Courtney Clark
Courtney ClarkCo-Executive Director
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.

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Seattle Opera Equity Team Member
Seattle King County NAACP Member
Black Administrators in Opera Member
Statewide Arts Advisory Team Member

Alissa Palmer
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.

Eden Chapman
Eden ChapmanPsuedo Professional Task Juggler
Hometown: Seattle, WA

Currently: Seattle, WA

Notable Achievements: Awarded a grant as a Mary Gates Scholar to conduct independent research in speculative design, navigating Seattle Public Schools and UW as a disabled queer, and building a warm and aesthetic home with a group of friends.

Most Memorable Performance: A show-stopping performance as the Little Billy Goat Gruff in 1st grade and B. F. Day Elementary.

Current Art Endeavour: Improving my embroidery techniques, including learning how to use a katan needle, and keeping about 50 beautiful houseplants alive and thriving.

Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced: My mother has been a very influential art teacher to me, collaging with my sister and I weekly when we were in grade school. She has always encourage my sister and I to pursue our art, complete with as much experimentation as our hearts desire, and it has greatly impacted both my emotional and my academic learning for the better.

Erianne Viray
Erianne VirayVisual and Graphic Design Hypnotist
Hometown: Seattle, WA

Currently: Seattle, WA

Notable Achievements: Contribution to communally-made wlw zines whose proceeds have gone to disaster relief funds and charities

Most Memorable Performance: Standing in front of my senior class and discussing very intimate things about my life through the medium of personal art.

Current Art Endeavour: Accurate portrayal of human anatomy, with consideration for lighting, in portrait art and personal illustrations!

Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced: The ability to present my art as valuable academic work has not only made my education more interesting, but has improved my self-esteem and interest in art. Being able to do art growing up molded who I am as an adult, in my view of the world but also my creative outlook in regards to work.

Danielle Gahl
Danielle GahlCo-Executive Director
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.

Katie Stanos
Katie Stanos
Yvonne Kunz
Yvonne Kunz
Amanda Ebert
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.

Layla Al-Jamal Judkins
Layla Al-Jamal JudkinsDevelopment Docstar (and Development Manager)
Hometown: West Monroe, LA

Currently: Seattle, WA

Notable Achievements: 2016 MPA graduate from Seattle University, 2018 Institute for a Democratic Future Fellow, visiting the Alhambra of Granada

Most Memorable Performance: Yoyoi Kasuma: Infinity Mirror at the SAM. Specifically, Infinity Mirrored Room- Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (2009). I often think about the experience of being in that room and the symbolism it hold for life, love, and eternity.

Current Art Endeavour: Picking up Latin dancing again.

Influential Art Teacher or How Arts Learning Influenced: I grew up in the Middle East and was always surrounded by traditional Arabic music, art, and dancing. In undergrad, I took an Islamic Humanities and Art class taught by my favorite professor James Toronto. His class taught me that music, art, and dancing tells a story that connects communities together. Since taking his class, I look deeper into art and what it represents.

Melissa Herana
Melissa HeranaDream Alchemist (and Operations Intern)
Hometown: Born in Bremerton, WA but I spent my childhood moving around: From Keflavik, Iceland, to Oak Harbor, WA, to Ayase, Japan, to where I am now!

Currently: Mill Creek, WA

Notable Achievements: Survived 2 decades of life, graduated K-12, got into UW… hopefully, more to come!

Most Memorable Performance: Belgian musician Stromae’s concert in Seattle back in 2015 – amazing vocals/sound, stunning visuals, fun stage outfits from the artist’s own fashion line, and awesome crowd engagement despite the language barrier!

Current Art Endeavour: Journaling, photo booking, sketching my travels

Influential Art Teacher: My second-grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, was someone who really encouraged me to draw, create art, and learn about art history. I wish I had more of that influence and push in my later years of education, but it’s never too late to dive back in! I’m still re-discovering art through my college classes and personal life- learning more about its significance and the potential it has to effect change and healing in everybody.

Charmaine Slye
Charmaine SlyeStrategic Advocacy Advisor
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA

Currently: Seattle

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 Bien
Kris BienGalactic Viceroy of Events
Hometown: La Palma, CA

Currently: Redmond, WA

Notable Achievements:
+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!

Chris Langeler
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!

Kube Warner
Kube WarnerGeek Liaison to Github
Hometown: Seattle, WA

Currently: Seattle, WA

Current Art Endeavor: I’m currently learning to draw, but am also a Maker. I’m working on an Infinity Mirror that changed color to tell the time and a device to strum all of the guitars in the house when someone rings the doorbell.

Influential Art Teacher: My theatre teacher Steve Carnes at Bremerton High School. Some days, the only reason I went to school was for his class and it directly affected my career path.

Rosie Minier
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.