Staff, Guest Instructor, & Intern Biographies
Founder, Primary Instructor
Michele has a BA in Psychology and an MA in Speech-Language Pathology. She has worked as an SLP with children and adults in a variety of settings, taught piano, home-educated her children for 13 years, and created and taught a high school child development course. She is a supporter of the arts in the community, played piano for many years, and is a co-founder of Mile 54 Fine Art Studio, the parent company of Total Arts. In 2015, Michele helped develop and lead an arts sampler program for young children as part of a broader sports & arts summer day camp. This initial program, dedicated to helping children explore different areas of the arts and discover how they complement each other, planted the seeds for what is now Total Arts! Michele is excited to share her love of the arts with the community through Total Arts! workshops and events.
Founder, Primary Instructor
Amy has over 20 years of in-home childcare experience and ran the childcare program for the Studio 13 fitness classes at BoSoma School of Dance. An accomplished vocalist, Amy can be heard singing in local venues, contests, and fundraisers across the North Shore. She has competed in local competitions and high-profile events such as Stars Over Boston, Community Auditions, and the Talent Quest TV show. Her love for the performing arts goes beyond the microphone, as she serves on the executive board of the BoSoma Dance Company, a professional modern dance ensemble dedicated to promoting dance and dance education. Always excited to see different areas of the arts work together, Amy is thrilled to be part of bringing Total Arts to the community.
Guest Instructor, Adult Candle Making Workshops
Joan is the founder of Scents for Cents, creating hand-made 100% soy candles and gifts. Scents for Cents is a mother-daughter company which began with a simple idea of using sustainable products to create quality, customizable products and unique candle-making experiences. Joan and her daughter, Meaghan, brought their candle-making expertise to Total Arts! In December of 2021 to help us launch our Adult Class workshop program and the evening was a resounding success for all who attended. We look forward to having Scents for Cents back at Total Arts! in the future for more creative candle pouring excitement.
Guest instructor, Public Speaking, Storytelling, & Acting
Debra, founder of the PRESENT to PROSPER® Studio and blue-haired goddess of Unconditional Friendliness, has built a reputation for developing cutting-edge, time-tested and actionable speaking strategies, methods and techniques for decades. A speaking expert, master storyteller and certified life coach, Debra is also the creator of the TED Talk Blueprint for Successful Speeches Training Program® where she turns individuals, authors, coaches, therapists, experts and entrepreneurs into unforgettable and sought-after speakers. Debra was nominated best media & acting coach in the US by the National Digital Film Academy. She brings over 10,000 hours of experience to her practice with more than 30 years of skill as a professional speaker, instructor, producer and writer. She has helped many, many individuals successfully break into the acting industry and just as many entrepreneurs conquer the public speaking stage. We are thrilled to be partnering with Debra to bring her outstanding workshops to the local community!
Guest instructor, "Becoming a Working Actor" seminar
Arthur is a Boston native who works in the acting industry in both Boston and New York. He recently worked on the Martin Scorsese film "The Irishman" as the manager of Umberto's. Having the opportunity to be directed by Scorsese was a dream come true. As a playwright, Arthur recently wrote, directed and starred in the short comedic play "The Brothers Johnson" with Billy Porter and Mike Messier at Bar Stool Stories in Boston. Arthur has been involved in and worked on several major films, independent films, TV shows, commercials, and music videos as an actor, double, and stunt man. He has worked in scenes with Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, John Lithgow, Kevin Bacon, John Goodman, Johnny Depp, Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Joel Edgerton, Frank Grillo and Robert DeNiro. He has been directed by Martin Scorsese, Ben Younger, Scott Cooper, Antoine Fuqua, Franke Shaw, Ben Affleck, Paul Feig, James DeManaco, and Tom Denucci. We are thrilled that Arthur is bringing his vast experience to Total Arts! in our "Becoming a Working Actor" seminar. (See his full bio HERE)
Media and Tech Support
Andrew is completing a Sports Media major with a minor in Athletic Coaching at High Point University in High Point, NC this spring. There he plays saxophone in the campus jazz and woodwind ensembles, is a social media coordinator and group leader for Young Life, and has been an active participant and leader in the E-Sports and SportsLink programs. He completed a summer volunteer program with Wakefield's Community Access Television Station, helping document local events and spearheading a project to highlight local businesses. He often serves as the tech crew for Total Arts, recording, editing, and producing videos for our To-Go boxes, workshops, and events. Andrew will be continuing his media education after he graduates from HPU, pursuing a graduate degree at Syracuse University's Newhouse School of Public Communications.
