Alexis Arnold, Visual Arts, since 2011
Ms. Arnold is a San Francisco artist whose artwork explores the visual display of time, perception and natural history through the transformation of varied materials. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including the Aspen Art Museum, Napa Valley Museum, Whatcom Museum, Bergdorf Goodman, Southern Exposure, The Workshop Residence, The New York Hall of Science and the San Francisco Arts Commission. Her work is included in the collections of SFMOMA, the University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Commonwealth University and MediaMath, and has been reviewed in Hi-Fructose, Art Practical, San Francisco Chronicle, Wall Street Journal, BuzzFeed, boingboing, designboom and more. She holds an MFA in sculpture from the San Francisco Art Institute, as well as a BA in art from Kenyon College.
Ms. Arnold enjoys teaching students of all ages, from elementary school students to adults with varying levels of experience. She loves borrowing ideas or techniques from her own work, her artist community or artists she admires to inform lessons, feeling this helps create unique projects for students. In addition to teaching with SFArtsED, Ms. Arnold teaches through Leap…Imagination in Learning, and has previously taught at SFAI Public Education, Root Division, Head-Royce School, private classes, and more.
Danny Duncan, Theatrical Director/Dramaturge, since 1991
Mr. Duncan is a native San Franciscan who has worked in the Bay Area most of his life. As founder and Artistic Director of Duncan & Company, he toured the West Coast for seven years. Mr. Duncan's writing career began in 1969 with Uhuruh, which appeared Off Broadway in New York at the City Center Theatre. Since then, he has authored and produced eight original musicals including Billie’s Song—winner of six Bay Area Critic Awards, including Best Musical of 1982. He is also the recipient of the Bay Area Critics Circle Award for his choreography for Theatreworks production of RAISIN the musical in 1998 as well as the Dean Goodman Choice Award for outstanding achievement in theatre. For five years Mr. Duncan served as Artistic Director for the Mayor's Summer Youth Program (Bayview Hunter's Point) and for ten years with United Projects, an arts organization that trained young people in the performing arts. Mr. Duncan has written the librettos and song lyrics for eight of The Event of the Year performances, and three original musicals for the SFArtsED Players. And, he’s served as Director of this musical theater company since its inception. Mr. Duncan has a long association with the School of the Arts Alternative High School and has taught at the American Conservatory Theater. He is on the faculty of the Oakland School of the Arts as drama teacher and is Director of their main stage musical each year.
Marcus Dyson, Music, since 2005
Mr. Dyson has been teaching choruses since the age of twelve. He is the Minister of Music at Calvary Hill Community Church in San Francisco. Mr. Dyson has also served as Minister of Music at Monument of Love Fellowship in San Diego making musical appearances on BET, TBN with top recording artists including Andrae Crouch, Shirley Caesar, Dr. Bobby Jones, Destiny’s Child and Kelly Price. Mr. Dyson’s debut CD was released in August, 2007. As Minister of Music, Mr. Dyson started the first youth choir for True Hope COGIC in San Francisco. Additional experience includes teaching Chorus class at Eugene McAteer High School.
Zoe Farmer, Ceramics, since 2014
Before moving to the Bay Area in 2012 Ms. Farmer spent 12 years teaching at a diverse, coed, public school in London, UK. Ms. Farmer’s undergraduate degree is in sculpture, and she recently completed her MFA at California College of the Arts in fine sculpture. She has had an active studio practice sine 2007 had has show work in solo and group shows in London and San Francisco. Her art practice is interdisciplinary and she works with a wide range of materials in both conventional and unconventional ways. She embraces a variety of processes and enjoys discovering the potential of materials through experimentation and play. The material reactions that become a starting point for a new body of work are those that convey transformation, transience and throw up unforeseen surprises. A scuba diver with a life-long interest and investment in marine biology and a strong belief in our connection to the ocean, Ms. Farmer’s work seeks to explore the instability created when social constructs influence the fabrication of scientific truth. The realities of diversity found in the ocean environment challenge scientific truths and pop-cultural attitudes toward the animal kingdom. The social constructions of our society become conspicuous and limiting against the adaptable, fluid bodies of the animals and organisms that she observes.
