Arts Integration Manager & Visual Teaching Artist
Sabrina Chacon-Barajas graduated from Seattle Pacific University with a BA in Studio Art. She used her senior art show to challenge the SPU community on stereotypes of the Latinx community. Her work incorporates multi-media art to represent the intersectional identity of being a brown femme. Her work mostly consists of creating illustrative profiles of people and diving into the issues and experiences of the Latinx diaspora. Sabrina is a teaching artist that cares about representation in the classroom and closing the achievement gap through the power of the arts. She centers her curriculum around sense of belonging in the classroom using culturally responsive pedagogy. Sabrina speaks Spanish and empowers her students to speak and write in their language by being transparent in her experience as a first generation person who is more comfortable with Spanglish and translanguaging. Sabrina has taught with various art programs and non-profits in the PNW such as REEL GRRLS, SAM, Gage Academy of the Arts, South Park Community Center, Ailey Camp, Pratt Fine Arts, and Centrum in Port Townsend.
Heleya de Barros
Interim Director of Arts Education
Heleya de Barros is a born and raised Seattleite and SPS graduate (FQ!). She is an actor, teaching artist, and arts education advocate whose work focuses on how to use theatre skills across disciplines. Heleya has served as faculty at The New School for Drama and has taught with such organizations as Lincoln Center Theater, McCarter Theater Center, New York Theatre Workshop, The Center for Arts Education, People’s Theatre Project, Young Audiences New York, The Geffen Playhouse, The Los Angeles Music Center, The Orange County Performing Arts Center, Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences, Will & Company, CRE Outreach, and 24th Street Theatre. She is the Executive Director of The Association of Teaching Artists, the oldest organizations serving teaching artists in the country and formerly sat on the Board of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable. As an actor Heleya earned her Actor’s Equity card touring TYA shows to schools and communities. Currently Heleya acts as a performer and researcher with the Verbatim Performance Lab using theatre to examine and uncover unconscious bias. @Heleya_deBarros
Teaching Artist Coordinator
Sumayya E. Diop is a teaching artist, dancer, choreographer, actor, and administrator specializing in Folkloric performance dance culture, of the African Diaspora, and whose artistic goals and aspirations are rooted in the love of dance theatre. Sumayya has created and presented works in both traditional and contemporary African dance styles. Sumayya is currently Teaching Artist Coordinator with Arts Corps, as well as partnering with The Creative Advantage, and Youth Arts through the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture. She is a co-founder of Griot Girlz, which works closely with Seattle Public Schools students in developing creative capacities and academic mindsets through arts integrated instruction. Other responsibilities include performances, community building and special projects. Sumayya has contributed to the field of dance, music and theatre through performance, instruction, and program development.
Sumayya is passionate about sharing dance, song and music of the African Diaspora and bringing youth, young adults, and adults to the stage using performance as a vehicle for increased self-confidence, esteem awareness, a rooted sense of belonging, and the preservation of cultural legacy. Sumayya attended Cornish College of the Arts, majoring in dance, and was most recently selected to participate in a 7-week International Conference and Professional Development workshop in Choreography of Traditional and Contemporary African Dance in Senegal, West Africa.
Out of School Time Program Manager
Olisa is a performing artist, arts educator and arts administrator who believes that art is essential in the cultivation of community and culture. Born and raised in Seattle to a multicultural music family, Olisa spent her childhood writing and performing. She traversed genres and rooted in hip hop as her primary form of expression. As she grew in music she branched out to theater and found passion for the power of story to reveal and heal. Olisa is a member of The Conciliation Project (TCP). TCP uses theater to start courageous conversations around the inequities that are woven into the fabric of this complex nation.
She is a founding member of Griot Girlz and works with the award-winning youth arts program Creative Justice. Olisa teaches with Macklemore’s youth development through hip hop program, The Residency. Olisa provides professional development, curriculum development, and workshops through her business Praxis Essentials.
William Nuʻutupu Giles
Teen Programs Manager
Will is an afakasi Samoan writer and arts educator from Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. They have performed poetry on stages across North America including the San Francisco Opera House, John F. Kennedy Center, and Broadway’s New Amsterdam Theatre. Will has facilitated poetry workshops across Oceania in Papua New Guinea, Guåhan, and Aotearoa. They were featured in the HBO documentary Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices, where they helped the Hawaiʻi team win it’s first International Poetry Slam Championship. Will is also the first Pacific Islander to win the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition.
