OUR TEACHING ARTISTS
In addition to founder, Joan Green, these creative Teaching Artists work with children in Green Art Labs all across San Diego:
Samantha grew up in North San Diego County. She has a Master’s in Education from San Diego State and loves seeing kids get lost in their imagination. She loves to create with her own kids. She has taught various elective classes as a parent at San Diego Cooperative Charter School including movie and commercial making, and improvisation classes.
She had the opportunity to be a guest artist at Green Arts Labs summer program teaching kids about lotion making and plants. She got to share her love of natural medicine with the kiddos and see how they enjoyed tasting teas made from peppermint, and hearing about all the ways they had used lavender and chamomile at home. From that experience, she was hooked and wanted to teach more classes.
Samantha is a certified classical homeopath and natural beauty products enthusiast. In her spare time, she loves whipping up batches of lotion and enjoying the beach with her family.
Relocating to San Diego from Long Beach California, Melody has done her best to get as involved as possible in the San Diego art community. She has worked and volunteered with various arts and educational establishments such as The New Children’s Museum, the Timken Museum of Art, Mingei International Museum and Museum School San Diego. Having so many interests and a generally curious personality, she has found herself involved in projects relating to film, music, illustration, and fashion, but mainly visual arts. She is always looking to learn new mediums and expand her skill set.
HEIDI DELA CRUZ
Heidi Dela Cruz is a native San Diegan who currently resides in Mira Mesa and Tijuana with her husband, dog, and soon, her first child. In her 5 years working in education, Heidi has developed a passion for student-centered learning and constructivist education. She aims to create a cooperative, nurturing, and engaging environment that is conducive to accessing creativity and imagination.
Her experiences as an educator range from aiding in elementary school classrooms, tutoring in literacy, providing one-on-one support to kids with special needs, and leading an after-school community arts program with the youth of South Bay.
Heidi loves being a teaching artist with Green Art Labs, as the classes provide children with the opportunity to transform reusable materials into art, as well as the freedom and space that creativity needs to truly thrive. As a full-time student of cultural anthropology, history, and sustainability, she hopes to bring a global perspective and inspire passion and action, for positive social and environmental change.
In her free time, Heidi likes to express her creativity through writing, drawing, painting, singing, playing guitar and ukulele, and dancing. Apart from helping kids problem-solve and facilitate ideas into tangible projects, her absolute favorite part about teaching with Green Art Labs is that she gets to collaborate with other incredible teaching artists who share her passion for helping to make the world a better place.
Yaro’s favorite creative activities include the performing arts, especially dance and musical theater. Yaro brings these passions to the Green Art Labs classes. Our students are lucky to have her skills – she teaches creative movement classes at Malashock Dance, and owns her own photography business. Yaro says she happily spends many of her working hours barefoot – a true free spirit!
Connecting children to their creativity is one of the easiest things to do – all we have to do is step back and allow it! Yaro says letting go of her own ego and ideas, and letting children take the lead always results in new, fantastic things she never would have imagined.
So many of Yaro’s educational and life experiences have led her to Green Art Labs. As a child, she enjoyed silk screening and drawing classes, in college she took photography and portrait drawing, and her adult life has been built on the arts. In her free time Yaro loves to sew, crochet, and embroider. Best of all is passing down her love of the arts to her two children. There is a special joy in seeing her offspring enjoy and flourish in the activities her great grandmother taught her. Parenting has given her the patience and skills she needs to work with children.
Yaro’s favorite memory during a Green Art Labs class was when she had put out several reusable materials and one boy grabbed a handful of corks. He embellished them with the other materials to make a whole crew of tiny animals, like birds and tigers. There was something so precious about them, and his pride in his work, that made Yaro’s heart swell.