A CREATIVE COMMUNITY
OUR YOUTH AND
Alorah Beers (he/they)
Alorah focuses on visual arts in their classrooms to navigate emotions and empathy among students. Alorah loves water colors because they are versatile and there is so much that can be done with them. A fun fact is that they play with fire! Alorah practices fire spinning with fans in his spare time
Amy Downing (she/her)
Amy is an actor, singer, and educator from Dallas, Texas. After receiving her BFA in Acting from Ithaca College she moved to New York where she worked as a local and touring performer before moving to Austin in 2004. In Austin she began her teaching career with many arts based non-profit organizations. She also continued to perform with a myriad of theatre companies, while also working in customer service. Her career with Creative Action began as an after school teaching artist and as an actor/educator in Interactive Performances. She has also assisted with volunteer coordination, event planning, and enrollment. As the Enrollment Director, Amy oversees the registration procedure for all family programs, as well as supports strategic enrollment planning, student recruitment, and family engagement strategies and efforts. In 2017, the Austin Critics Table awarded her the John Bustin Award for Conspicuous Versatility.
Anabel co-leads Color Squad, a collective of teen visual artists, and also serves as a support for Teaching Artists through facilitating training, 1:1 meetings, and classroom observations.
Carl Gonzales is an actor, singer, and director in Austin and surrounding areas. He has appeared on The Daily Show with John Stewart, and has appeared on stage in productions such as “Into The Woods”, “Honk!” and “Doper than Dope” (Austin’s own “In Living Color”).
Carol Noriega (she/her/hers)
Carol grew up in San Antonio but moved to Austin for college and has been here for 23 years. She enjoys going to see live music, checking out a movie at Alamo Drafthouse, hiking the greenbelt, going to the craft breweries in town, and eating at great local restaurants. She’s also a big Star Wars geek and enjoys sewing, drawing, painting, and needlepoint and crochet. Carol joined Creative Action as Office Manager in August of 2014. Her previous experience was in various administrative and student affairs roles at the University of Texas since 1995. Carol received her Masters in Education and BA in Sociology and Mexican American studies from the University of Texas.
David Walker (he/him/they/them)
DonTrinidad Deleon (he/him)
Emily Rogowski (she/they)
Emily is a teaching artist who is provides our elementary school aged kids with afterschool fun! She is an organized creative who never gives up no matter what challenges they are faced with
Erika Gonzalez (she/her/hers)
As the Director of Out-of-School-Time Programs, Erika oversees support staff of Creative Action’s afterschool programing. She also works with partners to coordinate programing.
Erika received a degree in Development and Family Studies with a minor in Peace Studies from the University of North Texas and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas. She brings over a decade of experience in the afterschool world and more working with youth from different backgrounds and circumstances. Erika enjoys collecting hobbies, going to live performances of all kind, and traveling. Besides gardening, she enjoys, paper crafts, fluid art painting and making polymer clay earrings.
Faustinus Deraet (he/him/his)
Faustinus Deraet is a photographer who helps students find their own voice through photography. Born in Antwerp, Belgium, Faustinus immigrated to Mexico City at a young age. He obtained a degree in Computer Systems from Universidad Iberoamericana and after working seven years for IBM-Mexico, he returned to school to study photography at Escuela Activa de Fotografia. As a commercial photographer he has worked with Think Street, Tribeza mazagine, Noi Organics, Univision, and more. As an art photographer, Faustinus has two published books taken with a Holga (plastic toy camera) and is represented by Dauis Gallery in Austin. His photography is part of the Wittliff Collections, Mexic-arte Museum, and several private collectors. Faustinus loves music and to watch flemish TV series and movies. He also has a passion for travel and photography.
Freddy has worked at Creative Action since 2005! Freddy is an actor, producer, director, writer, composer, and teacher who has won several awards and recognition for his work with children, including special recognition from Mayor Will Wynn and many B. Iden Payne award nominations. He has co-written and directed over 40 operas with elementary school children and has produced several CDs of his original songs. Freddy was named the 2009 “After School Staff Member of the Year” by the Central Texas After School Network (CTAN) for his work teaching children Shakespeare and Greek mythology. Freddy also has his own theater company, Freddy Carnes Productions, and has written and produced many original musicals including the Trojan War Trilogy: The Odyssey, Iphigenia and Aeneid full-length musicals (with script, music and lyrics by Freddy) for adults performed at the Dougherty Arts Center from 2010-2016.
