Our Staff

“The Raft”

/raft/ noun

: a flat buoyant structure of timber or other materials fastened together, used as a boat or floating platform.

: collective word for a group of otters (linking hands, otters can stay together and avoid drifting away from each other and their food source while they sleep)

: the aggregate of individuals comprising the staff of Art Works Now, specifically in reference to working together, supporting one another, and resting

The Raft

Aimee Olivo || Executive Director

Aimee Olivo, a true believer in the power of the arts to transform lives, is incredibly proud to serve as Art Works Now’s second executive director. She is a passionate community builder and advocate for equity and social justice.

Prior to joining Art Works Now, Aimee served as the Chief of Staff for Prince George’s County Council Member Dannielle Glaros (D-District 3). Aimee is most proud of her work to promote economic development, support non-profit organizations, improve the environment, and promote community in that role. Previously she spent nearly two decades working as a professional fundraiser.

Aimee has held numerous volunteer leadership roles advocating for educational equity and student success. She was appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to serve on the Board of Trustees for Prince George’s Community College in 2010 and continued in that role through February 2022. She served as a member and chair of the Prince George’s County Commission for Education Excellence under County Executive Rushern Baker.

In 2012, Aimee was recognized by the Prince George’s County Social Innovation Fund as a member of their inaugural “Prince George’s 40 Under Forty” cohort. She graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from Trinity College (now Trinity Washington University), in Washington, D.C., with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and earned her Master’s in Business Administration from Marymount University in Arlington, VA. On nice days, Aimee bikes to work from her home in Cheverly.

Aimee looks forward to a strong and enduring future for Art Works Now as together we continue to create the world we imagine.

VerNitta Tyson

VerNitta Tyson || Chief Operating Officer

With over twenty-five years of experience in the nonprofit sector, VerNitta brings a great deal of expertise to the Art Works Now team. VerNitta has worked in a variety of roles including development, marketing, and administration. She served as Interim Director of The Ellington Fund for Duke Ellington School of the Arts, and in several important roles of leadership at the Wendt Center for Loss and Healing and IONA Senior Services in Washington, DC. Her passion for the arts and her command of the skills needed for nonprofit administration are essential to the future success of Art Works Now.

Lisa Kiczales

Lisa Kiczales || Senior Director, External Relations

Through her many years of experience in marketing and publishing, Lisa has acquired the necessary insight and perspective to design strategic and creative marketing programs. Her analytical, detail-oriented side (she actually finds designing the perfect Excel spreadsheet compelling) works seamlessly with her imaginative side giving her the ability to bring innovative creative solutions into existence. For as long as she can remember, Lisa has been a creator. Recently her focus has been on collage and photography, often combining the two. She’s excited to be using her skills to deepen the connection between Art Works Now and the community by sharing stories that will inspire more people to create the world they imagine. Lisa cannot think of a better place to merge her professional experiences with her passion for sharing the transformative power of art.

Houkje Ross

Houkje Ross || Associate, External Relations

Houkje comes to Art Works Now with a background in writing and communications. For 15+ years, she worked for a variety of non profits in the D.C. area that focused on improving the health of individuals and underserved communities. After studying and practicing health and wellness coaching (via Martha Beck), she discovered that creativity and self expression can serve to heal both individuals and communities. She is excited to be at an organization that encompasses so many of her passions (art, community, re-imagining the world, health and wellness) and looks forward to helping Art Works Now grow into its next phase. A mixed-media artist, Houkje loves exploring and linking nature, art, and community. She lives in Mt. Rainier Maryland and loves that her bike commute to Art Works Now takes her by blue herons, turtles, and other wildlife.

Ariadne Pineda

Ariadne Pineda || Associate, Programs

Ariadne Pineda (Ari), is a versatile professional with more than 20 years experience in stage and production management. She has stage managed for artists such as John Leguizamo and Eddie Izzard. Her impressive track record as a production manager includes large-scale public events and festivals, including the opening of the National Museum of American Indian, Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the National Museum of African American History and Culture opening. She is beyond thrilled to be joining the Art Works Now Team where she will be assisting the Senior Programs Director in managing and developing programs, classes, and events.

Adanma Huria

Grace Coleman || Clay Studio Manager

Grace is a ceramic artist, teaching artist, and ceramics studio manager from western Colorado and Indiana. Her work is visually informed by the communicative nature of body language, the physicality of human emotions, the vastness of the landscapes surrounding us, and the capacity to hold conflicting emotions within ourselves. Grace’s work celebrates vulnerability, support, growth, and love in the process of healing. In her free time, Grace enjoys the plant parent life, cooking, exploring the DMV art scene, listening to podcasts about geology, showing Star Trek to their partner, and seeing live music.

Adanma Huria

Michael Delash|| Clay Studio Manager

Michael comes to Art Works Now with a background in various art forms including painting, pottery, photography, and graphic design. He received an B.F.A. from UMBC in 2015 and went on to receive an M.Arch. from UMD in 2019. His interest in creative expression appears in his experimental approach to the arts. Michael’s passion for creative expression is evident in his experimental approach to the arts. With his background in architecture, he excels in utilizing space effectively and prioritizing design. His enthusiasm for bringing the arts to the community makes him a valuable asset to the team.

Luca Dehais

Luca Dehais || Registrar

Luca Dehais is a lifelong learner and a multi-disciplinary artist, with a young, fresh mind. As Registrar, he is looking forward to using his exceptional organizational skills, ability to apply himself to whatever comes his way, and his capacity for quickly adapting to new situations to help ensure a positive and welcoming experience for all AWN students. As an artist, he is passionate about the creativity that is inspired by exploring different forms and mediums of art. In his role as AWN teaching artist, Luca strives to provide his students with the tools and building blocks that will spark their creativity and ability to express themselves through art.