Brenda Cleary-Program Director
Brenda Cleary is an artist from Denver Colorado. From an early age she loved to write poetry, doodle, and was sensitive to themes of injustice and inequality in her environment. Miss Cleary’s work is derived from the idea of the “social sculpture” wherein the artist acts as a facilitator of group process, social change, and the transformation of public space through murals and performance. Beginning at the young age of 19 working with homeless youth on the Mountain Ute Tribal Reservation, to working with the youth of Project Yes! as an artist in residence at 20, her first grant awarded at age 22 to design a collective mural for The Family Tree battered women’s shelter, to her work with war widows and children of the Guatemalan Mayan genocide, to Denver high school dropouts, day laborers and immigrant children Miss Cleary has a long and dedicated track record of bringing art to places that need the hope that a sense of possibility and community can bring.
Brandon Blea- Communications Coordinator
Hello, my name is Brandon Blea and I am currently finishing up his last semester at Front Range Community College and will then transfer to University of Colorado Denver where I will double major in Business and Film. Ever since I was little, I have always walked my own path in terms of my taste. I’ve been doing videos and photography since I was 17 and I fell in love with it, it’s my passion. Traveling has always been such a big part of my life because it is always such a exciting opportunity. After, I graduate I plan on moving to Los Angeles, California. My overall dream is to make my life into a work of art.
Jessica Hintze- Outreach Coordinator
Jessica Hintze was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona to a large Irish Catholic family on her Father’s side and diversity trained entrepreneurial family on her Mother’s side. Both hold strong matriarchal leadership. Jessica completed high school and moved North to Flagstaff to attend college. Facing raising tuition costs Jessica decided to follow in her Grandfather’s footsteps and joined The United States Marine Corps. She served 4 years active duty and served 10 months overseas in Okinawa, Japan. After completing her contract Jessica earned her Associates degree in Business from Scottsdale Community College in 2012 and shortly after her Bachelors Degree in Business from Arizona State University in 2013. Jessica is a single Mother to her 8 year old son Logan. She believes in advocating for herself and others and represents herself in Family Court. Jessica believes in a healthy work life balance and is currently obtaining her yoga teacher certification and studying logic as she prepares for the Law School Admissions entrance exam.
Jesse Fisher – Puppet Project Lead, Youth Service Project Coordinator
Hello! My name is Jesse Fisher and I am a Senior attending the University of Colorado at Boulder! I am studying Communication and minoring in both Italian and Religious Studies. I am so thrilled to be with Project-YES! as I love to work with youth! Some of my passions are outdoor adventuring, road tripping, playing all sports, writing music, and doing art! I look forward to engaging with the surrounding community of Boulder to promote social justice in a fun, learning environment!
Dan Yolles – Music Mentor, Administrative Assistant
Dan Yolles was born and raised in Denver Colorado. He grew up deeply involved in the local reformed Jewish community. He took an early interest to music and sound when he was a child, and has since developed into a recording and touring professional musician, music mentor, Jewish music educator and spiritual song leader. He is also a guitar, piano, cello, and music theory instructor. Dan studied music education at Colorado State University and switched to Human Development and Family Resources at CU Denver after drastic changes in his life and studying with a Taoist Shaman. Dan pulls inspiration from many areas and experiences including mother earth and father sky, Taoist philosophy, Jewish values, and the amazing communities he constantly surrounds himself with. Dan is pleased to say that he is currently living his life’s dreams by sharing his love and passion for music and spirituality with today’s youth, and aims to constantly inspire all those that he works with in all settings.
Katie Hanczaryk – Youth Earth Day Coordinator
From a very young age I have made art as a way to explore and learn about the world around me. This passion for expression and creativity has continued to develop throughout my adult life, and has led me down a path of offering art as a powerful healing modality. I grew up in Nova Scotia Canada, where I received my B.A from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. At that time, I began taking psychology courses from Dalhousie University, and started discovering Jungian and Transpersonal Psychology, which lead me to the field of Art Therapy. Currently I enjoy doing individual counseling in Denver, and leading art therapy groups for kids and elders along the front range. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, and Registered Art-Therapist.