Futa ‘Ofamo’oni (he/him/his)
Futa specializes in the Afro-Brazilian art of Capoeira and also teaches dance and movement, visual art, and music. He was a professional dancer for over 15 years, performing in 7 countries, and has been teaching since 1999. Futa also has a background in social work and social research. He loves movement forms, whether it be dance, acrobatics or martial arts, because there are some things that can only be expressed with the body. In his spare time, Futa is learning VR game development so that he can create experiences that motivate personal growth and holistic well-being.
Gem Williams (they/them)
Gem teaches interdisciplinary performing arts in the SPARK program at Lee Lewis Campbell Elementary. They recently graduated from New York University, and have been utilizing what they learned in their studio classes to teach. Gem works through the lens of community building and all-inclusive ensemble work with the kids in order to foster a safe and exploratory learning environment.
Jaclyn Jaramillo (she/her/hers)
As the Head of Marketing, Jaclyn helps to build the platform from which Creative Action’s story is told. In developing marketing strategies for our many programs and events, she works to ensure that the voice of Creative Action is carried far and wide—and aligns with our impact-focused brand. Prior to working at Creative Action, Jaclyn worked as a Content Strategist and Copywriter for a digital marketing agency. Having always wanted to make a difference, Jaclyn studied Religious Studies and International Security & Conflict Resolution at San Diego State University. She also studied at Örebro University in Sweden and Brandeis University where she received an MA in Global Studies. When she’s not sharing the incredible work of Creative Action, Jaclyn enjoys spending time with her two sons and getting to know Austin, TX a little better.
Jacqueline LaVigne (she/her)
Jacqueline is a program manager with Creative Action and supports half of our Out of School Time campuses all around Austin. She was previously a site coordinator with Creative Action at Becker Elementary. This experience introduced her to the incredible community of South Austin which now inspires her work as she supports schools all around the city. Something Jacqueline likes to do in her free time is going on hikes all over Austin with her husband and their dog. Being in nature is her favorite way to recharge and connect with the earth.
Jacqui Calloway (she/her)
Jenny Arffmann (she/her/hers)
Jenny is the Program Director of School Based Residencies where she runs Artist In Action, a program which serves 6th -12th grades by offering customized social justice arts programming in any arts discipline. She also develops and oversees the Whole School Art Installations (serving Pre-k – 8th) which are SEL based and designed for the entire school community to participate in. Jenny worked at Creative Action previously as a teaching artist, for Spark and for Brave Schools and values the way the organization engages, and creates art with young people. It aligns with the way she teaches and with her own beliefs. She loves any kind of fiber art, weaving, needle felting, macrame, embroidery.
Jules Beesley (he/him/his)
Keri is an educator with 15+ years experience working with students of all ages, with specialization in early childhood development. Born and raised in Austin, Texas, and a graduate of the University of Texas, she has also lived in NYC and Chicago. Currently, she is the Director of OST Program Operations. In her free time, she loves gardening with her toddler and newborn.
Laura Spraggins (she/her/hers)
Laura Spraggins has a background in teaching art classes after school, touring immersive theater performances for youth, and facilitating arts-integrated curriculum in schools. She has a passion for storytelling in all of its forms. She believes that by sharing our stories and creating new ones together we can produce a more compassionate and just world. She has a B.A. in theater, arts administration, and Spanish from Drury University. In addition to being an arts educator, she is a professional actor, stage manager, and props master.
Ligia Gonzalez (she/her)
Lindsay Palmer is an artist and educator working in Austin, TX. She received her BFA in sculpture from Texas Tech University, as well as receiving her MFA, also in sculpture, from The University of Colorado in Boulder. Her work has been shown across the country and internationally, at galleries such as Box 13 Gallery in Houston, TX, The Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, NM, The Ice Box Gallery in Skagastrond, Iceland, and the University of Texas, San Antonio. She has completed residencies in Houston, Iceland, Nebraska, and North Carolina. Since 2013, she has been the Director of Color Squad with Creative Action.
Lise Wilson (she/they)
Lise Wilson is a Canadian transplant to Austin with a BA in First Nations Studies/Native Studies with a focus on ethnobotany and deconstructing colonialism. She also has a background in dance, singing, theatre, and multi-media arts. Lise has a passion for guiding young people to find their voices and explore their creative selves through the arts. She also loves to get her hands dirty, building things, creating gardens or gathering medicinal plants in wild places. Hiking, swimming, camping, canoeing, singing with friends or dancing in her kitchen with her kids are some of the ways that she finds peace and joy.
