Lea Bender’s work reflects her passion for the use of creativity and play to promote learning and personal development and to encourage new ways of interacting with our environment and communities. Her background in performance has ranged from avant-garde theater to indie film to circus. In addition to her role as Arts Education Program Director at Koko NYC Lea is also the Education Director at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.

Marley Silverman is originally from Boulder, Colorado where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Art History. She has recently moved to New York after living in Belgium for two and half years, where she got her Master’s degree in Cultural Studies. Her position as Arts Administrator for Koko NYC coincides perfectly with her interest in public and community art, as well as learning how to make art more accessible to a wider audience.

Sara Bouchard holds a B.A. from Yale University. She has taught and developed curriculum for art, science, music and literacy programming at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Discovery Programs before joining Koko NYC. A practicing artist and musician, she employs a hands-on, exploratory approach in her teaching, prompted by the philosophy that children learn best by doing.

David Lower graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in philosophy in 2008. Since then, he has spent 5 years working with special needs students. He worked for two years as a certified para at Adelphi Academy, and three years as a Special Ed teacher at the Association for Metro Area Autistic Children (AMAC). Recently, David left law school in order to go back to teaching. David is currently pursuing a Masters in Special Education at CUNY Hunter.

Andrew Jan Hauner is an art educator and artist. A native New Yorker born to Czech émigrés, he pursued his higher education in universities and an art academy in Prague. Andrew holds a BFA in Photography, a BA in Romance Languages & Literature and an MFA with an added practicum-based concentration in Art Education. He has worked as a museum educator, having assisted, for example, at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum in their Sensory Room. He is also a Wertheim Study scholar-in-residence at the New York Public Library, researching arts-based learning/research and feminist pedagogy.

Mardea McCrumada started her career as a Youth Empowerment Specialist when she was hired as a Youth Counselor and Art Educator for a sustainable arts class through SoBRO in the South Bronx . Mardea specializes in children and young adults from marginalized backgrounds using her wholesome and holistic approach to uplift and inspire kids to create.  Mardea graduated from the School of Visual arts with a major in digital film. She presently works as a Program Facilitator/ Teaching Artist for Brooklyn Public Library and also teaches BitBots here at Koko NYC!  In her free time she volunteers at The Whitney and New York Cares. Mardea is always looking for ways to uplift and improve the future of underprivileged children.

Freddy Poey received his BFA in Film Production from the college of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University. Two years ago he moved to New York to continue filmmaking and writing. He is thrilled to be working as an Arts educator at Koko NYC and loves every single minute of it.

Matt Voor holds a BFA from Florida State University in Art History & Film. After moving to New York, he produced art for several commercial and independent films before deciding to transition into teaching. His primary focus, as both an artist and a human, has always been creating a better future- and what better way to do so than teaching kids how to create?

Elizabeth Tolson is an Expanded Media Artist and Educator whose work explores the boundaries of art, technology, and feminism. Through an alchemy of artistic skills honed during life and scholastic experiences, she brings important social issues front and center and generates real discussion. Elizabeth holds a BFA from Alfred University, and an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons. She is currently an Artist in Residence at ProjectArt for their Art & Social Justice Residency at the Bushwick Library. Elizabeth began teaching with Koko NYC in 2016.

Monika Wuhrer is the founder and executive director of Open Source Gallery and Koko NYC. Originally from Austria, she received her MFA in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Monika founded Open Source Gallery in 2007. She has given talks at NURTUREart, Rutgers University and Hunter College. She has received awards and grants from the Austrian Cultural Forum, Austrian Federal Chancellery, Puffin Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Monika has exhibited in the US, Norway, Austria, Italy, Thailand, Finland, France, Switzerland, and Japan.