Lauren Adler (Teaching Artist) is an innovative teaching artist, youth director and performer. She has a passion for helping students of all ages cultivate confidence and skills through the theater arts, and has worked with a number of different New York City arts organizations as well as Hunter College as an adjunct professor. Lauren holds a BA in Music (Vocal Performance) and Theater, an MA in Theater History from Hunter College, and an MA in Educational Theatre from the Graduate Program in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York, with New York State Teaching Certification in Theater. Lauren has performed in theater, film, television and at venues such as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, The Library of Congress, New World Stages and in regional theaters. Lauren currently works with the Young Simbas and Young Nalas as a Child Wrangler for the Broadway production of The Lion King and other Broadway productions. Lauren is a member of Actors Equity and SAG AFTRA. Twitter: @laurenmadler.
Ronald Chironna (Teaching Artist), a native of Staten Island, New York, developed a love for the visual arts very early in his life, progressing from copying comic book illustrations as a youngster to creating acrylic paintings, silk screen prints, and pen and ink drawings in art classes in high school. Ron is a Pratt Institute summa cum laude graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. At Pratt he majored in Communications Design and Illustration, learning the commercial art trade from some of the top professionals in the field. He’s worked as a freelance illustrator for clients from all areas of popular media for over 35 years.
After intensive arts education training with various teaching artist organizations, he’s been working as a teaching artist since 2007, currently on the rosters of Arts For All, Studio in a School, The Center for Arts Education, The Community Word Project, and Sundog Theatre. He has residency experience with students of all ages, and focuses on employing enjoyable visual arts projects and exercises with his students in a safe and creative environment. His goal is to help each student tell their own unique story, create art in their own distinct way, and draw knowledge from a school’s curriculum in their own singular fashion. He continues to learn a great deal from the students with whom he has the privilege to work.
Robin Cannon Colwell (Program Manager, Artistic Residency Program; Teaching Artist) discovered her love of teaching in 2005 through the Berkshire Theatre Group where she had the opportunity to teach in public schools, direct numerous after-school programs and summer camps, and choreograph shows for kids. Robin has been teaching theatre, music, and movement with Arts For All since 2008. In addition to AFA, she teaches with PlayOn! Studios and Long Island City Kids. Robin can also be found entertaining children all over NYC at birthday parties and events as “Captain Robin” with her hot pink guitar “Pinkerton”, and is currently working on her first album of original children’s music. A very shy Robin discovered her love of being on stage at the age of 6, and she now aspires to give kids the same confidence and skills that she learned early on through performing. In 2010, Robin began as Director of Education for Infinity Theatre Company, where she runs the college internship program, teaches drama and movement, and produces Theatre For Young Audiences. Most recently, she co-wrote and directed the premier of an original TYA piece entitled Yuki and The Elephant, which will tour NYC public schools fall 2014 with CCNY’s Readings on the Road series. Robin holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Mississippi and is currently working towards her Masters in Educational Theatre at The City College of New York. Member Actor’s Equity.
Darian Dauchan (Teaching Artist) is an award winning solo performer, actor, and poet who has appeared on both Broadway (Twentieth Century) and Off-Broadway Theatre (Jean Cocteau Rep., Classical Theatre of Harlem). TV credits include “Law and Order” and Nickelodeon’s “Bet the House”. He is the 2012 winner of The Jerome Foundation’s Stakeholder’s Choice Award and one of his most recent shows Death Boogie, A Hip Hop Poetry Musical, was the 2012 winner of two Edinburgh Fringe Festival Musical Theatre Matters Awards for BEST New Music and BEST Innovation of a Musical. In 2013 his band The Mighty Third Rail were American Music Abroad Finalists for the U.S. State Department and in February 2014 will perform at SPKRBOX, the first Hip Hop Theater Festival in Norway. www.dariandauchan.com
Vidho Lorville (Teaching Artist) is a professional visual artist who has been involved in Art-in-Education as a consultant and teaching artist for twelve years.
In 2001, Lorville settled in New Orleans, Louisiana where he started teaching visual art as an extra curricular activity for the New Orleans Public school board and pursued his career as an artist. His first two solo art shows: “Behind the Mask”, 2001 and “Allegory of Colors”, 2002 were subject of many reviews from the most known art critics in the city of New Orleans.
