Teaching Artists (Youth Arts)

Kala’s Teaching Artists are art both educators and artists who represent a broad range of cultural backgrounds and artistic approaches. Kala works with teaching artists for their professional skills, 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 great respect in students as they pass on their technical expertise and passion for creating art.

Current Teaching Artists (Onsite/Off-site Youth Arts programs during the school year and summer programs)

Mary Campbell is an artist and educator living in Oakland, CA. She received her BFA from the University of Oregon and went on to earn an MFA from the California College of the Arts. Her work spans media including printmaking, mold making, photography, and installation. She has taught locally at Berkeley Art Studio, Richmond Art Center, and AIMS Elementary School.

Gideon Egbuchulam (he/him), also known as Ivorycurlz, is a Nigerian visual artist based in California who practices sequential arts, character design, and animation. He studied at San Jose State University with a focus on illustration. He is part of several art collectives such as FAMEpresents and The BAYlies as an active creative in the Bay Area. Gideon is currently working on his first book,  ** Quasar **, which is a love letter to pulp sci-fi and the perils of growing up with spectacular gifts. Gideon enjoys sharing their love of comics, illustration, and drawing with young people and has worked with art spaces such as Kala Art Institute and Youth Arts Exchange. Website: www.gideonegbuchulam.com

Sara Gambina-Belknap (she/her)is an artist, songwriter, and performer from Humboldt County, California who has resided in Oakland for the past 25 years. She received her BA in Anthropology in 2003 from UC Berkeley and has studied music and figure drawing on and off over the years. Within her professional career, she has served the public through programs that are nonprofit, collaborative, intercultural, empowering, and educational. Over the years she has worked in many capacities with nonprofits, arts organizations, and music-related businesses. She has also been a performing musician and songwriter since she was a teenager and has collaborated with a number of bands. She is currently focusing on raising her two young children and pursuing her creative passions—namely music composition and studio arts.

Lee Oscar Gomez (they/them/elle) 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. Website: http://leeoscargomez.com/

Natasha Loewy (she/her) lives and works in Oakland, California. She received a BFA from The San Francisco Art Institute in 2008, a Single Subject Teaching Credential in Art from Mills College in 2012, and an MFA in Art Practice from San Francisco State University in 2022. She is a recipient of the Cadogan Contemporary Art Award and has exhibited locally at galleries such as SOMArts, the Marin County Civic Center, The Great Highway, Southern Exposure, Root Division, and Hit SF. She is one of three members of MUZ, a Bay Area-based art collective focused on collaborative studio and curatorial practice. She’s worked with young people teaching art at Youth Art Exchange, Aspire Lionel Wilson College Prep, and SFAI’s City Studio. Website: http://www.natashaloewy.com/

Judit Navratil’s practice is multivalent, engaging performance, social practices, drawing, as well as video and extended realities. Her projects are as much affective mappings of what it means to continuously oscillate between analog and digital, past and present; an immigrant’s attempt to construct a “home.” Navratil uses her body device to keep balance through her compass-meditation: the Long Distance Somersault career. Rolling as far as she can helps her seek higher alternatives and gaze in the Eye of the Hurricane. Navratil earned an MFA in Painting at the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 2008 and an MFA at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco in 2019. She has exhibited in Hungary, Canada, France, Korea, and the Bay Area. Her work has been recognized through awards including the Cadogan Art Award, a residency at Cité Internationale des Arts (Paris), and the Parent Award of Kala Art Institute. She is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts, and an Alternative Exposure grantee as the founder-mother of VR Art Camp. Art Camp is a social VR art residency program that is part of Judit’s ongoing project, a VR plattenbau called the Szívküldi Lakótelep, which is the base of her research, growing since 2018. Website: https://www.works.io/judit-navratil

Leah Yael Levy is a mixed media artist, storyteller, printmaker, and art teacher based in Berkeley, CA. She draws, paints, collages, and writes. She often self-publishes her work, and sometimes prints and binds it by hand. She loves playing with forms and formats and mixing digital and tactile techniques. Most of Yael’s work is based on her own experience as a brown, bi-racial, bilingual, and bisexual woman. She also enjoys telling others’ stories, making up imaginary creatures, and just painting images of beautiful nature. She believes the creative process to be its own reward and the act of making an incredible tool for healing and growing. Born and raised in Israel, Yael first moved to New York City in 2002 to attend the Art Students League of New York, later completing a BFA of Illustration from Parsons The New School for Design(2011). After four years doing design and illustrations for The Unemployed Philosophers Guild, she moved to California to pursue an MFA in Comics at CCA (2017). In recent years she’s been a Teaching Artist with Kala Art Institute, Richmond Art Center, and JCC of the East Bay and ran workshops for various Zine Fests. Her work has been published by The Nib (2018), Birdy Magazine(2019), Forward Comix(2017 & 2020), The Baylies(2021) and SAW(2021). Website: https://www.leahyaellevy.com/