Lynn Hoare is the Senior Director of School-Based Programs, where she oversees Interactive Performance residencies, Professional Development, and Spark Schools, an arts-integration model in partnership with local schools. Lynn is passionate about using theatre as a tool for engagement, dialogue and community building. She was previously the Theatre For Dialogue Specialist with Voices Against Violence at UT Austin, where she taught and directed interactive performances with graduate and undergraduate students. Lynn received her MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth from the University of Texas at Austin, and has taught for the Department of Theatre and Dance. Lynn is also the co-director and co-founder of the Performing Justice Project (PJP) which devises original theatre with young people to explore gender and racial justice. Lynn was a co-founder and co-director of Theatre Action Project (now Creative Action) where she was Executive and Artistic Director from 1997-2003. She is thrilled to be back.
Madi Palomo (she/her)
Madi is the Site Coordinator at Ridgetop Elementary and is in charge of overseeing the safety and well-being of students and staff. She has a passion for teaching and connecting with young people through storytelling. Madi finds that this helps inspire and engages them to be their best creative selves.
She is also a professional actress and recently completed a national tour for the one-woman show, Cenicienta. Madi enjoys the performing arts, specifically theatre for young audiences and finds that theatre is one of the best ways to educate ourselves and others, and through watching or being in a play, we can connect more with our community.
Matilde Trujillo Gonzalez
Michelle Meza (she/her/hers)
As the Director of Annual Giving, Michelle helps in stewarding individual donors, managing the Board of Directors, and updating our CRM system, Donor Perfect. Prior to her employment with the organization, she worked closely with the Membership Department at the Blanton Museum of Art and interned with the Screenplay Department at the Austin Film Festival. Michelle finds that while she is a fan of various artforms, film and theatre both have special places in her heart. She has been involved with theatre for about 12 years and had the honor to serve as publicist as well as direct a play and a children’s show for the University Theatre Guild. She is a proud graduate of UT Austin, where she received BA degrees in both History and Psychology.
Nadia Rangel (she/her)
Nadia is a local Austinite who graduated with a BA in Sociology from Saint Edward’s University. She has taught in preschools for several years and has been with Creative Action since 2011. She worked as a teaching artist at various elementary schools and served as a site director for after school and summer camp before becoming the Senior Director of Program Operations. In 2016, she won the Central Texas Afterschool Network (CTAN) award for Out-of-School Time Staff Member.
Noah Martin is a teaching artist, director, and theatre maker based in Austin, Texas. His work with youth and adults is focused on collaborative theatre-making processes and arts experiences that build community and foster meaningful social dialogue. He is Director of Teen Programs at Creative Action and the Artistic Director of Changing Lives Youth Theatre Ensemble, a creative youth development program that brings together teens from around Austin to create and tour original shows about violence prevention and healthy relationships. He has created and directed dozens of original shows with people of all ages in Austin, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco, including an annual bicycle pageant seen by hundreds of pedaling audience members. Noah holds a degree in theatre education from Western Washington University and a Masters degree in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from the University of Texas at Austin.
Noel “Curly Fries” Gaulin (he/him/his)
Curly Fries is an award-winning performer whose one-man show tours nationwide. He works with young people to spark their academic, social, and emotional development using professional techniques and joy in the creative process. Curly Fries is in his twelfth year guiding and engaging youth for Creative Action. He oversees the robust platform for training, coaching, and curriculum development for part-time Teaching Artists in the Out-of-School Time department; and leads the development and delivery of Creative Action’s high-quality School Year Camps and Summer Camps.
Patrick Torres (he/him/his)
As an artist, educator, and leader with more than 15 years of experience, Patrick believes in the power of the arts to transform lives and impact communities. In fact, Patrick joined the Creative Action team in 2011 as the Middle and High School Program Director where he developed and oversaw a number of youth focused programs, including an LGBTQ+ youth theater ensemble and a theater ensemble for formerly incarcerated youth. Most recently, Patrick served as the Artistic Director of the Raleigh Little Theatre in North Carolina and through the early part of COVID, served as the Interim Executive Director (January-June 2020).
Ramses Vazquez (he/him/his)
As a teaching artist, Ramses’ main mission is to spark curiosity, imagination, and most importantly creativity. He enjoys the art of performance and finds exploring different characters within us to be very fun. During his free time, Ramses enjoys long walks in nature and listening to music.
Robyn Burchfiel (she/her)
Robyn is a parent, partner, feminist, and dog mom. She is passionate about diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging; women’s empowerment and reproductive rights; families and healthy communities; and education in all its forms. As Creative Action’s Chief Development Officer, she is responsible for relationship building, revenue strategy, and all things fundraising!
She moved into the non-profit space from the tech sector 20 years ago (!) and hasn’t looked back. In this space, she believes she gets to work with the “best of humanity!”
To keep life balanced and in perspective, you’ll find her hiking Austin’s expansive trails with her husband and two rambunctious dogs, digging in the dirt (gardening), cooking up the lasted recipe she discovered on IG, DIYing house projects, or finding new ways to elicit an “eye roll” from her teenage daughter.
