Afterschool Expand

The Afterschool Expand program blends the love of the arts with the power of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL).  SEL is the ability to identify, respect, and channel our emotions and those of others.  This program sends upwards of 40 artists of various disciplines into eight public schools' afterschool programs to guide students to recognize their feelings in a fun and engaging way through the power of creativity.


Afterschool Expand Partners: Families Forward, Imani Family Center, The Community Learning Center Institute, Gaskin Foundation, and Activities Beyond the Classroom

Afterschool Expand Artist Team


Adoria L. Maxberry is a visual artist, educator, wife and mother of three, in Cincinnati, Ohio. She facilitates unique, meaningful art experiences with a focus on creativity, exploration and reflection. Her company, Most OutGROWing LLC, is dedicated to helping others grow spiritually, mentally and creatively through art. Adoria earned a Master of Visual Arts Education and Licensure from the University of Cincinnati (DAAP) and a Bachelor of Arts from Xavier University. She was acknowledged as the DAAP 2020 School of Art Outstanding Graduate Student. Adoria serves as visual arts educator at Woodford Academy, a lead teaching artist for Artworks, and voice actress and lead puppeteer on the Emmy winning, Books Alive! For Kids series "Paige's Place." Recently recognized as a 2022 Black is Excellence: Unsung Hometown Hero by the City of Cincinnati, and NAEA Crayola Ambassador, Adoria ultimately seeks to bring God glory and encourage others in all she does.


Alaysha Weldishofer is a visual artist, writer, and musician. Her art is reflective of the events and emotions she is experiencing around her; she believes that art can be a fluid catalyst for documenting her real time emotions. Alaysha has previously worked as a direct support professional, aiding and encouraging adults with developmental disabilities through their daily lives. In this position she helped guide clients through difficult emotions and life events. In addition, she was responsible for planning stimulating activities to assist clients in finding healthy outlets, often through art. Alaysha is planning on returning to school to pursue an education and career in art therapy. She hopes to use art to help people of all ages understand themselves better, as well as find ways to move through the ups and downs of life with more awareness, compassion, and beauty. 


Alpha Frierson was born to be a sentimental artist; especially when growing up in” Loveland Ohio". The picturesque landscape of Loveland Ohio gave Alpha a deep appreciation for nature at an early age; much of which can be seen in his work. He gives most of his creative credit to his parents, community and religious upbringing. Alpha’s main art mediums are pastel and acrylic; but not limited to other mediums. He is the author of Jaharis Safari children’s book series, illustrator of Coralee’s best Run yet children’s book, Co- artist for Hallie Q. Mural Recognition Central State University 2000, recipient of Young Illustrators Award Central State University 2001, co/illustrator for “African American History for young Readers''. His work’s been exhibited at the Rowe House Gallery,Milford Ohio,For Your Love Of Art Show Fairfield Ohio, Prestigious Kings Arts Complex Columbus Ohio, Columbus Arts Festival,Shadowbox theater arts show Columbus Ohio, Arts Consortium of Cincinnati Ohio,Homeport Art Gallery Columbus Ohio etc. He is an honorary artist of the Milo arts studios in Milo-Grogan Columbus Ohio and much more. He is also a musician, songwriter, arranger and poet. He quotes "All blessings come from above, artist are just the instruments." His future plans are to keep creating as an eclectic artist, and share the blessings.


Amy Tuttle, MA Arts in Transformation from Eastern University 2013, has served communities around the globe as an Arts in Healing facilitator, trainer, and community-based artist for 15 years. Her experiences range from guiding public art installations, developing and implementing "Arts-Based First Response'' protocol for disaster-relief scenarios, and training arts practitioners around the world. Certified Movement Intelligence Teacher and life-long dancer, Tuttle also loves the mind-body connection and strengthening somatic wellness.  


She serves as the Senior Director of Programming for WordPlay Cincy, an arts-based organization where “stories write the future” in Cincinnati, Oh, USA. Tuttle is a member of NOAH (National Organization of Arts in Health), a faculty for the Global Arts in Medicine Institute, Movement & Healing Facilitator with PONES, and Teaching Artist with the Cincinnati Arts Association. Tuttle loves guiding experiences for individuals and groups with a range of themes like: clarifying purpose, healing from challenging experiences, and working with life's various transitions. Tuttle considers her practice a simple+deep process of storytelling to transfer meaning, build bridges of communication, engage across differences, and explore building the world together. She believes the arts can support individuals and communities in personal growth, community-building, and cultural transformation.


