[ We are artists, writers, musicians, poets, dancers and everyday people working to create change in young people’s lives through art. ]

About Art 180 180

ART 180 creates and provides art-related programs for young people living in challenging circumstances, encouraging personal and community change through self-expression. Our group is based in Richmond, Virginia.

Our Mission

ART 180 gives young people the chance to express themselves through art, and to share their stories with others.

Our Vision

Our work with young people will turn lives and communities around 180 degrees.

Our Operating Model

ART 180 partners with other nonprofit organizations to serve youth, ages 8 to 18, living in challenging circumstances in Richmond, Virginia. We also operate an art center for teens, called Atlas, in the Downtown Arts & Culture District. Through our programs, youth discover ways they can positively engage in and influence their surroundings.

Professional artists and volunteers work with youth after school for 12-week sessions at the elementary and middle school level and 6-week sessions at the teen level. Each program grows from the needs and interests of the group of young people being served. The young artists are asked to explore crucial personal statements that reinforce their sense of identity and purpose, such as:

Programs culminate with some kind of public presentation of artwork. These have included city billboards, exhibits at art galleries, and a compilation CD of poetry. By merging the private creative experience with a public showcase, ART 180 offers youth a safe way to talk about what matters most to them, while offering the community a compelling way to hear it.

In addition to the 6-week programs at Atlas, ART 180 staff and teen leadership council operate and manage a community gallery that showcases a rotating set of exhibitions targeting or about youth.

Our Motivation

To quote Rita Dove, former U.S. Poet Laureate, "If our children are unable to voice what they mean, no one will know how they feel. If they can't imagine a different world, they are stumbling through a darkness made all the more sinister by its lack of reference points. For a young person growing up in America's alienated neighborhoods, there can be no greater empowerment than to dare to speak from the heart-and then to discover that one is not alone in one's feelings."

Our Staff

Marlene Paul

Executive Director

Like all of us, Marlene was born an artist. Today, her "medium" is ART 180. The Richmond native's formal education began at Crestview Elementary, site of ART 180's "I Am" project in 1999. She graduated from James Madison University, where she studied art until she remembered she was better at writing and switched to communication/journalism. As expected, she put her degree to use and got hired to communicate, with jobs in writing, editing, public relations, and publications management. She worked for an odd mix of employers on her path to a more meaningful career, including a professional association for CPAs, a theme park's PR department, a startup magazine published by Southern Living, and an advertising agency called WORK. She also wrote newspaper and magazine articles as a freelancer for more than 10 years. Finally...FINALLY, she co-founded ART 180 in 1998. She has been recognized by the American Business Women's Association as a Star in the Arts and by the YWCA as an Outstanding Woman, awarded a Pollak Prize for Excellence in the Arts by Richmond Magazine and a History Maker Award by the Valentine, and named to The GOOD 100 List by GOOD Magazine. She lives in the woodsy 'hood of Woodland Heights (hands-down the best neighborhood in the city) with a brown-eyed girl named Maya and a tuxedo cat named Cece. She prides herself in knowing RVA like the back of her hand, supports both public radio stations, and is never one to miss a farmers market or festival.

Trey Hartt

Deputy Director

Trey's journey has taken him all over the country. As a child of an Air Force Colonel, he moved every two years before landing in Richmond in 2004. Trey received his BFA in Theatre Performance at Virginia Commonwealth University, and he started on a MFA in Theatre Pedagogy until realizing he was more interested in creating theatre than teaching it. In college, his dreams of Broadway quickly changed after acknowledging a greater love for social justice arts activism. In 2006, he began working with The Conciliation Project, a Richmond-based social justice theatre company that initiates dialogue about racism in America. Trey comes to ART 180 with experiences in the traditional development role as well as arts advocacy, grassroots organizing, and using art as a tool for social change. Currently, he is a board member of The Conciliation Project and is President of the Board of Directors for Alternate ROOTS, a regional organization that supports the creation and presentation of original art to eliminate oppression. As Deputy Director, Trey manages ART 180’s fund development, operations, and special projects like our juvenile justice programming.

Taekia Glass

Program Director

Taekia joined the ART 180 team after a decade in the field of architecture. She graduated from New Jersey Institute of Technology with a Bachelor's of Architecture and returned to complete a Master's in Construction Management. While working full time and pursuing her master's part time, Taekia met her future husband, Hamilton Glass. The two lived in New Jersey until she completed her degree, and within a few weeks of graduation relocated to Richmond in 2007. Hamilton was first to lead programs with ART 180 and encouraged Taekia to get involved as a way to integrate into their new city. Her first volunteer effort was working the door at a benefit at Legend Brewing Co. She had no idea that eight years later she would still love the organization as much as she did the first time, let alone be on staff. Working on high-end residences, corporate offices, manufacturing plants, and research labs was challenging, and Taekia began to feel like there was something else she was supposed to be doing. She assisted and led programs and became a teen mentor before joining the staff in 2014. She now gets to work with her ART 180 family every day, and she's not sure if she or Sanaa (her and Hamilton's daughter) is more excited about. Whoever is more excited, it's clear that the entire Glass family-- which now includes baby Amai-- has been "bitten by the ART 180 bug," as Taekia so lovingly describes the effect that ART 180 has had on her personally.

