TATI Participants & Facilitators

2021 TATI Participants

Aleda Kirstein (she/her) is a visual artist and educator currently working in Queens as an ArtistYear AmeriCorps teaching fellow. Her artistic medium is whatever she can get her hands on at any given time–film photography, printmaking, painting. You’ll most likely find her in a studio creating works exploring bodies and connectedness. This year Aleda has been working with 3rd graders, designing SEL and play-based lessons for both remote and in person students. Aleda hails from Schenectady, NY.

My name is Ana Ruiz-Castillo and I am originally from Madrid, Spain, where I graduated from the School of Ceramics. In 1993 I moved to NYC with the objective of expanding my artistic career. I enrolled The Art Students League where I took courses in sculpture, drawing and painting, and short after I started teaching sculpture, ceramics and drawing at The Harlem School of the Arts, as well as teaching at various public schools in Harlem and The Bronx. It is at that time that I also started teaching students with special needs in the autism spectrum. In 2015 I stepped down from the position of director of the Visual Arts department at HSA, a position I held for three years, to move to Connecticut. I started my own arts program, but soon after I realized that nothing compares to life in NYC, so I returned and started working for Marquis Studios as a teaching artist. My personal work in the arts has been a journey through different materials and techniques in the realm of sculpting and painting, including ceramics, forging and welding iron, carving stone, plaster, drawing and painting, and that has allowed me to apply all my experiences to my teaching career in the visual arts.

Hello my name is Angel Thompson and I am an artist, educator, writer and mother. I recently relocated to Kearny, NJ after spending 21 years in NYC. I have a background in visual arts, including an Integrative Arts degree from Penn State University. I began working as a teaching artist nearly 15 years ago and have had the privilege of working with students of all ages as well as their families over the years. I am currently working as an educator with Arts Connection and the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture. I am also a part of the core staff for creative therapies conferences sponsored by Expressive Media. I am very excited to be a part of this years TATI program!

Since 1998, Carina Rubaja, a native from Argentina, has worked for renowned cultural organizations as a dance teaching artist in New Jersey and NYC with general and special ed. 2 to 10 year old students, their teachers and their families in arts integration, after school and summer camp programs. Carina has participated in research projects and in arts in education panels in addition to writing grants, resource guides  and dance curricula. During the pandemic she has created dance videos for asynchronous residences for families and students, including a bilingual series (English and Spanish). For three years she has been part of the NYCDOE task force that offers dance professional development to 3K and PreK teachers through a coaching model. She works for another coaching program called Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts, which has affiliates in different US states. In April 2021 she will be working remotely with teachers from other states. Carina gives family workshops for several organizations in which participants explore how creative movement can reinforce literacy skills , support social emotional competencies and enrich quality family time. Very recently she started teaching virtual creative movement classes to adults with mental illnesses at Henry Street Settlement, NYC. She completed the three year Creative Movement teacher training program in Buenos Aires, Argentina , after which she received a Masters in Education degree (Creative Arts in Learning program) from Lesley College, Mass . Additionally she did the Dance Education Laboratory foundational courses at the 92Y in NYC.

Chantal Feitosa (she/her) is a Brazilian United Statesian, artist + educator from Queens, New York. She works between image-making, language, and pedagogy to explore themes of belonging, idealism, and care. The processes of collage and archiving are at the heart of her practice when developing digital media, semi-fictional narratives, or socially engaged work. Feitosa received her BFA in Film/Animation/Video from the Rhode Island School of Design with a concentration in Literary Arts & Studies. She has been an artist in residence at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Residency Unlimited, and Smack Mellon’s Artist Studio Program. Over the past five years, she has worked with education spaces within non-profit, corporate, and experimental sectors, and she is currently a Teaching Artist at the Queens Council on the Arts. Her role as an educator is complemented by an active learning practice, and she has been a student in alternative education programs such as The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Museum Education Practicum, and currently, Dark Study.

My name is Christian Peralta. I am from New York, raised in The Bronx. In terms of artwork, I create fun videos that talk about programs Extreme Kids & Crew offers to caregivers and children alike. I am the Programs Manager for Extreme Kids & Crew and I have been with Organization for over 2 years now.

Ellie Bell (they/them) is ecstatic to be a part of TATI. They are a theatre-maker and educator based in Brooklyn, originally from Wisconsin. While they teach all forms of theatre, their main focus is play-building and puppet-making. Beyond puppet-making and play-building with 3rd through 5th graders, Ellie is currently teaching a meditation/creative writing class with 5th graders, a crafting class with middle schoolers, and a movement class with students at a D75 school. Ellie works mainly with Shadow Box Theatre and Illuminart Productions as a teaching artist. They have also performed TYA throughout the northeast, and devise theatre when there isn’t a global pandemic. They are committed to equity in education and the arts and lead a low-waste lifestyle that they often bring into their work. When not teaching, Ellie can be found making art, studying acting at Lucid Body House, cleaning their home for fun, or pontificating on walks with their senior dog.

