We are proud to share with you our Teaching Artist roster. Each of these practicing artists are accomplished in their fields and ready to mentor each student to achieve their personal best.
Teaching artists: learn more about opportunities at West Windsor Arts Council …
Zakia Ahmed has been teaching for over 25 years and is excited to offer classes at the West Windsor Arts Center, bringing her local loyal following with her. Ms. Ahmed has a Master’s of Fine Arts from the Institute of Fine Arts in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her works are on exhibit in the Bangladesh National Museum, Bangladesh Shilpkala Academy, and in many private collections worldwide.
Milee Ahn has many years experience as an interior architect and an ongoing interest in craft. By combining her training in design with her love of handmade decor, she creates beautiful items to adorn the home and the individual. Through her classes, she is pleased to share her many years of expertise to nurture and incubate personal creativity and talent while teaching the basics and fundamentals.
Peter Bisgaier began working as a professional actor as a child in Haddonfield, NJ. He earned a BFA in theater from the University of Southern California in 1994 and then spent several years working in theaters around the country before settling in New York City. There, he founded the Empire Theater Company and produced several successful plays including the World Stage Premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s “Reservoir Dogs” which he also adapted for the stage. Mr. Bisgaier is also as a screenwriter and won a grand prize for his screenplay “Klaus” which is currently under option. Additionally, Mr. Bisgaier is an artist-in-residence with theater groups and schools and works as the Production Manager for the West Windsor Arts Council.
TJ Bodnar has been a NJ State certified teacher of theatre since 2012. He has directed over 20 children’s theatre productions for schools in New Jersey and worked with hundreds of students in the k-12 range. TJ holds his MA in theatre from Villanova University and a BA in theatre from Rider University. He is a co-founder of Monmouth County Youth Theatre. www.tjbodnar.com
Eloise Bruce BFA, MFA, M Ed. is member of the poetry group Cool Women and is an editor at RavensPerch Magazine. She has worked with the national recitation contest Poetry Out Loud since 2006 and has been a teaching artist for 40 years with Young Audiences, Writer’s Theatre and the NJSPA Foundation for Educators as Scholars, she was the first education director for the Asolo State Theatre, directed for the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, is founder Idaho Theatre for Youth, was Artistic Director of Creative Theater in Princeton. NJ. and has had various roles at the Frost Place Center for Poetry and The Arts. Her book Rattle was published by CavenKerry Press.
Dr. Thomas Chiola
Dr. Thomas Chiola, has taught in both public schools and colleges in Mercer County and has amassed over twenty three years in education. He obtained his Ed.D in Literacy Education from Rutgers, The State University in 2015. As a teacher, he has been known to incorporate storytelling in all aspects of his teaching. He is a Past President of the New Jersey Literacy Association. He is a member of the Garden State Storytellers League and has presented workshops for teachers on both the national and international level. Dr. Chiola has appeared in many regional plays and musically staged events across the state New Jersey and often can be found singing songs from the Great American Songbook in local restaurants and other venues.
Kimberly Ducote-Schimmel has been a successful commercial photographer for over 25 years and taught photography for 10 years. She holds a BS in Studio Art from SUNY at Stony Brook, with a minor in Photography. She began her photographic business in NYC photographing for advertisements, brochures, catalogs, magazines and editorials for major corporations, local businesses, and the media, working both in the studio and on location. Her work has been exhibited and won several awards. She is currently teaching at Middlesex County College, Rutgers State University, and West Windsor Arts Center. Throughout her years of teaching, she attempts to inspire students by imparting to them the technical knowledge they need to create the photograph they desire.
Anna Evans gained her Master of Fine Arts from Bennington College. Her poems have appeared in the Harvard Review, The Atlanta Review, Rattle and 32 Poems. She has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize and was a finalist for both the 2005 and 2007 Howard Nemerov sonnet award, and for the 2007 Willis Barnstone Translation Award. Anna is also the Editor of The Raintown Review and of the formal poetry e-zine Barefoot Muse.