In 2002, Lorville was awarded a place at the Skowhegan Art School of Painting and Sculpture where he worked with a network of artists working in other visual art forms such as installation, video and performance. Lorville would not start exploring those mediums until the spring 2007 when he made an interactive video performance and found object installation around the issue of immigration during his residency at “Le Chateau de la Napoule” in south of France. The conceptual intent that he wrote about the piece was published as an article in NY Arts Magazine summer issue of 2008.
Vidho Lorville is currently living in New York where he continues his artistic career as a painter while experimenting with different types of visual art forms. Since relocating to the Big Apple, Lorville’s artwork and community involvement received the attention of numerous publications and media including the New York Times, Village Voice, NY1 News, and American Style Magazine.
He has been awarded many fellowship grants from institutions such as The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation (2011), the Wheeler Foundation (2007), the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation (2006); the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2006) and the Andy Warhol Foundation through the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Artist in Residency Program(2005).
The article he wrote for the Washington Post editorial on January 17th, 2010 about the earthquake that destroyed the city of Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12th, 2010 is still a subject of reference in debates and discussions about the reconstruction process.
Lorville also teaches his art classes in French language upon request.
Patrick G. McGee (Teaching Artist) is a professional actor and teaching artist who has spent the past nine years as a professional actor performing in regional theaters, working with new playwrights in New York City, touring the amazing country known as U.S. of A., and creating funny and original characters in indie films and webisodes. Most recently, Patrick completed his M.S. Ed. in Educational Theatre from The City College of New York, CUNY and also holds a B.F.A. in Theatre Studies Performance from Niagara University. Alongside his acting, Patrick works as a teaching artist collaborating with actors of all ages. His creative and collaborative nature combined with strong artistic training in both New York and Los Angeles has rooted his pedagogy in order to create curriculum that is current and successful for actors and students at all levels. Through the work as a professional actor and teaching artist, he has enjoyably discovered that those who can successfully do, can successfully teach! Check out www.patrickgmcgee.com for news and updates!
Mary Meyer (Teaching Artist/ Step Right Up! Co-Founder) was born in Northern CA, grew up in Venice, and graduated from the California College of the Arts with a degree in painting, funded in part by a Yozo Hamaguchi grant. While in school, Mary studied printmaking, weaving, dyeing, welding and woodworking. She also discovered her penchant and talent for clothing design. Starting production out of her living room, she began to make custom shirts and dresses for her friends and peers. In 2005, she founded her company, Mary Meyer Clothing. Mary is known for her casual and sexy designs, made distinctive by her custom prints. Her art is inspired by a wide range of sources, including African textiles, Japanese dye techniques, quilts, pop art, the beach, wheat pasted punk flyers, 90s goth culture, and 80s graphic tees. In addition to her clothing company, Mary also runs the Mary Meyer Art House, throwing parties that showcase artists and bands that are not always seen in the mainstream. She also co-founded Step Right Up, a non-profit after school program that provides free arts workshops in New York City’s public schools.
Lena Moy-Borgen (Teaching Artist) has been involved with Arts For All ever since it first began. She has been a teaching artist for Arts For All since 2002, and co-wrote the curriculum for one of our longest running programs, Literacy Through the Arts. She serves on the fundraising committee for Arts For All and also is the current head of the marketing committee. Since 1997, Lena has taught across the country as the assistant director of the Piedmont Children’s Theater in California, as a drama teacher at UC Berkeley’s Cal Youth and Outdoor Program, and as the co-head of the Musical Theater program at the Bank Street School for Children Summer Camp here in New York. She is currently the co-founder of Play On! Studios in Manhattan and is a teaching artist at the John W. Engeman Theater in Long Island. She has a BFA in Drama from the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
Sarah Plotkin (Teaching Artist) is a director, puppeteer and teaching artist, as well as artistic director of Electric Eye Ensemble, an NYC-based theater company. She works collaboratively with artists, community members, and young people to build original pieces of theater that examine the human experience and re-awaken our connection through the creation of shared experiences and theatrical events. With Electric Eye Ensemble Sarah co-facilitates a monthly ensemble creation workshop for people of all ages and backgrounds called Artist Gym, which promotes creative exploration in everyday life. She also teaches theater and puppetry to New York City public school students with Marquis Studios and LeAp NYC. Sarah is a member of the 2016-17 SDCF Observership Class, a recipient of the Dorothy Stickney Scholarship for Women in Theatre, and a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College. She has been an Arts for All Teaching Artist since 2014.
