Faculty Bios

 
 
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Amy Arena - Youth & Adult Acting Instructor

amy@laityarts.org
 

The talented and dedicated, Amy Arena, taught private voice lessons beginning in 2001 and followed as a school theater teacher in 2006.  Currently, Amy holds a parent-coaching certificate and is a licensed substitute, but her professionalism in musical theater boasts of many credits.  Having done it all from writing (and selling) several indie screenplays, to stage managing in professional theater. She began on stage both singing and dancing at four-years-old and studied through college. 

Most notably, Ms. Arena performed in one of the longest-running Off-Broadway productions called The Donkey Show, a disco-themed musical tale of Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and the highly-acclaimed Tony and Tina’s Wedding.  She successfully produced her own album, Liquid Reality, and its supporting music videos.  She has had a long career in voiceover with recordings still heard at the Miami Zoo. Further, she has studied with UCB, Planet Ant, and performed with two professional improv groups.

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Robin Foy - Youth Acting Instructor

robin@laityarts.org
 

Robin Foy is an accomplished singer, performer, and director with extensive credits and training credentials in Hollywood as well as local theatre. She was born in the Antelope Valley to a family well-versed in music and drama. According to family legend, her mother beat Frances Gumm (later known as Judy Garland) in a talent contest back when they were elementary school students in Lancaster. It is no wonder that Robin followed suit by pursuing a career in the performing arts!

Ms. Foy has performed at such venues as Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas and the Improv in Hollywood and locally in the Antelope Valley for the past 30 years. Some of her roles include Dolly in "Hello Dolly," Mame in "Mame," and recently Thelma Van Tussle in "Hairspray" Robin received a Shining Star Award for Best Actress in a Comedy-Drama for her role as "Rose" in "Bleachers." 

Ms. Foy has studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and voice with Phil Moore who has coached such luminaries as Marilyn Monroe and Lena Horne. She has studied drama in Hollywood under Ivana Chubbock, coach to Charlize Theron. Robin lives in Palmdale with her husband and youngest son, Lucas. She is very passionate about encouraging promising young students to achieve their dreams.

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Michelle Sinigayan - Ceramics & Sculpting

michelle@laityarts.org

Michelle Sinigayan aka “Buko Pan Guerra” is a musician, artist, performer, and construction project manager in the Los Angeles Area. She is excited to be teaching ceramics again after taking a long break. Ceramics has always been a passion for her.  She taught Ceramics in Virginia at the Hand Workshop. She also taught art at a Pre-School in Ohio. She has taught music and art privately throughout the years. She will teach the history of ceramics and how it still influences us today in our modern world. She will teach the different design techniques and motifs from different cultures and help students design ceramics in their own voice and inspiration. From functional ware, tiles, non-functional sculptures, and more; students will gain a history of ceramics and education on modern art. She will combine her expertise in digital design, ceramics, sculpting, engineering, music, fashion, and modern culture to give students a full spectrum of the art of clay.

 

She has experience in managing large-scale construction projects to small-scale art/music events. She has assisted and managed construction and design projects over the past 17 years with Fox Broadcasting, Los Angeles Unified School District, Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center, Kaiser, SmithGroup, Parsons, Citadel CPM, Far West Contractors, Northrop Grumman, Port of Long Beach, Lee Romaire Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering.

 

She had a long career as an art student at Virginia Commonwealth University (BFA in Crafts 1997). She was a ceramist, furniture maker, printmaker and painter. She continued her studies at Ohio State University in a Post-Undergraduate Non-Degree Program from 1997-1999. She then moved to Los Angeles in 1999 to attend the California Institute of the Arts’ MFA Program. She graduated in 2001 as a video and installation artist. After Cal Arts, She got deep into the LA Underground Music scene. She stopped making art and started making music full-time. Her current band is “The Swords of Fatima” who morphs your ideas of Rock or Punk towards a fierce version of Exotic Punk.  She is the frontwoman, guitarist and singer, who plays her guitar in a banjo-styled tuning.  She is fascinated by ancient stories and music from all around the world.  Since forming in 2006, she and her drummer, Nick Scott, have produced 4 albums on their own label (Long Blade Records) and tour internationally. The latest release from 2014 is titled, "Blazing Toward the Golden Mirage". A fifth album is due to be released in 2020, "Himalayan Freakout".

