Teaching Artists Program

Teaching Artist Program (TAP) Welcome Teaching/Artists

The steady expansion of our services to meet community needs has inspired our new Teaching Artists Program (TAP), engaging professional artists in delivering art classes to partner organization clients while also mentoring our college interns. TAP will draw on the talents of professional artists experienced in both teaching and community service, working with art forms that include poetry, visual art, theatre, dance and musicianship. This program allows us to expand and enhance the quality of our programming while also enriching our interns’ teaching experience.

Teaching Artist Program (TAP) Mentors:

Judy Nilson - Visual Art

Karsen Lee Gould - Performing Arts

Emily Murray - Visual Arts

David Litschel - Visual Arts

Each brings a wealth of expertise and enthusiasm to our organization and we’re delighted to have them aboard.

Learn more about our current Teaching Artists here!

Seniors share their stories at Santa Barbara's Garden Court, Jan. 27, 2017. The event was organized by Arts for Humanity! in conjunction with the Squire Foundation.


Our new partnership with watercolor artist Martha Shilliday

Arts for Humanity! is thrilled to announce our new partnership with Martha Shilliday. Martha is a professional watercolor artist, and is leading an interactive watercolor class at Garden Court, an independent living community for seniors. We are excited to have Martha inspire older adults to share their experiences and express themselves through watercolor. Martha will also partner with our student interns, providing excellent mentorship in the medium of watercolor, teaching skills, and leadership. This class has been met with overwhelming enthusiasm by her grateful students. Arts for Humanity! is honored to have Martha’s skill, warmth, and passion as a part of our community.

Martha’s work is exquisite, and can be viewed on her website, mshilliday.com


Working with renowned photographer, David Litschel

Arts for Humanity! is honored to be working with renowned professional photographer, David Litschel. David is a talented, skilled, and creative photographer, who has taught throughout his career, including 15 years at Brooks Institute. David will be teaching creative photography classes at the teen program at the Housing Authority of Santa Barbara, an exciting and unique opportunity for these youth. David will also be photographing our ongoing classes at our Community Expressive Arts Programs. This is a wonderful and important opportunity for Arts for Humanity! and for the people we serve.
David’s photography can be viewed at his website, www.davidlitschel.com.

Bio: “David Litschel is a noted educator, author, and consultant to industry and education. He is also a travel and stock photographer providing images through Alamy Stock Agency in the United Kingdom and ImageBrief in New York City. His travels include many trips to Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.

For the past five years David and his wife Martha have been active traveling in Latin America. They have been on photographic trips to Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Guatemala and Paraguay. They have voluteered helping build houses for people in need with Habitat for Humanity Global Village in Latin America.

Until December, 2010, David served in the capacities of the Provost, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, and the Director of Education, at Brooks Institute with campuses in Santa Barbara and Ventura, California over a period of 11 years. Prior to taking his administrative role, he was a faculty member at Brooks Institute of Photography for 15 years. He is the co-author of two books on photography, Black and White Photography first edition published in 1994 and Digital Photographic Capture published by Focal Press in 2005.

He has been active in many professional organizations, including serving as President and a member of the Board of Directors of the Photo Imaging Education Association (PIEA). David earned the Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Michigan and the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Colorado where he was awarded Phi Beta Kappa.”

“Teen Nite” at the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara

This creative poetry class is a writing workshop taught to teenagers on the Westside at the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara’s “Teen Night”. The goal is to allow every student to move away from preconceived ideas of what poetry “is” or “must be” and to move toward discovering the freedom and joy in writing poems and trusting his own voice. Each session will have different prompts and hands-on writing activities, but every session will provide the opportunity for students to share their poems aloud and to listen and engage with the work of their peers and other contemporary poets. This workshop is designed to encourage imagination, honest self-expression, and attentiveness to the outer and inner world in each person for the purpose of liberating teens to experience poetry – and their own lives – as something uniquely creative, meaningful, powerful, and transformative.

Mandi DeVos

Mandi DeVos was born and raised in the small mountain town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. She spent most of her childhood outdoors, skiing and playing soccer. Writing has always been her first love. Over the recent years, Mandi has worked as a freelance journalist, a writing tutor, a copy editor, and an editor in chief of a literary-arts publication. In 2013, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA, with a degree in English. She writes a poem a day to seek meaning in her experiences, in order to make sense of life going forward. Writing and engaging with the writing of others continues to be her soul’s passion.



That Dog
You moved out,
and I spent the last night in our house
alone. And I lay on the floor
with the memories and put my body
right next to them, as if they were an
old golden retriever, who is nothing but love,
but doesn’t know it’s her last day. I hum a bit,
trying to soothe her, hoping she will pass peacefully.
(Isn’t it terrible that the best things
break your heart?) Instead, I nod off
and that dog runs through my
sleep, and in the morning
there is nothing left.
I make oatmeal in a plastic cup and eat it
with a fork, tie up the last bag of garbage from the kitchen,
and then walk out that door,
turn the key,
and bury it all.

– Mandi DeVos

This project is funded in part by the Organizational Development Grant Program using funds provided by
the City of Santa Barbara in partnership with the Santa Barbara County Arts Commission.