Renee Michelle Brown has been a teaching artist and volunteer for Arts for All since 2008. Having graduated from Stella Adler’s Conservatory, she was delighted to have found an outlet to bring performance workshops to children in need. One of Renee’s favorite Arts for All events is the annual “A Day at the Met” for which she has been able to lead tours for three years and most recently helped to organize last year’s event. This past fall, Renee was a story coach with The Moth and walked away with many valuable tools which she looks forward to being able to apply to her future Arts For All workshops.
Robin Cannon discovered her love of teaching in 2005 through the Berkshire Theatre Festival 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. She also teaches music and dance at Long Island City Kids – an enrichment center for early childhood development. Robin can be found entertaining children all over NYC at birthday parties and events as “Captain Robin” with her hot pink guitar “Pinkerton.” 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. She has been seen on professional stages, in television commercials, and print ads. Robin holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from The University of Mississippi and an AA from Tyler Junior College in Speech/Theatre. She is a member of Actor’s Equity.
Kristi Head is an artist and freelance art director specializing in packaging design and visual brand communication. Kristi holds degrees from Boston University and Parson School of Design for studies in fine arts, art history, and graphic design. Additionally, Kristi is a jewelry designer and avid maker of things. She is a co-founder and co-creator of LURK. LURK is the production platform for concepts, schemes, ideas, and designs. LURK is based in NYC. Kristi lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Lena Moy-Borgen 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.
Mary Meyer 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.
Bonnie Pipkin 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.
Kimberly Schafer received her Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance Performance from Oklahoma City University. Since then she has performed, choreographed and taught across the United States. Most recently she performed in”Broadway Bares XX” produced by Jerry Mitchell and directed by Josh Rhodes and “Easter Bonnett” at The Minskoff Theatre for Equity Fights Aids. She began her dance training at the age of 3 and has studied under Gregory Hines, Randy Skinner, Anne Reinkin, and Brenda Bufalino. She has also had the privilege to perform at the Tap Extravaganza/Flo Bert Awards in 2010 & 2006. She has performed in regional productions of “Funny Girl,” Crazy for You,” Singing in the Rain,” “Will Rogers Follies,” “Cabaret,” “Victor, Victoria” and the National Tour of “42nd Street.” Her choreography credits range from musical theatre to master classes to music videos. She is currently performing with Undertoe Dance Company which specializes in the fusion of rhythm to contemporary jazz.
Shawn Shafner is a theatre-maker, educator, and creator of The People’s Own Organic Power Project (www.thePOOPproject.org)- an organization that uses art, education and humor to promote sustainable sanitation for the person, planet and world community. His NYC acting credits include performances at Madison Square Garden, Theater Row, Joe’s Pub, The Club at La Mama, and Classic Stage Company. Shawn spent most of 2008 touring nationally as Pablo in Nickelodeon’s The Backyardigans Live!, and has been creating original ritual theater with Storahtelling since 2005. He is the recipient of a 2005 Spielberg Fellowship, and has since enjoyed eight sessions as Artist-in-Residence at four different Wisconsin summer camps. Shawn edited and contributed writing to Think-Build-Live Success, a three-part life skills, self-empowerment, and career readiness curriculum; and he has led educational programming for the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s Learning Through Art department, HiArt!/TimeIn and Periwinkle Theater for Youth. He holds a BFA with Honors in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and is proud to have been working with Arts For All since 2006.
Mélissa Smith 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 (AFTRA, AEA candidate) with an eclectic resume including Educational Children’s Theatre, dance & musical theatre, improvisational comedies, Shakespeare and more. Mélissa has been a mime and clown for ten years performing for underserved communities and victims of natural disasters as well as corporate and private clients. 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.
ADDITIONAL TEACHING ARTIST BIOS COMING SOON.