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
Creative Writing Instructor
Duff, teaching English at a local public high school, was given a prize for his iconoclastic work by Williams College, he always managed to scooch away plenty of time as a writer. After leaving this richly rewarding job, he became part of a devoted team of professors at Bard where he’s been teaching writing to economically and educationally disadvantaged individuals in the Clemente Course in the Humanities ever since. Examples of his work appear in Columbia Journal, Burningword Literary Review, Pure Slush, among many other publications. When he isn’t working on a new story before the sun comes up, he can usually be found splitting wood for the winter; pulling up beets, carrots, or garlic from the garden in the summer; or dreaming about skiing a bit too fast down a local mountain.
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.
Jessica Gaddis has been a ceramicist for many years. She first got her hands into clay at SUNY New Paltz, then worked for a potter in New Mexico, and refined her skills at the Harvard Ceramics Program in Boston. She enjoys the potential of clay – how it can be made into a simple cup or a complex architectural form – and the magic of glaze colors and surfaces. She loves teaching and connecting with students with a shared passion for making.
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.
Maiko is a professional singer, vocal coach, and music therapist for more than a decade. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz with B.S. in Music Therapy and attended Master of Music Therapy program. She first had a vocal training at Arrow Jazz orchestra music school in Osaka, Japan. She was also trained by jazz legends such as Jay Clayton, Teri Roiger, Mari Shinonome, and Kevin Mahogany. She attends and hosts Circle Singing in NYC and Hudson Valley after attending a week long workshop at Omega Institute in 2017. She was a member of NYC base Jazz vocal choir in New School lead by Billy Harper (2015-2019). She has been performing regularly in Hudson Valley and NYC venues, festivals, and events. Maiko has released debut jazz album in 2018 and some EP in later years. She has worked in Hudson Valley Flamenco festival as a guest vocalist for a dance group. In addition to vocal work, Maiko has worked in nursing home, substance and alcohol rehabilitation, community psychiatric center, brain injury center, and private homes as a music therapist and activity director. She has been offering vocal lesson for both beginners and seasoned singers in Hudson Valley since 2013. She focuses on wholistic approach in singing as well as performance skills.
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.