Teaching Artists

Kala’s Teaching Artists represent a broad range of cultural backgrounds and artistic approaches. Teaching Artists are chosen by Kala for their professional skill, engagement with the art community, and experience teaching children, teens, and adults. Depending on the program, class or workshop, artists are responsible for meeting and planning with classroom teachers/staff, designing and conducting residencies/workshops, mounting exhibitions, writing project and progress reports and helping evaluate the programs. As active professional artists who care deeply about urban youth, instructors inspire a great deal of respect in students as they pass on their technical expertise and passion for creating art.

Current & Past Teaching Artists

Etty Alberto is a visual artist and educator from Saint Paul, Minnesota. She teaches in Kala’s AIS and Camp Kala programs, and Attitudinal Healing Connection in Oakland. Etty is the Founder of Más Arte, a free summer camp currently providing art kits and lesson plans to families in San Antonio, Chicago, Saint Paul, and Minneapolis. She teaches art at several schools in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley. Etty aims to inspire our youth to explore meditation in fine art, artistic activism, and sustainable multidisciplinary art practices. She is a graduate of the 2019 New York Foundation of Arts Immigrant mentorship program in Oakland. In addition to teaching art, Etty creates artwork influenced by self-discovery as a transnational artist.

 Aliza Cohen is an artist and educator working in the East Bay. She has taught art to children ages 2-18 and currently leads the visual arts department at Albany High School, where she teaches sculpture and advanced art. She also maintains a studio for her painting and ceramics practices. In her spare time she enjoys playing at the beach with her two elementary aged children and her little dog Ira.  programs.

Erina Davidson is a printmaker and teaching artist at  Kala’s Artists-In-Schools program, Teen Studio, and the After School Studio Program. She received her BFA in Printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design in 2013, where she was an undergraduate teaching assistant with a focus on intaglio and screenprinting. She was previously a printmaker in residence at Second State Press in Philadelphia, PA and has made work at the Dirt Palace in Providence, RI where she contributed a window installation in 2015. In addition to being a part of the youth art programs, she is also currently a studio assistant in Kala’s print studio.

Cristina Delgado was born in Autlán, Jalisco Mexico and raised in Tongva land (Los Angeles, CA) and is currently based in Ohlone land (Oakland, CA). She is a first generation graduate from UC Berkeley with a B.A in film and media studies. As an undergraduate, Cristina participated in C.R.E.A.T.E (Creative Residencies for Emerging Artists Teaching Empowerment) and taught a few classes in visual arts, creative writing, and art therapy to local schools and community organizations. Post graduation she has worked at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts as their bookings and volunteers coordinator, and currently teaches art to youth through Attitudinal Healing Connection. Cristina is passionate about cultural art and arts education and believes in the power of storytelling.

Beatriz Escobar is an artist and educator working primarily with participatory art projects, installation and photography. Beatriz believes that art can free our imaginations and offer inspiration for us to shape the world we want to live in. Beatriz is originally from Brazil and is now based in the Bay Area, where she received her MFA in Social Practice from California College of the Arts. She is a photography mentor to youth with First Exposures, a member of the Día de los Muertos Committee at the Oakland Museum of California, and a Program Associate at Destiny Arts Center. She is the co-founder of Emergent Landscapes, a platform for POC artists to present live work in natural landscapes. Beatriz received the CCA 2017 Impact Award for her project Amazonas Riverine Program and a 2018 Alternative Exposure Grant from Southern Exposure for Emergent Landscapes. She was a 2017-2018 Creative Dissent Fellow at YBCA and is currently an Affiliate Artist at Headlands Center for the Arts.

Lee Oscar Gomez immigrated from Mexico to the Greater Los Angeles area at an early age, where they developed a subtle awareness of the cultural differences of a new place, and a strong embodiment of record keeping to capture their experiences in a foreign land. Through documentary photography,  Gomez operates and manipulates their fascination with light to demonstrate political  visual images that address topics of gender, sexuality, belonging and self identity. These images include street photography and constructed studio shots. Using analog film processes, Gomez also captures warmth and sensitivity to these topics as a form of radical archiving. Gomez holds a BFA  from San José State University in 2019. They have exhibited their artwork  at Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americano,, Gallery 1202, and the Norman Y. Mineta San José International Airport. They worked at MACLA, PabLove Shutterbugs, and most recently at Camp Kala, Kala’s Youth Summer Program. With the hope of inspiring young artists, Gomez strives to communicate the importance of light and its ability to radiate clarity and truth.