Ebony H. Flag
Ebony was born and raised in the north eastern part of the United States, from an early age she showed an interest in the arts by seeking to emulate the creative abilities of her parents. What was once simply a hobby, soon became Ebony’s passion. After taking a few art classes in high school, Ebony would go on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the renowned Moore College of Art and Design located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While a student at Moore, Ebony honed her gifts by focusing her studies on Illustration. Adding to an already expansive skill set, she minored in graphic design. To view Ebony’s Art you can visit www.ehfcreations.com
Levi Guerrero, also known as Cacique de Ramos, has practiced the art of Capoeira for many years and is an instructor affiliated with Grupo Senzala from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil under the guidance of Mestre Zumbi. Mr. Guerrero has been teaching Capoeira since 2006 in various locations in central and southern New Jersey. Primarily, he seeks to develop the mental and physical capabilities of young people through Capoeira while simultaneously exposing them to the cultural heritage of Africa and Brazil.
Katelynn Kilcommons is a local artist that graduated from the University of the Arts with a bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts in Illustration. For the past few years, after earning her teaching certification in K-12 Art, Katelynn has been teaching in various educational environments. On the weekends, she can be found face painting at local events. She has also started a company called Hues that focuses on teaching art within the comfort of people’s homes. Katelynn has been working freelance and her art will be featured in the “If Picasso” series this coming year.
Tracy has been an art teacher for over 20 years. She especially enjoys Book Arts, Drawing, Repurposed art, and Photography. She loves to get the best from her students and considers teaching her favorite art of all. Tracy earned a Bachelors of Fine Arts from St. Peter’s College, a small Jesuit college across the river in NYC, and spent much of that time in the New York City museums. She currently teaches in the South Brunswick School District.
Nelly Kouzmina is a self-taught fiber artist who loves the process of felt-making, sometimes more than the results! Kouzmina loves to experiment with different fibers, objects, dyes, and more. For her, felting is a liberation, passion, and love. Nelly has won several awards including the 2014 Best in Fiber Show Award at Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, the 2014 First place in Highland Park Art Show, and First place, Best in Show at New Hope Arts & Crafts Show. More on Nelly can be found here.
Anne Kullaf is a contemporary painter working in a variety of media. Her paintings utilize the principles of drawing from direct observation combined with efficient brushwork and a limited palette. She is a faculty member of the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, the Hunterdon Museum of Art, and the Center for Contemporary Art. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, she received a Bachelor of Science in graphic design and fine art and also studied painting at The Art Students League of NY. In 2014, she was painter-in-residence at Bryan Park, NYC and was recently invited to teach a watercolor workshop at the Princeton University Museum of Art.
Judy Langille is a nationally acclaimed fiber artist and experienced art educator, who has received grants from the Geraldine Dodge Foundation. She has taught at a variety of levels, including K-8 in several New Jersey and New York school districts, college level at William Paterson University and adults at the Newark Museum. Judy has received numerous surface design awards for her quilt art and hand dyed fabrics and has had many pieces accepted at the most prestigious shows, such as Quilt National, Visions, and Art Quilts Philadelphia/Elements. She has had her work published in numerous publications, most recently in the Surface Design Journal, where she co-authored an article called, “One Cloth, One Fabric: Whole Cloth Composition”. In February 2009 she was the Artist of the Month on www.jerseyarts.com. She continues to work in her studio, show her art and teach in artist in residence programs around the country.
