Meet Our Instructors

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Janet Belden: BFA, Louisville School of Art. Exhibits include Renwick Gallery(DC) and Gallery IO (New Orleans). Adjunct Professor: Kingsborough Community College, instructor at Earthworks, NYC. Published: Surface Decoration for Low Fire, 500 Vases.

Nan Carey: BFA, Rhode lsland School of Design. Teaching: Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn Museum, Wave Hill, Teaching Studios of Art, Portsmouth Artists Guild. Exhibited: Brooklyn Public Library, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Cuneen-Hackett Gallery, SOHO20. Published: Watercolor Mixing: The 12-Hue Method.

Sybil Costello has been working with clay since 1999,  she has studied both wheel throwing and handbuilding at the YMCA and is also a member of the East End Clay Works Cooperative in Easthampton.  She has been assisting with the children’s clay classes for several years and has also worked as a studio assistant in the Artworks studio, mixing glazes and firing kilns.

Carolina Encalada: NYC artist and founder of the Healing Arts Circle. Carolina's extensive experience includes directing several Visual Arts Programs and teaching children of all ages at places such as, The Children's Aid Society, Charas/El Bohio, La Mano Pottery, The Henry Street Settlement, The Middle Arts Center, and The West Side YMCA.

Ellen Gelber: BFA from Cooper Union MA from NYU, teacher of studio art in NYC public schools. Member of the New York Bead Society. Beading skills learned from United Federation of Teachers workshops and workshops at the New York Bead Society.

Dave Gibson: MFA from Louisiana State University, BFA from University of the Arts. He has taught at the Clay Studio, Wayne Arts Center and with Greenwich House Pottery.

Laurie Gregg: Has been creating stained glass for four years and has had her work exhibited in New York City.   She has been facilitating the ordering and organizing of supplies and materials for the Artworks glass program for a year and a half.

Mary Marino: BFA, SUNY, New Paltz. Teaching: Kingsborough Community College Studio in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  Adjunct Professor at Kingsborouh Community College.  Taught clay camp at Greenwich House Pottery.

Kate Missett: MFA, Pratt Institute. Artworks Coordinator. Teaching: Greenwich House Pottery, Adjunct Professor: Kingsborough College, Penland School of Crafts, NC., Peter’s Valley Craft Center, NJ. Exhibited at: Cheryl Hazan Gallery, Jane Hartsook Gallery, The Clocktower, Queensborough Gallery, (NYC). Eubie Blake Cultural Center (Baltimore, MD) Represented by Carter Burden Gallery, NYC. Published: 500 Raku (Lark books) Pottery Making Illustrated.

Outi Putkonen: BS, University of Helsinki. Cofounder of Soho Potters. Co-owner and Manager of Mugi Pottery, NYC.

Nanette RonnerBFA, Alfred University in Ceramics. Has worked extensively in Textile Design for the following companies: Dan River Fabrics, The Design Library, and Transatlantic Design Company, specializing in 18th and 19th Century designs. As a potter she has participated in various craft shows, including the Artworks Annual Holiday Sale,
The Clay Festival in Soho and the Yorkville Annual Holiday Exhibit and Sale.

Bonnie Steinsnyder: MFA: Queens College. Teaching experience: PS1 Contemporary Art Center, Linden Tree School, Brooklyn, NY, Queens Museum. Exhibited: Arsenal Gallery, NYC, Rittenhouse Fine Art, Philadelphia, Pa. Goldwin-Ternbeck Museum, NY.

Julie Terestman: MFA, Cranbrook Academy of Art, BFA, Boston University. Teaching: Greenwich House Pottery, Adjunct Professor: Kingsborough College. Recipient: NJ State Council Fellowship Award Exhibited: American Craft Museum, NC Mint Museum, Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, WI.

Rosemary Warden: MA, Asian Languages & Literature, University of Washington. Certificate: Creativity Coaching. Studies: School of Visual Arts and China Institute. Studied with masters Kwok Kay Choey and Sungsook Setton. Exhibited: China Institute, NYC; Circa, Seattle, WA; Brooklyn Botanical Garden, NYC; Awagami International Exhibition, Tokushima, Japan.