Gabriel Torres is a multidisciplinary artist from Colombia and New York. Current Projects: “Haus of Dust” – Loisaida Inc, The Laundromat Project, ”Mañanaland” The Tank NYC – Ass. Dir and Community Coordinator Recent Projects: “Distant Bodies” – 2020 – The LGBT Center & Cyber Tank – NYC . “Still – Performance for Inner Peace” 2019 – Chashama – NYC Recent Theater Directing Credits: “LoverSpy by Anna O’connell”, PEA Fest, NYC, 2021, “Men on The Verge of a Hispanic Breakdown”, Teatro Audaz, Associate Director, San Antonio, 2021, “Village Stories, KrisP Productions”, Hong Kong (Virtual), “Leo and his friends by Amalia Oliva Rojas”, Theater Accident, NYC (Virtual), “Caught in The Act by Anna Parisi”, Biennal Immigrant Artist Festival, NYC (Virtual). Film Directing & Documentary: “OSS #DK Testimony Series”, Documentary Series, 2020, Distant Bodies, The LGBT Center & The Tank NYC, 2020. Blue Clouds, 2020. In The Darkness We May Find Each Other, 2019. All Girls Got a Dream, 2018. It’s A Match, 2018. Residencies: Create Change, Laundromat Project, 2021; AIR, Loisaida INC, 2020. Fellowships: MDOCS, Skidmore College, 2021, EMERGENYC, Hemisphere Institute, 2020. Teaching Artist: Arts Connections 2021, Cue Drama, Hong Kong, 2018 Jamaica Center for The Arts – 2018. Education: MA in Media Studies, The New School, BA in Media Studies, The New School. Taller Profesional de Artistas, Creative Capital. The Neighborhood Playhouse Theater. Riggio’s Honors Democracy Writing. https://gabrielgtorres.com/

My name is Kerri Ford. I am a teaching artist, and the co-creator a company called Dance.Laugh.Learn.. We bring music, movement, and drama into preschools, daycares, after school programs, and summer camps. I love being able to teach young people about the performing arts. I love watching my students find their voice, and discover the joy and escape the arts can bring them. I have lived in NYC and NJ my entire life, staying within the NYC-Metro area. I currently teach for my program, along with teaching part time at a dance studio and in a pre-school classroom. The pandemic has presented a challenge in bringing my program to schools, and I can’t wait until that changes.

My name is Krisia Ayala. I was born in Puerto Rico and I now live in New York City. I currently teach undergrad students and high school. I have an MFA in Digital Interdisciplinary Art and a BFA in Image and Design. My website is www.krisiamarila.com

Laura Bozzone is a Brooklyn based Teaching Artist and Arts Administrator. She is currently the Performing Arts Coordinator for New York Edge, an after school based non-profit organization serving over 130 NYC public schools. She manages their team in writing curriculum for theater, dance and music and leads professional development workshops for their team of Teaching Artists. Laura is also a member of the Social Emotional Committee at New York Edge where she is focused on combining the arts and SEL to unlock and develop student leadership, expression and confidence. As a Teaching Artist, Laura has taught theater in a wide variety of communities with George Street Playhouse, Stages on the Sound, Child’s Play NY and Red Carpet Kids. Currently, Laura teaches with the Stuttering Association for the Young (S.A.Y.), an organization for young people who stutter, where she continues to use her passion for imaginative storytelling as a way to build self-confidence and self-expression through dramatic play. Laura holds a B.F.A in Theater Arts from Hofstra University and is currently pursuing her M.S. in Educational Theater at City College.

Lily Lipman is a disabled short white woman with short brown hair and brown eyes. She believes strongly in creating accessible spaces for all folx. She is from New York and is a classically trained actress. She tries to help institutions brainstorm different ways they can connect with their audience. She finds opportunities for engagement that might not yet be taken advantage of. She is currently an Access Coordinator at New York City Children’s Theater, the Director of Education and Imagination at Kaiser’s Room, an accessibility consultant throughout NYC, and an actress. She teaches a course at CUNY in partnership with the Museum Access Consortium for folx with disabilities on a Career in Cultural Institutions and is very passionate about increasing the number of people with disabilities in the arts. For more information you can reach her at LilyALipman@gmail.com

