More than just an art class.

Teacher Bios

Jen Kaplan, President

Jen has been president of Young at Art since 2015. She is both a teacher and the administrator of YAA. She primarily teaches the Parent-Child classes and in preschools. Jen was trained by Donna Wiener, the original owner of Young at Art, in the YAA Teacher Training Program. Her background is in nonprofit management and fundraising. She has a Masters in Organizational Change from The New School and has taken classes at Parsons School of Art. Jen has travelled extensively, living in Moscow, Russia for several years. She speaks Russian and knows several other languages. She is an artist by hobby and works in oils and acrylics. She also enjoys decorating cakes and cookies, which she calls bakery art.

Kören Beck Tomlinson, Art Teacher

Kören is an accomplished artist and knitter who has lived and worked in London, Minneapolis, Düsseldorf, and New York. She has been working with Young at Art since April 2019. Kören has an MFA from Parsons School of Design. She is an art and knitting teacher for children and adults and owns Edgemont Art Barn in Westchester. She has taught in both Waldorf and Montessori schools as an enrichment specialist and is a visiting artist at Greenburgh Library and Mt. Sinai Hospital. Her classes are designed to enhance whole learning and personal development. She creates open-ended, process-driving projects that allow the students to develop their ideas and personal communication skills as well as their art skills. She works with students in drawing, collage, assemblage, and more. Kören also helps teens develop their portfolio for college admissions.

Ashley Veselis, Art Teacher

Ashley has a BS in Art Education from the University of Vermont and an MA in Art Business from Sotheby's Institute of Art. After a brief stint working in the art world as an art advisor and creative program manager, Ashley has returned to her first love - teaching. She has four year of experience instructing adults and children as young as four-years-old in art making. She joined Young at Art in September 2020. Ashley loves all creative endeavors and is constantly exploring new medias and ways of working. From painting and printmaking to embroidery and ceramics, she is always looking for her next creative adventure.

Nicole Pertelesi, ATR-BC, LSAT, Art Therapist & Teacher

Nicole is a board-certified Art Therapist with over 12 years of experience. She works primarily with children and adults with various disabilities and autism. Nicole's last position was with The Shield Institute in NYC, a full time school for children with autism. She joined Young at Art in October 2019, teaching general art classes for children aged 3 to 12. Nicole has an MA in Art Therapy from Hofstra University and a BA in Art Education from SUNY New Paltz. Her classes consist of creating art using multiple media, such as watercolor, collage, and paint. She provides guidance and structure with the flexibility to allow each person to grow in their own creative way.

Katya Meykson, Art Teacher

Katya received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, drawing, and fiber sculpture. Katya has been teaching art for over nine years, she has taught at Manhattan JCC, Art Fairy Education, L2COLAB, and other schools in New York area. She began working with Young at Art in May 2017.

Sofia Tardif, Art Teacher

Sofia earned a BFA from Pratt Institute for 3D Animation. She has been teaching and assisting in art classes since 2015. She has worked with children from age 3-16. Sofia worked for Young at Art for the summer of 2019 and rejoined our team in March 2021. Aside from her digital artwork, Sofia loves to draw, paint, make elaborate paper art, embroider, and sculpt. She loves to teach and inspire children to fuel, appreciate, and welcome their creativity and imagination through making art.

Michelle Frick, Art Teacher

Michelle has taught as a visiting artist at Lower Eastside Girls Club, Newark Museum, New York City YMCA, Bronx River Art Center, Wave Hill, NewYork-Presbyterian, and P.S. 81 in Riverdale. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute and studied at School of Visual Arts. Her work has been exhibited in cities such as Rome, New York, and Los Angeles. Michelle's teaching style focuses on process and the art-making experience over the finished result. She provides supportive guidance to each student she works with, so that they may develop creatively in the own unique way. Michelle worked for Young at Art in the early 2000s, and she has come back to teach again in 2021.

Heidi Carey, Art Teacher

Heidi has a background in architectural education, leading children’s programs for FRIENDS of the Upper East Side Historic Districts in NYC. She has also taught elementary school art in the Bronx, developed and led design workshops for students in the New Rochelle and Pelham school districts, and run programs in art and science for the Bruce Museum in Greenwich CT. Heidi has been teaching with Young at Art since March 2021. She hails from small-town western Pennsylvania. After receiving an AB in History from Georgetown, Heidi earned her MS in Historic Preservation at Columbia. She appreciates the art and architecture of the diverse locales she has called home. She currently lives in Westchester County with her family.

We hire professionals with many years of experience who are truly committed to helping children develop a positive sense of self-esteem. Our teachers work side-by-side with your child to help them get in touch with their innate creativity, to improve artistic skills, to build a positive community in the classroom, and to deal with the frustrations and joys of making something look just as they want it too.