Sarah was born and raised in Germany in a very creative environment that fostered her artistic endeavors. She studied Psychology and Studio Art at Rollins College in Winter Park, graduating with her B. A. She is thrilled to combine her passion for the arts and young people in her role at ArtReach Orlando. Sarah is detail-oriented, organized, and a wonderful communicator. When she is not organizing and managing programs from inception to completion, she enjoys being with her family, yoga, and traveling.
Emily Freeman was born and raised in Winter Park, Florida. She received her MFA in Drama and Theatre for Youth Communities from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University. Emily has worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations including: Adventure Stage Chicago, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Imagination Stage, Asolo Repertory Theatre, and most recently at Orlando Repertory Theatre. Emily is an applied theatre artist, director, produced playwright, program manager, and freelance grant writer. She loves advocating for the work ArtReach Orlando accomplishes in the community.
Jenn Benner is an art educator and ceramic artist who deeply believes that art has the power to transform lives and build stronger communities. She received a B.A. in Art History from the College of Charleston and expanded her education through work-study scholarships and fellowships from Penland School of Crafts, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. She has over 15 years experience providing innovative and transformative visual art programming to marginalized youth. Her passion for community arts engagement began during a three year artist residency for the Charleston Public Housing Authority through Creative Communities, a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Guild. Through various museums and non-profits such as the Gibbes Museum of Art, the Children’s Museum of the Lowcountry, The Icehouse Center for Creativity, Craft, & Design, and Misty Forest Enrichment Center, she has developed and taught programs based on exhibitions, after-school art programs, in-school residencies, trauma-informed family workshops, summer art camps, and expressive arts therapy workshops for classroom teachers. For the past four years, she has served as ArtReach Orlando’s Curriculum Director and Lead Teaching Artist. Jenn gains inspiration from seeing what her students create when given the tools, support, and freedom to be themselves and believes that the artistic process empowers all young people to reach their full potential through creative expression.
Bickley has a passion for children and art. Her most recent profession for 25 years and before starting ArtReach was Marriage and Family Therapy/Mental Health Counseling, working with addictions, leading group therapy and therapeutic camps for the children of addicts who were in treatment.
After retiring, Bickley literally had a dream about creating a safe space for the children in an underserved area where children could come and do art. The only rules: do not paint on the walls, and do not paint on one another! This dream came to pass in 2012, when ArtReach Orlando was established as a 501(c)3. She has maintained her Marriage and Family Therapy license in order to be qualified to help the children when issues that need attention come up during the art.
Meghan Hedrick originally joined ArtReach on a project to refresh our website, but she fell in love with ArtReach’s mission and has been with us ever since! Meghan has 15 years of experience in nonprofit development and communications, and her goal is to help nonprofits deliver an excellent experience to clients, donors, and the community through mission-oriented marketing and intuitive CRM/integrations. Meghan believes that every child should have access to life-changing art programs and the encouragement they need to develop their own creative process. Through her work with ArtReach, Meghan was inspired to share her own healing art project, which previously sat in a box for years!
Dr. Mark Freeman is an organizational behavior consultant, executive coach, and psychotherapist. Mark was approached by Bickley for an engagement to conduct strategic planning and organizational evaluation several years ago and never left ArtReach. He loves the passion and dedication of the staff and the founder. Once he witnessed the programs in action he saw the impact of art in action transforming the lives of children and was “hooked.” Mark helps with the development and fundraising efforts for ArtReach.
Alyssa Garoogian is a writer and animator with a passion for encouraging creativity and storytelling in children. She received her B.A. degree in Film, Video, and New Media from Florida Atlantic University, then going on to graduate from the University of Central Florida with a M.F.A degree in Emerging Media. Alyssa has worked for organizations such as Art & History Museums: Maitland and UCF CREATE, and is currently a freelance animator, illustrator, and video editor. She finds inspiration for her work in animation through the imaginative children she teaches at ArtReach Orlando, and hopes in turn to inspire them as well.
Bio coming soon!
Arius West graduated from the University of Central Florida with his bachelor’s in Theatre and Education with a concentration in Stage Combat. He seasonally works in Entertainment at Sea World and he is a teaching artist and performer with The Orlando Repertory Theatre. Arius is also a coach for a high school step team, he serves as a lead and assistant teaching artist for Michelee Puppets & ArtReach Orlando, respectively, that integrate the arts within school curriculum, and he joined The Orlando Magic’s coed Hip Hop Dance team, The 407. Considering the impact of Covid-19 on all of this, Arius now spends a lot of his free time virtually connecting and collaborating with other artists and helping with producing content for virtual productions, performances and more!
David is a portrait photographer and most importantly, a human being. He was born and bred in the Florida heat. He spent 3 years living in Seattle and as of 2014 found himself back in Central Florida.
He currently lives in Winter Park, loves cats, and tries to eat his veggies and live as healthy of a life as he can.
He started taking photos 9 years ago while living in Seattle. His cousin gave him an old Pentax K1000 film camera and it all began from there. His work as a portrait photographer is influenced by wanting to celebrate people and the stories they bring. He seeks to make honest portraits that truly show a person's humanness and personality.
David has been working with ArtReach Orlando for close to 3 years as “Artist in Residence” in their “Arlington Arts” building just outside of Downtown Orlando. When not creating his own work he can be found attending ArtReach’s local programs and documenting their students and work. His work with Art Reach has not only given him the ability to work as a full-time photographer, but also in turn given ArtReach an abundance of visual imagery to document and promote their work in the community.
