Susan is the Founder and Executive Director of ArtWell since its inception. Her long-standing interest and practice of the intersection of creativity, spirituality, healing, and social transformation led her to envision with others the birth of ArtWell in November 2000.
Susan has extensive experience as a community organizer, educator, artist and chaplain, and began exploring the power of the arts to heal from trauma over 30 years ago. She has presented on the relationship of the arts and transformation at various local, national, and international conferences and venues. Recent presentations include Creating Sanctuary through Arts Education, National Guild for Community Arts Education Conference and Hearing Voices From Philly: Reaffirming Our Commitment to Local Knowledge Through a Joint Session With Community-Based Organizations, American Educational Research Association Conference.
Susan received her M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary and her B.A. in psychology, sociology and religion and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
Creator of The Art of Growing Up® program, Julia is a visual artist and educator with experience in facilitating and developing curricula for all ages. As Program Director she creates and refines ArtWell programming, training and professional development, and supports the creation and implementation of strategic goals and partnerships.
Julia holds a B.A. from Hampshire College and completed her M.A.T in Art Education at Tufts University and the School of the Museum of Fine Art. She has presented at conferences of the MA Art Education Assoc., the Consortium for Innovative Environments, and the PA Chapter – National Assoc. for Multicultural Education. Julia is also a Cultural Agent with the USDAC, and was featured in the Spike Lee documentary Throw Like a Girl. She currently sits on the Philadelphia Commission for Women. Publishings include chapters in “Difficult Dialogues about Twenty-First-Century Girls” edited by Donna Marie Johnson and Alice E. Ginsberg, 2015, and the “Journal of Applied Arts & Health”.
Danny House works as the Executive Assistant at ArtWell mainly supporting the Executive Director but also supporting the board, communications, programs, and finance department. She has 10 years of experience working to empower youth through education, sports, and music therapy directly servicing impoverished youth, Syrian refugees, and developmentally disabled students. Her contributions within the nonprofit sector are vows she commits to social change. Danny’s passion for social and infrastructural change is rooted in her belief that humanity is only discovered through the humanity in others.
Danny received her Bachelors in Sociology from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio in 2015 and since has committed two years to service at City Year Philadelphia. She is looking to further her education in policy, in efforts to continue to cultivate change. Danny intends to spend her time at ArtWell helping to support youth and their communities through expression, education, and creative reflection.
Rae Pagliarulo works as Development Director for ArtWell, combining her skills in relationship building and fundraising with her passion for the art of writing. In her role, Rae manages all aspects of resource development, including individuals, corporations, foundations, and events. She started her career at Philabundance, and later moved on to build her skills and talents as Development Manager of Career Wardrobe. Rae holds her MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College, and her essays and poems have appeared in such publications as Philadelphia Stories, Full Grown People, bedfellows, and The Manifest-Station. She is the 2014 recipient of the Sandy Crimmins National Poetry Prize and is a Pushcart Prize Nominee.
Cathleen Cohen is the Founder and creator of ArtWell’s core program, We the Poets. As a master teacher, poet, and literacy specialist, she serves as a vital mentor to new Teaching-Artists and volunteers, in addition to leading school-based literacy tutoring and supporting our ongoing partnerships. Cathleen’s poems have appeared in such publications as Apiary, Baltimore Review, East Coast Ink, and Philadelphia Stories. She has received the Interfaith Relations Award from the Montgomery County Advisory Board to the PA Human Rights Commission and the Public Service Award from the National Assoc. of Poetry Therapy.
Cathleen holds a Ph.D. in Learning Disabilities from Northwestern University, an MA from Teachers College, Columbia University, an MD and BA from The Johns Hopkins University and a certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
Kris Smith is a visual artist and facilitator who uses art and creativity as a vehicle for understanding trauma, building community, and exploring identity and social experiences. As Program and Education Manager, she supports ArtWell’s curriculum design, adult professional development, and youth program administration and evaluation.
Kris’s passion for youth work and social justice was ignited while teaching with the Sadie Nash Leadership Project in New York City. She has a MSW from the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice and a B.A. in Psychology from SUNY Binghamton. Kris continues to create and facilitate workshops, and has presented at the Creating Change Conference in 2016 and 2017 and at the Pennsylvania Chapter – National Association for Multicultural Education’s 2016 Conference.
Sarah is a visual artist and dancer. Sarah has a BFA in Painting from Texas Woman’s University and is working towards her MFA in Community Practice at Moore College of Art and Design. She has over ten years of experience working with youth through Parks and Recreation, as an instructor and program coordinator. As a Teaching Artist she continues to interact and encourage youth in the classroom. Sarah also helps support ArtWell’s mission with her fellow creative colleagues by strengthening relationships with partner sites and providing administrative assistance. Sarah continues to grow with the ArtWell team while she explores her passion for community dialog and creative expression among youth.
Justin has an economics degree from Brandeis University and is also a real estate developer and entrepreneur. Justin also has a passion for community work, specifically working with youth, as he ran a youth leadership program in West Philadelphia for three years and continues to mentor several youth.
Marcos has a BFA in Visual Communication and has more than 12 years of experience in the arts and communications field. Before joining ArtWell in June 2015, Marcos worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland (OR) as development manager and most recently for the Philadelphia division as communications officer. With distinguished achievements in the creative field and special events, as well as having collaborated extensively in development and administrative management, Marcos specializes in organizational growth and sustainability through design, branding and marketing strategy.