Lisa D. Archigian is a Visual Artist, Librarian, and Educator based in New York. With a background in painting, printmaking and illustration, she earned a BA in Arts, Literature and writing from Union Institute and University, and an MLS from Queens College, CUNY, specializing in Children’s and Young Adult Services in the Public Library. Her visual work has been featured in exhibitions at Yale University, and in galleries in New York, Los Angeles and Kyoto. More than 100 of her illustration are featured in The Five Books of (Robert) Moses, an alternate history of New York by Arthur Nersesian (Akashic Books, NY, 2020; Kirkus starred review). She teaches STEAM and Arts programming in a metropolitan area children’s museum, and as a Librarian, leads craft programming and a graphic novel club, in addition to providing children’s and adults reference and readers advisory. Find her online at lisadarchigian.com

Mackie Saylor (she/her) is an NYC-based theater artist and educator who seeks to create meaningful bonds between schools, artists, and cultural institutions. A member of Actors’ Equity, Mackie performed regionally and on tour before working as a teaching artist with organizations throughout the city. Throughout this time, she also served as a production advisor for the Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway Junior program, as well as a teaching artist with the Arthur Miller Foundation Fellows Program. In 2012, Mackie co-founded Ashworth Theatre Company in her hometown of Waukee, IA, and led its programs until 2019. Mackie now manages education programs at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in Lower Manhattan and continues to teach, write, and direct works with young people and communities. Recently, she was the assistant director for the premiere of Making Gay History: Before Stonewall at the Provincetown Playhouse, and she is a frequent collaborator with the NYU Verbatim Performance Lab and CO/LAB Theater Group. Mackie holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Webster University and an MA in Educational Theatre from NYU Steinhardt.

Napoleon Revels-Bey, Moorish American living on LI, Jubilation Foundation Fellow, Drums-Percussion a Master Teaching Artist Jazz and music historian. Founder of Arts-In-Education Programs, Nassau Performing Arts, and Revels-Bey Music has received several grants, Creative Learning Grant, Artist Community Engagement Arts Award, and the NYC DOE Office of Arts and Special Projects Award. A Long Island Arts Alliance Board member and TA for The John and Alice Coltrane Foundation, Endorsements & Clinician for Vic Firth Sticks, Mike Balter Mallets, Evans Drum Heads, Latin Percussion and MRP Drums. Currently TA for Flushing Town Hall after school CASA program PS 303 Queens, and Huntington Arts Council Grant with Northern Pkway School, Uniondale NY. www.nasauperformingarts.org www.revels-bey.com .

Neddi Heller

My name is Neill Cawley. I grew up on Long Island and split my time between living in Queens and Brooklyn. I play in bands and sing as a hobby and have been doing so since I was a teenager. I currently teach ENl at a District 75 high school.

My name is Paige Werman. I’m from Southeast Florida. I teach dance for Marquis Studios and Ailey Arts In Education & Community Programs. I have a BFA in Dance with a double major in Environmental Policy from Fordham University/The Ailey School. I also teach Pilates at local studios. I have been a Teaching Artist for four years and teaching dance for over ten years. I’ve also worked as a professional dancer/performer and a Garden Instructor. I like to garden, do yoga, strength train, and learn about plants in my free time. I used to assist a Zumba class for the visually impaired at Mark Morris Dance Center, but this was my first year leading a class for D75 students with Marquis. I’m excited to learn about different approaches and practices to working with students with disabilities.

Taeesha Muhammad is a collagist, abstract painter, and arts educator. Her works inspire a dialog about the power of language as it relates to the African in the Americas from all Diasporas. Her art has always explored the human condition. As an African American Female, she has a distinct point of view of the world. There are so many layers; in learning about herself, as a Being, as a woman, and as a descendant of Africa in America, she sees the world through so many lenses. The things her works question is how we connect the past to the future, and how the citizens of this world connect with each other. It is a very open ended curiosity, because she allows the questions of relationships, interactions, vibes, emotions, the physical, and the spiritual. She is always looking for the synchronicity. In her works, there is also a great wonder about the way people in their culture. How are we able to create the natural ebb and flow that is necessary to support and nurture each other? This is the language that connects us. Her work shows this merge of cultures, personalties, connections, and vibes in the human condition. During the pandemic, the events that played across the globe reached a different volume. The scope of the collections grew to in size and depth to include new themes and conversions. The topics I cover are always current, and using interesting mediums (metals, pumicestone, beads, plastics) with paint to create the conversation is very important. I also use the tradition of written ancient African language in my pieces to connect us to our past. Using this visual vernacular, with paint, using thick and delibrate strokes, I create a tapestry of cloth and texture. The colors chosen have a meaning, and contribute greatly to subject matter. I find cultural traditions in the use of color. I want to show a vibrancy and the feeling of being surrounded by the image.