Erin Gentry, SFArtsED Players, since 2010
Ms. Gentry studied at the University of San Francisco, graduating with a BA in performing arts and social justice with a dance emphasis. A longtime musical theater lover, she is a choreographer, performer and collaborator, and has appeared onstage from a young age. Favorite past shows include Cabaret, Chicago, Urinetown! The Musical, Hairspray, and most recently her role as Cassie in A Chorus Line. During her time at USF, Ms. Gentry staged such musicals as Songs for a New World and Reefer Madness and worked with incarcerated men in the Resolve to Stop The Violence Program, before joining the SFArtsED family as an instructor for the youth summer camp Broadway Bound and co-choreographer for the SFArtsED Players. She also greatly enjoys her in-school musical theater residencies throughout the year. With training in classical Broadway styles of dance, including tap and jazz, and interests in contemporary styles, Ms. Gentry's variety of interests are all a part of her diverse approach to teaching.
Natalie Greene, Dance and Musical Theater, since 2003
Ms. Greene is a performer, teacher and choreographer exploring both traditional and innovative combinations of dance and theater. She is Adjunct Faculty at the University of San Francisco, where she co-directs the Dance Generators with Amie Dowling. Ms. Greene also teaches through SFArtsED and ODC School, and has served as Dance Faculty at San Francisco State University. She has performed for Kim Epifano, Deborah Slater, Emily Keeler, Kelly Kemp, Leyya Tawil and Mary Armentrout. Ms. Greene’s choreography has been presented in Italy, Spain, New York, Arizona and Massachusetts. Her work has been presented locally at ODC Theater, the Garage, John Sims, Shotwell Studios, Dance Mission and the Sunshine Biscuit Factory. She also creates performances with youth, teens, seniors, incarcerated adults, college and university students. This work has been featured at the Eureka Theater, the de Young Museum, the Marsh, the Fromm Institute, inside of County Jail #8, the College of San Mateo and SF School of the Arts. Ms. Greene has worked with the SFArtsED Players since 2003, and continues to learn and grow through collaborating with Emily Keeler and Danny Duncan.
Deborah Slater Dance Theater - www.artofthematter.org
Epiphany Productions / Trolley Dances - www.epiphanydance.org
University of San Francisco - www.usfca.edu/artsci/ug/performing_arts
ODC School - www.odcschool.org
Esmeralda Kundanis-Grow, Dance, since 2011
Ms. Kundanis-Grow is a Bay Area-based choreographer, performer and dance teacher. She has presented her choreography at TriskelionArts in Brooklyn, BAMPFA, Laney College Theater, ODC, Dance Mission Theatre, KS-Arts and The Garage. She performs and choreographs for Oakland-based dance company Mix'd Ingrdnts and also teaches with Brisbane Dance Workshop and ODC. As an educator, she believes in teaching dance from a place of activism and personal empowerment, creating pathways for students to step into leadership and full creative expansion.
G. Scott Lacy , Musical Theater, since 2014
Mr. Lacy has musical directed over 150 productions working with such theatre companies as the Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse, the award-winning Lamb’s Players Theatre, the Musical Theatre Guild of Los Angeles, Diversionary Theatre, New Conservatory Theatre Center, Diablo Theatre Company, 42nd Street Moon, San Diego Repertory Theatre, San Diego Opera, North Coast Repertory Theatre, the Emmy Award-winning Malashock Dance Company and many others. Mr. Lacy was honored with the 2009 Bay Area Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Musical Direction for his work on Dames At Sea at NCTC. Mr. Lacy has had the honor of working with some of the theater’s finest directors including Des McAnuff, Michael Greif, Neel Keller, Peter Schneider, Les Waters and Regina Taylor. Mr. Lacy is also a successful vocal coach whose clients include Tony, Emmy, Grammy and Golden Globe Award winning performers. His students have attended such prestigious universities as NYU, Harvard, Carnegie Melon, North Carolina School of the Arts, UCSD, UCLA, and Sarah Lawrence. Also a celebrated cabaret performer, Mr. Lacy is the creator and founding partner of Society Cabaret in San Francisco.
