Lea Bender’s work reflects her passion for the use of creativity and play to promote learning and personal development and to encourage new ways of interacting with our environment and communities. Her background in performance has ranged from avant-garde theater to indie film to circus. In addition to her current role as Arts Education Program Director at KOKO Open Source Lea is also the Education Director at the Brooklyn Society for Ethical Culture.
Marley Silverman is originally from Boulder, Colorado where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Art History. She has recently moved to New York after living in Belgium for two and half years, where she got her Master’s degree in Cultural Studies. Her position as administrative assistant for KOKO Open Source coincides perfectly with her interest in public and community art, as well as learning how to make art more accessible to a wider audience.
Sara Bouchard holds a B.A. from Yale University. She has taught and developed curriculum for art, science, music and literacy programming at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan and Discovery Programs before joining KOKO Open Source. A practicing artist and musician, she employs a hands-on, exploratory approach in her teaching, prompted by the philosophy that children learn best by doing.
David Lower graduated from SUNY Binghamton with a BA in philosophy in 2008. Since then, he has spent 5 years working with special needs students. He worked for two years as a certified para at Adelphi Academy, and three years as a special ed teacher at the Association for Metro Area Autistic Children (AMAC). Recently, David left law school in order to go back to teaching. David is currently pursuing a Masters in Special Education at CUNY Hunter.
Mardea McCrumada started her career as a Youth Empowerment Specialist when she was hired as a Youth Counselor and Art Educator for a sustainable arts class through SoBRO in the South Bronx . Mardea specializes in children and young adults from marginalized backgrounds using her wholesome and holistic approach to uplift and inspire kids to create. Mardea graduated from the School of Visual arts with a major in digital film. She presently works as a Program Facilitator/ Teaching Artist for Brooklyn Public Library and also teaches BitBots here at Open Source! In her free time she volunteers at The Whitney and New York Cares. Mardea is always looking for ways to uplift and improve the future of underprivileged children.
Elizabeth Tolson is an Expanded Media Artist and Educator whose work explores the boundaries of art, technology, and feminism. Through an alchemy of artistic skills honed during life and scholastic experiences, she brings important social issues front and center and generates real discussion. Challenging group norms through over-representation of societies gender flaws, she draws the audience in with her provocative work. Elizabeth holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Alfred University and a Masters of Fine Arts in Design and Technology from Parsons. She is currently an Artist in Residence at ProjectArt for their Art & Social Justice Residency at the Bushwick Library. Elizabeth began teaching with Open Source Gallery in 2016. She teaches the Bit Bots class, where children learn how to build using recycled materials then apply simple circuits to their creations.
Monika Wuhrer is the founder and executive director of Open Source Gallery. Originally from Austria, she received her MFA in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Monika founded Open Source Gallery in 2007. She has given talks at NURTUREart, Rutgers University and Hunter College. She has received awards and grants from the Austrian Cultural Forum, Austrian Federal Chancellery, Puffin Foundation, Brooklyn Arts Council and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs. Monika has exhibited in the US, Norway, Austria, Italy, Thailand, Finland, France, Switzerland, and Japan.