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
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.
Saeko was born in Tokyo, and first visited the US at 17 as part of a high school study abroad program. She has worked in Accounting for ten years. She moved to the US permanently in 2015, when her husband retired from the Air Force. She is excited to apply her expertise as part of the Arts Corps team. During her time off, she enjoys painting, interior design, and relaxing with her Shiba Inu.
Director of Finance & Operations
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.
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.
Acting Executive Director
Carrie grew up on a family-run apple orchard in North Central Washington, where the the Colville Reservation meets the Okanogan River. The arts were a big part of Carrie’s youth. Coming from an area that greatly lacked resources, she still had regular access to indigenous storytelling, theatre art, visual art, and music classes during her school days. That access was foundational in how she navigates the world today. Her deep belief that ALL young people deserve access to a high-quality education, and that art is a critical piece of learning about the world, fuel her passion for Arts Corps.
She is a collaborative leader and coach whose passion for community building and understanding in the transcendental power of stories drives her work. Carrie has been working in youth-development and non-profit leadership for the past 10 years. Her 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 leadership. She’s especially interested in making connections with others who share interest in moving toward greater equity in the non-profit complex.
Alexa is a cultural worker, journalist, and illustrator living on unceded Duwamish/Coast Salish land. 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.
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.