Annie Ruth is an internationally respected artist/arts educator. Her work positively influences audiences in Europe, Africa, and throughout the United States.  Ruth’s curriculum sets are used in educational and cultural institutions around the world. Annie Ruth earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from National University in San Diego, California and studied graphic design at the University of Cincinnati, College of Design Architecture and Art. She is a trailblazer who has received critical acclaim and recognition for her work in the community. She collaborates with major cultural institutions and museums to bring art directly to underserved communities. 


From a young age, Asha remembers drawing and painting as a method of creativity and self-expression. From then on, she knew art would be an integral part of her life. Since 2017, Asha has emerged as an artist, dedicating her life to her creative practice. She participates actively in the local art community, often collaborating with artists and community members. Asha has served as the gallery curator and coordinator at The Mohawk Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. In addition to her exhibited work in local and regional exhibitions, Asha creates public works of art. In June 2020, Asha was one of 17 local artists on the “Black Lives Matter!” street mural in front of city hall in downtown Cincinnati. Other public works include a mural inside Elementz Hip Hop and a bourbon barrel mural for Pompilio’s Italian Restaurant in Newport, Kentucky. Asha’s recent exhibition addresses the impact of racism on the mental health of the black community. This work was displayed at the Cincinnati Art Museum as a part of ArtsWave’s Truth and Reconciliation grant awardees showcase, later traveling to Otterbein University in Westerville, OH, and then to The Freedom Center in 2023. Currently, Asha is studying to obtain her Master's in Art Education at the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program. With this degree, she will engage in community arts education, providing a deeper understanding of the topics articulated in her work.


Though her roots are grounded in Cleveland, OH, Asha currently resides in Cincinnati, OH, graduating from the University of Cincinnati with her bachelor’s degree in communications, a minor in women’s and gender studies, as well as a certificate in public relations. Following her undergraduate career, she pursued a profession in banking, quickly ascending the corporate ladder. Despite success in her career, Asha felt increasingly dissatisfied with her life and began struggling with her mental health. In 2017, Asha started her journey of self-discovery, departing from the corporate world to reconnect to her artistic practice and passion for the arts.


Brandon Hawkins is the Co-Owner &  Lead Teaching Artist of Soul Palette with more than 20 years of artistic expertise. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Africana Studies and a certificate in Fine Arts. Brandon has been passionate about art since his youth. He considers drawing, painting and graphic design to be some of his best talents. He also formerly served as the Visual Arts instructor for Elementz and has completed several large scale mural projects with Artworks. Brandon's dreams have become a reality with the opportunity to use his gifts and talents everyday to empower others to find their inner artist.


Chelsea is a multi-genre songwriter & jazz vocalist. Songs from her music projects Roseport, JØAN, and Empty Oceans have been featured in LA Theatre Works, and on Warner Brothers, CBS, MTV, Freeform, Apple, and CMT. She is an Artist-in-Residence with CAA, The Children’s Theater of Cincinnati, the Johnny Mercer Foundation and the All the Arts for All the Kids Foundation. She has co-written more than 800+ songs with children. She is the co-composer/lyricist for MARIAN, an original musical based on the life of Black opera singer and Civil Rights icon, Marian Anderson, currently being developed in New York.


Cherie attended Cincinnati's SCPA and Withrow, subsequently receiving a BFA, minoring in Art History and Psychology from Mount Saint Joseph University. Cherie studied in Cairo, Egypt; London, England; Paris, France and received graduate credits from her studies in Havana, Cuba in 2015. Her sculpture, Isaiah, is on permanent display upon receiving the MSJU Annual Art Library Prize (2007).  In 2013, she was a recipient of the Summer Fair Emerging Artist Award. She is a member of the NAACP and has been a mentor and judge for the high school Fine Arts competition, ACT-SO Cincinnati;  and is presently a Kennedy Heights Art Center, Artist Collective member. Cherie enjoys working with children of all ages. She has held several positions in Cincinnati Public Schools for the past 30 years. Currently, she is an art teacher, facilitating creativity in hopes of inspiring her students with a lifelong curiosity and love of art. She plans to travel, create art, write and illustrate children's books, continue her education and acquire a Sotheby’s certification in art law and art appraisal (God willing).