Bonnie Pipkin (Teaching Artist/ Step Right Up! Co-Founder) is a teaching artist, arts administrator, writer, musician and independent theater producer living and working in New York City. She is a teaching artist with Arts For All as well as with Queens Theater in the Park’s CentreStage Program. Her specialty is creating, producing, and performing original works of theater with her students. Students are guided through all steps of bringing a play to the stage: from the creation of the script, to the acting, directing, costume making, set design and construction, music, and prop making. Through workshops, children explore these many different art forms and discover their strengths and abilities. She has been an adjudicator and panelist for The New York International Fringe Festival for five years. She holds a BA in English/Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and an MA in Performing Arts Administration from New York University.
Leslie Saint-Jour (Teaching Artist) hails from Miami, Florida. She started working with Arts for All in 2012 as an intern, and transitioned to Teaching Artist. She attended New World School of the Arts in Florida under the direction of Daniel Lewis. Leslie attended Dance Theater of Harlem’s summer intensives and is a graduate from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. While obtaining a dual degree in Dance & Africana Studies she also had the opportunity to study in Salzburg, Austria at SEAD-Salzburg Experimental Academy of Dance. Leslie teaches movement and dance workshops to students throughout New York City, and is also a freelance dancer.
Jon Sands (Teaching Artist, Step Right Up!) is an author known for electric readings. He wrote The New Clean (2011, Write Bloody Publishing), and the forthcoming literary mixtape, The Perfect Mix (2016, Rattapallax Press). His work has been featured in The New York Times, as well as anthologized in The Best American Poetry 2014. He is the co-founder of Poets in Unexpected Places, a Youth Mentor with Urban Word-NYC, and he teaches creative writing for both adults and youth at Bailey House in East Harlem (an HIV/AIDS service center). He is the Program Director of the Dialogue Arts Project, and has represented New York City multiple times at the National Poetry Slam. He tours extensively, but lives in Brooklyn.
Kimberly Schafer (Teaching Artist) received her Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University. Recently she was the Dance assistant to Tommy Tune and Randy Skinner on the production of “Lady be Good” at City Center. She continues to assist Tommy Tune on all of his solo shows such as Ford’s Theatre, a performance for President Obama. She was an associate choreographer for BROADWAY BARES 24-26 and DANCING ON A DREAM at The Duke Theatre in New York. Some of her regional choreography credits include ALL SHOOK UP, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, SISTERS OF SWING, ON THE TOWN, SINGIN IN THE RAIN, CRAZY FOR YOU, and many more. She performed in BROADWAY BARES 17-25 produced by Jerry Mitchell, and EASTER BONNET at The Minskoff Theatre for Equity fights Aids. She has taught at Dance New Amsterdamn, Radio City Music Hall, Rosie’s Theater Kids, and various studios around the New York area. She has performed in several regional productions such as FUNNY GIRL, SINGIN IN THE RAIN, THE WILL ROGERS FOLLIES, CABARET, VICTOR, VICTORIA, and the National Tour of 42ND STREET. She currently choreographs and performs in a cabaret called SPEAKEASY MODERNE at the Cutting Room and the Triad Theatre in NYC.
Shawn Shafner (Teaching Artist) is an artist, educator, activist and founder of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org). His latest show, An Inconvenient Poop, was a Time Out NY Critic’s Pick and garnered the 2015 award for Overall Excellence in Solo Performance from the New York International Fringe Festival. He enjoys creating projects that encourage socialization among strangers, including The Clap (with Laura Silver), a tashlich art walk for Elastic City (with Amichai Lau-Lavie), and Latch/Attach for the World Policy Institute, Fourth Arts Block and Cooper Union. Shawn was a 2014-15 LABA Fellow, 2014-15 iLAND resident in collaboration with LMCC, and last year joined the Charles and Lynn Schusterman’s ROI Community. You can find him teaching mindfulness in urban schools through Move This World, art+curriculum with Arts for All, and engaging young children at the 14th Street Y and JCC Manhattan.
