FOUNDER & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Ms. Johnson holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from The University of Wyoming and an Bachlor’s degree in Fine Art from The University of Maryland. She is a candidate for the Master’s of Art Education degree from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania. In 2013 Ms. Johnson received the Outstanding Scholar Award from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania for her work advancing art education nationally through her publication efforts and national speaking engagements. Click here to read more >
Melissa Glasser was born in Newport News, VA. Growing up in Washington, DC, she was exposed to painting at an early age by her father, the artist and teacher, the late David T. Glasser. In 1997, she received a BFA from the University of Colorado with an emphasis in painting and ceramics. She moved to New York City where she created and exhibited artwork that emphasized the female figure through color and pattern.
In addition to her artistic expertise, Melissa brings more than 13 years of professional experience in customer service, management, press relations, and design. In 2004, Glasser moved to the Gateway Art District in Mt. Rainier, MD. She has been a pioneer in the Gateway Arts District arts movement as lead artist for 5 large scale exterior community murals and serves as an arts advisory board member for the district. In addition to her career in hospitality and public arts, Melissa built a fine arts practice in oil, acrylics, watercolor, and mixed media with 18 individual and group shows between 1998-2016 in Brooklyn, NY and the Washington, DC areas.
Tochi has worked as an intern at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art. There she analyzed Malaysian resins and Japanese lacquers for conservatory purposes. Her organizational and mathematical skills brought Tochi to Art Works in September 2012 when she first began working on our finance needs. She instantly became invaluable to our organization and her duties have grown to include grant writing as her analytical skills, strong writing abilities, and impeccable attention to detail make her well suited for this work.
Juliana was born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She began working with Art Works Now in Spring 2012 after completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fine Art Photography from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Juliana’s IT and website design experience as an independent developer and her natural inclinations as a communicator make her a perfect fit as Art Works Now’s Communication Coordinator. Her photo documentary skills have created a powerful visual record for our organization along with numerous compelling social media posts.
gallery coordinator & american university abramson family fellow
After founding the Corcoran College of Art and Design’s Student Association in 2013, fine art photographer Aileen Beringer, decided to continue her work towards the conservation of galleries and art spaces through strong artistic leadership and advocacy. Aileen worked for Touchstone Gallery from 2012-2015 as a Director’s Assistant, where she specialized in social media and represented the gallery at events on and off site.
In addition to being the Fellow and Gallery Coordinator at Art Works Now, she is a full-time Masters student at American University in the Arts Management Program, and has fellowships with AU Arts Communications, and the Alper Initiative for Washington Art.
Our Teaching Artists
As a native of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Alma was raised in Sarajevo where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts. Her work in LGBTQ activism there proved to be quite dangerous and in 2009 Alma sought and received political asylum in the United States. Alma later enrolled at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia in 2013 where she received a Masters of Fine Arts in 2015. Alma is currently an artist at the Otis Street Arts Project. She is a tremendous artist and teaches in many of our programs.
Amy Hughes Braden
Trained at The Corcoran College of Art + Design, Amy Hughes Braden makes work in two dimensional media, primarily acrylic paintings, graphite drawings, and collage. Her work has been exhibited at Corcoran Gallery of Art, Artisphere, The Athenaeum, Hillyer Art Space, DC Arts Center and in various DIY exhibits in the DC area. She is a member of the art subscription service, Project Dispatch as well as the artist’s collective Sparkplug, a facet of DC Arts Center. In addition to her work with Art Works Now, Amy has worked for several years with a variety of local art education nonprofits in DC and Virginia. Amy was the curator of the critically acclaimed exhibition “Tilling Phase” at Art Works’ 4800 RIA location in 2015.
Kaz King is a young artist and native of Prince George’s County. He is currently studying at Prince George’s Community College, Kaz has worked in the community with children since 2008. Inspired by many different forms of art, Kaz grew up admiring the variety of styles and techniques of popular comic book artists and animators. Kaz currently leads our Parents’ Night Out Program and assists in several other community partnerships.
A native of Bethesda, Maryland, Leslie Holt returned to the Washington, DC area in 2012 after living in St. Louis for 20 years. Leslie received her Master of Fine Arts in Painting at Washington State University in 2003 and her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Washington University in St. Louis in 1992. Between undergraduate and graduate school, Leslie worked as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities, mental illness, and those receiving welfare benefits. These experiences have greatly influenced herlife’s work, and she has an ongoing interest in the intersection of art and community.
Born in Manila, Philippines, Melissa moved to Maryland when she was 7 years old. She is currently studying at the University of Maryland, College Park, pursuing an undergraduate graphic design degree with an additional interest in art education. She plans to have a career as an art teacher after college. Along with a teaching artist position at Art Works, Melissa is also the art program intern at the Spanish Education Development Center in Washington D.C. where she works closely with young children on art projects and activities that focus on improving cognitive and fine motor skills.
Rachel Cross is known for her high energy performances and positive vibes. She has performed at countless venues, house concerts, colleges, and festivals including The Kennedy Center, on board The Green Peace Rainbow Warrior, and at the Mid-Atlantic conference for The National Organization of Women. She has been fortunate to share the stage with many luminaries including Shawn Colvin, The Neville Brothers, Los Lobos, and political comedian Al Franken.
Rachel has received many awards including 5 WAMMIES from the Washington Area Music Association. Rachel was awarded a position by The National Folk Alliance’s outreach program to lead a world folk music assembly program for children in Nashville, Tennessee. When not performing, Rachel is in high demand as a teacher, composer, and session vocalist. Her soulful vocals have been featured on many soundtracks including National Geographic’s “Tiger Sharks”, “Babylon”, and “Self-portrait”, and the theme for the ITV Network. Rachel and her husband Henry Cross have composed original music for 10 productions of the nationally acclaimed Deaf Access Theater company.
Rachel has been teaching and leading workshops in the Washington, DC area and beyond for over ten years. She worked as Music Atelierista at School-within- school in Washington, DC for 12 years, as well as facilitating songwriting/recording residencies with her husband Henry for incarcerated teens inMaryland.
As a musician, educator, and visual artist, Rachel has had the distinct pleasure of working with people of all ages and abilities including at-risk elementary school students, children with mental and physical disabilities, deaf actors and choreographers, political activists, incarcerated teenagers, teenagers in mental health facilities, college students, Maasai tribesmen, musicians and dancers from all around the world, senior citizens, folk singers, and kindergarteners.