“See Drye” is inspired by randomness. One day it could be a song, or a tree and next week it could be a conversation.  But He’s constantly inspired. Drye  is a native Cincinnatian, born in Lincoln Heights and raised in Winton Terrace. He’s also a graduate of Central State University, where he’s been featured, along with the Cincinnati Art Museum, Trap Art Brooklyn, Wayne State University, Columbus Short North Gallery Hop and more. Currently, Christian is a teaching and traveling visual artist who focuses on the paint medium, along with his ongoing duty to mentor. As a 33year old proud Black man, he recognizes his duty to use his influence properly and show our children their capacity to excel no matter where they live or the difficult circumstances they may face. 


Christopher Paul Williams, is a freelance artist who recently relocated to Cincinnati, OH. He is inspired by public art but has been honing his skills in sculpting and painting for most of his life. Originally from Louisville, KY, Christopher, has mastered mostly all forms of media but his past work includes the sculpture the Art of Freedom, and Christopher’s Liberty. Christopher became engaged in sculpting at a young age through a mentor & scholarship program through the Louisville Stoneware & Co.  It was during this opportunity where he met artist Ed Hamilton who mentored him and his abilities in sculpting. It is because of his mentorship he experienced personally is why he is now returning these acts of kindness through the Cincinnati Art Association, Art & Healing program.


Daniela N Nenova (she/them) is a local puppeteer, director and creator, educator, originally from Bulgaria, EU. They got a BFA in Puppet Theater from the National Academy of Theater and Film Arts, Sofia, and consider themselves the perfect mix between a performing and visual artist. When it comes to concepts, Daniela believes in the reuse-repurpose-recycle approach and tries to incorporate it, keeping environmental sustainability and care when creating visual art/installations/puppets/masks, etc. Medias she enjoys working with are paper mache, fabric, nature pieces she finds on hikes and using what others might consider trash. Daniela co-founded Solasta Theater Lab, a local grassroots company with emphasis on physical and puppet theater, and is often busy building puppets for its original works.


Donna has been in love with the arts for as long as she can remember. She discovered her passion for dance as a teenager when she started training at Point Park College prep department in Pittsburgh PA.  She earned a BFA in theater performance at UC's College Conservatory of Music. After spending a year as an acting intern at Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati, she co-created a multi-disciplinary performance-art troupe called 'The John Body Players’ through which she provided choreography, writing and art direction for numerous productions in greater Cincinnati and in San Francisco. While living in San Fransico she continued her training, mind body centering practices, explorations in performance, and became certified to teach Yoga – a Moksha Shastra – liberation science. Donna’s work focuses in release technique, improvisation, contact improvisation, and chi-cultivation techniques, all of which inform her teaching in the healing arts.  In 2008, she formed a healing arts space called 3 Legged Dog Yoga Collective in her community of Northside.  She is a songwriter/musician in the indie rock band Fists of Love, a company member and educational teaching artist for Pones Inc., and a teaching staff member of Contemporary Dance Theatre.  She helped develop the Movement & Healing class for CAA’s Arts in Healing program at the VA hospital, is a certified Health Rhythms facilitator, and spends extensive time working with school age children both in the arts and as a pre-school classroom teacher. Donna continues to study, train, teach, and create work as a mulit-disciplinary artist. She believes imagination, dance, movement, and all arts to be a powerful force for evolving, healing, and supporting strong communities. She is thankful for all opportunities to serve, inspire, and create connection.


Eric "E" Barber is a self-taught Artist based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Eric developed a passion for art beginning at a young age by his mother encouraging him to read. While doing so, he fell in love with the artwork in comic books and anime. Eric joined the Soul Palette team in 2019 and looks forward to continuing to inspire and mentor youth through art as well as being a part of making art a fun experience for others.


