Rebecca Davis is a certified drama educator (New York State Pre-K-12) and physical actor currently located in Denver, CO. She works as a teaching artist for Imagination Makers, and independently with youth and adults of all ages. Rebecca has earned a master's degree in Educational Theatre from New York University, and a bachelor's degree in Voice and Theatre Arts from Northwestern University. She has worked for various organizations teaching theatre, music, and dance, including Imagination Stage (Bethesda, MD), Actors Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, KY) and Allegro Music and Dance Academy (Chicago, IL). She is interested in research and looks forward to eventually earning a PhD, studying the effects of using physical theatre in the classroom, especially with students with disabilities. Rebecca is passionate about allowing her students to form a safe space, and explore embodied creativity with focused yet respectful feedback that allows the work to grow into what it will be. As an artist she is focused on physical theatre, with an emphasis on dance, mask work, and acrobatics. Rebecca loves Theatre of the Oppressed, especially Forum Theatre, and is a trained Joker. She has been a professional working actor since a young age, and is an Equity Membership Candidate. She has acquired TV, film, regional and New York acting credits, is a budding playwright, and is currently in progress with a TYA (Theatre for Young Audiences) play that explores life on the Pine Ridge reservation, in honor of her Lakota heritage.
Enas Elmohands has a BA Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Adelphi University. Enas has been accepted into SOAS University of London to study Near and Middle Eastern Studies Program Fall 2016. Her foci includes Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology, and Peace Studies with a concentration in Human Rights. As a poet, her passion is threading the arts into the dialogue of human rights. Enas was one of several curators for the 2014 ARTifariti Festival in the Western Sahara and part of the film crew for the documentary, When The Sun Came For Them. She believes art can be a profound catalyst for change.
Ana Marva Fernández is an artist, educator and digital fabricator. She holds a BFA in Studio Art and MA in Art Education from NYU, and has led several emerging technology initiatives at major museums in New York City. She is passionate about inclusive education and believes art can empower. She is very excited to be involved with ArtsAction Group, and work towards bringing quality arts experiences to communities around the world.
Dana Helwick is a visual arts educator with a special focus on contemporary art and its social context. She is currently teaching art at the Aaron School, a K-8 private school for students with various learning differences in NYC. Additionally, Dana also works as a Program Coordinator for the Art21 Educators program, a professional development initiative and learning community for educators in the US and Canada interested broadening their curricular focus to include inquiry into contemporary issues and ways of thinking through contemporary art. Before joining the Aaron School, Dana was a Teaching Artist in elementary and high schools in the Bronx with non-profit organization the DreamYard Project. Dana has also worked as a volunteer HIV/AIDS educator, Program Coordinator and Media/Communications Manager for the non-profit organization Support for International Change (SIC), which is dedicated to limiting the impact of HIV/AIDS in underserved communities. Dana is particularly interested in international health and development issues and would like to continue to find ways to use art as a tool for communication and community development. Dana received her BA in Art from UCLA and her MA in Art Education from NYU. As an artist herself, Dana is especially interested in drawing as a creative medium.
Naqiya Hussain is a visual artist, educator, and museum professional based in Brooklyn, NY with a special interest in understanding the arts as a tool for transformation, community building, and progressive change. She received her BA in Fine Art from Pomona College and her MA in Art Education from NYU. Her interest in the arts started in her home country of Pakistan, where she managed a theater program aimed at rehabilitating and creating safe spaces for street children in Karachi. In the years since, she has been involved in various non-profit organizations in Pakistan, India, California, and New York that promote a community-based and socially engaged approach to art-making and education. Naqiya's most recent position was at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she evaluated public programs and other museum offerings with a focus on enhancing visitor experience. She was also involved with the Met's Multicultural Audience Development Initiative (MADI), which is devoted to making the museum more accessible to diverse audiences through various outreach initiatives.