A resident of West Windsor and recently retired as an arts educator in the NYC Public Schools, Lori has now put her personal focus back on oil painting. Surrounding herself with her love of nature and incorporating travel memories, and sights in and around Mercer County, Lori enjoys painting “en plein air”. Lori has an MA in Special Education from Brooklyn College, a BA in Art Education from Queens College, and has continued her studies at the Art Students League, Princeton Arts Council, and Mercer County Community College. To preview her paintings please visit www.lorilangsner.com
Bruce Lindsay is a professional sculptor and educator based in Trenton, New Jersey. A graduate of Bucknell University, he has been actively creating sculpture in cast metals and glass for over thirty years. Bruce has exhibited at Montclair Art Museum, Audubon Artists in NYC, Trenton City Museum, and elsewhere. In 2006 his “United States War Dogs Memorial, State of New Jersey” was dedicated in Holmdel, NJ. His sculpture “Use of Memory”, part of the permanent collection sited at Grounds for Sculpture. Through his company Integral Sculpture Works Bruce has assisted many other artists with the design and production of sculpture in a wide variety of materials. www.integralsculpture.com
Eleni Litt is an artist-teacher who tells a story or expresses a feeling with line, color, and form. She loves making art in the community and offers workshops and short courses to people of all ages. She has a Certificate in Fine Arts from the Parsons School of Design, a Certificate in Creative Arts Therapies from The New School, a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (UK), and a BA in Art History from Reed College. She shares and shows her work in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. A long-term resident of West Windsor, NJ she commutes daily (with many of her neighbors) to New York City, where she works at The New School as Associate Provost of Faculty Affairs. She often makes art on the train during the NJT and MTA commutes!
Aarti Mantri is a freelance artist in acrylic and mixed media paintings based in New Jersey. Art has always been a part of her since childhood; she was inspired and encouraged by her mother who is an artist in India. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design and worked for over 5 years in the field, specializing in stained glass and landscaping. Nonetheless, her passion for fine arts forced her to pursue a career as a painter. Most of her work is on canvas with various techniques and mediums that adds texture to a painting. Aarti conducts classes and workshops for children and adults, and is a certified Grumbacher Art instructor. Her goal is to train her students with the easy skills of painting at the same time encourage to use their own imagination and ideas.
Her artwork can be seen at www.aartisticart.com.
Elyse Mertz was born and raised in New Jersey where she studied classical ballet, modern, and jazz at Princeton Dance and Theater where she participated in ABT® National Training Curriculum Exams and in numerous Princeton Youth Ballet productions. Elyse graduated from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts in 2017 with a B.F.A. in Dance. In 2016 she performed at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in the National Conference of the American College Dance Association. The piece, a cønversation on drowning, by classmate Javier Padilla, was selected to be performed at Jacob’s Pillow in the summer of 2016. Elyse took the ABT® National Training Curriculum Preprimary – Level 3 teacher training in 2018, instructed by the curriculum’s authors, Franco De Vita and Raymond Lukens. She has also completed her 200-hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Training in the summer of 2016, instructed by Blair Ritchie and Taryn Vander-Hoop and made possible by the generosity of Mason Gross and the OM Factory, NYC. Elyse teaches at the West Windsor Arts Council in partnership with Princeton Dance & Theater.
A native of West Windsor, Susan Mitrano is a certified K-12 Art Teacher who has taught in Princeton, Bridgewater and Montgomery schools as well as community art centers in NJ and PA. She has a BFA from Syracuse University in graphic design with a minor in photography. After a 15-year career as a designer and art director, Ms. Mitrano earned her BA in Art Education at The College of NJ. She is long time watercolorist, studying with Robert O’Brien, AWS in Vermont and others locally. She studied ceramics with Ursula Kaplowitz and enjoys working in many kinds of clay. She is also an avid printmaker and loves to share her knowledge of art history and art-making with the children she teaches.
Natalie has a degree in vocal music education from The College of New Jersey. She has performed in musicals since she was in elementary school, and started singing opera while in college. She’s held lead roles in TCNJ’s Lyric Theater productions (musical theater and opera) and chorus roles in La Boheme Opera Company’s productions. Natalie is currently a general music and chorus teacher at two elementary schools in Hamilton Township.
Anastasia Popova is an accomplished crochet designer with works published in numerous books, and magazines. Her crochet career began when she designed and produced a line of kid’s clothes and accessories for local boutiques. Anastasia brings that crochet expertise and passes it on to others through her offered classes, ranging from instruction for complete beginners to advanced students. Her classes cover various crochet disciplines such as Irish and Tunisian crochet, as well as designs that incorporate both knitting and crocheting together. To see more about Anastasia’s classes and designs, please click here.
Jane Craven Proulx
Jane has worked in the West Windsor-Plainsboro Schools as an art teacher since 2003, and for the West Windsor Arts Council during the summers since 2011. She holds a BFA from Moore College of Art & Design in fine arts, 2&3D, and an MFA from the University of the Arts in Sculpture.