Taro Hattori is an international installation artist, originally from Tokyo, Japan and currently lives in Richmond, CA. Hattori’s installations respond directly to both the built and intangible elements of a specific environment through “installing” his work or and setting up dynamic situations. With backgrounds in theater set design and music, Hattori creates installations telling stories that are activated by the tension between objects, specific city of site and viewers. He was awarded residencies at Headlands Center for the Arts; Vermont Studio Center, Can Serrat, Barcelona, to name a few.; and a recipient of such awards as the West Prize, Center for Cultural Innovation, The Nomura Cultural Foundation and The Leah Middlebrook & Norio Sugano Fellowship. He has an MFA in Time Arts/Video from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and BA in Clinical Psychology from Sophia University, Tokyo.  He is represented by Swarm Gallery (Oakland), West Collection (Philadelphia), Black Square Gallery (Miami) and Peter Miller Gallery (Chicago). Hattori is an educator with over 20 years of teaching young people and adults at various institutions in California and Illinois. He currently teaches at California College of the Arts.

Jocelyn V. Jones is a Bay Area native from Berkeley, California.  She studied fine art at San Francisco State University, graduating in 2009 with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in art studio practice and cinema production.  She is a multi-disciplinary artist, working primarily in painting and drawing figurative work. She teaches art to youth of all ages throughout the Bay Area.

David Lee is an African-American, Oakland based photographer and writer. David has work in social and human services for over 10 years teaching young people art, life skills, and wellness practices. During that time, David has worked on photography projects that center around the culture and development of Oakland through portraiture and street photography. David is the co-founder of Negus in Nature which works to increase the representation of Black people in outdoor spaces and create access points to explore outdoor activities. He is an avid rock climber, backpacker, and alpinist. David’s current work centers around sanctuary and healing spaces in the midst of societal shift.

Yael Levy is a visual artist, storyteller and teacher based in Berkeley, CA. Born and raised in Israel, she first moved to New York City in 2002 to attend the Art Students League of New York, and later completed a BFA of Illustration from Parsons the New School for Design (2011). She moved to California to pursue an MFA in Comics at California College of the Arts (2017). She is a Teaching Artist in Kala’s Artists in Schools program and was an Artist In Residence at Kala. She also teaches Mural Painting for the Richmond Art Center and various art classes for the JCC of the East Bay.

Jill McLennan is a professional oil painter and teaching artist living in the bay area for over 18 years. She organizes community projects with her neighborhood, Jingletown and creates public art that reflects the local history of a place.  McLennan draws, paints, prints, makes oil paintings, mixed media built pieces, wax encaustics, and ceramics that explore industry, history, urban nature and our outlook towards a future of human and natural cooperation.  Jill teaches art in various cultural spaces in the Bay Area including Kala Art Institute, de Young Museum, and Museum of Children’s Art.

Heide Miller is an art educator with degrees in Studio Art and Cultural Anthropology.  She began her career working as a classroom teacher and later focused on art and art education for students in a museum setting.  Currently, she develops art curricula and programming at the deYoung Museum and the UC Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive, as well as maintaining her own art practice.

Ava Morton is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator from Houston, Texas. Morton’s writing and artistic practices are entwined and often focus on (re)contextualization, subversion, and affect. Her most recent research takes a particular interest in linguistics, sound, and the boundaries of the body. Her studio practice employs the tactics of drawing in space, to build loosely figurative sculptures and videos. She has taught art to young people at SFMOMA, Art4Life, and Art Mix Creative Learning Center. Morton received her BFA and BA in Biological-Anthropology from UC-Santa Barbara, and an MFA and MA in Visual and Critical Studies from the California College of the Arts.

Natalie Palms is a multidisciplinary artist, working primarily in textiles. She studied Art and Social Behavioral Studies in her hometown of Los Angeles before moving to Oakland. She received her BFA in Individualized Studies at California College of the Arts in 2015.  Upon graduating, she began teaching K-8th art in numerous schools throughout the Bay Area. As a multiracial woman, creating a classroom environment focused on social emotional learning, anti-racism, and sharing culturally diverse artists is important to her. She has recently launched her own business creating accessories she hand dyes and prints, while curating and leading textile focused workshops for children and adults throughout the Bay Area.

Ernie Roan is a cartoonist, writer, and illustrator originally from inland Southern California. They currently live in Oakland and work as a horse trainer’s assistant. Ernie has taught rock climbing and horseback riding and is excited to be joining Camp Kala to share their love of comics/sequential art with young artists.

