UPDATE: As of December 2021, Young Audiences has switched to a new phone system. Our number is the same, but all staff extension numbers have changed (see directory below).
Our previous fax number has been discontinued. Faxes can be directed to individual staff members via our main phone number and the staff member's extension number.
Professional Development Manager
Tony has worked as a teaching artist since 2001. A freelance mask maker, puppeteer, and director, he uses both visual and performing arts in his practice. Tony cofounded the Teaching Artist Studio in 2013 at Young Audiences in Portland, Oregon to address the needs of development and community in the field. Tony has also taught arts-integrated residencies for multiple grade levels in both Portland and New York City Public Schools; after-school classes for multiple arts organizations and community centers; and skills based workshops for college students and professionals. Tony has also taught workshops for educators at the Portland Art Museum, Right Brain Summer Seminar, the Vancouver School District, and Teach For India in Pune, India. He is a graduate of the Dell’Arte International School and the University of Kansas.
The Right Brain Initiative Arts Integration Coach
Hi. My name is Ryan and I am an artist, teacher, and agitated wonderer.
I was taught at an early age to value curiosity, trying, and getting back up after falling. I earned degrees in the Arts from the University of Hawaii and the University of Michigan. I’ve worn hats of varying sizes and styles through the years including those of gallery co-owner, illustrator, teacher, and museum program manager. I aspire to be a relentless what-iffer who searches for the familiar in difference, enjoys getting caught in a warm brainstorm, and discovering funky worn grooves. In my spare time I appreciate nonsense and enjoy both the terrors and joys of going down a rabbit hole.
Lauren Jost is an artist, educator, and administrator serving as the Executive Director of Young Audiences of Oregon and SW Washington. She has worked for the past 15 years in New York City, and is the former Founding Artistic Director of Spellbound Theatre, New York’s award-winning theatre exclusively for the very young. Her directing work has been seen at the New Victory Theatre (New York), Miami Theater Center (Miami), Symphony Space (New York), Chicago Children’s Theatre (Chicago), The Old Stone House (Brooklyn) and in 50+ schools and early childhood centers around New York City.
Lauren is a 2018-19 UT Austin/TYA-USA Artistic Exchange Fellow, and her company, Spellbound, was named the American Alliance of Theater & Education’s “Outstanding New Children’s Theater of 2017.” Additionally, Lauren has worked as an arts educator with New Victory Theater, Lifetime Arts, Seattle Children’s Theatre, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Arthur Miller Foundation, and New York University, and provided professional development on arts integration, program design, teacher training, and teaching artist professional development for a variety of cultural and educational institutions.
Lauren was President of the Board of Directors of the Association of Teaching Artists from 2016-2021 and oversaw the 2020 merger of ATA with Teaching Artists Guild, a national advocacy network for arts educators. Lauren moved back to the Pacific Northwest, where she was born and raised, in 2020 and is proud to join Young Audiences in providing arts education and quality professional arts experiences for children across the region.
As the Finance Director, Brett handles the financial side of things at Young Audiences. Originally from Eugene (Go Ducks!), he moved to Portland in 2006 and spent 10 years as an accountant for a small local CPA firm where he prepared corporate and individual tax returns and provided bookkeeping services to small businesses.
While not crunching numbers, Brett enjoys camping, water skiing, art, and web design. He is also a member of the David Douglas Soccer Club board and an assistant girls basketball coach at David Douglas High School.
Senior Operations Program Manager
Music has been an important part of Josephine’s life from an early age, starting with violin and then classical voice. She received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance from The Boston Conservatory and a Master’s in Arts Administration and Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the University of Oregon. While she is originally from Northern California, Oregon has been her home for the past ten years.
As Senior Operations Program Manager, Josephine assists over 200 schools each year with their arts planning and scheduling needs, manages the organization’s database, and develops efficient systems to support Young Audiences’ programs.
Allie Maki Maya
Allie credits her love of art to her public school education. While growing up on a small island in the Puget Sound, she feels lucky that her education included interactions with art forms of all kinds, and many arts residencies that helped to shape her education from K-12 grades. She then went on to study Art History in college, which took her all over Europe studying drawing, painting and sculpture. Since then, she has worked in art galleries and kitchens, but has found her true love in the non-profit arts sector, where she connects back to her public school roots and loves giving back to kids in the same beneficial way. In Portland, Allie has worked for both the Regional Arts and Culture Council and Young Audiences, and paused for breaks to have and care for two wonderful children. Now with her kids in public school, she is excited to be back working to make sure their education is as full and rich in the arts as hers was growing up.
Artist Program Manager
Maia McCarthy, Artist Programs Specialist, has worked as an actress, writer, teaching artist and teacher trainer. Maia had an “aha” moment as an educator when she realized she tapped the same skills working on a theatrical production that she used when training teachers toward excellent, value-based, culturally relevant teaching practices.
Maia believes that all quality arts and educational experiences are borne from challenging and collaborative relationships founded on shared values and playful inquiry. Maia has worked with organizations such as Seattle Children’s Theatre, The French American School of Puget Sound, and Profile Theatre in Portland. Most recently Maia spent 7 years with Growing Seeds Learning Community, the last four as the school’s Director. She received her degree BFA in Acting, with a minor in Literature from NYU.
