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.
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.
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
Anna Mayta grew up in Chile and is a dance improviser, choreographer, and instructor. She graduated from Empire State College in June 2001 with a BA in Dance in Education. In November 2008, she received a certificate to teach yoga from Svyasa Swami Vivekananda Yoga University in Bangalore, India. In 2006, she was awarded a dissemination award from the Dutchess County Arts Council in Poughkeepsie, New York. Ms. Mayta was accepted to Bethany Arts Community Center residency program in October 2020 where she choreographed a new piece called “The world of Humanity has two wings.” Ms. Mayta has been teaching, performing, and choreographing for over 15 years. She has traveled for her work to Bangalore, Pune, Lucknow, and Bombay in India. Additionally, she has taught for The National Ballet of Zimbabwe in Africa, in England, and in the greater Boston Area. Currently she is working in the Mid Hudson Valley NY.
Marissa Foti is a secondary English as a New Language teacher in the Hudson Valley. She speaks English, Portuguese, Spanish and is learning Korean for her forthcoming Fulbright exchange. She loves teaching, learning, and making new connections. In her spare time she loves to hike in the Catskills, bike locally, travel internationally, curl up with a book, and her cats, preferably in a hammock , and hoop-dance in the sunshine. She looks forward to sharing this joyful skill with the community and to dance and play together safely.
Marissa Foti es profesora de secundaria de inglés como nuevo idioma en Hudson Valley. Habla inglés, portugués, español y está aprendiendo coreano para su próximo intercambio para Fulbright. Le encanta enseñar, aprender y hacer nuevas conexiones. En su tiempo libre le encanta caminar en Catskills, andar en bicicleta localmente, viajar internacionalmente, acurrucarse con un libro y sus gatos, preferiblemente en una hamaca, y bailar con hula hoop bajo el sol. Ella espera poder compartir esta alegre habilidad con la comunidad y bailar y jugar juntos de manera segura.
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.
Christina Fusco is an artist and arts educator with a passion for universal learning and fostering access to the arts. She studied Communications and Studio Art at New York University, and initially worked as a graphic designer in advertising. Interested in shifting her career to teaching and traditional arts, she obtained her Master’s in Creativity Development and Art Therapy from Pratt Institute in 2015. Christina has taught children, teens and adults in public schools, hospitals, private studios and art museums around NYC, including the Rubin Museum of Art and the Children’s Museum of the Arts.
Christina’s personal works are representational and minimal. She enjoys using meditative mediums like watercolor to capture the inherent beauty in people, animals and landscapes.
Activist, Biologist, Mother of two and Potter. Ronnie Yastion runs Terra Rasa Pottery Studio from her strawbale home in New Paltz, NY where she produces one of a kind, handmade pottery and teaches one on one classes to aspiring potters.
“When I sit down to create a piece of pottery on the wheel my one intension is to bring something beautiful into the world. Symmetry, inspiration from nature, balanced colors and patterns, lines and shapes all work together to bring about the birth of a uniquely beautiful object. When I create a bowl or vase, I visualize an everyday moment being imbued with the sublime. Holding your morning coffee in a handmade cup you feel the presence of the hand that sculpted it. It is a unique creation, mindfully sculpted. The serving bowl at a family dinner is in itself a work of beauty and speaks to a lifestyle in which presence and connection are valued over the rushed lifestyles of our modern consumeristic culture. It is my hope that the beautiful objects that I create enliven and bring more presence and heart to our daily lives.” -Ronnie Yastion
When she is not in her home pottery studio she can be found gardening, practicing TM meditation, running in Mohonk Preserve or hanging out with her husband, two children, two dogs and 8 chickens. She is the co-founder of Resisterhood; an activist group of women who resist against the injustices and negativity affecting the world today with positive action and ReSisterhood Choir; singing songs of equality and empowerment at rallies and events in the Hudson Valley. She is also the founder of One Pulse- New Paltz, an Emergency Fund for families living in New Paltz who have been impacted by I.C.E. and a passionate environmental advocate.