Jennifer Mazzucco (she/her) is an artist and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. She holds a BFA in illustration from the University of Hartford and a Master’s degree in teaching from Pace University. Jennifer is also a freelance illustrator focusing primarily on children’s books and editorials, and co-founder of two arts-related non-profit organizations. Her watercolor illustrations have been published in the Society of Illustrators, Psychology Today, Family Circle among many other publications. She illustrated children’s books for both Gibb’s Smith and AugustHouse Publishers including The Pig Who Went Home on Sunday, an Appalachian Folktale by Donald Davis. Her paintings, mixed media work, and handmade books have been exhibited at the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Silvermine Guild Arts Center, Ridgefield Dance Conservatory, Joseloff Galleries, Enchanted Garden Studios, and more. Her large-scale work has been commissioned by private clients, yoga studios, and retreat centers. When Jennifer is not in her studio making art or teaching it, she is immersed in nature with her tripawd rescue pup Jyoti and filming snails in the courtyard for inspiration. The body of work she is presently working on contains a prolific series of color wheels, geometric mandala-inspired art, flora, fauna, and beyond. Website: https://jennifermazzucco.com/

Natalie Palms (she/her)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. Natalie currently teaches at Kala’s After School Studio program. Website: www.nataliepalms.com / natalierose_textiles

Christiana Reining (she/her) is a practicing artist, working in 2-D and mixed media.  She currently works at The Crowden School in Berkeley teaching art to elementary and middle school students primarily in 3-8th grades. As the only art teacher on staff, she plans and develops curriculum across grades and abilities, works with parents, sets up art salons, and provides community-building art projects. Christiana received a Masters in Teaching from The School of Education at Mills College in June 2021 where she apprenticed with Gillian Bailey, the chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Program at Piedmont High School teaching Art 1 to 9-12th grade students.

Joseph (Joey) Rose Avalos-Pangilinan is a Mexican-American artist and educator currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. Pulling inspiration from queer navigation, transformation, and community as a collective, his work aims to immortalize personal narratives and familial histories. Joey’s work promotes space as a form of catharsis, in hopes of healing those who connect with his subjects by unpacking broader conversations on themes such as trauma, familial/cultural connection and vulnerability. In 2021, Joey graduated from San Francisco State University with a BA in Studio Art and a Minor in Education, and received the 2021 Martin Wong Scholarship for Painting/Drawing. This past year, Joey has been an artist in residence at local elementary schools throughout the Bay Area, supplying colorful & vibrant pedagogy that supports the development of our young, future artists. Joey teaches onsite and offsite at the Junior Center for Art & Science and Kala Art Institute. Website: https://www.instagram.com/joeyroseart/

Ellena Ruiz-Lindsey is a painter living and working in the Bay Area. She received her BFA in Painting (Honors) and a Certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.  Ellena works in oil, acrylic, and watercolor, drawing from each process’ unique material potential. She builds upon her abstract paintings like bodies and lived experiences, layered and scarred to evoke generational trauma and systematic violence. Ellena harnesses color and painting’s association with intimacy to explore discomfort and unease through figurative narratives. Both threads of her work are derived from direct experience, filtered through queer theory and a Chicanx lens. Ellena currently teaches youth art workshops throughout the Bay Area with Junior Center for Art & Science, and Kala Art Institute, introducing youth to various materials and techniques and weaving nature and the environment in their work.

Ali Vaughan (she/her) is a multidisciplinary artist based in the Bay Area who works between sculpture and drawing. Her work investigates the confluence of geology and the body, and the complicated intersections of memory and family history. 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. She was a metal arts resident at the Steel Yard in Providence, RI, and most recently a resident at Radio28 Creative Studios in Mexico City.  Ali received 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. Website: https://alivaughan.com/home.html

Luka Vergoz Carlsen (they/he) finds, alters, and arranges material scraps to create installations incorporating sculpture, painting, drawing, and sound. The arrangements engage ideas of scale, language, physics, and gender. Luka has an MFA from UC Davis and a BA from Vassar College and has experience teaching art to a variety of ages from elementary school to undergraduate students. They are a graduate fellow at Headlands Center for the Arts in Marin and are a teaching artist for local art centers like Kala Art Institute and the Junior Center of Art and Science.

Krista Wright is an artist and educator based in the Bay Area. She has been an educator and an administrator for youth art programs for the past 3 years, including the Pre-College and Young Artist Programs at San Francisco Art Institute, the Community Youth Center After School Programs (SFUSD), and Kala Art Institute. Her work centers on re-imagining imaginary friends from the past and placing them in the present. In her printmaking work, she creates lore for her creatures; with sculptural work, she brings them into the 3rd dimension, and in her paintings, she places these creatures in everyday scenarios.

