Our staff

Our staff is responsible for the programming and daily operations of Harwood Art Center, the multifaceted community outreach program of Escuela del Sol Montessori. As a single organization, Harwood and Escuela share a Board of Trustees which facilitates the direction and philosophy of the organization. Harwood also looks to several advisory committees and to our fantastic volunteer corps for inspiration, input and support. We are particularly thankful to our facilities and maintenance team and our 75+ teaching artists and apprentices for their invaluable contributions to our programs.

Friedje vanGils

Executive Director and Head of School
The driving force behind Friedje's work with Escuela del Sol and Harwood Art Center is her passion for creating supportive and collaborative environments that provide access to both academia and the arts. Friedje has directed the organization for 30 years, taking the Montessori school from a small one-room preschool to one of Albuquerque’s preeminent early childhood and elementary schools, and making possible the creation of what has become our city’s leading arts organization, Harwood Art Center.

Julia Mandeville

Chief Programs Officer
Julia came to our organization with over a decade of professional experience in arts and humanities, program building and community organizing. In her role at Escuela, Julia manages projects, planning initiatives, Harwood's team and program portfolio. She collaborates with our constellation of artists, educators and administrators to engage the arts as a catalyst for positive change and build a more vibrant community. Julia's work is rooted in cultivating and curating artistic, exhibition and professional development opportunities in New Mexico, as well as in coordinating platforms that allow artists of all ages chances for reciprocal enrichment of and connection with our city.

Ebony Booth

Programs & Communications Coordinator
Ebony ‘Isis’ Booth is deeply passionate about spoken-word poetry, singing, and creative writing. With over a decade of experience as a professional poet and performance artist, she provides a dual function as educator and student in the area of empowerment. Ebony’s unique career path has gained her keen insight in marketing, program management, event coordination and nonprofit organization​.​ At Harwood, Ebony coordinates event and film rentals, manages social media channels, and co-organizes arts education, professional development and community engagement programs.

Becky Weishampel

Community Relations Coordinator
Becky is excited to utilize nearly a decade of office administrative experience with her BFA earned at Tyler School of Art of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.  Soon after relocating to New Mexico, she volunteered at two Harwood events and fell in love with how our establishment connects with the community.  Becky is an artist whose most rewarding projects have included working on a mural at a child guidance center, and donating pet portraits to an animal shelter to help increase visibility for dogs and cats up for adoption.  She is inspired by her new South Western environment, creating a series of mixed media collage and watercolor landscapes.  In her role at Escuela and Harwood, she will manage visitors' first impressions and our volunteer program, organize donor and member relations, and co-coordinate special events.

Jennifer DePaolo

Community Outreach Coordinator
Jen DePaolo is the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Harwood Art Center. Her work at Harwood involves grant research, writing and administration and overseeing and integrating Harwood's outreach programs across our events, program development, and community networking. She curates community arts exhibitions including an exhibition of work by youth in our Creative Roots Outreach Program at12x12 and Encompass. In addition to her work at Harwood, Jen is a nationally exhibited studio artist and community organizer. She and Ebony Booth co-founded Burque Noir, a mulit-media showcase for visual and performing African American artists in Albuquerque. Jen leads the What Becomes project, which won a Fulcrum Fund from 516 Arts and the Andy Warhol Foundation. She partners with Edible NM Magazine owner Stephanie Cameron on Gathered: Pop-up Celebrations of Art and Food. Jennifer’s writing has been published in the international journal, Ceramics, Art and Perception.

Staci Drangmeister

Programs & Administrative Coordinator
Staci is a tile mosaic artist, arts educator, and arts administrator. She has been creating public ceramic tile work since 2009 and also enjoys small scale bronze casting, painting, and is currently learning web design. She is an Albuquerque native and holds a BA in Art Studio from UNM. Although Staci has been involved in the Harwood through the Mayor’s Art Institute in the past, she is excited to work as a staff member for the organization. Her roles at Harwood include co-managing and serving as registrar of Art Camp, overseeing our on-site artist studios, bookkeeping, and general administrative and staff support.

GuruAmrit Khalsa

Director of Administrative Services
GuruAmrit has a background in Art History and Business Administration with experience working with galleries, museums and art centers in New Mexico and Texas. Her job at Harwood includes co-curating Harwood’s two galleries and annual exhibitions, as well as co-coordinating Emerging Artists, Harvest CSA, Summer Art Camp, and 12x12. Her responsibilities also include graphic design, bookkeeping, database management, oversight of 45 on-site artist studios as well as general administrative and staff support.