Kara Branch (Costume Design) is a New York City based costume designer and fashion stylist for theatre, film and print.  Her designs have been seen extensively across the United States.  Kara recently earned her first Broadway credit working on the costume team of the musical Soul Doctor.  A native of Mundelein, IL, she began her passion with costumes, theatre and film in high school as fashion student. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI.  In addition to her undergraduate studies at Western Michigan, Kara studied fashion in London, England at American Intercontinental University allowing her to apprentice under industry leading professionals and develop extensive clothing construction and design skills.  After completing her undergraduate studies, Kara attended the University of California, Davis where she obtained a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Costume Design.  During her time as a professional designer, Kara has worked for prominent theater's in New York City and California including The Juilliard School, New York Theater Workshop, California Musical Theater and The Flea Theater.  Additionally, she has designed several productions around the country including musical productions of The Who's Tommy, The Music Man, Into the Woods, Alice in Wonderland and Fiddler on the Roof; dramatic productions The Mysteries* (with musical direction by Billy Porter), Hamlet, Come Hell and High Water, Dinner with the Stevensons and Leaving Iowa; and the film Cinaphelia.

Hannah Johnson-Walsh (Theater) has been working in New York City since 2012 as a freelance stage manager and as a teaching artist with Roundabout Theatre Company. In addition to her work with the Y, she is currently the production stage manager for EMIT (Educational Mobile Immersive Theatre). As a teaching artist, she enjoys fostering student interest in the design and technical elements of theatre. She has a BFA in Drama from Carnegie Mellon University and an M.S.ED in Educational Theatre from The City College of New York.

Christopher Johnston (Theater, Props and Wigs) received a BFA in Theatre Arts with a Minor in Education from Hofstra University and a Masters of Arts at the CUNY School of Professional Studies in Applied Theatre. He has worked as a drama facilitator and arts educator for organizations such as TADA Youth Theatre, Primary Stages, Einhorn School of Performing Arts, The YMCA of Greater New York, Camp Poyntelle Lewis Village, Wingspan Arts, and currently serves as the lead teacher of Lower School Drama at Riverdale Country School. He has developed dozens of customized curricula that have been used in many NYC Public Schools for the purpose of general education enhancement and reaching students with alternative needs. Additionally, Chris has served as a props and wig designer for a number of Off-Broadway and Regional Productions around the USA. He is proud to be the West Side YMCA’s Community Arts Teen Theater Collective Director as well as Resident Props and Wig Master. 

Annalisa Ledson (Dance) is a teaching artist, performer and choreographer based in Brooklyn. She's taught in the public schools, after school programs and summer camps for over a decade. She has created and performed in new works at BAM, The 14th Street Y, Joe’s Pub, Brooklyn Arts Exchange, Windhover Performing Arts, Stonington Opera House, The Tank, Under St. Marks, Mark Morris and The Actors Fund Arts Center among others. She is on the artistic committee and co-producer for National Choreography Month and an associate artist with THEATRE 4the PEOPLE. A recipient of Excellence in Acting & Choreography Awards from Drew University. She is thrilled to be a part of the teaching artist team at the YMCA!

Cynthia Mace (Theater/Acting) Actress CYNTHIA MACE is a dedicated teacher of the craft and popular mentor. She has created roles for authors Barbara Hammond, Murray Schisgal, Lee Blessing, Oliver Mayer, John Mighton, Robbie Baitz, and Tony Kushner. Recent credits: Mrs. Dudgeon in The Devil’s Disciple at New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Phyllis, in Sideways (World Premier) for the La Jolla Playhouse, directed by Des McAnuff. Other credits include: The Nurse in Romeo and Juliet for Yale Rep, Ada in Safe Home for The Women’s Project, Stevie in The Goat or Who is Sylvia? for the Mark Taper Forum (Garland Award, Best Actress). Also for the Mark Taper Forum, Harper in Angels in America  (Pulitzer Prize) Millennium Approaches  and Perestroika (World Premier,) directed by Oskar Eustis with Tony Taccone. She portrayed Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest opposite Lynn Redgrave for the Papermill Playhouse, Sally opposite Lynn Redgrave in The Mandrake Root, (World Premier) for San Jose Rep. and stood by for Ms. Redgrave in her final role Nightingale Off Broadway at The Manhattan Theatre Club. FILM: Michael Clayton, The Alphabet Killer, Blast From The Past, When A Man Loves a Woman, Fearless. TV: L&O SVU, Onion News Network, Weapons of Mass Distraction, Icebound,  and Murphy Brown.