Program Volunteers and Interns (Youth Arts)

Gilda Magaña is a photographer from Guadalajara, Mexico, and currently lives in the East Bay. She holds a BFA (Photography) from the University of Guadalajara, Mexico. In 2015, she participated in a study abroad program in project management in Paris, France, an experience that not only exposed her to the value of arts and culture globally but also shaped her vision of art as a powerful means of communication. After college, Gilda interned at the International Film Festival of Guadalajara where she met and worked with diverse artists who presented films on social, cultural, and political issues. Currently, Gilda assists Kala’s K-5th youth arts classes, and community workshops and events throughout the year.  Gilda strongly believes that arts education should be fun and inspirational, and engaging with art is the best way to shape a better world for ourselves and future generations.

Sonia Lopez is a third-year student at the University of California, Berkeley studying Psychology and Molecular and Cell Biology with a concentration in Neurobiology. Growing up she was always surrounded by art and wanting to keep herself immersed in it she decided to intern at Kala and work at BAMPFA. Sonia’s first language is Spanish, Having grown up in Mexico, being bilingual has influenced her interest in the learning of languages and cultures. She is working at the Family and Culture Lab at UC Berkeley on Project LEAD to observe the socio-emotional development of bilingual children. Sonia hopes to further her knowledge of art psychology and learn how to implement it in school systems better.

Recent Teaching Artists + Volunteers (Onsite/Off-site Youth Arts programs)
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 participated in 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. Website/Social Media: https://www.instagram.com/ettyalberto/

Cristina Delgado (she/they) was born in Autlán, Jalisco Mexico 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 BA in film and media studies and a minor in education.  As an undergraduate, Cristina participated in C.R.E.A.T.E (Creative Residencies for Emerging Artists Teaching Empowerment) where she taught some 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, Attitudinal Healing Connection, and Kala Art Institute. Cristina is passionate about cultural art and arts education and believes in the power of storytelling.

champoy (they/them)is an interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker, and educator who weaves historical and personal narratives through film, installation, and performance. Born and raised in the highlands of Bukidnon, a landlocked province on the island of Mindanao, they have an undergraduate degree in Fine Arts – Major In Advertising Arts from the University Of San Carlos in the island of Cebu and an MFA in Art Practice from UC Berkeley. Their work stems from inquiries that are rooted in locating self, culture, history, and power and the way these things are dismantled and reimagined through unconventional forms and materiality. They are a recipient of the Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prize For Excellence In Creative Practice, the Murphy and Cadogan Contemporary Art Award, a Nancy Sayavong Materials Grant, the East Bay Fund for Individuals in the Arts, The Alternative Art School Fellowship, and the Headlands Center for the Arts Graduate Fellowship. Website: http://www.champchampchampoy.com

April Gavin (she/her)is a Bay Area-based artist living in Berkeley, CA with her partner Tom, and a large golden dog named Scout. She holds a BA from the New College of California with a focus on art and humanities. She came to visual art as a path to reclaim her voice and spirit over ten years ago. She likes to work across media with a focus on nature, self-expression, collaboration, and social-emotional learning.  April works in a range of media including drawing both from reality and the imagination, painting with watercolor or oil pastels, comics, collages, simple printmaking like linocut and monotypes using a gelatin plate, and textile art. Her work has won awards and has been published in national journals.  Her first illustrated book for children will be published later this year. She has taught both visual art and creative writing in summer camps and after-school programs at  Camp 510, BUSD schools, and Handcraft School Studio. She also teaches art to young people and adults out of her home studio. www.aprilgavin.net

Corduroy Joan (they/them) is a white, queer artist and educator currently living in Berkeley/Oakland. They find that quilts and the broader field of textiles are the best doorways into asking some of the hard questions about what it means to be alive right now. How have fabric objects across time and culture helped people become more human and embodied? They are particularly interested in quilts as transitional objects for queer and trans young people.

Josie Licavoli is a multimedia artist and educator from the Bay Area who explores diverse cultural identities, drawing from her mixed-race heritage. Inspired by San Francisco, the California coast, and various art forms such as music and literature, her work delves into human experiences, merging personal introspection with collective knowledge. Josie’s art bridges private and public realms, inviting viewers to engage with the rich tapestry of Filipino and American culture, fostering connection and dialogue. Josie received her BA in 2022 in Studio Art (painting) and Art Education from Cal Poly Humboldt. She is also the current Filipinx Teaching Fellow at Root Division. Her teaching philosophy is centered on community, experimentation, and student-led projects. Website: https://www.josielicavoli.com/

Jill McLennan is a professional oil painter and teaching artist living in the Bay Area for over 18 years. She organizes community projects in her neighborhood, Jingletown, and creates public art that reflects the local history of a place.  McLennan draws, paints, prints, and makes oil paintings, mixed media built pieces, wax encaustics, and ceramics that explore industry, history, urban nature, and our outlook toward 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. Website: https://jillmclennan.me/

Eric Sanchez is a Bay Area-based artist working in photography, digital printing, sculpture, installation, and currently drawing. Sanchez’s work has been 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.

Contact: youtharts@kala.org