Youth Art Exchange keeps growing! In the last couple months, we’ve been joined by new staff, faculty, and interns, just in time to welcome nearly 100 new and returning Fall students.
Shanna Bowie is YAX’s new Program Manager. Shanna is a writer, educator, and lover of the arts. A graduate of Brown University with a BA in Africana Studies, she moved to the Bay Area to become an instructor at Oakland School for the Arts and since then has worked in schools around the Bay Area teaching theater, dance and also developing curriculum. She is returning to the world of arts education after some time working with SFJAZZ as a customer service and donations manager. When she’s not busy teaching or writing, she frequents comic book shops, donut shops, parks and museums in no particular order.
Sofia Airaghi recently joined YAX as Program Associate + Development Coordinator. As someone who grew up in San Francisco and is a proud YAX alumni, Sofia is really excited to be working at YAX and maintaining her connection to her community. As a high school student at Ruth Asawa School of the Arts she participated in the after school program at Youth Art Exchange, taking the black and white photography class, being the teaching assistant for the architecture class, and serving on the Youth Advisory Board. YAX has been instrumental in her artistic and personal development and she is looking forward to supporting YAX’s mission in her new role. Sofia studied Geography at UC Berkeley and focused on urban space, post-colonial studies, the spatialization of race, and Latin American cities. While at Berkeley she also worked in programming and cross-cultural community building at the Multicultural Community Center. Sofia is an artist, dancer, and crafter working across various genres. She is a strong believer of the healing, expressive, and empowering capacity of the arts. Sofia also loves being in or near water, playing with her dog, basking in the sunshine, reading her friends’ horoscopes, and laughing a lot. She speaks Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and wants to continue to add more. Sofia is thrilled to be in a position that combines her multiple passions of art, youth development, and social justice.
Monica Tiulescu is YAX’s newest faculty in Architecture. Monica is an Oakland based artist and educator. She moved to Oakland in 2008 from New York City. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture and has been teaching design both at the college and high school level since 2000. Monica has been developing two types of work. Her Species work is through digital modeling and explores concepts from systems theory including biological simulations. The paintings showcase fluctuations between disfiguration and figuration. The work is inspired by graffiti and urban street-art culture and can be seen on monica-tiulescu.com
Francis Calderon, YAX’s alumni intern, is a first generation Latino college student who attends City College of San Francisco. He attended Abraham Lincoln High School and also participated in the Youth Art Exchange’s printmaking and photography internships in his senior year of high school. He now works side by side with the very program he attended as an administrative intern and as a teaching assistant for the Printmaking class. He plans to transfer to San Jose State majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in Studio Arts, and before he attends San Jose to hone his skills as a graphic designer. He practices his passions of photography and art at home and on the streets of the city. Francis enjoys taking pictures of city scenes, plants and capturing people in a moment least expected and enjoys making art with watercolors, ink and pencil. He was inspired to the arts because of the great influence of art around him, his family, the Mission, and all the people he has met who have inspired him. He looks forward to supporting current students with the great opportunities he received at Youth Art Exchange.
Berks Otto McGowan joined YAX on June 12, 2016. When he’s not writing grants and pouring over financial statements, you can find him falling asleep during meetings, staring off into space, and learning how to be a human. Outside of work, his favorite activities are riding BART and plotting against his arch-nemesis, the jingly frog that hangs from his stroller (not pictured).