Teaching Artists

Claudia Arcia

ARCK Teaching Artist – J. F. Kennedy Elementary School (Spring 2014)

Claudia Arcia is a bilingual teacher and artist originally from Caracas-Venezuela. She has been painting for more than 20 year. She studied graphic design at the Instituto de Diseño de Caracas in Caracas, Venezuela then Fine Arts at the Instituto Universitario de Estudios Superiores de Artes Plasticas Armando Reveron in Caracas, Venezuela.  She moved to the United States in 2003 and attended Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, MA in 2007. Claudia has participated in several group shows in Venezuela, Vienna, Tokyo and United States. She has had three solo shows in the United States.

 As a teacher, Claudia has extensive experience working with K-8 students.  In Newburyport and Boston, MA, Claudia successfully integrated a visual art and Spanish program. The program was met with great success by both teachers and students alike. Claudia also worked at the Essex Art Center as an art teacher for several years as well as in Pine Village Preschool, teaching a bilingual program in West Newton to pre-K students for two years.


Sheryl Chen

ARCK Teaching Artist – Gardner Pilot Academy (Fall 2013)

Sheryl Chen earned a BA in Art History and a BA in American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010. She received her Master of Education: Arts in Education for Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013.


Brooke Scibelli

ARCK Teaching Artist – J. F. Kennedy Elementary School (Fall 2013)

Brooke Scibelli earned a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and Design’s Studio for Interrelated Media Department [SIM] in 2012.


Carl Vestweber

ARCK Teaching Artist – Gardner Pilot Academy (Fall 2013)

Carl Vestweber earned his BFA (Studio Art) in 2011 from The University of Texas-Pan American and MFA in 2013 from the Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.


Karuna O’Donnell

ARCK Teaching Artist – Gardner Pilot Academy (Fall 2012, Spring 2014)

Karuna O’Donnell M.Ed. has been a force of change in the Greater Boston Arts Education community for the past decade. She holds a BFA in Painting from Mass Art and was awarded a fellowship for Leadership in Education to attend the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She was also accepted into the Women’s Initiative in Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government in 2009.


Iemanja Wells-Wingfield

ARCK Teaching Artist – JFK (2014)

Iemanja Wells-Wingfield is an artist, educator, and graphic designer with roots in Boston. She is a graduate of New England School of Art and Design where she obtained her Bachelor’s in Fine Arts. She teaches courses, and puts on workshops with all age ranges from small children, to teens and adults. You can check out some of her work on her online portfolio: http://jaartz.carbonmade.com/


Marissa A. Gutiérrez-Vicario

ARCK Teaching Artist – Gardner Pilot Academy (Spring 2013)

Marissa is a graduate of the University of Southern California in Political Science and International Relations and received her Masters in Public Administration in Non-Profit Management and Public Policy at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. She is currently a Masters candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, focusing on Arts in Education.

Marissa brings significant experience working on the ground and around the world: she investigated human rights abuses and worked on a documentary film in Mexico; conducted human rights research in India; and volunteered for a women’s rights non-profit in Guatemala. Domestically, Marissa has planned and organized service-learning trips, coordinated events for and with youth, and worked with community organizers to address violations of human rights. Through her work with Art and Resistance Through Education (ARTE), Marissa works with young people to use art as a tool for social change, especially around bringing awareness to human rights issues on both the local and global levels.


Guest Artists

Christos Hamawi

I first got involved with the Josiah Quincy School in April of 2012, after the parents and faculty at the school (through ARCK) sent out a request for local artists to volunteer their time to teach a class at the school, as a part of their “Diversity Through Art” community outreach campaign. As a volunteer, I led a 3rd grade mosaics class for approximately 30 students and exhibited the finished artwork (along with art from other JQS students) at the “Diversity Through Art Exhibition” later that year.

This program was so personally rewarding for me, and greatly received by the school, parents, and the community and also helped raise over $7000 to cover the cost of art supplies and art related funds for the school. After the success of this project, they invited me back to make a proposal for the Phase II public art project for their “Living Wall” vertical garden. I devised a mosaic concept and made my pitch to the school, and they loved my idea and commissioned me for the work.
Part of my idea was to get the students involved in the actual process. For example, after deciding on the general theme of the four seasons, I then asked students from four different classrooms and various grade levels to draw their favorite things about each season, and I used their drawings as the inspiration for my own mosaic designs. In addition, I offered to construct the mosaic panels on site at the Josiah Quincy School during regular school hours and to lead a multitude of art classes and mosaic workshops for the students.

Since beginning the project in late November of 2012, I’ve led approximately 15 thirty minute general educational sessions with an average of 10 students per session in all grade levels at The Josiah Quincy School (Kindergarten through grade 5) as well as several one hour workshops for the 4th and 5th grade students.

The general 30 minute educational sessions are focused on a basic overview of mosaics as an art form as well as the specific process and techniques used to create the actual mosaic panels that will be installed for the school. I demonstrate how I cut and shape the tiles, the overall design concept, and how I got the inspiration for the project designs. I also emphasize that visual art is not just about creating images, but an important form of communication that greatly contributes to the cultural identity of the community.

The one hour mosaic workshops I provide for 4th and 5th grade students are scheduled for two sessions every Friday. I work with up to 3 students at a time and give them the opportunity to watch me work, try to piece together tiles themselves, and learn how to fasten the mosaic tiles directly to the project surface using cement.

Because arts education funding has been cut in public schools, I felt that I could help solve some of this problem by doing this public art project for the school on site, to provide students with a very unique arts education experience. I strongly believe that creativity is such a crucial skill that greatly strengthens other aspects of learning, problem solving, and overall development. I hope to see more arts education funding and public art opportunities in Boston, and feel that this is one way I can directly contribute to those goals. This public art project is turning out to be one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. Seeing the faces of all these kids light up when they see the mosaics is so unbelievably rewarding. It’s inspiring me to devote more of my time to teaching.

The construction of the mosaic panels is very time consuming and involves a lot of precision cutting, careful cementing, and a lot of attention to details. I’m also taking a lot of care to make sure that the mosaics I’m creating will last for decades exposed outdoors in the New England climate. I am using highly durable nonporous porcelain tiles and specially formulated exterior grade cement and cement board. There are a lot of meticulous details behind this project, all to ensure the quality, durability, and overall longevity of the artwork. When completed, the four mosaic panels that I collectively titled “The Living Seasons”, will be installed on a (approximately) 15 foot by 10 foot concrete wall just opposite the vertical garden on Oak St in Chinatown.

Progress photos of this project can be seen on the Bluebrick Studios Facebook Page in the Public Art album.