Instructors and Staff


Current Faculty and Staff

Stephanie Hightower

Stephanie Hightower is the program director and teaches Contemporary Art Issues. Her paintings and drawings will be on view in upcoming exhibitions at Five Myles Gallery in Brooklyn this November-December, and with The Clemente of the Lower East Side in 2018. Other recent exhibition venues include the independent art project space, Mommsenstrasse 35 in Berlin, the Flatiron Prow Art Space, the New York Public Library, and Wuersch & Gering on Wall St. Hightower’s work was selected for the “Artists in the Marketplace” at the Bronx Museum and for one-person exhibitions at The Cooper Union on two occasions. Hightower was awarded artist residency fellowships from CUNY, hosted by Technische Universität of Berlin in 2011 and 2017, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Edna St. Vincent Millay Colony. The Bronx Council for the Arts also named her as a grantee. In 2011 she was named the Education Honoree for NURTUREart for excellence in teaching. As Associate Professor of Art at John Jay College, she teaches drawing and painting. She has lectured for Learning Through the Arts for the Guggenheim Museum, and was commissioned as a muralist for Brooklyn Public Schools through the Rotunda Gallery. She was awarded the Potawatomi Tribal Scholarship for graduate study. Education: MFA in Painting (Minor in Art Criticism) Pratt Institute (1987); BFA University of Dallas (1982).

Simone Meltesen

Simone Meltesen is the Assistant Director of the Outreach Pre-College Program. She was born and raised in San Francisco, CA, and has lived and worked in New York for over a decade.  She has worked as an assistant for a variety of artists, including E.V. Day, Nancy Azara, and Ulrike Muller. She managed the art department at Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls from 2006-2009, and was the Director of the Fellowship Program for Emerging Artists at A.I.R. Gallery from 2009-2012. In May 2015 she graduated with an MFA in painting from Hunter College, where she was awarded The Esther Fish Perry Scholarship for achievements in the Hunter MFA Program, and The Kossak Travel Grant for MFA Painting Students, for travel to Berlin to do research on female textile artists of the Bauhaus. In 2016, she was included in the exhibition Recurrence, at Union College in Schenectady New York. In May 2017, she will have her first post-MFA solo show, Pattern Recognition, at Space 1026 in Phliadelphia.

Pablo M. Diaz Pablo teaches Drawing and Mixed Media. He was involved with Outreach as a high school student, as an undergraduate teaching assistant, and a recruiting representative. Mr. Diaz is a painter and printmaker, as well as a technician at the Cooper Union Typography Shop. Previously, he has worked as an artist assistant at Two Palms Press and as a portfolio-prep teacher at Juan M. Campos High School in Brooklyn. Mr. Diaz has exhibited in group shows at The Crane Street Studios in Long Island City. He is currently an MFA candidate at Hunter College, and holds a BFA from the Cooper Union.
Emmanuela Soria Ruiz

Emmanuela Soria Ruiz is the program's recruitment liaison. She was born in Granada, Spain and moved to New York City as a teenager.A proud alumna of the Outreach Pre-College Program, she obtained her BFA from The Cooper Union School of Art in 2015. She has worked as a teacher assistant for different after school programs in the city and is training to be an arts educator. She has a studio in Queens where she continues to try. 

Dave Johnson Dave johnson is a poet and plawright. He has taught the Creative Writing Workshop for Outreach since 2000 and is the senior editor (with Stephanie Hightower) for all publications. His works include: Baptized To The Bone, Dead Heat, Marble Shoot, and Sister, Cousin, Aunt/ Sorella, Cugina, Zia. Dave is a Visiting Faculty member of the MFA program at The New School and a Lecturer at Yale University. His newest work is a translation of the play, Gomorrah, based on the international best selling book by Roberto Saviano. And appointed by the Mayor's Office of New York City, Dave is currently serving as Poet in Residence for The Department of Probation of NYC.
Amy Buckley  Amy Buckley was born in Stockport, UK and lives in Brooklyn. Her work is rooted in physical experience. [Graduating from Parsons School of Design in 2013 she obtained a BFA in Photography]. Amy collaborates with her twin sister Hannah Buckley, a contemporary dancer, to create video and performance work. Her work has been shown in a range of venues from traditional art galleries like The Manchester Art Gallery, to film festivals around the UK, and as part of site specific commissions such as The Whitworth Pub Crawl. She has been involved in projects for Time Magazine, Garage Magazine, Wallpaper Magazine and had her collaborative work published in The Swedish Dance History Episode
Samuel Chun Sam teaches Drawing and is a NYC based artist working in painting and sculpture. Born and raised in New Jersey, he moved up to NYC to attend The Cooper Union to study fine arts. He graduated with a Bachelors in Fine Arts in 2010 and maintains his practice as an artist.
Alina Tenser  

Alina Tenser is a Ukrainian born multi-disciplinary artist living and working in New York. Tenser’s practice is rooted in sculptural inquiry into dimension and form. Through this lens, she moves fluidly from sculpture to video to performance.  Her work emphasizes the performative nature of objects and the formal potential of the body.   Tenser received her BFA from School of Visual Arts and her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University.  She is the recipient of several prestigious awards including Dedalus Foundation Emerging Artist Fellowship and the Emergency Grant from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.  Tenser has held solo exhibitions at Soloway Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; AIR, New York, NY; Nurture Art, Brooklyn, NY; and Pioneer Works, Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been exhibited at venues including MoMa, New York, NY, The Kitchen, New York, NY;  Susan Inglett Gallery, New York, NY; The Suburban, Chicago, IL; and Laurel Gitlen Gallery, New York, NY; Kate Werble, New York, NY; Gallery Diet, Miami, FL;.  Most recently Her work has been exhibited at the Queens Museum where Tenser is currently an artist in residence. 

Past Instructors  
Cara Di Eduardo
Mildred Beltre
Shellyne Rodriguez
Anya Kielar
Carla Edwards
Diann Bauer
Aurora De Armendi
Rashawn Griffin
Timothy Hull
Daina Mattis


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