Art and Dance Instructor, Event & Party Host
Heather is pursuing a BFA in Studio Art: 2D at Endicott College in Beverly, MA where her work has been selected for invitational exhibits, receiving awards and recognition. She is part of the dance program and repertory ensemble on campus and her choreography has ben selected for their student invitation showcase. She is also a substitute teacher at BoSoma School of Dance, most often for ballet/tap/jazz or Tiny Tots programs. Heather is the primary artist at Mile 54 Fine Art Studio, creating custom works of art in pencil, charcoal, acrylic, oil, and watercolor. She is thrilled to lend her hand in planning and leading our workshops throughout the year in both dance and art. Heather was the lead instructor for our Art Foundations workshop during the Tween Week and led a pop-up cartoon illustration workshop. She also helps lead community events and birthday parties. (Portfolio)
Art and Dance Instructor, Event & Party Host
Meghan is studying at Mount Holyoke College, double majoring in Architecture and Dance. She recently graduated from the Senior Advanced Youth Company intensive program at BoSoma School of Dance where she studied a wide range of dance styles. She was also an assistant teacher at BSD for several years. Meghan is a freelance artist for Mile 54 Fine Art Studio, particularly for ink & watercolor or impressionistic paintings. She lends her talents to Total Arts! throughout the year in planning, acting as copy editor, and assisting in our videos and workshops. She recently co-led the Irish Celebration event along with fellow BYC dancer, Taryn Moquin and helped us run our Tiny Tales & Tunes summer workshops. She is excited to be bringing new workshops to Total Arts this year, leading the Ink, Watercolor, & Creative Lettering workshop for adults. (Portfolio)
Dance Instructor, Event & Party Host
Taryn is a dancer and a singer, and a high school senior and will be pursuing a double major in dance and political science at Dean College this coming Fall. She is in the Senior Advanced Youth Company intensive program at BoSoma School of Dance, studying every style offered at the studio from ballet to modern to Irish Step! Taryn lends a hand to Total Arts! throughout the year when called upon to share her skills. She recently co-led the Irish Celebration community event along with fellow BYC dancer, Meghan MacBeath and she led the dance instruction during our February Vacation programs held in Hamilton, MA. She also jumps in to help with community events and parties throughout the year.
Guest Instructor, Drama
John "Jape" Payette has been acting for over thirty-five years in voice-overs, commercials, television, film, radio, and theatre. He also directs plays, teaches, and serves as an acting coach. Jape is an accomplished singer and songwriter, and has produced an album called "Songs for YoungSTARS!" He has also published an adventure series of children's picture books entitled, "Jape the Grape Ape From Outer Space". We are excited to partner with Jape as he brings his "Acting For YoungStars" classes to Total Arts! Jape teaches a series of age appropriate theatre games, stage techniques, improvisation, character development, scenes, & monologues that ends with a final performance on the last day. You can find out more about Jape's programs by visiting his website HERE.
Guest instructor, Manga workshops
Lily is pursuing a BA in Art Therapy at Endicott College in Beverly, MA. She has worked as a camp Art Counselor for children ranging from ages 3-11, with high school art students, and with senior residents at an assisted living facility. This past summer, Lily worked as an intern in the Art Department at Franklin High School, helping to create an engaging art curriculum and aiding students with various projects. Lily enjoys working with graphite, charcoal, acrylic, oil, and watercolor, as well as digital art. Her primary professional goal is to use different art forms to help people of all ages and backgrounds develop strategies for coping with stress and anxiety and bring a sense of peace and mindfulness to their lives. She was excited to bring her passion for the Manga & Anime art forms to Total Arts in our Manga workshop for Tween & Teens.
Joli Ayn Wood
Guest instructor, oil painting
Joli is a busy local plein air artist with a gallery/studio location in Rockport's vibrant artistic community. Joli enjoys working both in the studio and out of doors on location, and the rugged New England coastline is a frequent source of inspiration. Joli also enjoys sharing her artistic passion with others through private lessons and group classes, and she has been an internship mentor to local college art students. We are thrilled that Joli is bringing her love of art and teaching to our workshops where she will be sharing her skills in oil painting as part of our program for adults. View Joli's website HERE. to learn more about her and to view samples of her artwork.