Shanna Nigro is the Assistant Director for the Cornell Creative Art Center and The Arc Mid-Hudson Foundation in Kingston NY. Shanna is currently working on her MBA in project management with an advanced certificate in non-for profit. She received her undergraduate degree in Human Development and Psychology from Empire State University. With extensive experience in community programing, innovative planning activities, and grant writing, Ms. Nigro is responsible for developing and maintaining inclusive, diverse and equitable arts programming for the Art Center. She enjoys artistic expression through photography, culinary arts, acrylic and watercolor painting.
Admin & Graphic Designer
Elena Lo-McEnaney is the Admin and Graphic Designer for the Cornell Creative Art Center. Having grown up in Kingston, she spent her summers during her high school years working for The Arc Mid-Hudson, assisting with any creative projects she could get her hands on. Since then, she has graduated from SUNY Purchase with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media Studies, where she focused on blending her love for art and design with her interest in sociology and media. She’s enthusiastic to be a part of the CCAC team, and to contribute to the work she feels is so valuable to our community.
Supported Arts Instructor
Jillian Rahm is pleased to join the staff at Cornell Creative as a Supported Arts instructor. Jillian received her BFA in communication design from the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and went on to study expressive arts therapy at the New School for social research. Over her 25 plus year career Jillian has worked as a practicing artist specializing in found object art, as a designer and product consultant for a variety of fortune 500 companies and over the past decade in human services and higher education designing and coordinating both youth and adult educational and empowerment programs. Ms. Rahm has recently founded Lost and Found studios, a working art studio that offers classes in found object collage design. Jillian believes deeply in the healing power of the expressive arts and brings her creativity, compassion, and humanity to all life’s endeavors.
Ceramics Studio Manager & Instructor
KJ is an artist-activist and educator who makes clay sculptures to address sociopolitical issues. The transhistorical and transcultural nature of ceramics makes it the perfect material for metaphor. Her sculptures have been exhibited in the Williamsburg Art and Historical Center, the Katonah Museum of Art, the Barrett Art Center and the Dorsky Museum of Art among others. She holds a MFA in ceramics from SUNY New Paltz and a BFA from Manhattanville College with a minor in political science. Karen is an enthusiastic teacher who enjoys sharing her knowledge of clay’s vast properties that span across many fields, including alchemy, geology, and anthropology. She is a seasoned educator who has worked with people of all age groups and learning capacities at community centers, public schools and universities, art centers, museums, and summer camp. She especially loves working with senior citizens and underrepresented folks. Karen employs a therapeutic approach in the classroom and draws out students’ collective knowledge when teaching traditional historical methods and contemporary practices to foster community and connection.
Es una artista-activista y educadora que hace esculturas de arcilla para abordar problemas sociopolíticos. La naturaleza transhistórica y transcultural de la cerámica la convierte en el material perfecto para la metáfora. Sus esculturas se han exhibido en el Centro Histórico y de Arte de Williamsburg, el Museo de Arte Katonah, el Centro de Arte Barrett y el Museo de Arte Dorsky, entre otros. Tiene un MFA en cerámica de SUNY New Paltz y un BFA de Manhattanville College con especialización en ciencias políticas. Karen es una maestra entusiasta que disfruta compartir su conocimiento de las vastas propiedades de la arcilla que abarcan muchos campos, incluida la alquimia, la geología y la antropología. Es una educadora experimentada que ha trabajado con personas de todas las edades y capacidades de aprendizaje en centros comunitarios, escuelas públicas y universidades, centros de arte, museos y campamentos de verano. A ella le encanta especialmente trabajar con personas de la tercera edad y personas con poca representación. Karen emplea un enfoque terapéutico en el aula y extrae el conocimiento colectivo de los estudiantes al enseñar métodos históricos tradicionales y prácticas contemporáneas para fomentar la comunidad y la conexión.
Shana is a multi media artist with a current passion for watercolor. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Visual Arts Education with concentrations in Photography from SUNY New Paltz. After a long career in higher education she has turned her focus to bringing art instruction to her community in the Hudson Valley. She enjoys all the variation watercolor offers and loves to paint in a loose and vibrant style. She also appreciates the delicacy of controlled realism, and simplicity and power of illustration that can be achieved through the medium. She believes everyone has a creative self and loves to help students find joy and pride in their creative work.
Dyani Fitzpatrick has been a NY state certified teacher since 2008. She earned a Master of Science in Education at SUNY New Paltz and has been teaching in the Hudson Valley for 18 years. Her teaching philosophy is hands on and based in experiential, self‐directed learning. Dyani has written unique curriculum and programming and taught art K‐12 in several NY public schools as well as in adult workshops. She is a multi‐media artist with eclectic interests ranging from painting, sculpting, photography, book illustration, textiles, body art, and tattooing. She is an entrepreneur who owns several arts‐based businesses and has been featured in a national magazine for her artwork. She has authored and illustrated several children’s books and is currently working to earn her PhD in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Art Therapy. She recently received her tattoo license from NYC Department of Health and started her apprenticeship in tattooing. She lives outside of Kingston with her daughter on a tiny micro‐farm where she grows organic vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers and raises rare breed rabbits.
Yoga & Art Instructor
Gigi Grace (she/her) is a contemporary working and teaching artist from Saratoga Springs, New York. She now lives and works in Kingston, NY as a teacher and freelance artist.Gigi graduated from State University at New Paltz, New York, in 2018. Since then she has been involved in the curation, coordination, and shows of over 30 art exhibits, galleries and spaces in New York. She has worked as a Museum Educator for k-12, as well as a social media arts coordinator, Teaching Artist, art panel juror, grant funded sculpture coordinator, and yoga instructor. She has also had the opportunity to be a part of a cultural exchange and artist residency in the summer of 2019. For this residency she went abroad to Nanchang, China and completed a mural with the other chosen members over the course of 3 weeks, funded by the Hua Quan Village.
Gigi has also been practicing yoga for over 6 years and has advanced her practice to a 200 hour teaching level. She has taught in upstate New York at Aikido Dojos as well as online classes, outdoor sessions, and personal sessions for individual clients. Gigi was introduced to yoga at a very young age through her grandmother who has been a yoga practitioner for 30 years and a student of Ram Dass. Her favorite practice is both hot yoga and vinyasa yoga which are the asanas and breathing techniques she bases her classes around.
Mary Haddad is an 18-year-old Jordanian-American artist, designer, creator, and activist. She graduated from the Class of 2021 and plans to study Fine Arts and Political Science/Philosophy at Boston University in Fall 2022. From a young age, Mary was always creative but started to take art seriously in eighth grade and is a self-taught painter. Passionate about activism, Mary created, designed, and painted a Black Lives Matter Mural in response to hateful vandalism with the help of the youth of her community and the Oakwood Friends School community. She continues to create public community-based, collaborative art about social justice and activism.
Maxine Leu is an emerging artist, art educator, and environmentalist from Taiwan. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Tainan University of Technology (TUT), Tainan, Taiwan and her Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has worked in sculpture, printmaking and art education for several years. Her work tends to focus on the environment, communication, and identity. Leu has been promoting several workshops about upcycling and recycling that have been inspired by concerns over global warming, waste production, and other environmental issues.