FOUNDER OF PRIVATE PICASSOS

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Valeen Bhat

Valeen received her BFA/MS in Art and Design Education, with a minor in Art History and a concentration in printmaking from Pratt Institute. After working at various educational facilities, including museums, early childhood education centers and community centers, she founded Private Picassos in the Spring of 2006. Her main goal was to create a process-oriented art program that valued skill building and exploration over the final product. Valeen crafts the core values and philosophy of Private Picassos, drawing inspiration from her education, experience, and background, especially the influence of her two artist parents. After 10 years of bringing art classes to children and adults throughout the Tri-State Area, Valeen created a home for Private Picassos at their first bricks and mortar Art Studio in Park Slope, Brooklyn! Since opening in the Fall of 2015, PP Art Studio has become a mainstay in the community, offering an engaging space for kids and adults to create art and memories side by side. On top of all of this, Valeen and her husband welcomed their son Ravi in May of 2016!

NYC ART INSTRUCTORS

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Zahra Banyamerian

Born in 1984 in Tehran, Iran, Zahra Banyamerian is a practicing artist, living and working in New York City. She works predominantly in the medium of painting and printmaking. She has BFA in Painting and MA in Art studies from University of Tehran and Post-Bacc in Studio Art from the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Currently, Zahra is a graduate student in Art History at the City College of New York. She has exhibited her works in several group shows in US and also in Iran.

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Sinejan Buchina

Sinejan Buchina is an artist and a graduate student currently living and working in Brooklyn,
NY. She has a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art from Marmara University in Istanbul, studied “Ism’s in 20th century Art” in London, was selected to participate in the Node Center Curatorial Residency program in Berlin and is currently pursuing her masters degree in Art History and Museum Studies in New York. She has worked in several galleries in Europe and the U.S. and also in several NYC public schools as an art instructor. In attempting to avoid the limitations of a single medium, her art embodies everything from collage to oil paint, and from the abstract to the conceptual.

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Jackie Cantwell

Jackie received her BFA in Painting & Printmaking from Virginia Commonwealth University and her Masters in Arts & Cultural Management from Pratt Institute. She has taught students age 5-25 for 10 years using a range of mediums including painting, watercolor, drawing, photography, claymation, portfolio and sculpture at the following venues: Corcoran School of Art, Washington, DC, Platanillo Primary School, Platanillo, Costa Rica, La Cambalacha, San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala, and Nazarene Primary School, Mombasa, Kenya, as well as the Atlantic Acting School, NurtureART and The Art Space in NYC. She also Co-Directs the The Bishop, a Bed-Stuy gallery with an emphasis on arts education.

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Elise DeGarmo

Elise DeGarmo graduated in 2018 with a BFA in Communication Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and is currently an artist in residence at Trestle Gallery. Raised in the south, in the state of lovers, she believes that nature is the ultimate artist. Environmental protection plays a big role in her life, as her lifestyle is driven by compassionate action towards animals and their habitat. Juxtaposed to her environmental aspirations, her work is an abstract, fractured review of consumerism. A color enthusiast she works in mainly bright colors mimicking the artificiality of the contemporary west.

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Amanda Duch

Amanda Duch is an educator of elementary and preschool age children. She was born and raised in New York City and graduated from Wesleyan University with a degree in Art History. She loves working with kids and leading projects which help to nurture their curiosity and creativity. She enjoys painting, drawing and ceramics.

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Lori Esposito

Lori Esposito earned her B.A. in cartooning at The School of Visual Arts and also practices fine arts. She has substitute taught with the Department of Education for 3 years and illustrated the book "Rhymes and ‘Toons: Funny Poems and Some Pictures to Go with Them" for author Jay Friedenberg. She is currently working towards an M.A. in School Counseling and Art Education at Brooklyn College. She loves anime, comics, gardening and enjoys sharing these hobbies with children whenever possible.