Drew Kirkpatrick

Arts Education Coordinator
Originally from Maryland, Drew came to Harwood after a year of service with AmeriCorps, but is excited to return to his artistic roots as Arts Education Coordinator. He manages the Art & Sol, Art School, and Summer Camp programming, and seeks to further develop Harwood’s excellent community of teaching artists and students. In addition to his work at Harwood, Drew is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on graphic design, music, animation, and textile arts.

Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez

Director of Organizational Expansion
Dr. Shelle VanEtten de Sanchez has almost 30 years of experience as an educator, project manager, and administrator in schools, universities, museums, and arts nonprofits. She currently works part-time at Escuela del Sol/Harwood Art Center as the Director of Organizational Expansion. She also writes, presents, and consults regularly on arts, education, and the power of collaboration. She carries a deep commitment to creativity, community building, and places that offer meaningful opportunities for everyone to use creativity as a path towards personal growth and positive social change.


Rapheal Begay

UNM Arts Management Intern
Rapheal, or Ralf, is an up-and-coming visual artist pursuing his BFA in Art Studio at the University of New Mexico.  With a primary focus in Fine Art Photography, he is also committed to Community Development within the UNM Arts Management Program.  Thus, you can find him here at Harwood pursuing his internship with a focus in the organization and implementation of the many known programs.  With a dream of opening his very own arts center on the Navajo Nation, he is extremely passionate about creative expression within the individual, as well as the community.  With occasional contributions to the Harwood Blog, “Through the Lens of” offers visitors a chance to gain insight on his experience at the Harwood Art Center.

Arts Education Lead Staff

Our Arts Education and Community Outreach Programs would not be possible without the lead staff members that work in their respective programs.  In addition to these lead staff members, there is numerous program support staff that makes Harwood’s programming possible.

Shawn Turung

Teaching Artist, Creative Roots
Shawn Turung is a Teaching Artist, Historic Restoration Specialist and practices Fine Art with an emphasis in mixed media. Shawn graduated from the Art Institute of Chicago with combined studies in Kinetic Sculpture, Lithography and 16mm Film studies and continued education, in the MLA program, at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, TX. Currently, Shawn serves as Chair on the Bernalillo County Arts Board, is a teaching artist with the Creative Roots Program at Harwood Art Center, owns Milagro Fine Art Services and exhibits her work throughout the Southwest.

Helen Atkins

Creative Roots Program Assistant
Helen Atkins is an emerging artist from New Mexico. She is graduating from UNM in 2016 with her Bachelor’s in Studio Arts with minors in Arts Management and English Composition. In her position at Harwood, Helen is the Creative Roots Program Assistant, helping run both the Wells Park workshops and both branches of Youth Mural Project. Outside of Harwood, Helen is a lead apprentice at the Mayor’s Art Institute where she has worked since 2012. She is also the Director of the ASUMN Arts and Crafts Studio.

Shardae LeDouix

Lead Guide, Summer Art Camp
Shardae LeDouix is from Santa Fe, New Mexico and transitioned to the city of Albuquerque in 2008. Shardae graduated from the University of New Mexico, where she received her bachelors degree in Family Studies and Psychology. Shardae has been with Escuela del Sol Montessori since 2011, and currently works with the primary children.  Shardae is also the Lead Guide for the Harwood Summer Art Camp, overseeing all the camp Guides and serving as a liaison between Harwood and camp staff.

Ramon Chavez

Art & Sol Assistant 
Ramon is a native New Mexican who has extensive experience working with children.  He came to Escuela del Sol in 2015 and is a teaching assistant for the primary program as well as part of our Primary extended care program. Ramon is also the Assistant for the Harwood Art Center’s Art & Sol after school program. An avid animal lover, he rescues and cares for birds, dogs, and various other animals. He is Escuela’s version of Dr. Doolittle!


Susan Klebanoff

Susan Klebanoff

Former Resident Artist

I had the good fortune to be an artist at the Harwood Art Center from 1996 – 2005. It was wonderful being in a community of artists that were so creative and supportive of each other. Having just arrived in NM in ’96, it was particularly meaningful for me because I did not know anyone in this state, and it enabled me to create immediate friendships with like minded people. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work at Harwood and believe that the [Harwood] Art Center is vital to the neighboring community.

Susan Klebanoff is an internationally recognized contemporary tapestry artist who lives and works in Albuquerque. She kept a studio at Harwood Art Center from 1996 – 2005.

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