Kate Duffy

Program Manager for community programs

Born and bred in Baltimore, Kate found her way to Virginia by the way of James Madison University. She spent 11 years teaching art to high school students, and she is also a practicing visual artist. She started volunteering for ART 180 while attending a Jonny Z Festival outside of Joe's Inn. Her friend Michael Guedri (our former Program Manager) encouraged her to be the adult supervisor at the bounce house, aka the “moon bouncer.” Ever since that day on Shields, Kate has continued to volunteer at ART 180 helping with special events and exhibition installation. In 2016 she became our Program Manager for our community programs.

Michael Zetlan

Program Manager for teen programs

Growing up outside of Boston, Mike Z spent his childhood immersed in the world of books, nature, comics, and sports. An avid hockey fan, he was soon drawn to the world of art that was introduced to him through an aunt and uncle who both work at the National Gallery of Art and helped unleash his imagination. Mike started his college career in Maine at Bowdoin College and graduated from Georgetown University with a Studio Arts major with a concentration in oil painting. In the years following he continued to create, contributing to projects and shows including record albums, art journals, private shows, and organizing a Breast Cancer Awareness festival he and his brother ran for five years in the New England area. Upon moving to Richmond he was able to join ART 180 as a program leader teaching at Fairfield Middle School and Northstar Academy. Mike brings over 20 years of retail and logistics experience. He lives in Woodland Heights and practices yoga with his wife, son and dog.

Mark Strandquist

Creative Director for the Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art program

Mark is a cultural organizer who uses art as a vehicle for connecting diverse communities to build empathy and support for social justice movements. At the core of his practice is the belief that those most impacted by systemic policies are the experts society needs to listen to, and that by connecting those directly affected with a multitude of community experts and political stakeholders, we can create change on personal and systemic levels. His projects include working with incarcerated youth to create their own police training manuals; working with prisoners to design interactive public art installations that have engaged thousands across the US; and co-organizing teams of lawyers, artists, and formerly incarcerated individuals to help clear the records of thousands of individuals in Philadelphia. His work has received multiple awards, fellowships, national residencies, and reached wide audiences through The New York Times, The Guardian, NPR, The Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, VICE, and a multitude of other media outlets. Mark currently directs the People’s Paper Co-op in Philadelphia and the Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art project in Richmond.

Gina Lyles

Program Coordinator for the Youth Self-Advocacy Through Art program

Gina started as a Program Assistant doing a Hip Hop class at Henderson Middle School. She finally made it through the doors of the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center where she led her own hip hop programs just as Performing Statistics was being born. Now, Gina contributes greatly to helping incarcerated youth find their voice, using their creative voices as a catalyst to reform the juvenile justice system in Virginia. Based on her own life experience, Gina is able to navigate and empower youth caught in the school-to-prison pipeline. Her passion is working with young people to motivate them and remind them that “trouble don't last always,” based on her own experiences navigating the criminal justice system. Gina is a dope poet, singer, host and emcee, aka DA Paper Lady.

Caroline Moyer-Kardo

HR and Administrative Coordinator

Caroline was first introduced to ART 180 when she graduated from the University of Virginia in 2012 and moved to Richmond looking for work at an arts nonprofit. While working at Floricane, a local consulting firm, she got to know ART 180 as one of the firm's clients. Over the next four years, Caroline fell in love with Richmond, moved to Chicago (oops), moved back to Richmond (yay!), got married, and became a part of the ART 180 family. She's so happy to be a part of this organization that's doing big, beautiful things!

Matt Davidson

Bookkeeper and Database Coordinator

Matt grew up in Richmond and attended James Madison University, where he met his future wife. After college, they both worked in the hospitality industry and moved around the country for different jobs--New Orleans, San Diego, Houston, Atlanta, and Boston--before returning to Virginia. Matt then worked for a couple of different software companies, traveling and training. Wanting out of the corporate world, and looking for something more meaningful and local, Matt found ART 180 via family connections and is happy to be doing work that matters. He and his wife have two kids and two dogs, and he loves reading and baseball.

Our Board of Trustees:

President: Charlie Connell

Principal, PUNCH

Vice President: Joeffrey Trimmingham

President, Philip Reese

Secretary: Sarah Abubaker

Director of Advancement Data, University of Richmond

Treasurer: Elsie Rose, CPA

Vice President, Commercial Business Development Officer, Union Bank & Trust

Sharline Aboutanos

Surgeon, Richmond Plastic Surgeons

Tammy Jackson

Organizational Culture Administrator, Virginia Commonwealth University Division of Human Resources

Nicole Jones

Procurement Manager, Library of Virginia

Sarah Kim

Deputy Director, The Valentine

Jen Kostyniuk

Director, Dominion Energy Communications

Corbin Neuner

Community Volunteer

Sean O’Brien

Senior Development Officer,

Bon Secours Richmond Health System Foundation

Paula Saylor-Robinson

Director of Audience Development and CommunityEngagement, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Chris Vassey

Client Representative, Thomson Reuters

Albert Walker

Healthy Communities Liaison,
Bon Secours Richmond Health System

Liz Weiss

Loyalty Marketing Manager, CarMax

Executive Director, ART 180

Marlene Paul