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Zoë Lintzeris

Zoë Lintzeris is a visual artist based in Brooklyn. Her work has been exhibited throughout New York and showcased in a variety of media, including feature shoot. A former journalist, she focuses on the intersection of human emotion, urbanism, and ruralism in her minimalist photography and paintings. She has helped adults combine art and wellness techniques to unlock their creativity in one-on-one sessions, and worked with children as a studio assistant at Tumbleweeds Art Group. A former contributing editor of Cultured magazine, she also served as a lifestyle blog editor at The Huffington Post. She received her BA in journalism and a minor in studio arts from the University of Maryland, and was born and raised in Baltimore. She loves writing and traveling with her camera in hand, and is a self-professed Anglophile.

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Elizabeth Limanov

Born in New York City and having been an artist for most of her life, Elizabeth has a foundational degree in Fine Arts at the Fashion Institute of Technology, finishing her bachelors In Textile & Surface Design. Her mediums of choice include Collage, watercolor and pen & ink. Equipped with a colorful imagination and a big heart, her favorite things include travel, Art history & anthropology, reading, writing and drawing, discovering new music, working with children, drinking lots of espresso and meandering through the occasional museum. She is currently pursuing a path where she can work with people and hopefully make a change in the world.

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Sue MacLeod

Prior to teaching, Sue enjoyed a career as a graphic designer, working in publishing, both in New York and overseas in Hong Kong. She spent many years designing books and calendars before following a life-long dream of becoming an art teacher. Besides working at Private Picassos, Sue enjoys being a substitute art teacher with the NYC department of education. Her degrees include a BA in studio art from Tulane University, a MFA in graphic design from the Academy of Art College and an Advanced Certificate in art and design education from Pratt Institute. Sue and her husband, both Boston natives, are now long-time Brooklyn residents where they live with their two kids and three beehives.

Michela Muserra

Michela Muserra is an artist and illustrator born and raised in Italy. After graduating at the School of Visual Art she worked as a freelance illustrator creating short comics strips for some local zines and advertising cartoons for the web. Her work has been showed worldwide in galleries and reviewed on art books and magazines. In 2003 she moved to New York City where she currently lives and works. "If you are happy and you know if clap your hands" is her first picture book published by Caraco Editore, Italy 2015.

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Meredith Stein

Meredith received her BFA in Visual Arts from Roger Williams University and continued her studies at FIT in Fashion Illustration. With extensive child care experience, and a profound love for nurturing creativity in others, she felt compelled to move toward an art education path. Since then, she has worked as a teaching artist in after school programs and summer arts programs. Meredith is excited to continue working with children of all ages, and helping them to reach their creative potential.

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Joanna Warren

Joanna Lynn Warren hails from rural Pennsylvania. She moved to New York City in 2005 to pursue a BA in Studio Art from the City College of NY. Throughout the past 13 years, Joanna assumed many roles in museum and art education at institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Guggenheim and MoMA. Her art-making practice has evolved from simple projects to meaningful processes. Incorporating meditation, literature and what she calls “unintentional collaboration,” she hopes the viewer will have an experience while looking at her work similar to the one she gained while creating. She is currently earning her MPS in Creative Arts Therapy at the Pratt Institute.

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Kristin Winter

Kristin is a licensed and practicing Art Therapist in Brooklyn, NY. Her passion for the visual arts has led her from the study of mixed media techniques, to a degree in Social Psychology from McGill University, and finally to NYU, where she completed her Master's in Art Therapy. Throughout her studies, Kristin has had the opportunity to work with youth in a variety of settings both at home and abroad, including schools, hospitals, residential centers, and summer camps. Kristin believes in the empowering and healing potential of art making, and is excited to be a part of the team at Private Picassos!

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Jocelyn Yang

Born and raised in Taipei, Taiwan, Jocelyn is currently pursuing her M.A. in Art Museum Education at the City College of New York, CUNY. Her belief that art should be for everyone prompted her to change career path to art educator from gallerist. With a focus on object-based learning, she has worked in several museums in the city, including the Met and Museum of Arts and Design. She also works at the Rubin Museum of Art as teaching artist. She is obsessed with ceramics, so don’t be surprised if you find clay stuck on her hands.

WESTCHESTER ART INSTRUCTORS

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Samara Sussman

Samara is a professional artist and certified art educator from Scarsdale, NY who loves working in the visual arts with children and adults. She has lead drawing, painting, collage making, printmaking and sculpture programs in the NYC public school system, Midchester Jewish Center, Camp Mohawk Country Day School, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Vanderbilt YMCA, Art Farm in the City and Studio in a School. She holds a Master's degree in Fine Art in Painting from Pratt Institute, a Bachelor's degree from SUNY Purchase in Fine Art, and a Bachelor's degree from SUNY Purchase in Languages (Hebrew and Spanish).

