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Young Audiences / Arts for Learning

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Baltimore, Maryland 21218
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Meet Some of Our Teaching Artists

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American percussionist Adam Rosenblatt thrives in the realms of contemporary chamber music and interdisciplinary performance. From 2012 to 2014, through grants from the Flemish Government, the Frank Huntington Beebe Fund, and the Belgian American Education Foundation, Adam performed and studied contemporary chamber music with the Ictus and Spectra Ensembles. He now appears as a regular guest with the Ictus ensemble, and has performed with Ictus in Portugal, Germany, Belgium, and France. Adam attended the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in 2011 and the Norfolk New Music Workshop in 2012, and participated in the Make Music New York festival in 2010 and the Tune-In Festival in 2011. He has performed in such diverse venues as Carnegie Hall with the Yale Percussion Group, the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels with the Gent Advanced Master’s Ensemble (GAME), and the Arno Babajanian Concert Hall in Yerevan, Armenia with Sistema Armenia. Adam earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Peabody Conservatory and a Master of Music Degree from the Yale School of Music, both under the tutelage of Robert van Sice.

Alden Phelps is an artist, songwriter, and musician with 18 years of experience as a performer. Far-fetched and funny scenarios are brought to life through his songs, unexpected rhythms and lively, interactive performances. He has performed everywhere, from schools and libraries, to The National Theatre, to festivals like First Night Annapolis and Columbia Festival for the Arts. A graduate of MICA, Alden co-founded Open Space Arts Center in 1989, and for the next 14 years he wrote and performed stage plays, musicals, and puppet productions.

Anna Menendez is a Flamenco dancer and choreographer who studied extensively in Spain. She was the recipient of the Artists’ Fellowship award from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for excellence in Flamenco dance in 2003. She has performed in many operas and with the “La Truco Flamenco” dance company in Spain, appeared in the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and performances with Carmela Greco.

Bomani is a seasoned performer and teacher and is currently Director of Poetry Events for the Busboys and Poets restaurants, a CBS Radio personality, and head audio-engineer for Urban-Intalek Studios. Bomani describes himself as a poet with a Hip Hop style.

Cori Daniel began working as a theater artist in 2008 and as an educational theater and teaching artist since 2013. Her goal, both as a professional and individual, is to bring the arts to lower income communities and use it as a tool for education and healing. As a theater artist, she has performed with theater companies in Maryland, Washington D.C. and Virginia including The Studio Theatre, Centerstage of Baltimore, Faction of Fools, Off The Quill and Fells Point Corner Theatre.

Entertainer and educator Drew Anderson has spent his entire adult life engaging audiences as a science teacher and performer of hip hop, spoken word, and comedy. Now, he’s bridging those two worlds with two new innovative performing arts-based programs: C.R.U.N.K. Academy and Spoof School.

Femi Lawal or Femi the Drifish has been a professional spoken word artist and slam poet for more than 10 years. Best known as one half of the spoken word/Hip Hop-influenced duo, THE 5th L, Femi uses his artistry to encourage his listeners to discover their own unique voices and identities in his writings, performances, and teachings. The Drifish also partners with University of Maryland’s Violence Prevention Program, using his words to address matters of violence and bullying in our communities.

Jamaal “Mr. Root” Collier is a dedicated and versatile professional Hip Hop artist with more than a decade of experience facilitating workshops and live performances in the Mid-Atlantic region. By incorporating rapping, vocal percussion, and dynamic stage presence, Jamaal articulates his passionate appreciation for his artistry every time he teaches and performs. Jamaal was named the Mic-ology Spoken Word Slam Champion in 2007 and Young Audiences 2016 Artist of the Year.

Katherine Dilworth brings the centuries-old art form of felting to schools. Comprised of sculpting loose wool into solid shapes and murals, felting is an ideal medium for broadening students’ perception of visual art. Katherine has been integrating fabrics and fibers into her art for more than 20 years. Her work is in galleries throughout the U.S. and was included in two books.

Khaleshia Thorpe-Price has worked as an arts educator and manager in the D.C. Metro area for the past six years. As a teaching artist, Khaleshia has facilitated residencies and workshops for children and adults for many arts organizations including Wolf Trap, Arena Stage, Young Playwrights Theater, Folger Shakespeare Library, and Arts on the Horizon. As an arts manager, she has coordinated workshops and residencies for thousands of students in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. She has partnered with many organizations including the United States Department of State, the National Portrait Gallery, and ZERO to THREE to provide unique arts learning experiences for all ages. In addition, she has managed enrichment and academic afterschool programs for D.C. Public Schools. Khaleshia has earned an MA in Arts Management from the University of Central Florida and a BA in Theater Arts from Morgan State University.

Lisa Mathews fronts Milkshake, an award-winning Grammy-nominated rock band for kids. She’s also written music for various kid channels like Nick Jr. and PBS KIDS. Besides her work with Milkshake, Lisa is a teaching artist with the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts and Young Audiences of Maryland.

In 1997, three visionary artists (pictured above: Mama Rashida) established WombWork Productions, which utilizes dance, music, and theatre as traditional sources of healing and empowerment for the community. The Nu World Art Ensemble, WombWork’s youth-driven touring theatre company, provides culturally and spiritually-based instruction in vocal and dance techniques, writing, psychodrama, meditation and Native American and African songs and rituals. Nu World creates riveting and insightful theatre productions based on the life experiences of its young participants. Student participants also gain experience in leadership and community outreach, improving their sense of self-worth and inspiring them to become an integral part of positive change.