Leyla Rzayeva is an artist living and working in the San Francisco Bay Area. Leyla examines symbols and craft of West Asia, and continued contribution of Persian thinkers in contemporary art to make connections with local and global audiences. Her work has been shown in Philadelphia PA, Washington D.C., Baltimore MD, Rehoboth DE, Berkeley CA and Joshua Tree CA. Rzayeva received her BFA in Painting from Maryland Institute College of Art (’08) and holds a Professional Printer Certificate from Tamarind Institute, University of New Mexico (’09). Her additional projects include collaborating with over 20 regional artists in Baltimore, Maryland to hand-print and publish fine art limited edition lithographs at Clubhouse Lithography Workshop.

Eric Sanchez is a Bay Area-based artist working in photography, digital printing, sculpture, installation, and currently drawing. Sanchez’s work has exhibited in local venues such as the Kala Art Institute, SFMOMA Artists Gallery, Chico State University and many other local grassroots galleries including Lobot, Rock Paper Scissors, Balazo Gallery, Blankspace, and The Compound. Sanchez has also exhibited in shows in Wisconsin and Washington D.C. Sanchez’s artwork is informed by science, biology, and pop culture. Previous pieces have incorporated content collected from Chiron labs, SFSU biology labs, the Academy of Sciences, growing bioluminescent bacteria, and collecting insects in the field. Sanchez’s current series reflects on the discourse surrounding biotechnology and how society will utilize this technology. Eric Sanchez received his Masters in Fine Art from San Francisco State University, California. He previously received his Bachelor’s in Fine Art with a minor in Art History from California State University, Hayward. Sanchez serves as faculty at Contra Costa College, College of San Mateo, Kala Institute, and the ASUC Art Studio in Berkeley.

Anita Sulimanovic is an artist and educator living and working in Alameda, CA. Anita holds an MFA from Edinburgh College of Art, Scotland and a BA in Sculpture from The Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, Croatia. She has been teaching art for 25+ years, including at the Edinburgh College of Art, the Oakland School For the Arts, and at several schools in the Bay Area. She received classical European training in drawing, painting, applied arts, and design, and has a strong background in art education and art history. Since  2008, she has taught youth and adults studio-art disciplines and art history at the art school she founded in Alameda.   Anita has exhibited internationally since 1994.

Eduardo Valadez Arenas is a Mexican-American artist and educator from Mexico City by way of the Coachella Valley. He currently lives and works in the Bay Area. His artworks echo the diaspora, his Mexican-American heritage, and influences of California pop culture. His mixed-media works on paper and handmade panels contain elements of cartoon illustrations, sign painting, traditional printmaking techniques, and street art. Eduardo works in arts education, youth empowerment, public art, and community collaborations. He has taught at various arts institutions including the Mexican Museum SF, Riverside Museum of Photography, Museum of Children’s Art, Kala Art Institute, and Arise Youth Center. Eduardo received his BFA in Arts Education/Community Arts from the California College of the Arts.

Ali Vaughan is an artist based out of Berkeley and Richmond whose practice consists of multimedia sculptural work centered around the complicated intersections of memory, family history, and the environment. She has  exhibited work at  the de Young Museum, the Sebastopol Center for the Arts, the Coulter Gallery, West Magazine, and the Stanford Art Gallery, along with completing a metal arts residency at the Steel Yard in Providence. Ali received was a dual major and received her BA in Art Practice (with honors) and Art History at Stanford University.  In her teaching, she believes that artmaking can foster
resilience, focus, investigation, and self reflection, and is  interested in allowing students to explore various mediums as means of self expression, including drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture. As an educator and artist, she works with students to understand the different possibilities and challenges of different mediums, and feel that they have the freedom and confidence to move between them to express personally meaningful narratives.

Joel Wanekis a non-fiction film and audio artist who has taught at San Francisco State University, the University of Iowa, and in the Chicago Public Schools for many years.

Gaia WXYZ @gaiaw.xyz (pronounced “wize”) is a multimedia creator who specializes in visual art, specifically comics. Last year they earned an MFA in Comics from California College of the Arts, and appeared in the award-winning documentary No Straight Lines: The Rise of Queer Comics. Art has been the major motivating force in their life, concocting characters and storylines in sketchbooks from an early age. Though they have skills in a variety of media, including printmaking, painting, design, sculpture, photography, installation and performance art, Gaia has focused their talent to pursue a lifelong dream of becoming a published comic artist.

Contact: youtharts@kala.org