www.gscottlacy.com and www.societycabaret.com
Sydney Lozier, Musical Theater, since 2013
Ms. Lozier is a Bay Area dancer and teacher who has found so much joy in working with the Players. She is a recent graduate of the Performing Arts and Social Justice program at University of San Francisco and is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Education at the same institution. With more than 17 years of technical training (jazz, tap, ballet, modern), she has had the opportunity to perform under choreographers such as Eli Nelson, Jenny Mcallister, Natalie Greene, Amie Dowling and Brenton Cheng. Recent works include an ensemble role in South of Market: The Musical, ODC Pilot with dance collective Hers and Hers and presentation of solo work Exploration of the Face at the Theater of Yugen Noh.
Melinda Neal-Cofresi, Dance, since 2008
Ms. Neal-Cofresi is a BFA candidate in dance at Saint Mary’s College. She trained at the Oakland Ballet Academy under Ronn Guidi and studied locally at Shawl Anderson and the San Francisco Dance Center. She is certified to teach Ballet by the Dance Masters of America, and has performed with Simply Pasquale, Napoles Ballet Theatre, California Ballet, Udance Electra, New Trails Dance Theatre, Oakland Ballet Academy and Solano Civic Ballet. Ms Neal-Cofresi is the Artistic Director and Choreographer for Halal Ballet Theatre, a non-profit youth ballet company and also teaches for Dance Network.
Tiersa Nureyev, Fashion Design, since 2006
Ms. Nureyev's body of work resides in the intersection between art, design and craft. Her entry point into these disciplines is typically textile-based, materials driven, hands-on and coupled with an emphasis on artistic inquiry and collaboration. She is interested in the how and why when making work. She applies this thinking to three distinct yet related fields: costume/visual design, textile/fashion product design and art/design education.
Ms. Nureyev has costumed for film, musical theatre, dance and performance art and has worked with fellow artists to create fiber-based elements, structures and garments for gallery projects and set design. She is the co-founder of collaborative design studio Stella Fluorescent, which creates fashion collections emerging from partnerships with Bay Area designers and artists. Stella Fluorescent works with natural dyers, wood artisans, metal smiths and painters to create sustainably designed collections that are sold in fashion boutiques and design stores.
Ms. Nureyev sits on the SFArtsED Board of Directors as the Artist Representative. She is an active teaching artist (via SFArtsED) within the San Francisco School District, leads summer programs with youth exploring the nature of fashion as identity and collaborates with artists residing in San Quentin Prison.
Richard Olsen, Visual Arts, since 1993
Mr. Olsen is an artist, writer and art educator. He was the head of the art department at Gateway High School and taught art education at the San Francisco Art Institute. Mr. Olsen has curated many shows with SFArtsED including at Rena Bransten Gallery, Southern Exposure Gallery, the SF Arts Commission Gallery and the SF Museum of Modern Art. Most recently, Mr. Olsen curated the wildly successful INTERNATIONAL ORANGE: The Bridge Re-imagined at the Mills Building and in 75 "bridge" galleries around San Francisco. At SFArtsED, his students’ work has won a number of awards including the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum’s “Best of Design” award with a subsequent exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C. He has lectured on art and education at UC Berkeley, SF State, the College of Notre Dame, the SF Museum of Modern Art and other institutions. He has also taught in public and private settings, including children deemed “severely emotionally disturbed.” Mr. Olsen received his BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute.
