Marquis Studios is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization providing arts-­in­‐education services to 170 New York City public schools annually. We strive to develop a strong partnership between artists and teachers by providing arts programs to supplement traditional classroom teaching techniques. Each residency or workshop focuses on a specific visual or performing arts discipline selected by school staff and administration.

Founded in 1977, Marquis Studios has served over 500,000 students, 28,000 teachers and 18,000 parents at schools throughout New York City. Working with a diverse population, 80% of programs serve students living at or below the poverty line with over 50% of all grant-funded programming serving classrooms containing with disabilities.

Marquis Studios Offers:

  • Programming consisting of ten-week arts residencies taught by our staff of trained teaching artists.
  • A full spectrum of arts residencies that encourage student exploration of visual arts, theatre, music, dance architecture, circus arts and puppetry.
  • Custom designed programs to meet the educational goals set by the school through collaboration with Marquis Studios and classroom teachers.
  • Programs that address New York State Learning Standards, both in the arts and academic areas.
  • Professional development for classroom teachers to provide arts education techniques and concepts that can be brought back to the classroom.
  • Parent/Child Workshops that help parents understand the connection between arts and academics while providing a fun, hands­‐on experience parents and children can share.


Marquis Studios employs 90 professional teaching artists whom specialize in a variety of disciplines. If you are interested in becoming a Teaching Artist visit our careers page.

  • Lee McMahon

    Lee is an architectural designer, a design educator and an English language teacher. Lee received his Master of Architecture degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology in 2009. Lee has designed at various scales, from small objects to large building projects. What he loves most with architecture, is to design following the concept, less is more and to use architecture to direct us towards harmony with nature and mindful lifestyle. He believes the process of design can be a very informative tool and provides a way of thinking that can be applied to all art forms and can even help us improve the way we live. He has interests in exploring various modes of expression simultaneously, as one medium is not ideal for all people. He is a musician, practices theatre/improve, makes short films, draws and water color paints. Lee wishes to explore ideas and art with students to encourage a perspective of life that reminds us why learning and knowledge is fun and is something to cherish.

  • Renata Melillo Townsend

    Renata Melillo Townsend is a performer, educator and applied theater practitioner that has worked in arts education for over 15 years. She has performed and taught internationally with the likes of The New Victory Theater, Lincoln Center Education, Opening Act, Lincoln Center Theater, St. Ann’s Warehouse, The Park Avenue Armory, CENTERSTAGE, Co/LAB and Circle in the Square Theatre School. She is a performer and The Head of Enrichment for Trusty Sidekick Theater Company and serves on the Teaching Artist Affairs Committee of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. She has facilitated applied theater workshops at the Doe Fund and Hour Children, job development programs for people who are homeless and who have been affected by the criminal justice system. She holds a BFA in Acting from University of Maryland Baltimore County and a Master’s Degree in Applied Theater from City University of New York, School of Professional Studies.

  • Joan Merwyn

    Joan Merwyn has worked creatively with both general education students and special needs populations since 1983. As a movement, theater, mime, circus and multi-arts specialist, she conducts mentoring services, artist-in-residencies and professional development training seminars for educators and teaching artists. Joan is an original co-creator of the federally funded Everyday Arts for Special Education (EASE), through Urban Arts Partnership, and has also served special needs populations extensively through Hospital Audiences, Inc. (now called Healing Arts Initiative) With Marquis Studios, Joan offers professional development for teaching artists and special education teachers in autism spectrum classrooms at Teaching Artist Training Institute (TATI). She has taught a wide range of students from professional performers and teachers to developmentally and cognitively challenged people of all ages. Joan has been a Marquis Studios teaching artist since 1996.