 

In 2017, She started an Etsy store called, Bukonia! In 2019, she created a store on RedBubble, also called Bukonia, allowing her to get back into making art, digital paintings. Bukonia is a world she creates that is a hybrid of and is inspired by cultures of the past and present: Tibetans, Yakuts, Inuits, Mongolians, Berbers, Bedouins, Gypsies, Southeast Asians, Africans, Egyptians, Middle Easterners, Filipinos, Native Americans and many more. Her DNA results are a hybrid of all these cultures as well. She makes jewelry, faux fur hats and other winter wear, crocheted bedding, drawings, graphic t-shirts, and refurbished furniture. Her designs on RedBubble can be purchased on more than 60 products from phone cases, bedding, t-shirts, dresses, hoodies, and more. She is currently making a design series to support Endangered Species.

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Ben I. Goins - Acrylics: Painting on Canvas

ben@laityarts.org

Ben has been around art for most of his life. From the beginning, he’s felt that art is a part of life, a way of seeing, living, and exploring one's environment. Art is like the wind and the ripples of water, the beams in the light. From a very young age, he enjoyed painting and drawing, dancing, and entertaining. His passion for art, however, stems from his love of the unknown, and his drive to explore it. Art is his way of exploring his own mind and studying his understanding of it.

Ben is a prodigy and has been painting for 7 years.

His studies have been molded by the outstanding teachers which have influenced his work and he is a direct result of the art teachers here at Laity. He is currently enrolled at Antelope Valley College where he is continuing his studies and adding to his skill sets. It is his desire to teach in the manner that he has been taught by helping each student explore their own creativity by studying some of the masters as well as encouraging students to follow their own imagination.

Ben’s styles included drawing and sketching but recently he has found a passion for oils. He’s done several kinds of oil-based works and acrylic-based paintings and is always in pursuit of increasing his skill and knowledge of his tools. Ben has always enjoyed teaching others and values the importance of art in young lives.

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Victor Vargas - Art: Drawing, Sketching, Painting, Design 

victor@laityarts.org

Guiding each student to first ignite their imagination and then enable them to sensibly design what they imagined, is what I do best. It's important to me, all those I lead through the art-making process fall in love with high standards and the joy at achieving them, consistently.

I started in Art at five, winning my first of over 100 awards at six. I grew up to became a professional designer, art coach, and teacher. I help professional artists to masterfully compose pictorial stories people "get" and love to own. Teaching young creatives who are serious about their call to the arts is a profoundly meaningful use of my life.

When I am not teaching on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I run ArtLife financial services. I get to help art collectors assess their risk of acquisitions and help to protect the art and family love. I have two amazing kids, love baking bread and visiting Portugal.

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David Reyes - Media Arts & Animation

davidreyes@laityarts.org

 

From a young age, David has always been intrigued by art and animation. As a kid when asked to write a single journal entry in his journal he would write pages on end accompanied by illustrations depicting the stories he would write.

 

As he got older he pursued his passion by attending the Art Institute In San Diego and studying media arts and animation. While in school he was able to quickly learn the programs and soon found himself tutoring students in the 3d software Maya, and 3d studio max. He was also fortunate to work in Sea World as a caricature artist where he gained more insight and learned from many talented artists and also learned how to draw under pressure in a live public setting.  

 

After school, he gained more experience Freelancing as a 3d artist, and drawing caricatures at company events, b-days, and other theme parks such as Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain. David has also traveled all over the United States drawing caricatures at comic conventions. Although recently he is excited to be teaching at the Laity Institute of the Arts. 

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Aspen Mitchell - Ballet/Modern/Lyrical

aspen@laityarts.org

Aspen is a 23-year-old, born here in the Antelope Valley, with a love for music and dance that started at an early age. Her father was a DJ since she was a young girl so music has always been a huge part of her life. She took her first hip hop class in the 5th grade at a local recreation center and instantly fell in love. In middle school, she participated in several school talent shows with friends, as well as dancing in pep rallies in high school. 

 

 After she graduated high school, she started to take a couple of classes at a Lancaster dance studio. 2 years later she gathered the courage to try out for the studio’s award-winning hip hop team and made it. As she was further developing her skills and the new season auditions came along she decided to try out for their award-winning performing company team and made it as well. She started at 2 hours of class a week to being there 7 days a week for 6+ hours a day. Though she stopped competing after that competition season ended, she still takes a class at the studio to continue her dance knowledge. And now she has the opportunity to share her knowledge and appreciation of dance with others.

