OUR STAFF

Our staff is responsible for the mission fulfillment, programs and 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 who guide our vision and philosophy. 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 45+ teaching artists and apprentices for their invaluable contributions to our programs.

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.

Dani Belvin

Dani Belvin

Director of Education

Dani is a multiracial New Mexican theatre artist, educator, and arts administrator who is driven by the desire to make a positive impact in Albuquerque through spreading her lifelong love of learning and art. She holds an M.F.A. in Theatre (Asian Performance) from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and a B.A. in Theatre Education and Asian Studies from the University of New Mexico. Before that she studied Early Childhood Education at CNM. As an administrator, she has worked for several non-profits doing everything from answering phones, budgeting, grant management, leadership, program development/management, system reinvention, and professional development. As an educator, she has taught in classrooms, community centers, cafeterias, theatres, outdoors, and a juvenile detention center working with a wide variety of students: children, teenagers, college students, teachers, and adult students. She has worked in New Mexico, Hawai’i, Japan, and China which has instilled in her the joy of using the diversity of human experience as a resource in creating curriculum, programming, and teaching. As a performer, she has studied 12 different Asian theatre/dance forms (from Japan, Bali, West Sumatra, India, Thailand, and the Philippines), and is particularly interested in dance, puppetry, devised theatre, new works, and theatre for educational and social change. Her other artistic interests include fiber art, knitting, cross-stitch, and multimedia collage. In addition to her work at Harwood, she also teaches theatre at CNM, podcasts about race and gender, and runs the small urban farm, Solarpunk Farm, with her husband.

Jennifer DePaolo

Jennifer DePaolo

Director of Outreach

Jen is a socially engaged artist and community organizer working toward a more just and loving world. Jen earned a Liberal Arts Degree in Art and Writing from Houghton College and later moved to Albuquerque to pursue her MFA at the University of New Mexico where she also studied race, class and gender in American culture. She participated in UNM’s Land Arts of the American West program as a Teaching Assistant and maintains a strong ecological focus in her work. Jen is a nationally exhibiting artist and published author with works appearing in Ceramics: Art and Perception, Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Illustrated, and Edible Magazine. Jen works with teams of artists, growers, chefs and activists toward experiential art events designed to strengthen and celebrate social networks. 

In 2008, Jen held her MFA exhibition, Home Economics, at the Harwood Art Center where she currently serves as Director of Outreach. In this role, Jen develops and directs three branches of community outreach that engage youth and adults in hands-on learning and collaborative art making, including Harwood’s paid summer Apprenticeship in Art & Social Justice. Jen manages teams of apprentices, artists and a network of contractors, city officials and community partners toward the creation of community-driven public artworks. She builds strong coalitions to sustain these projects and foster greater economic and professional growth for students and apprentices. Jen develops and manages Harwood’s Grant program, writing, administering and accounting contracts and awards that sustain programs across the organization.

Jordyn Bernicke

Jordyn Bernicke

Associate Director of Engagement

Jordyn is an artist born and raised in Albuquerque, NM. Holding a BA of Studio Art from the University of New Mexico with a minor in Arts Management, she is a ceramicist, painter, mosaic artist, and a mother who believes that art is a form of therapy and works to provide creative opportunities to those in need. 

She is a co-founder of Plates Against Patriarchy, a female organized pottery project that celebrates the resilience of women and gives a voice to our patriarchal horror stories. She has led numerous public mosaic artworks around the city: including mosaics installed at the Albuquerque Convention Center, Juan Tabo Library, University of New Mexico, Martineztown and with UNM Hospital Children’s Cancer Center’s “Erin’s Place”. As the Associate Director of Engagement at the Harwood Art Center she co-coordinates the Galleries & Exhibition program, mangages over 30 artist studios, and designs and manages public communications. 

She started at Harwood in 2013 in Harwood’s summer apprenticeship program, since then she has contributed to almost all of the programs Harwood offers: as a teaching artist for Creative Roots, Summer Art Camp and Art & Sol, as a studio artist, and as an exhibiting artist who showcased Plates Against Patriarchy for Harwood’s annual Art and Social Justice capstone event. She has even substituted for Harwood’s parent organization, Escuela Del Sol. Jordyn loves working with children and strives to collaborate with her community in any way that she can.

Helen Juliet Atkins

Helen Juliet Atkins

Associate Director of Opportunity

Helen Juliet Atkins is an artist and arts administrator from Albuquerque, New Mexico. She received a BA in Studio Arts from the University of New Mexico in 2016. Atkins began her relationship with the Harwood Art Center in 2012 as an apprentice for their Summer Arts Institute. She has since worked as a lead and teaching artist for many of its programs including the Apprenticeship for arts and Social Justice and Creative Roots. Atkins has developed meaningful relationships with many of Albuquerque’s arts organizations. She was the mentoring Artist in Residence for Art Street in 2017-18 and has led community engaged programs for OFFCenter and ArtfulLife. She currently serves on the Albuquerque Museum’s Board of Trustees, and the governing board of 516 Arts. In 2020 She joined the Harwood’s Core staff as the Associate Director of Opportunity.

While developing her career as an arts administrator, Atkins has also built a body of work that explores notions of identity and experience.  She is a co-founder of Plates Against Patriarchy, a visual arts and storytelling project that challenges patriarchal systems of powerHer studio practice, public works, and community engaged projects often focus on the intersection of art and social justice; this work has been shown in galleries nationally and internationally. 

Julia Mandeville

Julia Mandeville

Chief Programs Officer

Julia is a writer, curator, and arts organizer who exists to love and springs of the belief that all people deserve security, dignity, and belonging as our primary experiences of being. Illuminated by Albuquerque’s creative community, Julia found home in New Mexico, and she is dedicated to building opportunity and contributing to quality of life in the place that so magnified them for her.

Julia has served an array of local cultural, economic, and municipal resource development efforts through volunteer, board, and or leadership service. Across her involvements, Julia champions and invests in the amplification of diverse voices. She has collaborated with thousands of artists across hundreds of platforms, including largescale sitespecific art commissions, immersive exhibition and installation programs, and community celebrations from closeknit circles to twentyfivethousand citizen spectacles. Her arts writing has appeared in local, regional, and international publications, and she has moderated public dialogues from artist talks to citywide summits to mayoral forums. For these efforts, Julia’s peers named her New Mexico’s outstanding young nonprofit professional of the year for the national philanthropy day awards.

In 2012, Julia joined Harwood with an invitation to grow our offerings in greater service to Greater Albuquerque. With the mentorship of visionary women and the model of exemplary co-creators, Julia rooted her approach in cooperative leadership, responsive program design, holistic strategic planning, and resilient mission stewardship. Working across all of Harwood’s offerings towards highest cohesion, inclusivity, impact, sustainability, and nurturance in the lives of those we serve, Julia’s most central responsibility is as support, guide, and strategic partner to Harwood’s family of core staff, artists, and collaborators.

Currently, Julia’s authoring practice is focused on daily reflection and personal storytelling, and she is further galvanized by the recognition of lifelong learning, self awareness, and personal expression as primary modes of civic action, collective healing, and peaceful (r)evolution.

Friedje vanGils

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 one of our city’s leading arts organizations, Harwood Art Center.