Rowan Fuentes (he/him/his)
Rowan explores social justice and activism through the arts with his students. He prefers visual arts for the hands-on aspect—especially when it comes to drawing or painting. In his spare time he enjoys playing video games, drawing, and reading.
Ryan Manning (he/him/his)
Sam is a Las Vegas native with a BA in Studio Art focusing on painting/drawing. She has been in numerous solo and group shows and has a passion for poetry, politics and punk rock. Sam has an extensive background in nonprofits—from the arts to conservation to health and human services—and loves being a part of organizations that make a difference. Sam is using her knowledge and expertise at Creative Action to develop and implement new systems, streamline technology, and create a work place culture that is diverse, dynamic and fun.
Samantha Apodaca is the Director of Grants. She has her B.A. in Anthropology/ Journalism from New Mexico State University, focusing on cultural studies while living in both Italy and Thailand. Her professional work experience is focused on management of non-profit and philanthropic social services. She managed an agency in the border town of Puerto Palomas, Mexico, bringing programming that focused on community health and wellness; as well as a domestic violence community program and survivor shelter in Southern NM.
Her passion lies in this storytelling of nonprofits’ missions and stories through grant writing. She has written, administered, and managed many local, state, and federal grants throughout her career. She is new to Austin and is excited to embrace and serve the community.
Sandy Bowie (they/them)
Sarah Rose de Villiers (she/her/hers)
Sarah serves both young students at Ridgetop Elementary, and the community of seniors & adults with intellectual challenges at the Alamo Rec Center. She is a practicing artist from South Africa who has painted & taught in several countries – including South Africa, Italy, Czech Republic & Peru. She is passionate about storytelling, cultivating imagination & learning along the way. Painting is Sarah’s favorite art language, but she is just as happy to draw, collage, photograph and/or make videos. Her first solo art exhibition was a series of painted portraits of people that she met while traveling in South America, and her second exhibition was a collection of South African birds & botanicals.
Savannah Reagor (she/her/hers)
An artist at heart, graphic designer by trade and growing communications professional, Savannah is a Dallas-native with an MA in Advertising from UT Austin. Savannah combines her skills as a passionate creator with her desire to serve youth as Creative Action’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator.
Savannah is also a small-business owner, providing graphic design services to individuals, businesses, and organizations. In her free time, Savannah loves arts and crafts activities, and catering to her foodie lifestyle.
Sean Moran (he/him/his)
Stephanie Chavez Noell
Stephanie Chavez Noell is the Senior Director of Community Programs at Creative Action. Stephanie oversees Creative Action’s work to support the community through sustainable and accessible programs, strategic partnerships, and intergenerational learning and connection through the arts. She also serves as a project manager and creative collaborator focussing on creating high quality and responsive community engagement opportunities for the organization and the greater Austin area.
Prior to her current position, Stephanie served as a Teaching Artist for Creative Action and as an independent artist and choreographer. Before moving back to Texas, she served as the Assistant Director of Development for the Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles where she developed project management and fundraising experience producing its record-breaking biannual gala and auction. She was a performing artist and company member of CASA 0101 (LA), The Americas Theatre Foundation (LA), Hereandnow Theatre Company (LA), and Artistic Director of Woven Feet (Austin). Her experience as an arts educator goes back to her home, the border town of Brownsville, TX where she had her first job teaching dance at the age of 15. Arts education and practice continues to fulfill and support her life-long leadership development. Stephanie loves to make things with her hands like mending clothes, making piñatas, playing with her children, and painting with her family.
Stephen Belyeu (he/him/his)
In addition to being the IT/ Data Director at Creative Action, Stephen Belyeu is an Austin-based filmmaker, storyteller, and podcaster. He received his Bachelors in Film & Media Studies from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2005. Stephen has taught filmmaking and storytelling in Austin through organizations such as Totally Cool Totally Art, Austin School of Film, and the Austin Film Society. His debut feature film DIG won the Narrative Feature Audience Award at the 2010 Austin Film Festival. Stephen has also served as Film Competition Programmer and Young Filmmakers Program Director for the Austin Film Festival. In 2017, Stephen launched his independently produced series, The Night Owl Podcast, which has been voted BEST PODCAST in the Austin Chronicle’s 2019 and 2021 readers’ poll.
Veronica Mognato (she/her/hers)
Za’teriq Baldwin (he/him/his)
Za’teriq teaches his own class and supports other Teaching Artists in theirs. He is an alumni of Creative Action’s teen programs and comes from a big family which includes six siblings! He is most inspired by musical artists who take creative liberty within their music, such as Tinashe and Doechii.