Staff

ArtsConnection | Teen Programs Staff

allison
Allison Whorton
Program Manager
High 5 Tickets to the Arts

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Los Angeles, California (the valley, to be exact.)

What college did you go to?
Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. There I studied theatre, literature, and psychology.

How did you become involved in the arts?
I grew up performing in elementary school plays and summer camp musicals. In high school, I became more serious about acting – I participated in each school play and musical (and even directed a bit) and ended up being the president of the Thespian’s Society my senior year. I discovered the world of arts education, theatre outreach, and the performing arts for social change in college. I began teaching drama to students at nearby elementary schools where my passion for providing young people with access to the arts was ignited.

What’s your favorite thing about living in NYC?
The culture that we’re surrounded by every single day; listening to that incredible performer on the subway platform on my way to seeing a new off-Broadway play. I try to see and listen to and experience as much art as possible because we’re so lucky to have it all around us. That, and the incredible FOOD.

One interesting fact about you from high school:
I was voted “Most Dramatic” in my senior high school year book. (Not much has changed.)

ag
Amanda Guest
Program Manager
Student Art Program

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in London, England.

What college did you go to?
I attended Harvard College initially in pre-med and then as a Visual Environmental Studies Major.

How did you become involved in the arts?
As a kid I constantly drew what I saw around me. My father was an architect with an office at home and I saw the building designs taking shape on his drawing table and visited construction sites with him. Museum visits were a big part of our family time. When I took a year off from college, I worked in a hospital lab while taking evening life drawing classes. There was an “aha!” moment when I learned that in drawing there were endless things I wanted to explore and to find a way to have the time to do that. After graduation, I came to NYC to study drawing and sculpting from the figure at The New York Studio School. Fast forward through an art career, having a child… I got involved in creating art opportunities at my daughter’s school for the students and the community and this brought me to work at ArtsConnection.

What’s your favorite thing about living in NYC?
The people and the passions that draw us here. I also love exploring new neighborhoods- and getting to know new school communities.

One interesting fact about you from high school:
I was the one with the big hair.

briana
Briana Thomas
Program Assistant
High 5 Tickets to the Arts

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in The Boogie Down Bronx.

What college did you go to? 
I majored in Art History and Spanish at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

How did you become involved in the arts? 
My high school Art History class really hooked me. On one hand,  I was excited looking over the images and the museum trips for the semester.  On the other hand, I remember being intimidated by names I wasn’t sure how to pronounce and long lists of vocabulary terms.  My professor was amazing, he taught me that I already had the best tools : my eyes and a perspective that was all my own; the vocabulary you’ll learn, that’s no problem.  With those words, that became my favorite class and a place where I knew my voice was always heard.
I continued with Art History on through college where I worked at my school’s art museum giving tours to school groups. What I gained from that class drives me to keeping looking for ways to break down barriers and connect students to art.

What’s your favorite thing about living in NYC? 
It never sleeps! No matter the time; stores are open, trains are running, people are out and the city is filled with possibilities (and material for the best stories you’ll ever tell).

One interesting fact about you from high school: 
My fifth period Conversational Spanish was better than any gossip magazine or telenovela. My professor tended to go on tangents about his younger years and we gladly encouraged him.


keonna2
Keonna Hendrick
Program Manager
Teen Reviewers and Critics (TRaC) Program

Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Baltimore, MD. It’s that city just below the Mason Dixon Line made famous by steamed crabs, baseball legend Cal Ripken, HBO’s The Wire, and John Waters’ films.

What college did you go to?
I went to Wake Forest University for undergrad and majored in art and history. Later, I went to The Ohio State University for graduate school, where I received a master’s degree in Arts Policy and Arts Administration

How did you become involved in the arts?
The arts have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was always collecting items around the house or saving money to buy materials at the discount store to make art. Eventually, my family decided to enrolled me in visual art classes on the weekends and during the summer months. It wasn’t until college, when I became the lead student coordinator of a public art project, that I became interested in art education. For two years, I organized student artists, wrote grants, collaborated with teachers, and taught art classes to elementary school students whose artworks were installed in a 22-foot tall tower outside of their school. That experience helped me realize that I wanted to make the arts accessible to young people.

What’s your favorite thing about living in NYC?
I really love that there is always something to do in NYC. Between the parks, museums, street fairs, restaurants, and millions of people, it’s very hard to feel bored in New York City.

One interesting fact about you from high school:
My senior superlative was “cutest.”

kRC
Katharine Ryals
Student Art Program Assistant

Where did you grow up?
I am originally from Little Rock, Arkansas.

What college did you go to?
I went to Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA, where I studied Photography. I also recently graduated from Brooklyn College with a Masters in Fine Arts degree and a Certificate in Museum Education.

How did you become involved in the arts?
I was labeled as an “artist” from a very young age – I’ve been making art as old as I can remember – mostly painting, drawing, and photography.  After graduating high school, I went on to art school to pursue photography as a career. Originally wanting to become a fashion photographer, I became less interested in the commercial art world by the end of college. Instead, I wanted to be an artist and I was also interested in becoming a professor. After living in the south again for a few years after college, I craved being back in an artistic community. I came up to Brooklyn for graduate school, and discovered a supportive, innovative, and determined art community here in New York. After finishing a museum education certificate, I have found that my career interests also include arts education, public programming, and working directly with other artists.

What’s your favorite thing about living in NYC?
Being able to visit art museums whenever I want, and being able to eat literally any kind of food I can think of!

One interesting fact about you from high school:
I have been dying my hair since I was a sophomore in high school – and I haven’t seen my natural hair color since then! I have been told by a hair dresser that it is probably a dark blonde? Since first dying it, my hair has been various shades of red, pink, purple, black, white, dark blue, and silver.