in Prayer is also a brand that identifies products that are made with intention and purpose.

Jerry Walsh

Jerry Walsh is a musician, vocalist, and beatboxer mixing ancient instruments and techniques such as the didgeridoo, Peruvian pan flute, hang drum, and Tuvan throat singing with experimental hip-hop rhythms and lyrics revolving around mysticism and social activism. He has performed and taught at Sonic Bloom Festival, Gratitude Festival, Mysteryland Festival in Chile, Unifier Festival, and Alex Grey's Chapel of Sacred Mirrors. Jerry has worked alongside internationally acclaimed sculpture artist, Kate Raudenbush, for the past three years bringing large scale laser-cut steel allegorical and spiritually inspired installations to Baltimore, New York City, San Fransisco, Black Rock City, Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and Santiago in Chile.

Jerry has been a student of Maestro Manuel Rufino for over three years, studying the sacred traditions of humanity focusing primarily on the shamanic traditions of the Indigenous cultures of the Americas. He has travelled to over twenty five different countries on five continents and spent a full year studying Buddhism and Himalayan culture in India, Nepal, and Bhutan from 2010-2011. He is a founding member of the Sacred Arts Research Foundation and the Ark in Greenpoint, Brooklyn where he resides with the Golden Drum community.

Amanda Capobianco

Amanda Capobianco comes to the Sacred Arts Research Foundation as a steward of the sacred. With a background in theatre, music and writing she has experienced first hand the dire importance of accessible arts programing for the continued health of any community. As Lyndon Johnson wrote when signing into existence the National Endowment on the Arts, “Art is a nation’s most precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Amanda holds knowledge as a healer, community leader and visionary along the path of the awakened. She currently extends these gifts in service to the preservation and expansion of sacred arts programing, community health and global harmony.

Amanda has taught yoga and sacred mantra immersions for over a decade. She is a drummer, a singer, an energy healer, a reverend and a writer. She has traveled with her work to India, Indonesia, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and California. She is currently a board member for The Sacred Arts Research Foundation, The Yoga Director for Golden Drum's Yoga for the Aquarian Age and Founder of health and healing concierge service Brooklyn Light.

Amanda is a dedicated student of Maestro Manuel Rufino for which she owes eternal gratitude for the peace, knowledge and beauty she now carries within her heart and mind.