Tanisha Brandon- Felder, President
Tanisha is the director of equity and family engagement in the Shoreline School District. Through her previous work in the Seattle Public Schools, she co-founded The Race Forum- a safe place for discussions around race that involved both school families and staff, co-created and produced Words of Power- a short film designed to help kids talk about race, created Many Cultures, One World- a cultural event created to help students feel empowered about who they are, and founded The SEED Plot- a social justice conference for Middle School students. In 2015,Tanisha received her Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Policy. For 3 years, she has been an active participant in the Arts Corps’ Creative Schools Initiative, an arts integration program that aims to influence student engagement, classroom instructional practices, and school culture. Her passion and desire is to engage in the conversation around race and equity, and to empower others, while continuing to empower herself, to move those discussions into actions towards positive outcomes for youth.
As a child, Donte Felder was diagnosed with disgraphia (a writing-related learning disability) and spent five years in special education. Born and raised in Seattle, Donte now teaches dramatic writing to middle school children in one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country. He earned his B.S. in Education from Grambling State University in Louisiana and his MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, where he studied Screenwriting with Neil Landau and Darrah Cloud. He has produced several short films and plays with his drama team and won the W.E.A. Humanitarian Award for his play dealing with race relations and school integration, “First Day.”
Sally is a Seattle based visual artist, freelance graphic designer, and community volunteer. Most recently, she has served on the board of Gallery 110, a nonprofit gallery in Pioneer Square, and on granting committees with Social Justice Fund NW and Washington Women’s Foundation. She loves doing art with K-5 students, design and marketing for nonprofits and small businesses, and promoting emerging artists. Sally is passionate about getting more arts into the schools and about Arts Corps’ overall mission and programing – especially the Creative Schools Initiative. Her top priorities in terms of social justice are working towards equity in education, and prison “reform”/ or rather the abolition of prisons as we know them. Sally lives in Columbia City with her husband and two children, and dog.
elizabeth maria ortega
elizabeth landed herself at Arts Corps in 2011 as a classroom assistant. She worked with a variety of art forms, began teaching her own class and then shifted into her work with FEEST. At FEEST, elizabeth worked for several years alongside young people to critically think about the root causes of health injustices in communities of color and creatively push back in their communities. She has also done work in various arts communities, youth shelters, middle and high schools, with immigrant rights and is now a teacher with a social justice emphasis at Puget Sound Community School. She is a writer, printmaker artist and carries her curiosity and creativity wherever she goes, from shifting power and institutions towards justice to playing with friends on the weekends. She creates and sells her art out of a studio in Fremont with other fellow qpoc artists. She holds a B.A. degree in Sociology from the University of Arizona and a MAEd in Education from Antioch University with a thesis on Decolonizing Learning Processes.
Kelly Rondou, Treasurer
Kelly has been a volunteer with Arts Corps since 2011, working as Stage Manager and Technical Director for La Festa del Arte and the Student Showcase. Kelly is currently the Executive Support Manager at Northwest Regional Primary Care Association, a nonprofit supporting community health centers in the Northwest, previous to that she was the Director of Executive Projects for PROVAIL, a disability services provider for the Puget Sound area. Combining her background in visual and performing arts with her career in healthcare and serving the underserved has led Kelly to believe strongly in the utmost importance of arts in social justice and creating whole, healthy communities.
Annie Von Essen
During more than a decade in the nonprofit and social service fields, Annie Von Essen has worked as a social worker, mental health counselor, communications manager, fundraiser and program developer. She holds an MSW and an MPA from University of Washington’s School of Social Work and Evan’s School of Public Affairs, respectively. In her current consulting practice, Vessel Strategy & Consulting, she is invested in helping individuals and organizations carry out powerful visions. Annie works with organizations to bring successful community and organizational change to fruition. She also offers a series of sessions supporting individuals and organizations to decrease stress in their work and live from a place of joy and presence. Annie lives in the turn of the century school building where Arts Corps is housed, with her partner and a whole community of amazing artists.
Mylen Tumaliuan-Huggins believes that the arts are an essential part of being a person. She is greatly inspired by and thrives on the creativity and expressive confidence that comes from young emerging artists. Trained as a graphic designer/illustrator, her true passion is teaching artistry, engaging youth in the creative process of visual arts. She’s been a teaching artist for over a decade serving youth ranging from kindergarten to high school from her early days at The Children’s Museum to several Seattle and Highline Public Schools as well as teaching for Arts Corps and Seattle Art Museum. In addition to being a teaching artist, Mylen is also an artist mentor for Arts Impact and serves on the board for Arts Corps.
Aurelio Valdez is a Mexican-American with many passions and goals. He is currently studying to receive his bachelor’s at Seattle Pacific University majoring both in Political Science and Sociology. He chooses these majors in order to become a leader in his community to change society’s structure for justice with minority groups in America. He feels he has much to prove coming from immigrant parents and being the first in his family to not only graduate high school but also be able to enroll in a university. Alongside working on becoming a scholar, he is a conscious HipHop musician that has social commentary and an overall love for the HipHop culture throughout his lyrics. He believes strongly that he was put on earth with a mission to change his community and to have a positive impact in people’s lives.
Erika is the Executive Director of the Nesholm Family Foundation, which awards grants in health and human services, education, and performing arts. Prior to that, she was a Classics professor at Williams College, Georgetown University, The College of William & Mary, Kenyon College, and Ohio Wesleyan University. She holds a PhD in Classics from the University of Washington; she also holds a Master’s in Education Policy from UW, with particular interest in arts education. Erika is active in the Seattle arts community: she serves on the board of ACT Theatre and the community advisory board of Classical KING FM.