Rachel Jacob is the Art Director for the Cornell Creative Art Center in Kingston NY, as well as the Hudson-Valley lead for the Regional Centers for Workforce Transformation in NY. She received her undergraduate degree in Visual Arts Education K-12 in 2010 from SUNY New Paltz. The same year, she started working as a DSP at the Arc of Mid-Hudson. There she worked with adults who did not communicate with speech, but definitely had a lot to say, so she employed her background in art education to establish a conduit for their voices by creating artwork. She gained additional experience at the Arc working in management and in Staff Development. As a lifelong learner, she received her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Marist in 2017. She pursues her artistic ambitions as a freelance artist, focusing on painting and pen and ink illustration. She is excited to merge her education, experience and passion for the arts and working with people with I/DD to help cultivate meaningful community connections at the CCAC.
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.
Yoga & Meditation Instructor
“Life is art lived from the heart!”
Melissa discovered Mindfulness after a stress induced health scare in 2013. A change was needed to recreate balance in her life, not only in diet and exercise but also in perspective and mental approach. It was here that she began her love story with “Wellness”, finding yoga, meditation, coaching, and massage as amazing outlets to self-exploration, growth, and healing. It is her mission to co-create experiences with others where they can love, play, and grow on their own journey in an atmosphere that is supportive and enjoyable.
Certifications: RYT200, Restorative Yoga, Usui Reiki Master Certification, Life and Wellness Coaching Education specializing in Play, NYS Licensed and Nationally Certified in Therapeutic Massage, Thai Massage, B.A.
Throughout her childhood and early adulthood, Kasmira has faced many adversities. She was born with a very rare craniofacial syndrome called Goldenhar Syndrome, which in her case, resulted in the underdevelopment of the right side of her lower right jawbone and outer right ear. She spent several years of her life in and out of hospitals and has undergone over 25 reconstructive surgeries to allow her to be able to eat and breathe on her own. During the portions of time Kasmira spent in the hospital, she was visited by an art therapist who came to her room and brought her different types of arts and crafts. It was during this time that Kasmira discovered her own unrequited passions for her artistic abilities and became fascinated with the healing properties associated with art. Kasmira accredits much of her artistic abilities to her mother, Karen Demyan, who has always supported all of her artistic endeavors. Kasmira first began her academic pursuit of art by studying visual art at SUNY Ulster. She then continued this pursuit at the University at Albany, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in December of 2018 in Psychology with a minor in Studio Art. Following her recent graduation, Kasmira has been focusing on cultivating her growth as a visual artist by creating acrylic paintings inspired by Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Elements of these traditions include mandalas, sacred geometry, and other cosmic depictions of the universe. Kasmira’s artwork demonstrates her ability to portray psychological elements and archetypes hidden within her psyche. It also reflects her ability to artistically articulate her thoughts and emotions to create a common ground between herself and the viewers of her work. These elements included in her work showcase symbology of the collective unconscious of humanity and stretches across time and space to dissolve the boundaries and illusions within the mind. In the future, Kasmira wishes to return to school to obtain her master’s degree in transpersonal art therapy.
To see Kasmira’s artwork visit her website at kasmirademyan.com or follow her on Instagram @Kasmira_D or on Facebook @KDemyanStudios
Belly Dancing Instructor
Barushka fuses folkloric, tribal style belly dance with swing and vintage jazz. She started studying traditional belly dance in 1996, tribal belly dance in 2001 and swing in 2017. She has studied the following styles of belly dance: ATS, tribal fusion, folkloric, Egyptian, Turkish, sword and floor work. Previous trainings include bollywood, bhangrah, odissa, flamenco, Tunisian African, salsa, butoh, hip hop, breakdance, swing and vintage jazz. Her instructors included Carolena Nericcio of Fat Chance Belly Dance, Paulette Rees-Denis of Gypsy Caravan, Suhaila Salimpour, Heather Stants of Urban Tribal, Jill Parker of Ultra Gypsy, Rachel Brice, Zoe Jakes and Mardi Love of the Indigo to name but a few. Plus swing/jazz teachers such as Emily Vail and Linda and Chester Freeman. Barushka primarily combines classical Indian, cabaret, modern, swing & vintage jazz dance forms to create her specific style of fusion belly dance.
Barushka has performed restaurants, theater stages, salons, gala events and festivals. She has taught and performed internationally and nationwide. She includes working with props such as veil, finger cymbals, and sword. Barushka was a member of the Alchemy Tribal Collective in NYC, and was also a former, first tear member of PURE in NYC. She was the co-founder of the tribal fusion troupe The Bleeding Hearts Belly Dance Co. She is also a member of the Kingston vintage jazz chorus-girl troupe The Uptown Lowdown. Her desire is to help raise the public’s frequency through the art of dance and help bring belly dance to a higher art form.
Yoga and Art Instructor
Patty has lived and worked in the Hudson Valley for 25 years creating, teaching and exploring the outdoors. Recently retired from Saugerties High School as an art teacher and Department Chairperson, she looks forward to reinventing herself teaching art in a non academic environment. She is also a yoga instructor with Advanced Certification from the well known Shakti Yoga in Woodstock. When teaching art or yoga Patty is light hearted and intuitive by nature. She looks to empower her students by guiding them thoughtfully through the creative process in art and the intricacies of body movement in yoga
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 social media. She’s enthusiastic and eager to be a part of the CCAC team, and to contribute to the work she feels is so valuable to our community.