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Meet Our Teaching Artists

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Nica Aquino
Teaching Artist
Nica Aquino is a multidisciplinary artist and analog photographer residing in the Northeast Los Angeles area. She received her BFA in Photography from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon and recently completed her MA in Visual Culture from the School of Art at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom. Being a first generation Ilokana-American and having lived a very cross-cultural experience, her work explores notions of place, identity, community and multiculturalism. She is currently an after-school teacher, focusing on social justice, and looks forward to teaching art to the youth in her community.

 

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Luke Davis
Teaching Artist
Luke Davis is an artist working in mixed media, combining new and obsolete technologies. In his projects, Luke explores ideas of memory, sense of place, mythology, and dreams. Luke currently shares his artistic talents with elementary and middle school students as a Teaching Artist at Center for the Arts Eagle Rock’s arts enrichment program, Imagine Studio and Summer Arts Camp. As a graphic designer, Luke has created work for boutique start-ups, entertainment, original content, e-commerce companies and not-for-profit organizations. A graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Luke additionally holds a degree in Studio Arts from U.C. Irvine.

 

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Shaina Simmons
Teaching Artist
Shaina is a New Orleans-born, LA-based multimedia artist that demands the healing of the Black woman’s experience in America. As the creator and a writer for pursuitofnappiness.org and contributor for HuffPost, Shaina cultivates spaces for analytical writing, love, and acceptance. Internationally, she has partnered with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 3 consecutive years to host the Artist of Colour Meetup, an event that creates network and visibility for artists participating in the festival. She was the recent Curatorial Fellow at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she presented her internationally-acclaimed one-woman show Bayou Blues at the Carolina Performing Arts Center. She is the 2016 recipient of The Puffin Foundation Theater Grant. Her interdisciplinary work Afro Futuro has been performed and exhibited at the Ludwig Foundation and Fabrica De Arte in Havana, Cuba. In 2015, Shaina was named the RAW DC Performer of the year. Shaina received her BA in Theater from Marymount Manhattan College. In 2017, she received her Masters of Fine Arts in Acting from the California Institute of the Arts.

 


Bryant Argueta
Teaching Artist
Bryant Argueta is a visual artist from Highland Park, California who received his Associates Degree in Studio Art from Pasadena City College and is currently enrolled in the BFA program for Illustration at Cal State University Long Beach. Bryant has worked with youth of various ages teaching and using art as a way to inspire the creative minds of our future. Outside of his work with youth, he is a freelance fine artist, Illustrator, and graphic designer. His goal is to continue to grow as an artist and be a role model for youth. He hopes that his passion for his work will influence youth to chase their dreams and work hard towards personal goals.

 


Cristi Lyon
Teaching Artist
Cristi Lyon is a practicing and exhibited artist. Currently, she works in glass and ceramics exploring the concept of Oceana. In 2013 she participated in an invitational workshop at Pilchuck Glass School and was a visiting Glass Artist at Pasadena City College. She is a recipient of the Jean Ward Scholarship for Excellence in Ceramics. She has a deep background in the arts, including a twenty-year career as an animation artist.

 

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Sarah Naim
Teaching Artist
Sarah Naim is an artist currently based in Los Angeles. She has a strong interest in self-directed and spatial learning pedagogies, which has been an influence in her art practice and architecture background. She is Syrian-Lebanese and a first generation American, and has worked with young students in both Beirut and LA. Recently, her works have taken form as diagram, model, and inter-action, investigating modes of communication and language as tactile material. She received a B.Arch from the American University of Beirut in 2011, an MFA from CalArts in 2018, and will be attending The Mountain School of Arts this spring.

 

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Lila Chu
Teaching Artist
Lila Chu is an interdisciplinary artist, teacher and gardener. Often working with reclaimed plants and materials, Lila’s work focuses on the creation of communal structures and places that can challenge institutionalized space. As an educator, she aims to teach youth that practicing art and creation is an inherent part of our daily lives, as well as a form of resistance. She moved from New York City to Los Angeles to attend Occidental College where she earned her BA in Studio Art and Art History with a minor in Mathematics.

 


Ariana Perez
Teaching Artist Assistant
Ariana Perez is an art enthusiast from San Diego and currently lives in the city of Los Angeles with her husband and 2 kids. She has a passion for working with children and families helping them create, share, and connect through art. Ariana is excited to share her love for the arts with others and to support the mission of Imagine Studio in providing the benefits of art to all children. On her free time, she enjoys exploring the city with her family.

 

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Olivia Tenney
Teaching Artist Assistant
Olivia Tenney is a senior at Occidental College, majoring in Religious Studies. After graduation she hopes to get her degree in Art Therapy, and work with young children and the elderly using her artistic knowledge and skills. She has worked with kids since high school, and finds educational experiences with children the most rewarding work. She is also a practicing artist, working mostly with paint, string, and clay. Olivia is active in the artist community,  having worked on the Critical Theory and Social Justice Undergraduate Journal of Research as the Art Editor, she garnered a close relationship to artists based in LA.