Maggie Anderson is the Arts in Education Director of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts where she manages education-based programs and services, working with state and community based partners to ensure that all kids have access to quality arts education. Currently she serves as her state's representative for SEADAE, the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education. Previously, as Director of Education at the Newport Art Museum for 6 years, her programs and community outreach initiatives garnered national acclaim. Ms. Anderson graduated from Pratt Institute with a Master’s degree in Arts and Cultural Management. She earned her dual Bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Political Science from Rhode Island College, with a minor in Art History.
Melissa Bowler is comedian from Providence, RI who specializes in professional development workshops and speaking engagements. Her program, Connecting Through Comedy, won the 2014 Pi Sigma Epsilon teaching innovations award. Melissa combines stand-up comedy, interactive improv exercises, and audience discussion to help better understand our brains in regards to biases, empathy, and self compassion.
Mollie Flanagan is the Individual Artists Program Director at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. She has an MFA in Arts Entrepreneurship and Management from Arizona State University with a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management. She was the inaugural Tremaine Fellow in Arts Entrepreneurship, during which she conducted research about arts specific business training across the United States. In addition to her work as an administrator, Mollie works as a lighting designer, production manager, and stage manager in the performing arts. Her work includes several years as the lighting designer at the Musical Instrument Museum’s music theater, production managing for a touring contemporary dance company based in San Francisco, and working in various capacities on large site specific theater projects.
Michelle Nugent is an interdisciplinary artist, educator, and community arts facilitator based in Providence, RI. Her works and have been featured in exhibitions throughout the US and internationally. She received her BFA in Fine Arts from The College of New Jersey in 2009 and her MFA in Community Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in 2013. She is the Program Manager of Providence ¡CityArts! for Youth, a community arts organization with a mission to ensure that all Providence youth have access to high-quality arts programs. Through social justice based art education and creative youth development, Michelle works with teaching artists and young artists at ¡CityArts! to celebrate the arts as a means to youth empowerment, community building and social change.
Born and raised in the Ocean State, Keith obtained a BA in Psychology & Art from the University of Rhode Island and was a practicing social worker, coach, local politician, and freelance photographer before embarking for graduate school. Recently completing a Master degree in Product Innovation (MPI) with a focus on education from Virginia Commonwealth University, Keith helps lead the PVD Young Maker initiative as part of FabNewport's team creating a hybrid of learning opportunities for Providence's youth. He focuses on design thinking, social entrepreneurship and the intersection of industry & academia.
Anna is a designer and teaching artist with a particular interest in the intersection of education and public art. She sees public art as the perfect vehicle for student learning, especially at the high school level. The public art process requires students to research and engage with community, as well as think deeply about public space and policy that affects their everyday lives. Work of this nature engages students’ intellect and empowers them for future civic engagement. The result is a permanent and public record of student voice, and an educated and engaged young citizenry. Anna holds a BFA from RISD and is currently a student in the history department at URI.
Valerie Tutson is a professional storyteller who has worked all over the world telling and teaching storytelling. She is the founding director of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers (RIBS), a local non-profit dedicated to promoting the awareness, appreciation and application of Black Storytelling.
Antonia Lara Sanchez
Antonia Lara Sanchez moved to Providence two years ago after having graduated as an Industrial Designer from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile. After moving to the creative capital, she began working at ¡City Arts! and DownCity Design, where she began to share her passion for art and design with the city’s youth. She believes that art is an integral part of one's self development and a necessary expression of culture. She currently teaches Media Arts at Roger Williams Middle School.
Chace Baptista has been a janitor, co-director of a non profit, food runner, mentor, mentee, employee, boss and manager. He has consulted for a variety of entities and now he is now a School Culture Coordinator for Gilbert Stuart Middle School in Providence. He brings to bear all of his experiences as he works to build community in classrooms and beyond.