Erin Carr is currently working as a professional actor, physical theatre creator & theatre activist out of Cincinnati, OH. She received her BFA in Acting from NYU-Tisch and recently received her MBA in Entrepreneurship from NKU. Along with performing and collaborating, Erin works as a teaching artist, director of educational theatre, and advanced physical theatre practitioner with multiple theatre companies in Cincinnati, including Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Arts Association, Cincinnati Actor’s Studio & Academy and Cincinnati Music Academy, as well as around the U.S. with the Educational Theatre Association. In addition, she is the Co-Artistic Director of the feminist-centric theatre company, ReVamp Collective, based in Philadelphia, PA, as well as the Co-Founder of Solasta Theatre Lab in Cincinnati, OH. Additional information:


Grace Wagner recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Theatrical Directing. Her love of dance and movement began in Cincinnati where she was born and raised. Studying and competing with tap, musical theatre, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and more from a very young age, Grace has always found movement to be the basis of her artistry and exploration. She hopes to ignite a freedom to live in your own body through her teaching with Pones, as she has found mediation, joy, and expression through movement improvisation and dancing for one’s self later in life.


Lia Cavalaris is a fine artist and 2-D animator who is passionate about encouraging personal and environmental exploration through collaboration and creativity.


Michael Thompson is a multimedia artist, designer, ethnographer, and poet. He takes on the role of artist as archivist; collecting things, spaces, and histories to add to his work and life. His practice focuses on human ecology and nuance as well as the philosophy of nature, space, and built reality. Michael is a TEDx Speaker, Artist-in-Residence Emeritus at the Cincinnati Art Museum, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra. He was a BLINK 2022 Muralist, and has exhibited with CAM, Wave Pool, and KHAC in the past year. Outside of his own practice, Michael also works as a Lead Artist and Poet with ArtWorks and WordPlay and as a therapeutic artistic engagement specialist. He has been awarded two ArtsWave Grants, the Cincinnati Art Club Award, and The Carl B. Westmoreland Fellowship.


Nick Corbello graduated from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in 2010 with a BA in interdisciplinary studies, focusing in art and philosophy. He applies his interdisciplinary background to a multimedia art practice that includes writing and illustrating comic books, performance art, and prose fiction. He also writes, records, and performs music under the name Purefoy Donahue. Since 2015, he has worked as a tutor in subjects ranging from art appreciation to philosophy, focusing primarily in language arts. In early 2022, he offered a free art class for adults with the aim of offering a social context that encouraged wholeness, expansive learning, and collaborative experimentation. He has also led art and writing workshops for kids at WordPlay, in Cincinnati. As an art teacher, he emphasizes collaboration, exploration of different media, and treating creative process as a target psychic space, at least as important as arriving at a finished product.


Oba Rhodes “The Sculptinizer” is the Master Carver of the Midwest. He first dazzled and amazed the art scene with unique produce sculptures at events such as Bridal shows, Operation Pumpkin, Burger Farm, etc. He first publicized masterpiece was the watermelon portrait carving of the Channel 12 newscast. He then went on to make a life-size Iron Man out of watermelon, prior to being swept away to Hollywood by Disney’s Foodtastic series. After is adventures in Star Wars, he came back to Cincinnati and has been a sculpting sensation as the Sculptinizer, teaching the next generation how to sculpt and form edible creations! 


Pedal Miranda is a visual storyteller who explores themes of identity, relation, and emotional expression through multi-media drawings. They also have experience as a performance artist and have a lot of love for devised theater and set design. A poet, Pedal enjoys blending genres of art making to offer new ways of considering everyday life experiences. A queer and trans person of the Puerto Rican diaspora with working-class roots, Pedal is very committed to holding space for difference and the creativity that comes from making connections with each other.


I was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH. Like most children I started with coloring books and crayons. At the age of thirteen I was accepted into the School for Creative and Performing Arts where I began to learn new mediums. Currently I enjoy painting with oil and acrylic paints. I perform commissioned pieces and often showcase my work in private establishments. I've had a joy for teaching the karts since I realized I was gifted. For me art is like therapy, a way to communicate what words may not be able to describe. Drawing and painting became a way to help me navigate the world around me. The brushstrokes I created were like words and phrases that allowed me to connect with the viewer. My hope is to teach my students that. 