More of his work can be found at www.iamdavidlawrence.com.
Rachel Allen is a life-long educator and practitioner who supports others to practice and educate for peace and justice in their work and personal lives. She earned her B.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from Northwestern University and her M.A. degree in Theater from the University of Oregon. At Valencia College in Orlando, Florida, Rachel is a tenured Professor of Humanities and founding member and director of the Peace and Justice Institute. She presented a credible pathway to peace at a High-Level Forum at the United Nations in 2018 and was noted as one of the people making a difference in Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel. She is an avid fan of ArtReach Orlando and believes in the power of art to change the lives of children and nurture community. Rachel is a proud parent of two children; they live in Maitland, Florida.
Clarissa Detzel has lived in Winter Park, Florida for over 25 years. She received her Masters in Urban and Regional Planning and B.A. in Creative Writing, both from Florida State University. She has worked for a variety of child advocacy and nonprofit organizations including: March of Dimes, Voices for Children of Tampa Bay, the Guardian ad Litem Program, Community Based Care of Central Florida. Clarissa has experience in child advocacy, community engagement, grant writing, event planning, and fundraising/development. She is passionate about the healing power of artistic expression and looks forward to seeing ArtReach continue to grow and serve the children in our community.
Birte is an artist (not only) at heart, with a passion for philanthropy. The German native has a Master degree in advertising and communications (Institut for Marketing and Communication, Berlin; Florida International University, Miami), and an ICF certified education as CTI co-active coach.
As a Sports- and Event-Marketing Manager for a leading Advertising Agency, and later as a Communications Associate for a global HR management consultancy, Birte successfully integrated her creativity into diverse professions. And while she worked diligently in her professional life, she always found the time to explore her innate passion for philanthropy. Specifically, Birte paved the way to successfully connect philanthropic people like herself, to those who needed help, but might otherwise not be able to help themselves without the aid and support of others. This synergistic 'calling' that Birte discovered within herself, began when she joined the youth organization of Lions Clubs Germany, and remained a valued member of Lions Clubs Germany once she entered adulthood. Birte's dedication, creativity and initiatives, led to her earning the Melvin-Jones-Fellowship Award in 1998.
Since her arrival to Florida almost ten years ago, Birte continues to concurrently expand her professional and creative skills, as joint owner and Marketing Manager of an information security firm with her husband, based in Winter Park, Florida. And much like her days in Germany, Birte also continues to create and inspire as a philanthropist, while also finding time to express herself to the world through her own artwork. She began almost immediately serving her new community, quickly earning a seat as a board member of Council of 101 for the Orlando Museum of Arts in the capacity of VP Corporate Development and Sponsorship. Having been introduced to ArtReach Orlando and its wonderful mission by her dear friend Sarah Zimmer, Birte said immediately “yes” when asked if she would be interested in the possibility of joining the Board.
Ruth was born in New York and raised in Orlando, Florida. She studied Business Administration and Psychology at the University of Central Florida. Ruth holds a Masters in Business Administration and two professional Human Resource certifications. Ruth’s passion for the arts and supporting children in disenfranchised communities led her to work in the public sector at both her alma matters Valencia College and the University of Central Florida. Once she transitioned to the private sector she looked for more ways to give back, and found that ArtReach Orlando was a perfect opportunity to pursue her passion.
Greg is a partner at the law firm ShuffieldLowman and a Martindale-Hubbell AV-rated attorney practicing in non-profit law, estate planning, including high-net worth estate tax planning, corporate law, tax law, and probate, representing individuals and families with complex business and estate planning needs.
Born and raised in Central Florida, Greg particularly loves seeing the positive impact ArtReach has on young people within the local community and how art empowers them to develop their self-confidence and emotional resilience.
William Watson is currently the organizer of the Commodity Roundtable, (CR) an informal share-group of CEOs and Executive Directors who come together to solve issues facing their respective agriculture research and promotion boards. Examples of these grower organizations include The Cotton Board, National Pork Board, National Dairy Board, Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the United Soybean Board. Watson has been with the Commodity Roundtable since its inception, in 2003. He is also the Managing Director of the newly created Colombia Avocado Board.
Prior to the Commodity Roundtable Watson served as the Executive Director of the National Mango Board, (NMB) from 2006-2014. In 2006, Watson became the initial executive director of the National Mango Board, which represents mango production from around the world and promotes higher awareness and consumption of mangos in the United States. As the NMB’s first Executive Director, he hired staff and built the program structure including marketing, research and industry relations plans which are increasing mango consumption while adding value to the crop in the US.
Watson was also the original Executive Director of the National Watermelon Promotion Board (NWPB), 1990-2003. At the NWPB, he guided the NWPB from its inception into a highly successful national promotion program. By the time Watson departed the NWPB, Watermelon usage among US consumers was the highest it had been since the mid-1960s.
The National Watermelon Promotion Board and the National Mango Board are currently members of the Commodity Roundtable.
From 1988-1989, he served as Assistant to the Manager of the Texas Vegetable Association and Texas Citrus Mutual. Watson began his career growing and shipping sweet onions, watermelons and blueberries from Tyler, Texas, where he also owned and managed a retail/wholesale produce market and a herd of registered Black Angus cattle.
When he is not creating organizations to help growers, Watson pursues his passion of photography while hiking, biking or kayaking throughout Florida’s wilderness. He also documents his unique journeys in other countries through the lenses of his camera.