ABOUT US

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.

MANAGEMENT TEAM

Marquis Studios administrative staff is comprised of thirteen employees with occasional help from interns and volunteers.

  • Chris Forte

    Arts Partnership Manager

    Chris’ role is to work directly with each school’s staff to determine the optimal support that Marquis Studios can provide the school’s Art Education program. He had a successful business career over 32 years with Hallmark Cards 8 as the Regional Manager for the Eastern US. He led a field organization of over 1,000 people in a variety of roles and worked with senior management of major retailer such as Walgreens, CVS and Wal­mart Stores. He is a native New Yorker, born and raised in the Yankee Stadium neighborhood of the Bronx. He comes from an education‐based family with his Dad being a NYC Teacher/Guidance Counselor for 50 years and Mom an Art Teacher. As a rabid Baseball fan, he often dreams of roaming the outfield of Yankee Stadium with his hero Mickey Mantle. He and his wife Miyoko currently live in Bayside, Queens.

    Chris@marquisstudios.org

  • Laura Grotenstein

    Operations Manager

    Born and raised in New York City, Laura is passionate about making the arts accessible to everyone in her community. She attended Reed College in Portland, OR, where she received a B.A. in Art, with a concentration in sculpture and book arts. Laura has worked with a number of organizations throughout the city, which has given her firsthand experience in the positive effects of the arts. She first joined Marquis Studios as an intern in 2015, and is excited to continue making an impact as part of the team. 

    laura@marquisstudios.org

  • Paula Heitman

    Executive Director

    For 25 years, Paula has devoted her career to enriching the lives of children in New York City. Paula worked as a teaching artist for various arts education organizations while earning her Master of Arts in Educational Theater at New York University. After graduating NYU, Paula worked for the New York City Department of Education as a high school drama teacher. Moving into the non-profit world, Paula worked as an Education Associate at TADA! Theater.
    Paula was in charge of afterschool programming at the theater as well as dozens of public schools throughout the five boroughs. She became the Program Director at East Side Community High School overseeing their arts program collaboration with Urban Arts Partnership (then known as Working Playground). Paula then served as the Executive Director at Breakthough NY, an academic enrichment program for motivated middle school students from low-income families. Most recently, Paula ran Families First, a non-profit, early childhood center serving the Cobble Hill, Brooklyn community for nearly 40 years. Paula has extensive experience as a grant writer, development director, strategic planner and event manager. Paula’s career has centered on serving marginalized student populations, including students attending under-resourced public schools and students with disabilities. Paula believes deeply in supporting all students and providing equal opportunities to experience the arts. Paula lives in Brooklyn with her husband, daughter, son and a trio of two cats and a dog.

    Paula.Heitman@MarquisStudios.org