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 administrative staff is comprised of twelve employees with occasional help from interns and volunteers.

  • Vanessa Penberg

    Arts Partnership Manager

    Vanessa is thrilled to be joining Marquis Studios as one of the Arts Partnership Managers. She has spent ten years providing early childhood and parenting education programs for families across Central Brooklyn that promoted healthy child development and prepared the families for school. Through a longtime collaboration with Cool Culture, she has advocated for more equitable access to arts education and cultural resources. To that end, she partnered with several museums and cultural institutions to expand their family engagement programming, provide workshops on art-making and cultural heritage, and consider how to better represent historically marginalized communities. She graduated from Oberlin College with a BA in English and Art History and received her Masters in Social Work from Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College. Vanessa was raised in New York City and she enjoys taking advantage of all of the arts resources the city offers, playing guitar, and traveling.


  • Wéma Ragophala

    Director of Education

    Wéma Ragophala has worked at the intersection of arts and community for almost 20 years. Bringing a wealth of experience as an arts administrator, performing artist, director, and educator, she is eager to share her gifts and enrich the team at Marquis Studios. Being a leader in access, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the arts has led her to create interactive arts experiences for people of all abilities. She has provided professional development training for teaching artists in the schools and other cultural institutions nationally and internationally. She has been recognized for her work in arts education and community partnerships supporting children and families with physical disabilities and neuro-diverse individuals. She is also on the steering committee for the Arts for All Abilities Consortium. Wéma wrote, performed, and toured her theatrical solo performance work, Roots, Rhythm and Revolution. She directed young people in the first teen production of The Homecoming Queen in Brooklyn. Wéma founded Bridges: A Pan-Afrikan Arts Movement which provides opportunities for arts exchange, global partnerships, and advocacy. Wéma lives in Brooklyn and enjoys dancing, reading, creating interactive artistic experiences with her husband and son, and traveling to South Africa.

  • Vassili Shishkin

    Financial Manager

    Vassili Shishkin has graduated Hartwick College with an Economics degree. He has experience in almost every department of the company. Currently he is the Financial Manager. His previous work experience was primarily in Internet and Computer Technology­‐related fields. His other interests include cooking, making music, riding bikes and preparing for his cross­‐country and cross South American motorcycle trips.