Alissa is a nonprofit executive, consultant, and educator who brings 10+ years of experience focused on the development of healthy financial and organizational business practices. She specializes in finance, human resource, communications, and policy strategy and implementation for small to mid-sized nonprofit organizations. Alissa received her MBA from Antioch University and has a BA in English with teaching certification from the University of Michigan.
Alissa is passionate about supporting people at every level of the cultural ecosystem through strong financial and equitable organizational practice. To that end, she serves as Treasurer of the board of DesignConnect, consults on financial strategy with other arts organizations, and is an educator and artist. Alissa returned home to Michigan after building her career in nonprofit administration and education in Arizona, New Hampshire, and West Virginia.
ERIKA VILLARREAL BUNCE
DIRECTOR OF PROGRAMS
Erika is an arts administrator, arts educator, and visual artist who brings 15 years of experience in increasing arts access, with a focus on young people. Her formal background is in visual arts and she earned her MFA in Studio Art from Purdue University and her BA in Studio Art from the University of Dallas, exhibiting nationally and internationally since 2007. Since 2003, she has developed, taught in, and directed community based arts programs in Texas, Indiana, and now in Michigan. Since her move to the Detroit metro in 2012, Erika has retained a number of arts leadership roles before joining the Living Arts team as a Director of Programs. As director, her work involves leading the collective build up and activation of strategies that mobilize artists to provide access to arts experiences for young people in Detroit. She is the proud daughter of Mexican immigrants and fierce advocate for access to the arts and expression for all people.
Krystle is a Queens, NY native and recent transplant to the Detroit metro area. She graduated with a BA concentrating in Ethnic Studies and Sociology and a minor in Spanish from Sarah Lawrence College. She has over 15 years of non-profit and grassroots organizing experience, having worked as an educator, counselor, and communications and events manager. She has worked with at-risk youth, court-involved and incarcerated young adults, chronically ill patients, women, trafficked workers, and LGBTQIA and immigrant communities.
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Tara is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Columbia University. She brings Living Arts great experience with arts and cultural organizations—large and small—in Detroit and New York. She has raised special project funds, general operating support, and capital gifts for The Jewish Museum, Brooklyn Public Library, Detroit Zoological Society, and Detroit Waldorf School. Tara joined Living Arts in 2015.
Director of Administration
Julie comes to Living Arts with a background in theatre, having worked at the Purple Rose Theatre Company as a stage manager, Company Manager and Managing Director. She also served as the Managing Director of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival’s 2014 season, and the Idlewild Theatre Company’s inaugural season. She earned her B.A. in Theatre Arts and her M.A. in Arts Administration from Eastern Michigan University and studied Irish theatre and film at Trinity College, Dublin.
OUT-OF-SCHOOL ARTS MANAGER
Zack is an educator, arts administrator, musician, and world traveler originally from rural northwestern Michigan. He graduated summa cum laude from Michigan State University with a B.A. in Arts and Humanities, a minor in Spanish, and a specialization in Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Zack has over 5 years of experience in youth education programs including community-based programs in the visual and performing arts, youth development, and LGBTQ+ health. He has also taught English in South Korea and managed a gourmet oil and vinegar store. Zack has a passion for inspiring other and improving life outcomes for under-served peoples through increasing their access to quality education and amplifying their voices and perspectives. He is fluent in Spanish, proficient in Portuguese, and understands basic Korean.
PROGRAM MANAGER: DETROIT WOLF TRAP
Christiana Castillo is an educator, activist, urban gardener and writer. She holds an undergraduate degree from Wayne State University where she majored in English and Peace and Conflict Studies and Resolution. Christiana serves as a board member for the Michigan Coalition for Human Rights and was awarded Pax Christi Michigan’s young peacemaker award in 2018. She has over five years of experience working with youth ages 0-17. The majority of her work has been with immigrant and youth communities.