Will’s poems dig for the political seeds in personal stories. Their work connects contemporary poetry with the Oral Traditions of Polynesian genealogy and crosses oceans of immigrant identity, colonization, representation, and masculinity. Will’s work has been featured by NBC News, The National Parks Service, HBO, Bustle, LitHub, and Button Poetry.
Finance and Operations Manager
Rowan spent his childhood in Southern Oregon exploring the Umpqua River Valley and its surrounding mountains and forests. His experiences in the wake of the timber bust, followed by a few years of couch-surfing and punk-houses, left him with a keen awareness of injustice and a passion for equity. He believes that life is an adventure and that everyone is an artist. He combines small-town familiarity with punk rock tenacity, both in his work with Arts Corps and as a performer and board member for Queerly Beloved, a production group dedicated to creating accessible space that welcomes performers of all backgrounds and experience levels. A proud neurodivergent Spoonie, he is often most at peace lost in the woods with mud on his feet or at home with his spouse, son, and silly rescue hound.
Christa Mazzone Palmberg
In her role as Development Manager, Christa draws on her passion for authentic relationships to cultivate a strong community of donors who partner with Arts Corps to increase access to the arts for young people in our region. Christa’s deep commitment to arts education stems from her many years as a vocalist, theatre artist, community organizer, faith leader, fundraiser, and mom. Through these diverse experiences, Christa witnessed firsthand the sacred power of creative expression. She feels privileged to support the cultivation of this creative power among the youth involved in Arts Corps’ programs.
Originally from Chicago, James has just moved to Seattle from Brooklyn, NY where has worked as an actor and educator for the past 19 years. Before joining Arts Corps, he was the Director of Education at Urban Arts Partnership, in New York City. James has also facilitated workshops and designed curriculum for the New Victory Theater, Roundabout Theatre, Disney Theatrical Group, and others. Previously a professor at NYU, James taught a myriad of classes, ranging from Acting and Directing to EdTech and Special Education. He is on the board of directors for the Association of Teaching Artists and the Teaching Artist Journal. A graduate of Morehouse College and Brandeis University, James has presented at SXSWedu, NYU’s IMPACT Festival, Creative Tech Week, EdTech Europe, Google Educator Bootcamp, and has provided Professional Development to teachers across the world. His work has been covered by Pie News, New Profit, Complex Magazine, NPR, CBS, US Department of Education, and ASCD. James is a former accountant, model, and actor. He can be frequently found on Twitter, as @fresh_professor, writing about arts education, educational policy, and academic inequity.
Hillary brings her values of compassion, creativity and curiosity to the Arts Corps community. She has over a decade of experience as an educator, artist, curriculum writer, program manager and leader in the field of creative youth development. As grants manager she is passionate about leveraging funding to close race and income-based opportunity gaps for youth. Born and raised in Seattle, Hillary is a life-long visual artist who enjoys playing outside, building fairy houses with her kids, and vegetables (growing, cooking and eating them). She has an undergraduate degree in studio art and a graduate degree in education with a focus on curriculum and instruction.
Director of Development & Communications
Carrie is a collaborative leader and coach whose passion for community building and belief in the transcendent power of stories drives her work as a fundraiser. Carrie’s studies in theatre arts and communications, combined with years of experience as a professional make-up artist and costume designer have shaped her uniquely creative and relational approach to fund development. She’s especially interested in making connections with others who share an interest in moving toward greater equity in fundraising.
Alexa is a journalist, illustrator, and community advocate from Seattle. Having been active in community organizing and cultural spaces up and down the West Coast, her zeal for anti-oppression praxis, arts education, racial and economic justice, and migrant advocacy remains the driving force behind her storytelling and work as an artist. She has worked as a reporter, editor, and editorial intern for a number of publications. Alexa currently freelances as an editorial illustrator, designer, and writer. Outside of the office, you might find her wandering around the city with no real destination or indulging in the greatest creation of all time: dried mangoes.
Program Operations Manager
Justin Yau-Luu is a mixed-race Asian American, poet, performance and visual artist born and raised in Seattle, Washington. Justin comes to Arts Corps after having recently completed a Master of Arts in English from Western Washington University. They drink at least three cups of green tea a day and think pit bulls are the cutest dogs in the world. Justin is committed to the work of social justice and doing the essential work to transform our world to ensure we are all able to thrive as we are.