Meredith Smart (Teaching Artist) Meredith is a teaching artist, acting coach and all-around theater person living in NYC. She is currently teaching at Bank Street Summer Camp, where she created “The Acting Company”, a collaborative adaptation program, as well as drama programs at the Hunts Point Alliance for Children and Arts for All. She got her BFA in Acting at NYU at the Experimental Theater Wing, where she developed her aesthetic and her chops, and furthered her love of theater when she got her MA in Text and Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. Meredith loves making theater with children, and this fall will be committing herself fully to that purpose, as she will begin work on her Master’s in Theatre Education at CCNY. When she isn’t working on one of her many projects, she can be found in the kitchen making something delicious. Meredith loves helping out with the LTA program at Arts for All. It truly is a special thing.
Mélissa Smith (Teaching Artist) has been teaching with Arts for All since the fall of 2010. She has taught and facilitated workshops in improvisation, dance, creative writing and theatre techniques to a variety of ages. Mélissa earned her BA in Theatre with a minor in dance and creative writing in 2007 from Palm Beach Atlantic University. She is a professional actor (SAG/AFTRA, AEA candidate) with an eclectic resume including Educational Children’s Theatre, dance & musical theatre, improvisational comedies, Shakespeare, devised work and more. Mélissa has been a mime and clown for over ten years performing for underserved communities and victims of natural disasters as well as corporate and private clients. A recent graduate of NY Goofs Clown School she is a proud recipient of an official Goof Diploma. Arts education was the saving grace of her grade school years, and she is passionately dedicated to giving similar opportunities to our future leaders and culture shapers.
Maya Suess (Teaching Artist) is a visual artist working with video, animation, drawing and performance. She has shown work in galleries, theaters and film festivals in Europe, the United States, Canada and Japan, and acted as director and curator for the performance art festival VENT in Brooklyn, New York, in 2010 and 2011. She has been working as a teaching artist for over ten years, teaching video, visual art and animation to in-need youth and adults. She has also taught Performance Art, Video and Art History at the university level. Raised on a small island off the west coast of Canada, she received her Bachelors of Fine Arts at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design and her Masters of Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University. Today she lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Franklyn Strachan (Teaching Artist) is a Brooklyn native and graduate of both the Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film at Purchase College, S.U.N.Y. and the Fictional Narrative Video graduate program at Emerson College. Franklyn is the founding member of CYPHER Productions and along with “A FRANKLYN PICTURE” became the first director out of the starting gate at CYPHER Films.
With his first short movie “SWINGS”(1998), Franklyn created a fantasy world where spirits and the living draw from each other’s strengths and knowledge in times of need. This movie gave birth to many of the themes and ideas that later grew into “EYES OF NY”(1999).Visual arts have been the driving force behind Franklyn’s work and most of his work starts there. From storyboards and character sketches to large paintings, his themes are communicated visually in public forums. The sharing of artistic moments collectively can heighten the impact of the work produced. Picking up on the subconscious cues from the people around us. Especially when watching movies together. Franklyn enjoys working with his local community and has produced films, written and performed by three 6th grade classes but produced professionally. The “Kid Flicks” experience grew into more community work in the form of murals and paintings as well as public art events. Franklyn produced two more feature films, “LAST NIGHT IN BROOKLYN”(2009) and “DEATH IS NO ESCAPE”(2012) and now teaches Digital Filmmaking at Manhattanville College. “I’m passionate about
Aiding people to recognize the importance of strangers in their lives. My work strives to illustrate this. Each man, woman and child on this planet is a vital member of our team.”
Marissa Wolf (Teaching Artist) has been a teaching artist and volunteer with Arts for All since the winter of 2013 as part of the Literacy Through the Arts program. She discovered her love for teaching while earning her MFA in Acting at Ohio University, where she taught a variety of acting and scene study classes to undergraduate students. She returned to NYC in 2012 with the goal of broadening her teaching experience and was fortunate enough to be introduced to Arts For All. Marissa is also an on call substitute acting coach at The Studio in New Canaan as well as an acting company member at the Educational Theater of New York, bringing theater to students learning ESL. She holds an MFA in Acting from Ohio University and a BFA in Acting from The Stella Adler Studio at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.
ADDITIONAL TEACHING ARTIST BIOS COMING SOON.