Ashlee Williams

Ashlee Williams - Ballet/Modern/Lyrical

ashlee@laityarts.org

Ashlee started dancing at the age of 8. She grew up in Florida and graduated from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts and grew up doing the Ballet, Pointe, Contemporary Dance, Modern/ Jazz, Hip Hop, Tao, and West African. After graduation, she moved to California to attend California Institute of The Arts where she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance/Choreography and Performance.

 

She has worked with many well-known artists such as; Robert Battle, Andre Tyson, Glenn Eddy, Julie Bour, Elisa Montae, Ben Vereen, and Alonzo King, just to name a few.  After college, she performed with Laurence Blake as his Ballet Dancer for his dance workshops. She also worked with Bridgette Dunn- Korpellia as one of her Company members.

 

Ashlee has been recognized for her talent and drive-by receiving an award from the organization Young Arts and also The Black Caucus. Her gift has brought her so much wisdom and acceptance, that she decided to use her strengths and help others reach their highest potential. She has been teaching for 10 years and is more than capable to help each dancer reach their fullest potential. Ashlee is excited for the world to understand there is more to dance, just like life itself.

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Mrs Huan Hu - Piano, Voice & Theory

huan@laityarts.org

 

Huan Meng has worked as a music teacher since 2008. She actively performed as a soloist and sung in vocal ensembles since middle school. Her first music teacher, Ms. Liu, influenced Huan tremendously to be a teacher, and being a good music teacher was Huan's dream when she was in Junior High school. Huan's efforts to develop musical talent led to success in vocal competitions, which inspired her to pursue a career as a professional musician.

 

Ms. Huan received her Bachelor of Music Education from China Conservatory of Music. She was a finalist for the Vocal Competition in the National Campus Arts Festival in China in her sophomore year of college. With the desire of becoming a professional musician, she came to the United States to pursue higher education in music. She earned her Master’s Degree from Azusa Pacific University in vocal performance.

 

Huan is an active opera singer, voice teacher, and piano teacher in Los Angeles. Her recent operatic roles include Vitellia in La Clemenza di Tito and Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte with Angels Vocal Art. Her artistic mission is to be the best of herself and spread her thoughts of music. Her teaching involves effective music-making and fun music listening that elevate student’s skills and aesthetic experience.

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Mandy Hong - Piano Theory

mandy@laityarts.org

 

Mandy Hong is a Contemporary Pop/Jazz singer and keyboard player. She spent her childhood in Beijing China and started to play classical piano at the age of 4. At the age of 18, she started to play Jazz piano at The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music with some of the best-known Jazz educators in New York City. She collaborated alongside designers and artists and has composed music for fashion runways, theme songs for animations, and background music for independent films.

Mandy started her professional music training in one of China’s most prestigious choirs at the age of 6, touring all around the world and recording vocals for commercials, theme songs for movies, including the choir part in the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Game. This year, she's pursuing her study for Jazz Master Degree in California Institute of the Arts.

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Javo Barrera - Drums/Percussion/Theory

javo@laityarts.org

 

Javo Barrera is a household name in the Latin American music scene. He is highly regarded as one of Mexico’s top session musicians. Javo studied Symphonic Percussion at the Escuela Ollin Yollistli under the tutelage of Maestro Armando Zerquera (1989-1997), joining the Mexican Philharmonic as a guest musician on a variety of occasions.
 
His inquisitiveness led Javo to study harmony and composition with Maestro Ignacio Gutierrez Campoy while taking drum lessons with Rudy Sanchez (1989-1992) with whom he recorded his first record alongside his family.  Javo then met his sensei, Fernando Caballero (Cabezon), with whom he took drum lessons (1992-1996). During this time Javo also attended Jazz Workshops directed by Ignacio Gutierrez Campoy, alongside his brothers (Los Hermanos Barrera). After years of experimenting with a number of styles including Classical, Prog-Rock, and Jazz, Javo’s career took off in the Pop scene.
 
Javo has been fortunate enough to play drums and MD with Mexico and Spain’s biggest Pop artists such as La Quinta Estacion, Cristian Castro, Emmanuel, and Alejandra Guzman. Javo has also performed at international Drum Festivals for the past ten years and has shared a stage with the drumming elite of the world. He comes from a musical family and is one-fourth of B4, a critically acclaimed Mexican Jazz quartet, which continues to amaze audiences.

https://javobarreradrummer.com/

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Saturday by Appt. Closed Sunday

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Palmdale CA. 93551-3577

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