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

Melinda Baker

Melinda Baker (Visual Artist) is a watercolorist from the Monterey Bay area and began teaching art to children and adults with the SPECTRA Visting Artist Residency program after receiving her BFA in printmaking from University of California at Santa Cruz. With additional studies in illustration, textiles, and education, Melinda taught in Northern New Mexico with FACT (Fine Arts for Children and Teens) and accepted the Presidential Arts and Humanities Award during the Obama Administration. She also teaches with ARTsmart New Mexico, and the Santa Fe Community College where she developed a series called “Fearless Creativity”.  Melinda enjoys developing art curriculum which encourages choice and strives to create an atmosphere of freedom and inspiration in her classrooms.  Her work can be seen locally at Fine Art New Mexico.


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.

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.


Joseph Ewatuya (Musician) is a musician, songwriter, producer, & teacher from Dallas, TX who is also working to raise awareness for Sickle Cell Anemia, an autoimmune disease that he currently lives with. In high school he became a Presidential Scholar in the Arts and continued to train as a classical & contemporary vocalist. After receiving a Bachelor’s Degree in Songwriting from Berklee College of Music, he went on to pursue music as an artist by the name of TEGA. Their music is influenced by jazz, soul, & electronic, and they are constantly innovating their music with each new project.

Moira Garcia (Visual Artist) is a multidisciplinary visual artist and experienced bilingual educator. She is a graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts and holds a Master’s in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico. Recently, Moira has partnered with the Museum of International Folk Art and the Identity Project as a visiting artist in the Santa Fe and Espanola Public Schools. This is her first year as an ArtWorks instructor.

Alejandro Jimenez (Poet) is a formerly-undocumented immigrant, poet, writer, and educator from Colima, Mexico, living in New Mexico. He is the 2021 Mexican National Poetry Slam Champion, he is a two-time National Poetry Slam Semi-Finalist (US), multiple time TEDx Speaker/Performer, and regional Emmy-nominated poet. In May 2022, he was featured in TIME Magazine as “one of 80 Mexican artists shaping contemporary Mexican culture”. His work centers and touches on cultural identity, immigrant narratives, masculinity, memory, and the intersections of them all.



Lucy Ranney (Lead Teaching 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.


Janna Lopez (Poet) is a poet, published author, transformational writing retreat leader, and compassionate educator. Janna received her MFA in Creative Writing at Pacific Northwest College of Art, through a highly-progressive integrated program, which nurtures writing as a means of progressing social justice. Janna’s gifts are in helping individuals from all walks of life identify and untangle writing struggles, then guiding them towards reimagined writing relationships of freedom inspired by clarity, confidence, and connection. She teaches proven writing methods for a range of genres, and believes poetry, especially, deserves to belong to everyone. 


Liberty Yablon (Visual Artist) is a Santa Fe native with over 10 years experience in creative industries including visual art, fashion, film production, and 5 years with local art collective Meow Wolf. She attended the University of Southern California on a Fine Arts scholarship where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 2005 with a BA in Visual Arts. Before that she attended Santa Fe High, Alameda junior high, and Carlos Gilbert Elementary. She believes that visual art can be a great tool for attaining creative problem solving skills that can be applied to all aspects of life; as well as art being an invaluable tool to cope with mental and emotional difficulties. She worked as a public school art and theatre teacher for 3 years before joining ArtWorks and loves working with children and young adults of all ages and backgrounds.