Rebecca Shakespeare Armstrong is a Cincinnati native who loves to use bold colors in her art. Armstrong is excited to expound on just how impactful color is through art mediums like watercolor and textured paint can be with our students. 


Samara Katz is a lifelong teacher and student of visual arts. She graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Visual Communication from Ohio University and has training in Experiential Education. Samara loves to turn recycled goods that would normally be thrown away into art. She has been fortunate enough to share her love of found object art with children of all ages and is looking forward to a semester of creativity and fun! When Samara isn’t teaching she is designing her own craft projects and spending time outdoors with her dog Gracie. 


Sarah Rodriguez (b.1992) is a multimedia artist and art educator from Marion, OH. She received her M.F.A in painting from Miami University (2017) and B.F.A in studio art from Wright State University (2014). Rodriguez is currently the Director of Education at Kennedy Heights Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH. Rodriguez was a William and Dorthy Yeck Fellow at the Dayton Art Institute (2014) and Three Arts Scholar (2015). She has completed residencies at Chautauqua Institute’s School of Art in Chautauqua, NY (2014), the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati, OH (2019-2020), and was the featured artist for Bezoar. co (2021). Rodriguez will be the V2 Gallery artist in residence with ArtWorks in Cincinnati, OH (Fall 2023). Her most recent group exhibitions include: Flowers for Here, Third Space Gallery, Cincinnati, OH (2022), Emerge, The Art Garage (OH 2021), Out of the Darkness, Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (OH 2021). Solo exhibitions include: Hiestand Gallery, Miami University (2017), 1305 Gallery (2018), Wright State Alumni Gallery (2019). Her work investigates human connectedness with space, nature, and interpersonal relationships. 


Sarah Spurling is honored to serve our community with the Pones Education team. With a teaching style that emphasizes community engagement, Sarah believes movement connects everyone to themselves and ultimately, to the world around us. Through mindful movement practices, Pones allows our community to experience other cultures and views different from our own while simultaneously giving us a physical language to understand and shape our own unique experiences. Sarah is forever grateful for the many opportunities to connect with our community through mindful movement with Pones and looks forward to growing and learning alongside Pones.


Tamia A. Saunders is an artist born in Cincinnati, Ohio. From her initial love of Japanese animation and comics, she developed a passion for illustration, animation and most recently, printmaking. She is best known for her imaginative illustrations depicting unique character designs and stories using ink, alcohol-based markers, and digital software Clip Studio Paint. Topics of existentialism, isolation, and the pursuit of emotional intelligence is the primary focus in her artistic practice. She utilizes her work to focus on the heart, represented as a chrysanthemum flower,  and the many forms it can take in connection to human emotions.

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning.


From brick laying to sewing, from cooking to drawing, from stained glass to woodworking, many family members used their hands to create. My hands discovered clay as their medium of choice during a high school student work program at the Art Institute of Chicago. I explored what this versitle element can do and handle through carving, cutting, glazing and firing. In 2001, I graduated from Illinois State University with a concentration in Ceramics. There I honed my skill in throwing clay under the guidance of my Center late professor, Tom Malone. Since moving to Cincinnati in 2004, I have shown my work at The Carnegie, Kennedy Arts, Baker Hunt, Redtree Gallery and Cincinnati Clay Alliance Pottery Fairs. Today I am excited about sharing my love of clay with children of all ages, neuro and physical abilities. I continue creating functional ware as well as sculptural ceramics at my home studio.


On December 25, 2017, Tyra Patterson walked out of prison after serving 23 years for crimes she did not commit. While incarcerated, Tyra discovered and fostered her artistry, first as a mechanism of survival and second as a means of expression.

Today, Tyra travels all over the country as an artist and an activist, speaking at law schools, colleges, prisons, conferences and high schools, leveraging her story and art to educate people on social justice, especially mass incarceration. She currently lives in Cincinnati and works at the Ohio Justice & Policy Center, where she leads community outreach efforts. Tyra was awarded an honorary Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Art Academy of Cincinnati.  She is a member of the Board of Directors for Just Media, ArtWorks Cincinnati and Black Art Speaks. She was recently appointed to the Board of Trustees for the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Her story has been featured by media outlets, including Rolling Stone, Essence Magazine, The Guardian, ABC News, CNN and many others.