Mama Sallah is a ceramic artist, teacher, student, mom, and grandma. Outside of Baltimore Clayworks, she was once referred to as the Craft Queen of Baltimore by the Baltimore Sun. She is known to attend community craft festivals as an ethnic face painter, painting only African inspired designs. Sallah has also participated in Axis Alley, a community project designed to beautify abandoned homes; Theatre Project’s Zippy the Pinhead, a play in which she assisted in the costume design and fabrication under the tutelage of Professor Nicole Fall; and has been a craft creator and facilitator for Art on Purpose, Black Man’s Identity Project, along with Reginald Lewis Museum of African American History and Art’s annual Kwanzaa Program. Currently, she is completing a BA degree in Urban Arts at the HBC Coppin State College. There are two signature sayings that Sallah likes to leave as her closing. They are, “Keep Art Alive” and “Peace and Pottery”. Her belief is that Art touches on every aspect of life.

Quynn Johnson is a multi-award winning performing artist, choreographer, and author. As the 2014 recipient of the Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Award for Dance: Choreography, Quynn has performed tap dance on national and international stages including The Kennedy Center and International Festival de Cajon in Lima, Peru. Quynn is also the co-director of SOLE Defined, a percussive dance company.

Ras Tre Subira is an award-winning filmmaker/photographer and founder of Griot’s Eye, a youth media arts and advocacy program based in Baltimore. His programs enable students to utilize digital video/photography technology to connect classroom learning to the community through creative writing, interactive discussions, environmental studies, and cultural identity.

Long before he made a name for himself by traveling the world as a reggae singer, Scott Paynter got his start in music with a homemade toy guitar he built out of plywood and yarn. In 1993, Scott founded the group Jah Works with those same friends and began writing and recording original reggae music in Baltimore, Maryland. Jah Works has produced nine original albums, with more than 100,000 copies sold on their own independent Riddim House Productions label. The group has been touring the U.S. ever since and even traveled the world.

Skher Brown began studying Capoeira Angola more than 20 years ago under the tutelage of a renowned master from Salvador, Brazil. This traditional dance-fight art form led him to live in South America, learn Portuguese, and to literally “stand on his head.” As a teacher, he gains student trust as an authority figure that is committed to nurturing their character development. The Dancing Warriors mesmerize audiences with Capoeira Angola’s acrobatic choreography which transports students across the Atlantic Ocean to learn about this unique culture, dance, and music while addressing character development and bullying.

A dancer, drummer, singer, songwriter, storyteller, and recording artist, Ssuuna is an energetic performer from Uganda. In addition to having delighted and educated school audiences about life in East Africa, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., Ssuuna has performed at The World Bank, The Kennedy Center, the Smithsonian, and on numerous college campuses around the country. In 2008, Ssuuna was named YA National Artist of the Year.

Steve Cyphers has been a percussionist for 30 years. He has performed on stage his whole adult life, touring with bands in the U.S. and abroad, contributing drums, percussion, songwriting, and vocals. As a front-man, he has a unique ability to engage and connect with audiences. Since 2011, Steve has pursued a career as a teaching artist, beginning with performances as a backup musician for Young Audiences artist Kevin Martin’s “Birth of Steel Drums.” Steve has taught residencies, completed the Teaching Artist Institute Seminars 1 and 2 and currently performs with the Young Audiences ensemble, G.R.O.W. This year, Steve is looking forward to bringing his own assembly and residency, both titled “Adventures in Rhythm,” to Maryland students.

Percussionist and educator Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan is driven by her passion to use the arts as a tool for building peace.Tatevik currently teaches with the El Sistema-inspired OrchKids program in Baltimore and teaches percussion and musicianship at the Baltimore School for the Arts and the International School of Music. She also spends a significant portion of each year in her native Armenia, where she is a faculty member of Sistema Armenia and pursues various other pedagogical activities. To date, she has used music as a source of much-needed focus and therapy at a crisis center for children and has facilitated various rhythm and movement workshops for hundreds of musicians and non-musicians of all ages throughout Armenia, Belgium, and the U.S.

Valerie Branch graduated magna cum laude from the University of Maryland College Park with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance. She has experience touring as a performing and teaching artist both nationally and internationally. She has taught as an independent artist and with different organizations such as WPAS. As a teaching artist, Valerie has brought dance into schools in South Africa and St. George’s, Grenada and has received an invitation from the Danish Embassy to participate in a Cultural Arts Program Exchange Visit to Denmark. She is on the dance faculty at Greenbelt Community Center and New Hope Academy in Landover Hills, MD. Valerie is proud to be a Teaching and Performing Artist with Young Audiences of Maryland to bring dance to schools throughout the state.

Born in the Brittany region of France, Vianney Paul moved to Washington, DC with his family in 1995 and began painting through classes at the Corcoran School of Art. After obtaining his baccalauréat at the Lycée Rochambeau, Vianney studied painting and printmaking at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia, where he obtained his BFA in 2009. Although Vianney’s medium of predilection has always been oil painting, he constantly seeks to explore various channels of expression, such as drawing, dance, classical guitar, pottery, and collaborative work. Portraiture has been a constant in his artistic expression since the beginning, and in the last two years, he has continued to explore and re-invent this facet of his work. Vianney currently resides in Baltimore and works full time as a painter and potter.