PROGRAM MANAGER: DETROIT WOLF TRAP & IN-SCHOOL PROGRAMS
Susannah is an art educator and potter, born and living in Detroit. As a teaching artist, she has worked for Pewabic Pottery, The Heidelberg Project, and Garagé Cultural. Working in the Detroit Public Schools, charter schools and preschools, Susannah has taught in both in-school and after-school settings. Before joining the team at Living Arts, Susannah worked at the Detroit Institute of Arts as a Gallery Teacher, leading school tours and coaching Tri-County educators in learner-centered arts-infused teaching practices. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member in the Art Department at Oakland Community College. She has served as Studio Manager for the Southwest Detroit clay cooperative, Ladybug Studios, since 2012. Susannah also works in arts advocacy, serving as a councilperson on the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
DANCE PROGRAM DIRECTOR
Marianne is a native of Warren, Michigan and is a 2011 graduate of the prestigious Maggie Allesee Department of Dance at Wayne State University. Upon earning her degree, Marianne has worked professionally in Detroit as an independent artist and educator. Previous credits include ArtLabJ, Nerve, LaMarre and Dancers, and an artist in residence program with Spread Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, where she collaborated with local artists to curate numerous performances.
Karen is a native of Southwest Detroit. Growing up in the community, she attended Western International High School and Michigan State University. Her passion for the arts started at a young age when she began drawing and was involved with baile folklorico at Ste. Anne de Detroit Catholic church. Karen’s current role is the Program Assistant for the Detroit Wolf Trap program, but previously worked as the Program Assistant in the Out of School Arts program, supporting all youth and family programs for Living Arts at the Ford Resource and Engagement Center. Before coming to Living Arts, Karen worked in the Early Childhood field through Southwest Counseling Solutions as a Family Support Worker.
Tomiko is a graduate of the College for Creative Studies. Before joining Living Arts, she worked professionally as a photographer for 20 years. Her love for photography began when she received her first camera in 4th grade and began exploring. Tomiko enjoys teaching digital photography classes to youth and adults since 2014. Her commitment to making a difference in her community led her to work in the public and private sector. She was formerly an elected official in Ferndale. Her passion lies in being a contribution to others.
Robyn Mazza is a Michigan native with a passion for non-profit and volunteer work focused in community building and the arts. With degrees in Theatre Performance from Western Michigan University, and English Literature from Northeastern Illinois University, she uses her writing to explore and further causes near to her heart. Having lived in Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Californa and Massachusetts, Robyn has contracted as a program coordinator for Child’s Hope, and as a freelance writer, social media marketing consultant, and in client care and administration in veterinary clinics across the country. She volunteers her time as the board Vice President for the Dearborn Public Library Foundation and with the Mom’s Club of Dearborn. She also designs and creates chainmail jewelry for her business Clad Jewelry.
DETROIT WOLF TRAP PROGRAM SPECIALIST
A Living Arts teaching artist since 2008, Roberta led El Arte Early Learning and then became the Affiliate Director for Detroit Wolf Trap from its inception through 2016. Her contributions to Living Arts include; the creation and implementation of ACT I: A PK-3rd grade drama program to support sustained reading growth, language acquisition and social emotional development, professional development for educators, coaching for teaching artists, and choreography for showcase performances. She performed and choreographed professional Dinner Theater and Children's Theater but modern dance was always the creative informer. Dance credits in Michigan include Linda Z. Smith, Lisa Novak, The Detroit Dance Collective and Laurie Eisenhower. She trained nationally with Judith Jamison, Deborah Hay, Trisha Brown, Bill Evans and Anna Halprin. As a National Master Artist for the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Through the Arts, Roberta conducted numerous classroom residencies, teacher professional development, and artist trainings throughout the United States and internationally. Roberta is a special lecturer at Oakland University teaching dance and education majors, “creative dance for children” and “performing arts (drama & dance) in the elementary classroom”. Lucas maintains a Michigan L.L.P. and completed a MA in clinical and humanistic psychology at MiSPP. She is a 2015 graduate of Tamalpa Institute, Kentfield, CA.—Expressive Arts and Movement Therapy.