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Columbia College Chicago
Teaching Artist Cadre
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Teaching Artist Cadre

The work of CCAP’s Project AIM would not be possible without the dedication and talent of its teaching artist cadre: 

Charly Barbera - Music
Maritza CervantesTheatre/Music 
Luis CrespoTheatre
Guillermo Delgado - Visual Arts
Alice GeorgePoetry/Creative Writing
John Lyons - Film and Video
Sooz Main - Photography
Leah Mayers - Book & Paper Arts
Cecil McDonald Jr. - Photography
Jenn MoreaPoetry
Sadira Muhammad - Cultural Dance
Star PadillaVisual Arts
Anuradha Rana - Film
Jamie Lou Thome - Book & Paper Arts                                                                                
Cynthium Johnson-WoodfolkCreative Writing
Victor Yanez-Lazcano - Photography 
Teaching Artist Cadre Bios (Selected)

Maritza Cervantes - Theatre/Music

Maritza Cervantes is a proud Alumni of Columbia College Chicago. She graduated with a BA in Theater with concentration in Acting and has been part of the Chicago theater scene for over the past 15 years. In 2001 she co-founded her band The Luna Blues Machine (acoustic/hip-hop/soul) with sister Belinda Cervantes and was featured as the “hardest working band in Chicago” in Gozamos on-line magazine last year. Maritza currently works as an AIM Teaching Artist at Pulaski International School of Chicago, Calmeca Dual Language and Benito Juarez H.S. in her own Pilsen neighborhood.

Luis Crespo - Theatre

Luis Crespo is an Actor, Director and Musician who has worked as a teaching artist creating and developing writing and theater with youth in Chicago for over 10 years. He is the lead instructor for the After School Matters “Anxious Voices/ Voces Ansiosas” teen theater program in addition to teaching for other organizations such as Teatro Vista, Free Street, Columbia College Chicago and Association House of Chicago. Luis has been an instructor at the Artistic Home Theater since 2009 teaching the Meisner technique and a company member since 2000. He has performed with the Artistic Home Theater, Prop Theater and Plastecine Theater as well as played in several venues in and around Chicago as the vocalist for Kelroy, a band he has released 2 albums with. 

Alice George - Poetry/Creative Writing

Alice George’s first poetry collection – This Must Be The Place – was published by Mayapple Press in 2008.  Her work has also been published in magazines such as Field, Diagram, Quarter After Eight  and appears in eight anthologies, most recently in "Mentor and Muse" (2010) and  “Brute Neighbors: urban poetry, prose and photography” (2011).   She has been teaching poetry and art in K-12 classrooms since 2000. Alice also teaches within the University of Chicago’s Graham School Certificate in Creative Writing program.  Painting is her next frontier; she was exhibited in the 2010 Green Artists Showcase and has work in private collections. 

John Lyons - Film and Video

John Lyons is an Emmy Award winning documentary filmmaker and teaching artist. For the past 5 years, he has produced videos with Chicago Public School students through CCAP.  In addition, he was a filmmaker in residence for 3 years at Rush Hospital through Snow City Arts, an organization dedicated to providing arts education to hospitalized children.  In addition to working with CCAP, he also works full time with Marwen, an organization that provides free visual arts education to underserved Chicago youth, as their technology coordinator. John also produces and directs films with Peace Productions, a Chicago based non-profit film company.


Jenn Morea - Poetry

Jenn Morea has worked as a teaching artist since 1996 and has edited more than twenty-five anthologies of writing by Chicago youth. She holds an MA in English Education from the University of Illinois – Chicago and an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She is the recipient of fellowships from the Ragdale Foundation, Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and her work was a finalist in the National Poetry Series. Her book, In a space along the margin of a field, was exhibited in the Magic Child Repository in Providence, RI in 2011. 

Star Padilla - Visual Arts

Star Padilla is an artist, mural painter, children's book illustrator and teaching artist, living and working in Chicago.  For almost 18 years, Star has worked as a muralist and arts educator in the Chicagoland area collaborating and leading classes in visual arts, painting and drawing, mural design, illustration, public art and much more.  With dozens of murals and public artworks painted, Star has become a leading Latina artist in her generation and was cited in the article "Boricua Women Under 40 to Watch in 2007" (La Voz del Paseo Boricua, March 2007).  As a children's book illustrator, her drawings have told stories about Latino culture and heritage, respect for the environment, inter-generational learning and folklore.  Teaching art to children, youth, parents and adults is her true passion, allowing a genuine collaboration between artist and community. 


Anuradha Rana - Film

Anuradha Rana is a filmmaker and teaching artist based in Chicago. In her past lives she has been a Journalist, Math tutor, and Social Worker. She has an MFA in Film & Video from Columbia College Chicago and an MA in Mass Communication from the University of Pune, India. Anuradha has worked on documentaries in India, Ecuador, Japan, South Africa and the USA focusing on gender issues, education, health and the environment.  Her most recent film, Ring Laila, a short documentary about two Indian Muslim women who reassess gender roles to train and compete as boxers, is screening around the globe.


Cynthium Johnson-Woodfolk - Creative Writing

Cynthium Johnson-Woodfolk is a Fiction Writing professor at Columbia College. She received her BA, MA, and MFA in creative writing.  Because of a stern dedication to the arts she is a Teaching Artist with Project AIM, (Arts Integration Mentorship), NWA, (Neighborhood Writing Alliance), Archi Treasures, and SFE (Striving for Excellence).  She currently serves as outreach coordinator for the Fiction Writing department and is the After School Director of Teen Reach. Recipient of the CSPA Gold Circle Award for Traditional Fiction, Cynthium has numerous publications and in 2011 was awarded the Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Orchid Award for Performing Arts.