The Right Brain Initiative


Welcome our newest Right Brain Teaching Artists!

February 2nd, 2017 by Right Brain Team

We are honored to welcome five new Teaching Artists to the Right Brain Artist Roster this year.  These talented artists made it through a competitive application process last summer and attended our fall professional development workshops. All five artists are engaging educators who are well versed in integrating the arts with other subjects and this spring they will be kicking off their first Right Brain residencies!

Right Brain teaching artists work at our K-8 partner schools in our seven school districts, collaborating with classroom teachers to make curriculum come to life through music, digital media, movement, visual art and much more. This work is part of our effort to help classroom teachers develop the skills to integrate creative thinking throughout their teaching on a daily basis.

Now, without further ado, we introduce you to the five newest Right Brain teaching artists (click on the name or photo of each artist to see their full profile on our roster):

Carl Sweets:
Carl Sweets is a multi-media artist and educator working in photography, video, stop-motion, drawing, and alternative digital processes. Previous to joining the Right Brain Initiative, Carl has worked with young people for 10 years as a teaching artist in Chicago through Marwen, Chicago Artist Partnerships in Education, Hyde Park Art Center, and Chicago High School for the Arts. Carl also taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and South Suburban College. Most recently, Carl served as the Education Director at Newspace Center for Photography in Portland and created and taught art classes for Harkin’s House and Friends of the Children. Carl’s work has been exhibited internationally and has received numerous awards including a grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. His curriculum development has been recognized by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, and presented at the 2013 Curriculum Slam.

Carl holds a MFA in Photography, Video, and New Media Arts from Pratt Institute, a BA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago, and a BS in Applied Mathematics from Kent State University.

Christine Martell:
Christine Martell is a visual arts advocate facilitating community-based arts-infused education. She does this in a variety of ways. Her business VisualsSpeak creates tools using photography and art for business applications such as team building, strategic visioning, coaching, and leadership development. As the Artistic Director of the robotic dinosaur, Artosaur, she has been bringing arts integration to a wide range of public events and festivals. Her passion for arts-infused lifelong learning inspires her to continually look for ways to bring the arts into new places in the community. She holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and MS in Education from Portland State University.

Lulu Moonwood Murakami:
Hi!  My name is Lulu Moonwood Murakami.  I’m an artist, a craftsperson, a designer and a maker.  Currently I work primarily in textiles and mixed media.  I create art quilts, art dolls, and mixed media paintings.  I am inspired by my love of folk arts and fine arts alike, and am happiest in my studio when I’m combining color, pattern, and texture as I explore human and animal forms, as well as personal narratives and the human condition.  I think of my art as a form of communication – a language of marks, colors, and the tactile.

Previously I was an elementary teacher.  I continue to teach in the arts via art retreats and in my own studio.  It gives me great pleasure to share my love of the arts.  My goal as a teacher is to help others find their own expressive voice and build confidence in using it.

Mike Yager:
Mike Yager is an integrated arts and sciences educator who has taught at schools, universities, and community events for the past 7 years. He currently coordinates the Maker Space program at the Portland Children’s Museum and teaches freelance art classes for learners of all ages. Artistically, Mike identifies as a goofy inventor with works that include  musical plants, clockwork contraptions, artificially intelligent talking trees, ceramics, jewelry and more.

Santigie Fofana-Dura:
For the past 10 years, I’ve worked as a teacher, mentor, and leader in the Portland, Oregon metro area. I studied Sociology at Santa Clara University and Teaching at Concordia University, as well as Collaborative-Design at the Pacific Northwest College of Art.

My first teaching position, in 2007 with the City of Portland, allowed me to teach k-12 youth recreational art classes at multiple community centers and schools around the Portland metro area. Those classes included illustration, animation, soccer, songwriting & recording, performance art, skateboard team and the City’s first ever parkour program.   Since then I have worked for various youth arts organization in various roles including Portland Parks and Recreation, My Voice Music, multiple SUN Schools, Caldera Arts, OCAC Art Adventures, and EG Robotics.

In 2012, the Multnomah Youth Commission honored me with the Youth Champion Award for my efforts in connecting Portland youth will extracurricular learning opportunities.  I currently work with EG Robotics as an operations manager in charge of introducing EG Robotics after school programs into West and South West Portland metro area elementary schools.  You can learn more about me and my arts education philosophy on my website:


Right Brain Team