Shannon Kopunek is a visual artist and educator with a special interest in building social-emotional learning through exploration, experimentation and play. From studying art history, sociology and museum studies at SUNY Geneseo to achieving her MA in Art + Education at New York University, Shannon is motivated by always exciting, interdisciplinary learning experiences that she now shares alongside her students. Shannon has taught multicultural studies and tutored international students in art historical studies of Africa, Oceania, America, and Asia as a professor’s assistant at SUNY Geneseo. She has continued her investigation of big picture ideas while researching degenerate art and music in Prague, Berlin, and Amsterdam in respect to the artist in the Third Reich. As a volunteer for the Helen Hayes Hospital Foundation, Shannon seeks to advance the nonprofit's mission to promote independence and health rehabilitation with dignity and respect for all. Shannon has also participated in NCAA collegiate women’s soccer, which combined with her belief in socially engaged art-making, has ignited within her a passion for educating the whole student—a service art uniquely and surely provides.
Michelle LoPinto is currently working towards a BFA in Art and Design Education at Adelphi University. Her passions include painting, art history, writing, and food. Michelle looks forward to having her own art classroom where she can teach art and inspire others. She is fortunate to have completed a mural at Jackson Annex School in Hempstead, NY and looks forward to being a part of other beautification projects. Michelle believes that art is a universal language that should be accessible to the public.
Barrie Maguire is a musician, producer and arts educator.
Debbie Newman is a visual artist, a certified art educator (Visual Arts, K-12) and a contributing writer/illustrator for MTV.com. Born in raised in New York City, Debbie studied English Literature at Columbia University and earned her masters degree in Art Education at New York University, where she graduated with honors. Before joining Arts Action Group, Debbie pursued a postbaccalaureate study in digital art/illustration at the Fashion Institute of Technology, the School of Visual Arts and Columbia Teachers College. Passionate about both visual/creative arts, Debbie has written for a number of publications in the media/entertainment realm (including the New York Daily News, Mainstreet.com and Life & Style magazine). She has also taught several thematic-based arts workshops for elementary/secondary students (at NYU's Visionary Studios and the Creative Art Start camp) that promote play/experimentation and the incorporation of contemporary art techniques. Inspired by the concept of artist-as-storyteller, Debbie strives to promote energy, debate and social consciousness in the classroom, and encourages students to find their creative voice and embrace the power of self-expression. She has been a proud member of ArtsAction since its inception in 2013.
Anita Ramshaj is a Graphic Designer/Illustrator/App Designer/Artist /Activist /Painter/Feminist based in Suhareka, Kosovo. Anita studied Graphic Design & Multimedia at Kolegji AAB. Anita started out as a student at the Center for Creative Education Fellbach Haus in Suhareka and is now one of our teaching artists.
Sasha Spare is a New York City based artist educator with special interests in social justice, contemporary art, and creative writing. She is an art educator at Avenues: The World School. She was a Teaching Artist affiliated with the 92nd Street Y Art Center, Saint Ann’s School, Brearley School, and several New York City public schools. In addition to collaborating with youth, educators, and artists alike, she has enjoyed a variety of eclectic work experiences involving supportive art services, which include providing patina artistry for K.C. Fabrications Inc. Art and Architectural Fabrication, photography for Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots, event support for Shannon Broder’s Degenerate Craft Fair, and studio assistance for diverse artists. She holds a BFA in Painting from the San Francisco Art Institute and an MA in Art + Education from New York University.
Brian Testa is a Long Island based Artist, Educator, and Eagle Scout. He is currently an Art & Design Student at Adelphi University, pursuing his BFA (Art & Design Education K-12). His research includes Visionary and Shamanic Art, Art as a communicative tool, STEM to STEAM, Adaptive Art, and the importance of unconditional understanding and love in education. Brian explores abstraction, printmaking techniques, as well as digital photo manipulation. His recent projects include: exploring immersive art-making techniques with Oculus Medium and exploring layered perception through a repeated pattern. Testa’s art explores elements of abstraction and layering. His art is heavily influenced by a shamanic, interconnected view of the world. Testa explores the tools of printmaking and digital layering, as well as pattern to create work blending the boundary between landscape and portrait. Testa spent several years co-teaching nautical and historical workshops at Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum. He has also participated in several STEAM workshops through Adelphi University. Testa is a strong advocate for community-based art, collaborative art making, and promoting peace and compassion through art.
Shpend Zeqiraj is based in Suhareka, Kosovo. He is a graduate of of the Fakulteti i Ndërtimtarisë dhe Arkitekturës, Pristina, Kosovo. Shpend started out as a student at the Center for Creative Education Fellbach Haus in Suhareka and is now one of our teaching artists.