Wendy Ann Powell is an African American woman and was born in Brooklyn, NY. Wendy attended Public Schools and studied dance at Brooklyn College. She studied and performed with Dance June Lewis & Company. As an original member of Ayitia la Dance Company, Dance Danamaria, Agoci Inc. and Alden Moves Dance Theater she performed in an immersive version of the Nutcracker. Over the years, Wendy has performed for elected officials, religious institutions, hospitals, schools, cultural institutions and senior citizen centers. As a Girl Scout leader, she has taught dance workshops to Daises, Brownies, and mentored various Girl Scout dance projects. In 2015, she was invited to perform by National Teaching Artist, Margaret Elaine Plaza of Omega Dance Company. She’s a 2016 Brooklyn Arts Council Grant recipient. She teaches Modern, Haitian, Ballet, Jazz dance and is a certified Zumba Instructor. Wendy is pursuing an MS in Educational Theatre at City College and has joined ZCO/DANCEPROJECT, an inclusive disability dance company. She is also a member of Agoci Inc. a contemporary modern dance and Haitian dance company in East New York, Brooklyn

2021 TATI Facilitators

Annalise Wedemeyer is a collaborative based theater maker and teaching artist from Brooklyn, New York. As a performer, Annalise focuses on creating original activist performances which investigate human rights, racism, and sustainability. As a teaching artist Annalise specializes in working with students on the autism spectrum, and in infusing social emotional learning in her theatre residencies. She holds a BA in Acting with a focus in Devised Performance from Pace University, and an advanced certificate from Brooklyn College Graduate Center in Autism Communication Arts. Currently she is writing her dissertation exploring Culturally Responsive Pedagogy to complete her MFA from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London.

Cecilia Smith is a professional composer, recording artist and multimedia artist; she has been granted a numberof commissions and grants for her composing abilities. She is a Joyce Award recipient, National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recipient and New York State Council onthe Arts(NYSCA)recipient. Cecilia is also an avid MIDI music programmer. She is currently one of the leading vibraphonists of Four-Mallet Technique. She is also the first woman to release recorded work on the vibraphone on a national and international level, where she has six CDs released as a leader and co-leader. She has performed in concert halls, nightclubs, colleges, universities and festivals throughout the world. Some of the noted artists Cecilia has performed and recorded with include: Donald Harrison, Greg Osby, Gary Bartz, Mulgrew Miller, Cassandra Wilson, Amina Claudine Myersand Marian McPartland’s –National Public Radio’s (NPR) –Piano Jazz. As a teaching artist Cecilia has developed music programs for children, teens and adults in all kinds of teaching settings. Cecilia has also developed music programs in therapeutic settings for a variety of social service facilities. She is a graduate and former faculty member of Berklee College of Music, Boston

Susan Natacha Gonzalez (Visual Art Teaching Artist) is an artist, Teaching Artist and art therapist with 15 years of experience. She has extensive experience in research in special education and has carried out her multimodal practice in a variety of settings. Susan Natacha is a board certified and registered art therapist. She has degrees in Art, Psychology, Art Therapy and Education. She has also augmented her art studies in the US with studies at the University of Salamanca in Spain and the Lorenzo Di Medici Institute for Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. Susan Natacha has presented the topic of art, education, creativity, art therapy and child development in a variety of conferences, on the radio and has responded to interviews for several publications nationally and abroad. As an artist Susan Natacha utilizes various media and concepts to explore and further understand creative processes and change. She deems the practice of art as an opportunity for the development, understanding and fostering of relationships with other individuals in accordance to the space at any given time. She believes we are not isolated in our creative development, growth and process – we are a collective within and out of our bodies.


Tishawn Gonsalves is an artist and art educator. She focuses on creating multi sensory and cross-disciplinary curriculums and projects that combine art education, environmental science and cultural food politics. Utilizing a multitude of creative pedagogical methods to expose students to a variety of artistic practices and awareness of art in society. A BFA degree from Pratt Institute, she has also augmented her studies with agriculture and food justice politics and is pursuing an MA in Early Childhood Education and Curriculum Development. In addition she is and educator for With Food in Mind and Doing Art Together. Tishawn has been a Marquis Studios teaching artist since 2014.

Erica Rooney is a visual artist and a poet.  Explorations and pleasures of the material world – everything from lichens, coal and dust to scraps of rusted metal found on the streets of NYC – drive both her poetry and her art. Her extensive work with teachers and students in Special Ed, as a Master Teaching Artist, a licensed Creative Arts Therapist and a Coach, has infused her pedagogical philosophy with practical tools and innovative vision. She is a Curriculum Designer/Writer, and a Professional Development Facilitator. Over a long career, she has worked with ages 3 – 50 in varied settings: Montessori, HeadStart, public and private schools, colleges, private practice, and families. Erica believes the home-school connection is a crucial though often under-served part of education. She believes that when children make art, they are scientists, their attention spans an ever-expanding rubber band of discovery. Erica has an MFA in Poetry from Cornell University and an MPS in Creative Arts Therapy from Pratt Institute.

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.