Ashley McQueen (Dance) graduated with a BFA in Dance from Webster University (St. Louis, MO) and is currently pursuing her MFA in Dance from Hollins University, Class of 2018. While in St. Louis, McQueen performed with Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company for two seasons and was twice invited by ANNONYArts to independently choreograph/direct two evening length concerts at Satori, An Artist Space. As a Kranzberg Exhibition Series Guest Artist, she choreographed Laune, a site specific dance performance on rideable lawnmowers for Laumeier Sculpture Park. Since moving to New York, McQueen founded Smashworks Dance Collective and has performed with ShawnBibleDanceCo., Sans Limites Dance, Eunoia Dance Ex, Artistic Abandon, and Bom Diggs. She presented work at HeForShe Arts Week NYC, Dance Astoria Festival, Take Root at Green Space, Tiny Dance Festival, Amalgamate Artist Series, Sans Limites Dance Winter Concert, Marie-Christine Giordano Salon Series, and BIPA Festival of Cultures. McQueen’s choreography has been presented at the Dance St. Louis Spring to Dance Festival, American College Dance Festival, St. Louis National Dance Week, and Regional Dance America SERBA Festivals. She set works for companies such as The Big Muddy Dance Company, Arova Contemporary Ballet, Alabama Dance Theatre, and Southern Danceworks. McQueen received the Monticello Award/full tuition scholarship to attend the National Choreography Intensive as both a dancer and choreographer. She currently directs/choreographs for Smashworks Dance Collective while working as a Guest Artist for Notes In Motion Outreach Dance Theatre, teaching for Pure Barre West Village, and performing in the New York area.

Megan MacPhee (Dance/Theater) Choreography credits include: Washington DC's Opera Alterna, Beggar’s Opera and The Perfect Game at Catholic University, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Romeo and Juliet: A Rock n Roll Adaptation at New Milford High School, NJ. Megan is also a ballet teacher with Grace Theatre Workshop and an acting teacher at two studios in midtown Manhattan. Professionally, Megan is a member of Actors Equity Association; National Tour and Regional credits include Nickelodeon/Broadway Across America, Hairspray, My Fair Lady, Pinkalicious, West Side Story, and Steel Magnolias. Megan is also a professional voice over artist, she has a Bachelor of Music in Musical Theatre and trained at London Dramatic Academy.

Meghan K. Murphy (Stage Manager) Graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Theatre Production and Design with her focus in Stage Management. She has worked on many productions over the years from Dance, Drama, and Musical Theatre. She has just returned back to New York from San Antonio, Texas where she worked as a stage manager for SeaWorld. While there, Meghan worked primarily with the Characters from Sesame Street. 

John Prestianni (Music) has been a freelance Musical Director, accompanist, club date musician and composer in New York City for over 20 years after getting his BFA from SUNY Purchase.  He teaches vocals and accompanies dance classes at LaGuardia High School, NYU, the American Theater Dance Workshop, and is the singing teacher at both the Acting Studio/Chelsea Rep (out of Shetler Studios) and the Neighborhood Playhouse.  He has been a teaching artist for many other schools, colleges and master classes in New York City and abroad.  John has also been the Musical Director of Kids Company at the West Side Y for 10 consecutive shows, as well as Music Specialist for YMCA Arts Camp for 6 summers running.  As a composer, John has created 2 original children's musicals for BCT (Brooklyn Children's Theater) with Eric Mark Olson; 'The Golden Contender' and 'A Pie-Rats' Tale'.  This August in Dallas TX (2014), a full scale production of 'Elsie Janis and the Boys' is being mounted (written with CJ Crittenden), which is a musical tribute to Elsie Janis who entertained troops during WWI. Past project include 'The Black Dahlia' with Richard Sabellico at the York Theater in 2008 (featuring Emily Skinner and Aaron Lazaar),  and 'The Vaudevillian' with Brian Henry (produced by Chelsea Rep).

