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Center for Creative Youth



Lisa Foss
Program Coordinator
(860) 757-6391


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Core Faculty

Lisa Foss — Program Coordinator

Lisa is the current Program Coordinator for the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. She served as the Education Director of Hartford Children’s Theatre for many years, designing programs, as well as teaching, and directing shows for both the Education Department and the Main Stage. Subsequently, she worked for Hartford Stage as the Children’s Theatre Implementation Manager. Lisa has also designed and taught programs for Three Rivers Community College, The Garde Arts Center, UCONN Community School of the Arts, Spirit of Broadway Theatre and others. She continues to perform, as well as teach private voice and acting throughout CT. She earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Musical Theatre (summa cum laude). Lisa has been a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association since 1995.

Kim Stroud — General Director

Kim began working at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in 1993 and has served as dance department chair, assistant director and director of the arts. Ms. Stroud’s former positions include: Administrator for the Dance Programs for City Youth through the School of the Hartford Ballet, General Director and Dance Chair for the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University and Head of the Diversity Committee for the International NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools. Ms. Stroud has been on faculty at the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center in New York City, SUNY Purchase, University of Hartford and The Hartford Conservatory. She was a Principal Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company for eleven years, touring the world. She has also danced and toured with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, performed in the Universal Studio film production of The Wiz, and as a guest artist with Katherine Dunham and the Gemini Dance Company. Ms. Stroud has been a master teacher for such institutions as the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Southern California at Los Angeles, University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University, Randolf-Macon Women’s College in Virginia, and the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington D.C. Ms. Stroud received Teacher Recognition from The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts in 2000 and from the Connecticut Dance Alliance in 2007. The National Dance Education Organization named Ms. Stroud "Outstanding Dance Educator of the Year" in 2005 and in 2009 she received the Teacher of the Year award from the International Arts Schools Network. Ms. Stroud was selected to be a member of the International Dance Council of the United Nations in 2008.

Noah Baerman — Music Program Chairperson

Pianist/composer Noah Baerman studied at Rutgers University in the 1990s under Kenny Barron. Since then he has produced nine CDs as a bandleader featuring all-star sidemen such as Ron Carter, Ben Riley, Steve Wilson, Robin Eubanks and Barron himself. These albums have included the Martin Luther King tribute “Soul Force,” the suite “Know Thyself” (created with a "New Works" grant from Chamber Music America/Doris Duke Foundation) and “Patch Kit,” which raised awareness and funds for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (an incurable connective tissue disorder with which he was born) and led to Marian McPartland’s invitation to be a guest on Piano Jazz. His most recent release is the widely acclaimed “Ripples,” which features both the Jazz Samaritan Alliance and Baerman’s jazz chamber octet. An active educator, he has penned nine instructional books published by the Alfred Publishing Company. He lives in Connecticut and teaches at institutions including Wesleyan University, where he directs the Jazz Ensemble. He also serves as Artistic Director of the non-profit Resonant Motion, Inc., an organization committed to the intersection of music and positive change.

Musical Theater Program Chairperson

To be announced soon…

Magge Gagliardi

Magge Gagliardi is a professional illustrator, designer and commercial artist. She has a BFA in Illustration from Paier College of Art in Hamden, CT and a MFA in Illustration from the University of Hartford in West Hartford, CT. She is an instructor at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and New Hampshire Institute of Art in Manchester, NH as well as the Center for Creative Youth at Wesleyan University. Awards and Recognition: Society of Illustrator's Los Angeles (SILA) Illustration West 56 Show, Winner of the Two Roads Brewing CONNARTIST Competition, 2017, Featured artist by Microsoft Surface, Featured artist by, June 2016, Girl Scouts of Connecticut's "Top Female Professional in the Arts - STEAM Panel" 2015, Connecticut Magazine's Best of Connecticut Exhibit 2015, Tassy Walden Awards Finalist, One of's top artists of 2012, Wingsite Display’ s Artist of the Year 2012, Connecticut Magazine >i>Sponsor's Choice Award, Winner of the Oil & Acrylic Category at the 39th Annual Members Exhibition, New Britain Museum of American Art, 2008

Diana Moller-Marino — Theater Program Chairperson

Diana is Associate Professor at the Hartt School of Music, Dance and Theatre at the University of Hartford. Specializing in movement-based actor training techniques, Diana has taught master classes and residencies nationally and internationally for students, teachers and professional actors and dancers. Diana has been a Guest Teaching Artist at many institutions including: Wesleyan University, The University of Utah, Trinity College, Santa Barbara City College, Red Lotus Movement Center (Salt Lake City) and at the cultural centers on the islands of Santiago and San Vicente in Cape Verde, Africa. Diana was a core faculty member at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts from 1993-2001. Diana holds a Bachelor’s Degree with honors in Theatre from Wesleyan University and a Master’s Degree in Directing from Emerson College.

Michael Obre, Ph.D — Visual Arts Department Chairperson

Mike completed his undergraduate studies in illustration at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and began work first for the Hearst Corporation as a bullpen artist before moving to King Features Syndicate in the mid-1990s. While completing his graduate studies in painting and education, Mike freelanced for countless magazines and companies including Warner Bros., Attic Books, Image, and Topps. During his doctoral studies, Mike segued to photography as his preferred medium. He exhibits frequently in both NYC and CT. Mike is a lifelong teacher of both traditional studio art and photography; he is the chair of the annual Celebration of Danbury Arts Festival, life drawing instructor for AP Studio Art portfolio development at Western CT State University, drawing / painting / photography teacher at ESCAPE to the ARTS, and is the Fine Arts Department Head for Danbury Public Schools.

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