Wendy Robushi, Visual Arts, since 2001
Born in Connecticut, Ms. Robushi relocated to California in 1985 and received her MFA from UC Berkeley in 1989. She holds a BS in art education and has a minor degree in the ceramic arts. Working in oil, wax, cut paper and acrylic, her current artwork explores the many facets of the mandala. In 2005, Ms. Robushi was one of 130 artists chosen to participate in Hearts in San Francisco, and her work is included in many private and public collections. A prolific muralist, Ms. Robushi was a guiding force behind numerous murals funded by the Neighborhood Beautification Fund and designed and painted by artists and students in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point. Since 1989 she has worked out of her San Francisco studio at Hunters Point Shipyard, an artists’ colony of more than 250 artists. She has served as a board member of The Shipyard Trust for the Arts and served as Director of the Hunters Point Shipyard Spring Open Studio for four years. As a dedicated arts educator for over 30 years, Ms. Robushi has served as artist-in-residence in over a dozen San Francisco schools, teaching drawing, painting, printmaking and a variety of art media and techniques to thousands of young artists in elementary, middle school, language immersion and special education programs.
Trish Tillman, Theater, since 2005
Ms. Tillman served as the director of artistic learning at California Shakespeare Theater for five years. She has been a working actor, improvisor and theater arts teacher for 25 years and holds a Masters in Dramatic Performance and Teaching Theater from Antioch University and a BS in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. She has created teaching artist training programs for both classroom teachers and college education students, brought the world of Shakespeare to literally thousands of children through productions and classes, founded two improvisational theater companies in San Francisco and is currently on staff and in the ensemble of Un-Scripted Theater.
Tom Shaw, Musical Theater, since 2007
Mr. Shaw is a singer-pianist with extensive musical theater experience as a music director, accompanist and actor. He has also composed music and acted for television and film. His jazz trio, the Tom Shaw Trio, performs throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and is often sought out to accompany other vocalists, cabaret performances, musical theater productions and shows, and can be seen regularly performing in San Francisco at Martuni's among other venues.
Alex Stein, Musical Theater, since 2012
Mr. Stein is a native of the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works as a composer, performer and educator. In addition to his work with SFArtsED, he works as composer with the San Francisco Opera's ARIA Network, helping elementary school classes to create original mini-operas. Mr. Stein holds a Master's Degree in composition from the Mannes College of Music, where he studied with David Loeb. While at Mannes, he was a winner of the 2008 Jean Schneider Goberman composition competition, the Martinu prize for orchestral composition, and the Composer-in-Residence Chamber Ensemble commission. His works have been premiered at the Bowdoin International Music Festival, SUNY Stony Brook, and by Choral Chameleon and the Mimesis Ensemble. He is currently working on his first opera.
Samantha Stone, Dance, since 2011
Ms. Stone received her BFA in Dance from the University of Michigan. Upon graduating, she has continued her dance studies both outside of the US in Brazil, Mexico and Europe as well as in the Bay Area, focusing her studies primarily toward Axis Syllabus Dance. Most recently, she participated at the Luna Dance Institute, where she further trained in the field of children's dance education. She has had the pleasure of working with choreographers Kathleen Hermsdorf, Bianca Cabrera, Rosemary Hannon, Ashley Trottier, Aura Fischbeck and Leyya Tawil. Ms. Stone is a co-founder of Viv dance company, and her own work has been shown in several local theaters, though she prefers enchanting the homes, galleries and shops around her with movement and design. She engages in teaching, choreographing and performing on both sides of the San Francisco Bay, always pushing for arts awareness and opportunity for all.
Barbara Vanderbeck, Visual Arts, since 2015
Ms. Vanderbeck is a San Francisco-based artist who remembers being smitten with clay from a very early age. She also creates vibrant mixed-media paintings. Her MA in art education was received from Northern Arizona University. She is dedicated to her own studio practice and consistently participates in exhibits through out the Bay Area. She brings a wealth of experience teaching at all levels in various institutions. Passionate about the creative process, she delights in sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm with her students.