Devra Seidel (Music) is a classical pianist, actor, singer and musical director.  She is currently the musical director for Kids Company Showcase, a children’s theater company of the West Side YMCA in Manhattan.  While participating in the Alushta, Ukraine Summer Master Classes Devra was chosen to perform for their televised concert.  Ms. Seidel has accompanied and performed with Sandra Joseph, Broadways’ ten year Christine Daae in The Phantom of the Opera.  Devra is also a member of TAPNYC Theatre Company in New York and was recently seen with the Broadhollow Theatre as Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank, as Abigail Adams in 1776 and as Willy in The Gifts of the Magi.  Other favorite roles include Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof and Lucy in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  Devra is the musical director for an upcoming production of ‘Your name on my lips’ in the Midtown International Theatre Festival.  She has a Bachelors’ of Music from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Masters’ of Music from the Manhattan School of Music. 

Heidi Stallings (Theater) believes in the power of creating connections between diverse communities through the disciplines of Drama, Opera, and Musical Theatre.  As a professional actor, singer, and dancer, Ms. Stallings has appeared on Broadway and in the National Tours of CATS as Grizabella, directed by Trevor Nunn, ZORBA as Sophia, directed by Joel Grey, and EVITA, as Eva Peron, directed by Harold Prince.  For Maspeth Town Hall she has directed, Into the Woods, Jr., Beauty and the Beast, Jr., Annie, Jr., Fiddler on the Roof, Jr., The Music Man, Jr., Dear Edwina, Jr., Guys and Dolls, Jr. In addition, she has lent her voice to multiple award winning animated specials for HBO, PBS, and The Family Channel. A teaching artist for over 20 years, Ms. Stallings is currently on staff with The New Victory Theatre, The Roundabout Theatre Company, The Metropolitan Opera Guild, and Disney Theatricals in New York City.  She is a member of AEA, SAG, AFTRA, and ASIFA-East.  Ms. Stallings holds a BFA from Illinois Wesleyan University in Music and Drama.

Alana Marie Urda (Dance) has worked as a professional choreographer and teacher in NYC for over 10 years teaching in a variety of programs including The Trinity School, The West Side YMCA and Bridge for Dance Studios. With a BFA in dance from FSU, Alana is Assistant Director of The Trinity School After School Program and is Choreographer for the West Side YMCA’s Professional Kids Company and The Events in Orlando, FL. Alana is also Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Amalgamate Dance Company, Inc (ADC) where she has envisioned and produced a range of distinguished dance events, charity projects, and educational workshops. Her work has been celebrated in renowned NYC venues including Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Series, Boston University, BBKings, The Times Center, Ailey Citigroup, MMAC and Merce Cunningham Studio and tours both nationally and internationally. She is an Artist in Residence at Bridge for Dance and a grant recipient of the Mertz Gilmore Foundation.  Her extensive freelance highlights include choreographing for Lily Chiam’s debut album concert in Asia and Off-Broadway productions, Dear Mr. Rosan / Cherry Pit Theatre, Fiddler on the Roof Jr / The Marjorie S. Deane Little Theater and Angels, the Musical / Duke Theatre. She has worked with artists such as Peter Kalivas, Ronnie Demarco, Suzanne Farrell, Dan Wagoner, and Jawole Zollar. Alana is thrilled to be in her 6th year as teaching staff at the West Side YMCA.