Jay Chattelle was born on September 30, 1975, in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He was especially interested in poetry from a young age. Although he struggled with home life, he never let that deter him from what he could and couldn’t do. Jay’s accomplishments include being the founder of From The RIP, co-founder of RI’s only foundation dedicated to water safety called Jayce The Healer Foundation, Jay is the recipient of the prestigious Good Humanitarian award from the City of Pawtucket, producing 3 albums, a featured film and lifetime documentary, producing and directing 15 short films and 2 RI PBS 6 time award winning tv shows. He is Pawtucket's Poet Laureate and engages in numerous mentoring youth programs. His motto is “saving lives one poem at a time.” His life example teaches us that, no matter how big or small, no obstacle is too big to overcome.
Eli Nixon builds portals and gives guided tours to places that don’t yet exist, or already exist but call for imaginative intervention. They are a settler-descended genderqueer clown, a cardboard constructionist, and a maker of plays, puppets, parades, pageants, suitcase theaters, and low-tech spectaculah- on their own, and in collaboration with artists, dancers, and musicians of all ages, abilities and persuasions. Their performances and installations occur street corners and stages. Eli also creates theater with schools, senior centers, and addiction recovery and mental health programs. They've been an Arts Mentoring Fellow and Summer Scholar at New Urban Arts (2012-2014, 2018), coordinator of PRONK parade community partnerships (2013-2016) and co-founder/facilitator of The Anti-Racism Working Group for White Parents at The Gordon School (2015-present). Eli’s current creative efforts include identifying opportunities to dismantle Manifest Destiny, foster intra and interspecies kinship, and co-parenting a 10 year old human.
Photo credit: Aarav Sundaresh
Kyle has worked in the fields of mental health and education for over twelve years. He received a Masters in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University in 2011. He holds certifications as a K-12 Building Administrator, District Level Special Education Administrator, and Provider Certification Training in Collaborative Proactive Solutions. Prior to teaching, Kyle worked at two leading psychiatric hospitals in Rhode Island. He has worked on locked down psychiatric units, residential care, and home-based services. He was a 2009 Teach for America Corps member where he taught in a 1-4 Self-Contained Autism classroom in Phoenix, Arizona. He was the building principal of a leading elementary school in Rhode Island that by design was intentionally diverse. He founded TILO to combine his personal and professional experience in hopes of inspiring a new reality of what is possible.
Aarav Sundaresh is a visual arts educator committed to activating student voice and honoring personal experience through creative practice. Aarav believes in the importance of reflecting on our own personal, educational and professional experiences to build awareness of our roles and impact as educators, and to build connection and understanding with the youth populations we serve. He has worked at both middle and high school levels in Providence, and has been involved with youth development organizations including New Urban Arts and Youth Pride, Inc., and community organizations including The Rhode Island Foundation's Equity Action and the National Trans Educators Network. Aarav is South Asian (second gen in the United States), queer and trans, and lives with his spouse and two kids.
Young Latina artist YSANEL learned to “fly” through manipulating her materials. She started as a poet and became a painter/muralist in her hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. One of her most known public art projects is a series of murals on outdoor utility boxes of inspiring women for a female empowerment project. In early 2017, the City awarded her the Public Art Fellowship, which backs up her newly gained knowledge in public art.
Shaffany Terrell is a local artist whose medium is dance. She is also certified to teach mindfulness and yoga to youth. They will talk about their recent work with the Laotian Community Center called the Dance and Story Bridge Project.
Adrienne C. Goss
Adrienne C. Goss is an Assistant Professor of Education at Rhode Island College (RIC) and the Founding Director of the new Education and Social Policy Institute at RIC. Her research focuses on the effects of education policy on children and ways that parents and community members can be involved in the process of school reform.
Victoria Restler is an Assistant Professor of Educational Studies and Founding Director of the Youth Development Master’s Program at Rhode Island College. An interdisciplinary artist, she has worked for more than 15 years in k-12 schools, universities, galleries, neighborhoods and nonprofits to address social issues through participatory art-making.