Jane loves working with people, working hands-on and experientially, and looks towards the natural world for inspiration, enlightenment, and direction in her work and teaching.
Pratibha Raju is an artist and a visual art teacher. Pratibha earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts specializing in Drawing and Painting in 1998 from India. Since then she has been practicing and teaching drawing and painting in different styles and mediums. She has exhibited her paintings in oil and acrylic at the College Annual Art Shows and at the Coram Long Island and Piscataway libraries. Her watercolor landscape paintings were selected for the Plainsboro Preserve juried art shows for the last two years. Pratibha has completed many art and teaching courses online from the British Council and Coursera. She has taught in many schools for the last 20 years including the IB school in India with emphasis on holistic teaching. Click here to know more http://enjoying-paintings.webnode.com/
Ellen Renee’s proven musical theatre teaching method combines structure in a challenging and fun way. A performing arts industry veteran, she has been on stage since age 6. Ellen Renee got her start under a Julliard trained professional and has performed professionally for many years on stages in New Jersey, New York (Radio City), and Atlantic City doing roles in musicals Pippin, Cabaret, and Oklahoma, to name a few. Ellen Renee teaches novice through professional levels and was the director of a 450-student Academy of Performing Arts for over 10 years. Ellen Renee has trained and placed many artists in lead roles on Broadway in “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera”, as well as star performances on the “Main Stage at Walt Disney World, Florida.” Her students have gone on to professional venues & stage performances, appeared in commercials, print work ads, and on major channels.
Marsha Rudolph MA, RYT, has been teaching Breath Awareness for the last 20 years and Yoga for the last 10 years. Her specialty is working with people who may feel too intimidated to take a more challenging yoga class, especially those who may be struggling with their weight, have some physical limitations, are at mid-life or beyond, or just want a class of gentle stretching and postures to increase flexibility or compliment a more vigorous exercise routine. Marsha works as a Community Health Educator at Capital Health System.
Anusha Saran is a mixed media artist from West Windsor, NJ who is best known for her multi-media paintings with intricate fine line pen details. Her work has been exhibited and won several awards in India and US. She has a BA in Architecture and Masters in Design from National Institute of Design (NID), India, specializing in Ceramic and Glass Design. She started teaching art to children and loves to share her knowledge of design experience to help them explore their creative edge.
Jessica Schadt is a lifelong artist, athlete & fitness enthusiast. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and works primarily in photo/video arts, digital art & design, as well as in flow & circus arts such as hoop dance. Jessie has several hoop dance videos featured on www.hooping.org, and a background working at various companies doing all things creative; from copy writing to digital editing & archiving to hoop dance and beyond!
Lisa received a BFA in Fashion Design and Illustration in Brooklyn at Pratt Institute. Her first job out of college was creating and styling windows display for Macy’s NY. After Leaving Macy’s, she started a business in fashion design and created many fashion illustrations for publications such as WWD, DNR, Vogue as well as many design and fabric companies such as Cotton Inc., Speedo, Abercrombie & Fitch.
Lisa was previously an Associate Professor at Pratt Institute and Adjunct at Parsons School of Design within the Fashion Design Departments. After relocating to NJ she started teaching at Philadelphia University and working as Program Coordinator and Senior Adjunct Professor in the Fashion Department at Rowan College at Burlington County. Lisa has an extensive knowledge in teaching Textiles, History of Fashion Design, and Fashion Illustration. She has created many fashion workshops for teens and youth interested in fashion.
Katie Truk received her BFA from Alfred University. She has been teaching multi-media classes to children and adults of all ages and levels since 2001 through personal lessons, visiting artist grants and in places such as Creative Hands in Madison, Let’s Create in Boonton, Messy Artist in South Orange, Visual Art Center in Summit, and the West Windsor Art Center in West Windsor. In her studio the medium of choice is pantyhose. She combines the translucent and sensual nature of pantyhose and the rigidity of wire to create sculptures of complex depth and personality. Theses sculptures have been featured around the tri-state area.