Kay Harmsen – Mentor
Kay is a passionate artist-educator and advocate for the contemporary arts, a mother of teens, a life-long-student, community volunteer, and world traveler. She has an MA Marketing (CU) and soon-to-be MA in Art & Design/Education from (UNCO). Prior to raising her family, she was creative director for a national firm where she designed international events. Later she worked as a marketing consultant to develop corporate cause-related programs for youth. When her children were young, she volunteered in the classroom at First Presbyterian Pre-School, Community Montessori Elementary, and St. John’s Episcopal Church. At Community Montessori she served as PTA Community-Liaison and Co-President. She is a past-board member of the Volunteer Connection, co-founded the Chess Club at Niwot Elementary and coached Odyssey of the Mind at Sunset Middle School. Most recently she fulfilled an education internship at BMoCA. Kay has a passion for facilitating an art-for-life educational approach in all of her creative endeavors. She infuses her work with an inter-cultural and inter-disciplinary approach as a critical lens to learn more about the world we live in.
Chris Woodward – Partner Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Hi, my name is Chris Woodward and I’m a local Therapist (LCSW) in the area. I have been fortunate to have a diverse background in the healing profession. Working in various non-profit and for profit agencies including mental health centers, residential substance abuse facilities, and in private practice has allowed me to gain a variety of experiences with children, adolescents, adults, and families. For more information and Bio: www.HolisticInsightfulTherapy.com
Roberta Restaino – Mentor for Art in Community
I was born in Rome, Italy, surrounded by art history. The experience of growing up in Rome amid many of the world’s greatest masterpieces of art had a profound impression on my life’s calling. Since my childhood I has been passionate about drawing. When asked what drives the fierce determination in my life, she says: “my hands.” My hands are the source of my assuredness. Creativity influences so much of my life, I graduated from the “Academy of Arts” in Rome in the 2004 and I have been fortunate to be able to express my creative skills in all my jobs. I worked in Art Museums, as art teacher in Ireland and England, set designer and in creative workshops around Italy.
My art speaks the primordial language of miniature life forms as cocoons, complex cells, even liquids can reveal to the audience the original language of nature’s emotive strength – a silent voice of their vital and pulsing space – to sensitize my audience to the fragile beauty we have put in jeopardy. Tiny organisms contribute enormously to the planet’s ecosystem. For instance, plankton are critical to the biochemical integrity of the oceans’ carbon cycle. Their preservation is essential to the planet’s survival. Today, the survival of these delicate organisms working silently below the chaos of human activity is being gravely compromised. We must reverse this process, perhaps by starting to listen to these microorganisms’ voices. Currently, I have been working on the delicate process of Genetic Modification having concerns and thoughts about the future. How we know this process changes the structure of DNA in plants and animals. I started working on the delicate meeting between nature and our chaos. We have been continuing to research the perfection and the desire to have more and more. We are fighting against the natural process of life. We are destroying the planet mixing the nature of things. Which kind of creature will be born from our hands?
Megan Delano – Lead Program Mentor
Megan joined Project Yes in August 2014 as a Program Lead in order to continue her passion for using the arts to build communities. She recently graduated from Lesley University with a degree in Art Therapy and moved to Colorado to continue her education. She is currently a graduate student at Naropa University studying Counseling & Art Therapy. Megan has worked in a variety of group settings using the arts in self-esteem building, coping methods, and stress relief. She has experience working with populations ranging in ages from early childhood to late adulthood and continues to explore new opportunities in helping others.
Celina Esekawu – Mentor Quilting Project
Celina was born in Dallas, Texas and was raised in a small country town, Bremond. Growing up, I used the visual arts, music, dance, and being out in nature as my release. The arts have always been a part of my life, even though at times I tried to hide it from othersCelina started working with youth and teens in 2005. My experience in afterschool programs, summer camps, and later in non-profit administration inspired me to start an art-centered non-profit, so I went back to school to pursue a master’s degree. In 2013, I received my MA in Community Art Education at the University of Texas in Austin. My focus is to continue using the arts as an inspiration and invite others to explore themselves and their community to bring about personal and social change that strengthens our ties together.