Program Director


Claire LaRose  is an interdisciplinary artist, educator and arts administrator, devoted to creative exploration and observation through interactive, process-based learning. She has been a Visual Arts Teaching Artist with ArtWorks for 6 years and has taught at numerous museums and arts organizations including the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, the Museum of International Folk Art and the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Before moving to Santa Fe, Claire served as the Artists in Education Director at Southern Exposure in San Francisco. Claire received her teaching degree from Bradley University and her Masters in Art History at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Teaching Artists

Wendy Chapin (Visual & Theater Artist) is the Artistic Director of Adobe Rose Theatre and has taught acting to ages 7 – 70 for over 30 years. She directed such plays as Good People by David Lindsay Abaire and Gideon’s Knot by Johnna Adams. Wendy is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Directing Fellowship.

Lucy Ranney (Visual & Fiber Artist) is a fiber and visual artist and a native of Santa Fe, who currently works in the public schools as a visiting artist and has been teaching in the community for a number of years. She studied Fine Art at the University of New Mexico and has a BA in Spanish and Latin American Studies, as well as an MA in Spanish from Colorado State University. Lucy is passionate about connecting students to art in a hands-on, cross-cultural and multi-dimensional manner.


Melissa Briggs-Bransford (Dancer) is a graduate of New York University/Tisch School of the Arts and Smith College. For over 20 years, she has taught young people ages three to university age in schools and arts programs in New York City, Brooklyn, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, and Albuquerque. Melissa is currently on faculty at both NDI New Mexico and UNM.

A former New York City resident, she was listed as one of “Gotham’s finest dancemakers” by The Village Voice, and has enjoyed artist residencies from several organizations, including the Joyce Theater Foundation and The Yard. Melissa has had work presented by numerous New Mexico organizations, including the Center for Contemporary Art, the N4th Theater, the University of New Mexico, the Railyard Performance Space, and in PERPENDICULAR.


Esmé Olivia (Poet) grew up in traditional Tiwa Pueblo lands known as Albuquerque, NM to a Mestiza Mexican-American mother and Dutch-Jewish father. Her blood is a peace treaty she honors through prayers of dance, poetry and song.


After competing on the 2005 National Poetry Slam Champion team, she received her BA from Hampshire College in multi-disciplinary performance and arts-based education. She has worked as an artist educator with many groups in New Mexico and beyond, including The Identity Project and the Institute of American Indian Arts. Esmé is also a company member with Dancing Earth Indigenous Contemporary Dance Creations.