As Director of Development, Melody Mikkelsen delights in sharing Young Audiences' work with people who are passionate about arts opportunities for students. She is a former kindergarten music and beginning band educator, and served as executive director of Oklahoma Youth Orchestras for five years, earning the organization the honor of receiving the 2021 Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence award in arts and humanities. Creative partnerships and elements of fun have long been highlights in Melody's work. One of her most treasured successes was a $50,000 campaign to pay off the beautifully restored 1931 Fox Theater, celebrated at a Spokane Symphony concert with onstage mortgage burning and confetti cannons.
When she isn’t raising funds (and sometimes while she is), Melody enjoys playing bassoon and recorders with her husband who specializes in oboe and English horn. She and her family are thrilled to return to the Pacific Northwest and look forward to exploring all it has to offer as their young children grow.
Ryn was born into a family of musicians and grew up with a passionate love of the arts. She has been a writer since the second grade, and has a degree in English, a background in nonprofit communications, and even a year as Editor-in-Chief of local publications Proud Queer Monthly and El Hispanic News under her belt. She shamelessly switches back and forth between including and omitting the Oxford comma, but always does so with thoughtful consideration of which approach will convey an idea with the greatest clarity.
Ryn wants liberation for all people, and views art as powerful way to connect with our communities and with other people across identities, oceans and lifetimes. A lifelong Oregonian, Ryn has been in Portland since 2013 and believes the Pacific Northwest’s arts communities have a responsibility to uplift the creative voices of marginalized peoples.
Community Engagement Manager
Koko Olszewski has long held a passion for art, education, and community engagement. Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, she received her BA in Art and Art History from St. Mary’s College of Maryland with minors in Sociology and Education and her Masters in Teaching K-12 Art Education with endorsements in Special Education and Teaching English as a Second Language. After graduating, Koko moved to the west coast to complete two years of service with Habitat for Humanity as an AmeriCorps. During her time here, she worked with Evergreen and Mountain View High School as part of their Geometry in Construction program assisting high schoolers in applying their math skills to build a Habitat home. She also worked with Gallery360 in Vancouver to bring art programming to youth in the Evening Reporting Program. Following her time in AmeriCorps, Koko was a middle school site manager at George Middle School with Camp Fire.
Koko has spent much time both in an out of the classroom finding ways to use art to connect and strengthen community and encourage conscious and engaged community members. She has facilitated several community projects in her short lifetime in Maryland and Oregon including quilts, murals, and other community and social practice projects. She believes strongly in the power of art to heal, empower, transform, and transcend boundaries. Koko is a strong advocate for art education that is accessible to all. When she is not engaging in arts education, she loves adventuring in the outdoors, dreaming up and planning new places to travel and petting as many dogs as possible.
Kristi Riedel, the Programs Director for Young Audiences, is a Portland native with a great love for exploring other parts of the world.
Her career has focused on arts education in many different forms. She has been an administrator of arts outreach programs and a camp director for the Portland Children’s Museum. She has been a teaching artist, bringing materials into local schools to integrate them into the classroom, and running workshops with other community organizations. Clay is her favorite medium both in teaching and in her own art.
She is an outdoor enthusiast and tries to spend as much time in the woods as she can while enabling others to do the same.
The Right Brain Initiative Director
Kim Strelchun, The Right Brain Initiative Coach Team Lead, has devoted the last 15 years to education and arts advocacy. Kim gains her inspiration from her children Ali and Lucas who opened her eyes to the power of arts integration. She has worked closely with parents and educators in her roles as Parent Director at Creative Children’s Center, Team Coordinator at Stand for Children, PTA President and Hillsboro School District Board Member. In her free time, she enjoys fusing glass, spending time with her family and watching live theatre. She received a BS in Social Sciences/Political Science from Portland State University. After volunteering with the Right Brain Initiative for six years as a Parent Advocate, Kim joined our coaching team in 2014.
Christi Zorrilla Soto
Central Oregon Program Manager
Christi Zorrilla is a multicultural visual artist and educator with several years of experience working with arts and culture non-profit organizations. She received her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at the School of Fine Arts - Peru and a master’s degree in Education. Her career has focused on art education in different fields, she has been a bilingual museum educator at Larco Museum and she has also taught visual arts for multiple grade levels in private schools and colleges. In 2016, Christi co-founded Correlacion Contemporanea Art Residency and Education Programs, where she has worked for the past 5 years providing arts education to Native Amazon communities and professional development programs for art students.
As an artist, Christi’s artworks seek to point out the value of ancestors, native arts and cultures, and expose the delicate process of global migration through minimal sculptures and art installations.
Arts Education Program Coordinator
Allena grew up going to a public charter school in Hawai'i which allowed her to appreciate the arts because she was immersed in different mediums and styles every day. Going through her undergraduate program she knew that she wanted to work with youth in a nontraditional way bringing concepts and/or lessons to them that they wouldn't receive otherwise. To help her do this to the best of her ability, she minored in Communication Science Disorders while majoring in Education. The past few years Allena has worked for National Wildlife Federation, Association of Northwest Steelheaders, and Wild X in outreach and education positions.