Courtney D. Clark has built her career performing onstage and teaching music in the classroom. Since joining Seattle Opera as School Programs Manager in 2018, she has led the curriculum, development, and growth of opera and multi-arts learning programs for students and teachers across Washington State. As an opera singer, Courtney has performed in concerts and solo performances in the U.S. and abroad, and as a tenured chorus member of Nashville Opera. A native of Atlanta, Georgia, she holds a BA in music education from Morris Brown College, and a MA in music with a specialization in vocal performance from Middle Tennessee State University. Courtney obtained her teacher licensure from Belmont University for the states of Tennessee and Georgia for K-12 vocal/general music education, and also holds Orff-Schulwerk Level I & II Certification to teach children music.
Courtney serves on several local arts education advocacy committees and boards, including the Creative Advantage Advisory committee, the ArtsEd Washington board, and as a member of Seattle Opera’s racial equity taskforce. Courtney has been recognized for her work as a music educator in a 2020 edition of Encore Spotlight Magazine, and she’s also shared her expertise on representation in the arts with the Kids and Race podcast.
Seattle Opera Equity Team Member
Seattle King County NAACP Member
Black Administrators in Opera Member
Statewide Arts Advisory Team Member
Sara HoskinsInstagram & Graphic Design
Amanda EbertEnforcer of the Oxford Comma
Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Currently: Tacoma, WA
Notable Achievements: Fitting everything I own into my tiny car and moving across the country (twice). Launching a small business in 2018. Once made a room full of standup comedians laugh.
Most Memorable Performance: Sateen and Mr. Twin Sister at the Barboza. The ladies of Sateen were awe-inspiringly vibrant and authentic, and they established a catwalk during their set, inviting individual audience members to strut the catwalk and dance until everyone was on the floor. Mr. Twin Sister had such raw, groovy energy and built a deep, honest connection with the audience. It felt like we were all old friends by the end of the night. Such a joy to experience fearless performing artists helping people connect – it has stayed with me since.
Current Art Endeavour: Creating a video poetry project.
How Arts Learning Influenced You: I was fortunate enough to attend public arts schools for middle school and high school, and a public arts education was life-saving for me. My focus was Theatre, but studying multiple artistic disciplines taught me to view life through an observant, critical lens; opportunities to create are everywhere. An arts education gave me the confidence to be exactly who I am, the courage to perpetually explore the world around me, and assured me that even if I couldn’t always find my place in the world, I could always create my own. I want to make sure more young people have exposure to appreciating the arts, and more access to practicing them.
Chris LangelerGrantwriter & Positivity Prestidigitator
Hometown: Portland, OR
Currently: Seattle, WA
Most Memorable Performance or Art Piece Currently Inspiring You:
Ragtime at the 5th Ave Theater last year. Incredible moving and still inspiring my work today!
Current Art Endeavour: Making hip-hop dance a regular part of my life again.
Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced You:
Mrs. Bruening-Wright (“Bee-Dub”) was both my calculus AND my hip-hop dance teacher in high school. Through her instruction and subsequent dance classes, groups, and experiences, hip-hop became a source of expression and community for me for many years. That’s why my “current art endeavor” is to get back into it!
Danielle GahlInternal Ops
Hometown: Cascade, Idaho
Currently: Seattle, Washington
Notable Achievements; Galena Park ISD Bilingual Teacher of the Year, Red Cross Spirit of Service Award, Patent for a Photosynthetic Bioreactor used to treat wastewater, once fought a raccoon with her bare hands
Most Memorable Performance: Crispen Spaeth’s “Dark Room Trio” where the dancers were entirely in the dark and the audience was able to watch the performance with night vision goggles.
Current Art Endeavour: Trying to learn Queen’s greatest hits on the ukulele.
Influential Art Teacher: Mr. Bill Leaf. As a teacher, Mr. Leaf led all of the bands and choirs in town, from 5th graders to seniors, and he nurtured my love of music (though, sadly, the saxophone never really did take.) It is now that I am deeply thankful for the work he did as an administrator as well. He wrote all of the grants that made arts integration and truly innovative instruction a possibility at our rural school– it was largely invisible work, but it made a significant difference.
Hometown: River Forest, IL
Currently: Bellevue, WA
Notable Achievements: Salvaging my personality after 7th grade and having poetry published in a small literary magazine.
Most Memorable Performance: Opening Night of Eastside Catholic’s Seussical the musical. I played the antagonist, The Sour Kangaroo. It’s fun to be the bad guy sometimes.