LONG ISLAND ART INSTRUCTOR

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Chris Sahr

After earning a degree in Art History & Museum Education from Furman University in South Carolina, she worked in the art departments of both Princeton University and The Parsons School of Design. As her family was growing, she co-chaired the Arts-in-Education programs at her children's LI schools and worked as aProp Coordinator, Scenic Designer and Assistant Director for many elementary and middle school drama productions. Most recently, she was an assistant teacher at a Montessori nursery school where she was known as the "art teacher". She loves nothing more than guiding children through the creative process and helping them take pride in their new creations.

PRIVATE PICASSOS ART STUDIO TEAM

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Sarah Schumacher

Studio Manager & Head Art Teacher
Having received her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Critical Psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco in December 2015, Sarah is happy to be back in Brooklyn. With her 10+ years of experience working with children of all ages, her love for the uninhibited creative process and interest in the intersection of art, community and healing, Sarah is thrilled to be apart of the Private Picassos team. Sarah believes that creativity is at the heart of learning and that each child is an artist, offering the world a completely unique perspective that is worthy of celebration.

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Sue MacLeod

Prior to teaching, Sue enjoyed a career as a graphic designer, working in publishing, both in New York and overseas in Hong Kong. She spent many years designing books and calendars before following a life-long dream of becoming an art teacher. Besides working at Private Picassos, Sue enjoys being a substitute art teacher with the NYC department of education. Her degrees include a BA in studio art from Tulane University, a MFA in graphic design from the Academy of Art College and an Advanced Certificate in art and design education from Pratt Institute. Sue and her husband, both Boston natives, are now long-time Brooklyn residents where they live with their two kids and three beehives.

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Victoria Luzuriaga

Victoria Luzuriaga is a visual artist, writer, and researcher from Ecuador currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is highly influenced by her scientific background in chemistry, bringing the concepts of experimentation and chance through the use of 35mm photography and multimedia works. In addition to her artistic practice, she conducts research on alternative psychology, art therapy, and artistic practices as a form of expression for childhood development. She is also the co-founder of El Sótano, an artist-run space that focuses on catalyzing art conversation. 

Jessica Mendez

Jessica is very excited to be a part of the Private Picassos' team. She joins the team with experience working with school children from volunteering opportunities in Elementary schools for many years. She has tutored children in reading, helped with homework and partook in creating fun after-school activities for them, some relating to art. Jessica has always had a background in art since she was a young child. She enjoys working with many different kinds of mediums including drawing with pastels, graphite media, painting with acrylics and so on. Jessica is currently a full-time time student at Brooklyn College where she double majors in Psychology and Fine Arts. She plans on furthering her education to teach art.

Employment Opportunities

See below for our current employment opportunities.

Application process for all positions:

  1. Send a cover letter and resume to Valeen Bhat at valeen@privatepicassos.com.

  2. No phone calls please. If your experience is applicable, we will contact you directly.

PART TIME ART INSTRUCTOR FOR KIDS' ART CLASSES

Locations:

  • Manhattan

  • Brooklyn

  • Queens

  • The Hamptons

  • Long Island

  • Hoboken

  • Jersey City

Private Picassos is looking for a freelance art instructor to lead art classes for kids age 18 mos. - 12 years. Availability at least two weekdays after-school is a must. Classes take place in student's homes, schools, and kids' stores throughout the local area (see specific locations above). 

Travel to and from sites is a large part of this position. 

Payment is made on a per-class basis, once a month, which includes prep/class time and meetings.

Responsibilities include:

  • set-up, clean-up, prep and implementation of prepared fine-arts curriculum

  • organization of supplies and materials

  • correspondence with parents regarding lessons, progress reports, special events, etc.

  • curriculum development, with assistance of Director

Qualifications:

Required

  • experience teaching art to children under the age of 4

Preferred

  • pursuit or possession of bachelors or master's degree in art education, preferably with experience or interest in early childhood art education (work with children under the age of 4)