Faculty & Staff 

 
 
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Reyna Calvillo - Administrative Assistant

reyna@laityarts.org

Reyna Calvillo is a Mexican American actress who grew up in a border town in Arizona.  To learn English, she would watch TV and movies and rewind them repeatedly until she could mimic the lines of the characters. 

 

After obtaining a full-ride scholarship, Reyna moved to Los Angeles and received a BA in Film Production from CSUN.  She worked behind the scenes on notable TV shows for great companies, including HBO and Warner Brothers, before switching to being in front of the camera.   

 

When she’s not acting, Reyna enjoys traveling, photography, eating great sushi, and collecting more books than she has time to read!  She’s excited to help bring the arts to everyone who’d like to learn and will happily preach about its incredible and life-changing power.

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Amy Arena - Youth Acting Instructor


The talented and dedicated Amy Arena taught private voice lessons in 2001 and followed as a school theater teacher in 2006. Amy currently holds a parent-coaching certificate and is a licensed substitute, but her musical theater professionalism boasts many credits. She had done it all, from writing (and selling) several indie screenplays to stage managing in professional theater. She began singing and dancing on stage 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. In addition, she successfully produced her 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 and Planet Ant and performed with two professional improv groups.

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Ben I. Goins - Sketching and Drawing

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, 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 mind and studying his understanding of it.

Ben is a prodigy and has been painting for 14 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, continuing his studies and adding to his skill sets. His desire is to teach in the manner that he has been taught by helping each student explore their own creativity by studying some of the masters and encouraging students to follow their imagination.

Ben’s styles included drawing, sketching, and 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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Sara Williams - Sketching, Painting, Pastels & Watercolors

Sara is a unique individual and artist. She has always been a creative person, even as a young person she found ways to be creative and imaginative. This has led her into teaching her skills to others on several different levels throughout the years. Currently, she is sharing her remarkable art skills with Laity Arts!

To give you an idea of her level of craft-making Sara is versed in soapmaking, candlemaking, Ebru, Crochet Silk painting, Scrapbooking/papercraft, and costume design. In addition to these, she comes with foundational skills such as drawing, painting, and jewelry making. She is a welcome addition to the outstanding staff we have at Laity and provides a wealth of knowledge and experience we value. 

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Ana Weldon - Sketching, Painting, Pastels & Watercolors

From early on, Ana was surrounded by a family of artists. They nurtured her passion for creativity and showed her a world filled with vibrant colors, beautiful melodies, and limitless possibilities. As a young child, she began creating and selling her artwork at her parent's New York boutique. Since then, she has continued her passion for creativity by starting up several small businesses and designing and selling her original works of art.

 

Currently, Ana is a middle school art teacher. She brings 20 years of experience as a teacher, working with children of all ages. She is passionate about learning new techniques and sharing her knowledge and love of art with others. Her gentle yet enthusiastic teaching style draws out and nurtures her students' creativity.

 

Ana brings her experience in jewelry making, drawing, painting, pottery, watercolors, and working with textiles to Laity Arts. She is excited to share her knowledge with her students and watch their talents emerge.

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Michelle Sinigayan - Sketching, Painting, Pastels, Watercolors & Ceramics

Michelle Sinigayan, aka "Buko Pan Guerra," is a musician, artist, performer, and construction project manager in the Los Angeles Area. She is excited to teach arts and ceramics again after a long break. Art and Ceramics have always been my passion for her. She taught Art and Ceramics in Virginia at the Hand Workshop. She also taught art at a Pre-School in Ohio. In addition, she has taught music and art privately throughout the years. She will lead the history of art and 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 voice and inspiration. From functional ware, tiles, non-functional sculptures, and more, students will gain a history of art and education on modern art. She will combine her expertise in digital design, art, ceramics, sculpting, engineering, music, fashion, and contemporary culture to give students a full spectrum of art.

 

She has experience managing large-scale construction projects and small-scale art/music events. She has assisted and worked on 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 in 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. Then, she stopped making art and started making music full-time. Her current band is "The Swords of Fatima," which morphs your ideas of Rock or Punk towards an extreme version of Exotic Punk. She is the frontwoman, guitarist, and singer who plays her guitar in 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 four albums on their label (Long Blade Records) and tour internationally. The latest release from 2014 is titled "Blazing Toward the Golden Mirage." A fifth album will be released in 2023, "Himalayan Freakout."

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David Reyes - Media Arts & Animation

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, gaining more insight and learning from many talented artists and 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 throughout 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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Joshua Lopez - Media Arts & Animation

Joshua Lopez is a technology instructor passionate about art, tech, and music! He has always loved video games and CGI visual effects, especially in big-budget marvel movies! He’s been working with 3D for over 15 years and has been building and programming computers since before the internet!

He graduated from the LA Film school in Hollywood and studied computer science animation. He learned many industry-standard computer programs for modeling/sculpting digital assets, game design programs, and  VFX compositing software.

After college, he developed a strong passion for teaching through the id techs summer teaching program at Stanford University. There he learned and taught all sorts of subjects from Lego/Vex robotics, scratch coding, video game design, programming microcomputers, and 3D modeling/printing with Auto desk Maya! 

Since then, he has taught in many schools and after-school programs and continues teaching the craft of 3Dvfx and animation!  