Current Art Endevour: Trying to write more and Perler bead animals based on my friends’ Myers-Briggs personality tests.
Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced You: My AP Art History Teacher, Ms. McDermott a.k.a. “Derm” stretched the class past the rigid AP curriculum and explored themes that my conservative catholic high school avoided. Derm and her class inspired me to pursue the arts as a career.
Erin HillburnMiddle School Arts Lessons
Rosie MinierMaster of Data
Hometown: Bozeman, MT
Currently: Seattle, WA
Notable Achievements: I started working for my first non-profit (environmental advocacy) when I was 6 and I’ve never not been heavily involved in at least one since.
Most Memorable Performance: The first time I saw Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Seattle in 1995. The music and performance was incredible and seeing that opera made me fall in love with Seattle and move here.
Current Art Endeavour: Working with the Emerald City Supporters to create “tifo” – the massive painted displays at Sounders FC soccer matches.
Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced You: I got my first piano teacher when I was about 3-4 years old and studied piano with her through junior high. I always learned and played just for enjoyment, but took great strength from it through the trials and tribulations of being a kid. To this day, I have to have a piano in my house and playing is one of the best ways I have to relieve stress on a bad day, or just relax on a good day.
Charmaine SlyeStrategic Advocacy Advisor
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
Notable Achievements: Living as a Black Womxn in America till age 65
Most Memorable Performance: Emcee of the Womxn’s March in Seattle
Current Art Endeavour: Creating a beautiful home
How Arts Learning Influenced You: Self-taught appreciation for the arts
Kris BienGalactic Viceroy of Events
Hometown: La Palma, CA
Currently: Redmond, WA
+Produced the first Enhanced (interactive) TV prototype for Microsoft; Case study of my work and examples were published in two books, The Inside Story of Interactive TV and Microsoft WebTV for Windows and a developmental psychology book, Children’s Journeys Through the Information Age.
+I helped a friend get an endorsement from Diane Sawyer for his book
+Some of the most important work I’ve ever done was as a volunteer art docent for 8 years – encouraging K-6 students to get creative and enjoy art, designing over 50 PowerPoint art lessons, and working with over 60 sixth grade students to install a mosaic glass art project in concrete
+Researched and produced a live television show at The White House
+Worked on a live, televised Presidential debate and produced television shows with several First Ladies and many female politicians
Most Memorable Performance: Being a speaker at my high school graduation
Current Art Endeavour: Right now, I’m into car karaoke and shower singing. I took six months of singing lessons, and I’d love to do more.
Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced You:
I moved to a new school when I was 10 and sadly left my best friend in the world. My new teacher gave my 5th-grade class a lot of writing assignments. She noticed right away that creative writing perked my interest and nurtured my love of writing stories and making books with hand drawn pictures. I began doing reports with drawings in my free time. My teacher even arranged for me to get out of class so I could share and read my stories aloud to kindergarten students! This was a gamechanger. I began to love school again. Her action gave me the confidence to become a student leader the following year, influenced my class choices for the next 7 years, got me much more engaged in school, and ultimately determined my career path. I want every child to experience an *art encounter* in elementary school!
Alissa PalmerVolunteer Coordinator
Hometown: Split between Dupont, WA and the cornfields of Bloomington, IL
Currently: Seattle, WA
Notable Achievements: Life Practicing a radical-vulnerability day by day and living past my one-year mark (including pre-Seattle) with public transit as my only means of transportation. Education Graduating Magna Cum Laude while receiving the highest studio award in my BFA graduating class from Illinois State University and earning a Merit Scholarship to attend Black in the Woods: Representation and the Pastoral, taught by Ayanah Moor & Krista Franklin at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artist Residency in Saugatuck, Michigan.
Most Memorable Performance: Brené Brown: Listening to shame | TED Talk
Current Art Endeavour: Expanding my material lexicon by capturing movement, bodies, and nature with film photography, remembering to dance at any moment I want and planning collaboration projects with friends.
Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced: I decided to pursue a creative outlet at eighteen and as with many young adults, I was driven to great lengths to pursue my passion. Great lengths, however come with limitations and barriers that as a young student I did not fully realize. Not until I went through the motions on my own did, I learn that dedication to all aspects of my life–artist, student, worker, daughter, friend, etc.–was going to be a hard balance. I wouldn’t be where I am today without steadfast encouragement from my Highschool Art Ed teacher Mrs.Hirst, many printmaking and painting faculty from Illinois State University and my academic Advisor Nancy Fewkes, they pushed me, caught me and let me go more times than I can count.