Owen Weaver (Music/Percussion) Through a combination of original music, improvisation, and collaboration with leading composers of his generation, percussionist Owen Weaver’s “intensely focused” (Gramophone) performances combine the forces of rhythm, noise, beauty and stasis while seeking the musical potential in everyday life. He uses recycled objects, homemade instruments and electronic sounds to construct a kaleidoscopic sound world ranging from the visceral to the sublime, clangorous to hypnotic.  Owen has been featured in the NYC-based Wordless Music Series, MATA Interval Series, Fast Forward Austin, two Nonclassical Records SXSW official showcases, and National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered. A diverse collaborator, he has performed in Europe, South America and throughout the U.S. with Mantra Percussion, Glenn Branca Ensemble, NEWSPEAK, and others including performances with Conspirare: A Company of Voices for a PBS television special and Grammy-nominated album. A passionate educator, Owen has taught at Texas Lutheran University, the University of Texas at Austin, Yale University, the Hartt School and Rikers Island Correctional Facility.

Christopher Weston (Lighting Design) is an award-winning Lighting Designer. Most recent productions include Greatest Pirate Story Never Told (Snapple Theatre Center), Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (LaGuardia Performing Arts Center), Man of the Hour (Metropolitan Playhouse) Noodles Astray (La MaMa). New York theaters include Signature, Alvin Ailey, Kitchen, John Houseman, Tribeca Performing Arts Center, 59E59, Cherry Lane, 3LD, 45th Street Theatre, Abingdon, Queens Theatre in the Park, Dixon Place, and many more. Regional productions include Mrs. Mannerly (Penguin Rep), Logomaniacs (Actors Shakespeare Company) Proof, Having Our Say (Hangar Theatre), and The Color of Flesh (NJ Rep). International: T.E.L.O.S. (European Biennial in Athens, Greece). He has an MFA in Lighting Design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a BFA in Performance Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to lighting theater and dance, Chris has designed for interiors, architecture, fundraisers, weddings and other events. He is a Teaching Artist for Roundabout Theatre Company.

Beth Ann Bauman is the author of a short story collection Beautiful Girls (MacAdam/Cage), and the young-adult novels Rosie and Skate (Random House), which was selected for the New York Times Editors’ Choice list and Booklist’s Top Ten First Novels for Youth, and Jersey Angel (Random House), selected by Publishers Weekly, Boston Globe, and The Horn Book as a best summer book.  Beth has received fellowships from the Jerome Foundation and the New York Foundation for the Arts.  She also teaches at NYU and is on the faculty of Spalding University's low-residency MFA program.  

Patty Dann's most recent book is The Butterfly Hours: Transforming Memories into Memoir. She has written two other memoirs, The Goldfish Went on Vacation and The Baby Boat.   She has published three novels, Sweet & Crazy, Starfish and Mermaids, which was made into a movie starring Cher, Winona Ryder, and Christina Ricci. Her work has been translated into French, Dutch, German, Italian, Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese.  Her articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, O Magazine, Redbook, More, Forbes Woman and Poets & Writers Magazine. She was cited by New York Magazine as one of the “Great Teachers of NYC.”

Stephanie Lehmann’s most recent novel ASTOR PLACE VINTAGE (Simon and Schuster) was selected by Library Journal as a best novel in 2013, and by Kirkus Reviews for best summer reading.  Stephanie worked for many years as a literary agent and editor at the Elaine Koster Literary Agency. Stephanie’s specialty is strengthening the plot of a novel whether the manuscript is still in outline form, partially complete, or completed.  Her earlier novels are THE ART OF UNDRESSING (Penguin), YOU COULD DO BETTER (Penguin), ARE YOU IN THE MOOD (Kensington), and THOUGHTS WHILE HAVING SEX (Kensington). Lehmann’s work has been translated into Italian, Turkish, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Portuguese, Chinese, and German. She has taught novel writing at Mediabistro and at, where her essays have been published. Musings about the history of fashion, feminine hygiene products, and many more fascinating subjects can be found

Mindy Lewis is the author of Life Inside: A Memoir (Washington Square Press), and the editor of Dirt: The Quirks, Habits and Passions of Keeping House (Seal Press). In 2015, she was awarded New Letters Dorothy Cappon Prize for Best Essay. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times Book ReviewNewsweek, Lilith, Body & Soul, Poets & Writers, Arts & Letters, Many Mountains Moving, Psychoanalytic Perspectives, online, and in anthologies. She leads a Poets & Writers workshop at the Kew Gardens Community Center, and has also taught at Brooklyn College, Hudson Valley Writers' Center, and as a visiting writer at George Mason University and SUNY. She has been a resident writer at the Banff Centre, Byrdcliffe, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and served as faculty at the 2016 Cape Cod Writers Center Conference. 