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Ashlee Williams - Dance 4 - 8

Optimism, drive, and passion fuel Ashlee's love for dance. Ashlee grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, and at the tender age of 8, gravitated towards the artistic world of dance. Ashlee has been trained in the styles of Ballet/ Pointe, Modern/ Contemporary, tap, West African, Jazz/ Lyrical, Hip-hop, and strengthening/ conditioning. Under the methods of Andre Tyson, Robert Battle, Jennifer Archibald, Elisa Monte, and Eddy Toussaint, just to name a few, she developed her craft. 

 

After graduating from a performing arts high school at the highest level of dance, she excelled and progressed in her passion at the California Institute of the Arts. Ashlee trained with many influential teachers and mentors in the dance industry. Her mentor is the great Andre Tyson, who helped guide her through the different levels of performance dance. She learned from Glenn Eddy, Julie Bour, Lawrence Blake, Colin Connor, Rosanna Gamson, and many more. 

 

Ashlee graduated in 2012 with a BFA in performance/choreography. She performed with many companies and decided to create her own contemporary dance company that provided a safe space. She currently teaches dance and choreography throughout Los Angeles while managing her dance company and other ventures.

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Aurielle Goods - Dance K - 3

Aurielle has been passionate about dancing since she was a little girl. As a child, she would choreograph dances in her room and perform with her cousins for her family. Growing up in Los Angeles, Aurielle was always inspired by the dance culture that surrounded her in entertainment & her neighborhood and became a self-taught dancer.

 

At 15 years old, Aurielle joined her high school Drill Team, where she performed at the school games and pep rallies, and won Sharp Nationals in Las Vegas along with her team. She went on to attend Cal State Northridge, where she received more formal training in dance. She took ballet, and urban hip-hop dance and joined Fasmode, which is an urban street dance team. Being part of Fasmode, she performed at other colleges and events. Aurielle continued in dance training and took several ballet classes, jazz, and modern dance, and performed throughout the years. 

 

Aurielle believes that everyone should take ballet as it helps with posture, confidence, self-discipline, and grace. She is ecstatic to teach and nurture the love of dance in others this semester. 

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Mandy Hong - Piano Theory

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, and theme songs for movies, including the choir part in the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. Last year Mandy completed her Jazz Master Degree at the California Institute of the Arts.

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Jeremy Ellis - Piano, Electronic Drums & Theory

Being reared by a piano-playing family and living just outside the musical mecca of Detroit were critically empowering Ellis’s development as a funk/jazz keyboard player. At 21, he moved into the city with a firm foundation in classical piano, finding himself amid Detroit’s techno and dance explosion. In the mid-‘90s, he focused on jazz, funk, and soul music, joining his first Jazz/Funk band and started playing clubs in Detroit, where he began his journey into electronic keyboards and drum machines.

 

He eventually found himself in the studios of famed Detroit Techno and House music producers and soon realized that the drum machines used could also be instruments for live performance. Soon an original style evolved where Jeremy would play two drum machines the way a piano player plays ragtime; rhythmic foundation with the left hand, while his right-hand plays the melodic/harmonic content. Even before youtube made some of his performances viral, Jeremy had performed at clubs and festivals in 20 countries on four continents.

 

A collaboration with Native Instruments soon saw Jeremy making performance videos for their new drum machine, Maschine. The videos all went viral, receiving millions of views. Overnight he was being approached to play events for  Google Zeitgeist, MTV Scratch-Pitch, Full Sail University, the Clinton Global Initiative, Red Bull MP Embassy, the bridge of the Starship Enterprise (you have to ask him about that one), and the Brooklyn Academy of Music for his first show with Questlove of the Roots. 

 

The Roots eventually picked Ellis to be a part of their live event shows, which saw him playing 50 shows per year for most of the last decade. Some key performances include two performances at the White House, a July 4th show airing on VH1, multiple performances at Radio City Music hall, and performances with artists such as Usher, Chaka Kahn, Snoop Dog, George Clinton, Stevie Wonder, Wu-Tang Clan, DJ Jazzy Jeff, and Pharrell.  

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Elise Walters - Voice & Theory

Elise is a singer, pianist, dancer, and actor based in Los Angeles. Originally from Buffalo, Elise moved to New York City in 2012 to pursue her dreams of performing and found a passion for inspiring the next generation of artists. Beginning dance and piano lessons at age 5, Elise was constantly surrounded by music and art. She recently relocated to Los Angeles in October 2020 and has been teaching online and in-person since last fall! 


Elise made her international musical theater debut as Ermengarde in Hello Dolly with the Mittelsächsisches Theater in Freiberg, Germany. During the pandemic, Elise participated in the “Socially Distanced Orchestra” as an assistant choreographer and choir member. Elise was cast as a soloist and ensemble member in Leonard Bernstein’s Mass under the baton of the late Maestro Maurice Peress. She also performed with the Yonkers Philharmonic in the summer of 2018 under Tong Chen in a series of Pops and Classical Concerts.

 

Elise holds her degree in Opera Vocal Performance with a focus in classical music studies and also a minor in theatre and dance productions. She is excited to share her love of opera, musical theater, and classical and jazz music with students in the greater Los Angeles area.