We work with a cadre of seasoned teaching artists who are committed to both youth and their own artistic career. We are unique amongst New York City’s many excellent arts education programs in that we specialize in placing traditional and folk artists in schools to share their expertise with students and teachers. We also collaborate with contemporary artists whose own artwork explores the themes of community, identity, and history.
Cecilia Ortega | Mexican Folk Dance
Cecilia Ortega is a freelance artist, dancer, choreographer, community leader and activist. She is a founding member of Son de Monton, a NYC-based group devoted to the Son Jarocho and Fandango traditions; Co-founder and Water Woman of Kalpulli Huehuetlahtolli, and a community organization committed to preserving Mexican indigenous ways of life.
To learn more about Cecilia, see her artist page.
Malini Srinivisan | Indian Bharatanatyam Dance
Malini Srinivasan is a third-generation Bharatanatyam dancer and a disciple of the master, Sri C.V. Chandrasekhar in Chennai. Ms. Srinivasan has been teaching since 2004 and has been a teaching artist in NYC public schools since 2009. Ms.Srinivasan offers instruction for children in the technique and the hand gestures of Bharatanatyam through the Young Indian Culture Group, in Albertson, NY.
To learn more about Malini, visit her artist page.
Manuela Arciniegas | Afro-Dominican &
Afro-Puerto Rican Traditional Dance
Manuela Arciniegas is a drummer, songwriter, singer and dancer specializing in Afro-Dominican and Afro-Puerto Rican traditional music. Manuela performs and teaches Afro-Puerto Rican and Afro-Dominican music with various troupes around NYC and is the recipient of the 2008 Urban Artist Initiative and the Founder, Director, and Program Coordinator of The Legacy Circle, a nonprofit she in 2005. Manuela is currently pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology at the CUNY Graduate Center.
To learn more about Manuela, visit her artist page.
Margaret Yuen | Chinese Dance
Margaret Yuen received her dance training in New York and China with a certification in Chinese folk dance from the Beijing Dance Academy. She has worked as a performer, instructor, director and choreographer for the past 30 years and has received several awards for her artwork by the City Council President. Ms. Yuen now conducts Chinese cultural and dance workshops in NYC public schools and cultural institutions in the tri-state area.
To learn more about Margaret, visit her artist page.
Yahaya Kamate | West African Dance
Yahaya Kamate became interested in traditional dance and drumming as a child in Côte d’Ivoire and began formal training with his country’s National Ballet. For the past 11 years, he has worked as lead dancer, choreographer and dance teacher for several companies and organizations within the United States.
To learn more about Yahaya, visit his artist page.
Yasser Darwish | Egyptian Dance
Yasser Darwis is a performer and teacher of Egyptian folkloric dance and has been giving teaching residencies and workshops in schools since 2008. He is a popular performer of sa’idi tahtib, a stick dance from Upper Egypt, tannoura – a captivating secular Sufi spinning dance – and the Arabian horse dance, which he performs at festivals, theaters and weddings. Additionally, He directs his own Egyptian Celebration Company.
To learn more about Yasser, visit his artist page.
Visual Arts Artists:
George Zavala | Theater & Installation Art
George Zavala is a visual and theater art worker with over 22 years of experience in New York City schools and community youth programs. He co-founded the youth theater program, PAX Theater Company and has had his visual artwork and installations displayed at galleries in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Puerto Rico.
To learn more about George, see his artist page.
Kwok Kay Choey | Chinese Painting, Music, & Tai Chi
Kwok Kay Choey teaches Chinese painting at many institutions, including the Queens College, The Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Metropolitan Museum, and The American Museum of Natural History. He is a member of the Chinese Music Ensemble, and a Tai Chi Instructor who always introduces his students to Chinese music and Tai Chi.
To learn more about Kwok, see his artist page.
Guillermo Guerrero | Andean Music
Guillermo Guerrero is the founder of the Andean folk music group, Tahuantinsuyo (meaning “the four parts of the world” in the Incan language, Quechua), which is dedicated to the research and performance of traditional music from Andean countries that once formed the Inca Empire. Guillermo has taught Andean music and instrument-making for over 30 years in New York City public schools.
To learn more about Guillermo, see his artist page.
Hector Morales | Afro-Peruvian Percussion & Latin
Hector Morales is a Peruvian drummer and percussionist versed in the musical traditions of Afro-Peruvian, Jazz, and Latin Music. Hector has been teaching in NYC schools since 2003 and is currently based in the NYC area where he leads his band “Afrodita” and participates in other musical projects with upcoming young artists on the NYC scene.
To learn more about Hector, see his artist page.
Juan Gutierrez | Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena
Juan “Juango” Gutiérrez has had a successful career as a Broadway percussionist and arranger, devoting himself to the study of Afro-Puerto Rican music traditions of bomba and plena. Mr.Gutiérrez has been a public school music teacher in New York City public schools for over 30 years and is the founder of, Los Pleneros de la 21 (LP21), a musical group which has performed throughout the world.
To learn more about Juan, see his artist page.
Julia Gutiérrez-Ribera | Puerto Rican Bomba y Plena
Julia Gutiérrez-Rivera, youngest daughter of Los Pleneros de la 21’s founder, debuted in her first official performance with the group at age 10. Julia is now a proud member of Los Pleneros de la 21’s staff, performing and teaching ensembles. She has a BA in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico Río Piedras and a Masters in Nonprofit Management from Milano, the New School in Nonprofit Management and Urban Policy.
To learn more about Julia, see her artist page.
Lu Yu | Dance Theater
A graduate of the National Academy of Arts in Taiwan in drama and cinema, Mr. Lu Yu is also trained in ballet and classical Chinese dance. Lu has appeared in more than thirty Mandarin films and numerous television series and films in the United States and has worked as a teaching artist in the NYC public schools for over thirty years.
To learn more about Lu, visit his artist page.
Kate Bell | Theater Artist, Writer & Singer/Song writer
Kate Bell is a writer and artist who has had her plays produced in several NYC theaters and academic institutions and she has collaborated with New York Philharmonic. She received the 2015 Audience Award at the Downtown Urban Theater Festival (DUTF) and two Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan. Kate has been a teaching artist in New York City since 2004 and is currently working with City Lore as well as several other NYC-based organizations.
To learn more about Kim, visit her artist page.
Haifa Bint Kadi | Mosaic & Mixed Media
Haifa Bint Kadi is a first-generation Arab-American who has been designing public art mosaics since 1997 and has over 14 years of experience delivering art workshops that make meaningful connections between art and non-art subjects.
To learn more about Haifa, see her artist page.
Leo Schaff | Songwriting
To learn more about Leo, see his artist page.