Thaddeus Rutkowski is a graduate of Cornell University and The Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of the books: Guess and CheckViolent Outbursts, Haywire, Tetched, and Roughhouse. Haywire reached No. 1 on Small Press Distribution’s fiction bestseller list and won the Members’ Choice Asian American Literary Award. He was awarded a fellowship in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts. He has been a resident writer at Yaddo, MacDowell, and other colonies, and his stories have appeared in The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune and many other publications.

Charles Salzberg is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Esquire, New York Magazine, Elle, the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Arts and Leisure, and GQ. He is the author of over 25 books, including The Mad Fisherman, From Set Shot to Slam Dunk, and Soupy Sez: My Zany Life and Times. His novel, Swann’s Last Song, was nominated for a Shamus Award for Best First Novel, and the sequel, Swann Dives In, was published October 2012. He is a founding member of the New York Writers Workshop.

Charlie Schulman is the writer and producer of the new musical THE GOLDSTEIN VARIATIONS slated for Off-Broadway in 2016. His musical THE FARTISTE (FringeNYC Outstanding Musical, Off-Broadway) is based on his screenplay of the same name. Charlie has recently completed a television pilot EARLYBIRDS and a screenplay DUKE OF RAINBOW COVE. He teaches playwriting and screenwriting at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and is on the faculty at Spalding University's, brief residency, MFA program in Creative Writing. For more info contact him at


Kate Missett (Artworks Coordinator) MFA, Pratt Institute. Artworks Coordinator. Teaching: Greenwich House Pottery, Adjunct Professor: Kingsborough College, Penland School of Crafts, NC., Peter’s Valley Craft Center, NJ. Exhibited at: Cheryl Hazan Gallery, Jane Hartsook Gallery, The Clocktower, Queensborough Gallery, (NYC). Eubie Blake Cultural Center (Baltimore, MD) Represented by Barnstone Gallery, Pa. Published: 500 Raku (Lark books) Pottery Making Illustrated.

Megan Pirron (Marketing & Program Assistant) has a BFA in Film & Photography from Western Connecticut State University and an MA in Exhibition Design from The Corcoran School of Art & Design at George Washington University. Some of her previous work includes lighting design & graphics intern at The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, videographer at Fashion News Live Network, conservation intern at The Brady Gallery and Teaching Assistant at The Corcoran School of Art. She was honored to be part of a design team in launching a global campaign for the World Bank Group which won a Corporate Social Responsibility Award. She has previous experience working with children at Camp Jewell YMCA in Connecticut and Camp Habitat in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Cassandra Richards (Associate Youth Arts Director) received a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography with a Minor in Costume Design and a Minor in Anatomy and Kinesiology from California Institute for the Arts.  Succeeding her graduation from CalArts, Cassandra joined Donna Sternberg and Dancers in Santa Monica, California where she performed wide variety of work over five seasons. She also performed  with Omambo Dance Project where she became a World Salsa Champion in 2014.  In cooperation with her performance career, Cassandra has been serving as an arts educator for the past Twelve years specializing in Dance and Musical Theatre. She has taught at many programs including Interlochen Center for the Arts, Governor’s School for the Arts of Kentucky,  Plaza De La Raza Community Arts Program, Hills Academy of Music, Dance, and Art, Arts Alive After School Program, Dancing with RKDC Community Program, California State University Northridge, El Camino Community College, Fancy Feet Dance Studio, April’s Dance-N-Feet, and Drama Zone After School Program. Cassandra has produced and choreographed many student performances and directed college salsa teams who went on to win championships. She is very excited to continue her role as an educator and administrator as the Associate Youth Arts Director  West Side YMCA.