519.890.3832 [email protected]

Our Artist Team

Our team of arts integration specialists are active, practising artists and educators in our community, professionals dedicated to artistic excellence and community contribution.

Karen McClellan

Arts Can Teach Founder, Executive Director

Karen is a professional musician, small business owner and strong advocate for the arts in education. She is dedicated to making the arts accessible to young people in Windsor-Essex schools and community settings.

Karen began playing cello in her public school’s music program, leading to a BMus and AVCM in Performance and Teacher Training. Her expertise as an artist educator has allowed Karen to combine her enthusiasm for the arts and education in a dynamic and engaging atmosphere. Since 1999, Karen and her cello have delivered hundreds of engaging music-infused classroom sessions with students as the creative leaders.

Karen is a valued leader and artist mentor, supporting, training and empowering artists from diverse disciplines to discover and share their creative strengths. Karen serves on the Board of Directors for the Arts Council Windsor and Region.

Karen performs with the Windsor Symphony Orchestra, London Symphonia, in faculty recitals at the School of Creative Arts and in rock/pop duo Front Row Cello with singer-guitarist Ted Lamont.

In 2018 Karen founded Arts Can Teach to continue and expand dynamic hands-on learning and artist-teacher partnerships in Windsor-Essex schools and community settings.

We believe in the transformative impact of creativity and the arts in children’s day to day learning in school.

We have learned that hands-on, arts-infused activities break down barriers to learning and student potential, promoting self-expression, engagement, confidence and a powerful sense of possibility.

— Karen McClellan, Executive Director


Anh Nguyen


Anh Nguyen is a dance artist and composer. He is currently the resident choreographer of HNM Dance Company, collaborating with other innovative artists and organizations on multidisciplinary projects. Anh makes regular guest appearances with other progressive dance companies, symphony orchestras, art galleries, festivals, and universities.

In recognition of his contributions to artistic and cultural life, Anh was given the Mayor’s Award of Excellence for Outstanding Artist. Anh’s choreography and compositions have been presented internationally by various dance and music ensembles. The Globe and Mail writes, “Nguyen’s complex, energetic crisscross diagonals and clean, economical, athletic movements are as elegant as they are refreshing.” The Courier-Journal describes Anh’s choreography as “PURE PLEASURE.”

Louise Paquette

Dance/Creative Movement

Louise Paquette, BFA, began her dance training in her home town of Windsor. She founded the Dare 2 Dance studio, teaching ballet, jazz and modern dance techniques. Paquette is a sessional instructor at the University of Windsor in both the Dramatic Art Department and the Faculty of Education.

Louise has more than 20 years of classroom experience teaching core curriculum through dance. She enjoys integrating curriculum topics with movement and dance to capture the student’s interest and then guide them as they enjoy learning in a new way. Louise aims to create a caring and comfortable environment where students are encouraged to express their ideas physically. Louise is passionate about sharing her love of movement and dance with students of all ages.

Louise is a passionate and engaging instructor. She knows how to connect with the children and her lessons tie well with the curriculum. She was fantastic, as always!

—Queen Victoria School


Ariel Clarke

Drama/Theatre (Virtual Visits)

Ariel Clarke is a drama and education alumna from the University of Windsor. She went on to complete a master’s in teaching at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. She has done a variety of community work with marginalized and racialized youth and has taught across multiple elementary and secondary schools in Ontario during her undergrad and graduate programs. Drama and theatre are a big part of the work that Ariel has done, and she has passionately advocated for and researched the benefits of arts integration into non-arts subjects.

Ariel has also done specific work in social justice education targeting systemic racism, which can allow the option to implement anti-racist and anti-colonial perspectives as part of lesson plans. Ariel’s teaching specialty is in using drama as a tool to support other core subjects. Her lessons use drama resources like drawing, writing, and acting in role to facilitate student learning across multiple subject areas. Ariel also has a theatre background that guides introductory work in script writing, directing, and acting.

Drumming and Spoken Word

Mbonisi Zikhali/Zomkhonto

Poet/Spoken Word Artist and Storyteller

Poetry is a powerful way to give wings to words and sprinkle magic on our everyday experiences. Story-telling gives a voice to our worldview and also gives us the confidence to remember that our story also counts.”

My name is Mbonisi Zikhali and I am a poet/spoken word artist and storyteller born in Makokoba, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. I have loved poetry since I was a child. I won my first poetry certificate when I was 8 years old. My spoken-word/storytelling name is Zomkhonto, which happens to be my bloodline’s totem. I am also a trained journalist, youth mentor, qualified community services worker, grassroots community organizer and mental wellness advocate. I consider myself an afro-empath. I am driven to ensure that people find joy in the power of words and story-telling.

Some of the recent publications I have appeared in include Best New African Poets 2019 Anthology by Mwanaka Media and Publishing and Ipikai Poetry Journal’s inaugural & second edition (initiative of the Zimbabwe Poets Society). My work was showcased at the World Poetry Slam Championships (September 26-30, 2022) in Brussels, Belgium. In 2021, I was part of Artcite Inc.’s Emancipate the Landscape, a month-long exhibition meant to celebrate the resilience and elegance of everyday Blackness, deconstruct dominant culture and question stereotypes about black people. I also hold workshops on writing for mental wellness. I am the current President of Artcite Inc. Windsor’s Board of Directors.


Teajai Travis

Storytelling and Spoken Word

“Art in all its forms, is a celebration of life, resilience and identity. The path to healing and understanding might be paved in trials and tribulations, but our audacity to create is the secret to our ability to transform into the hero of our story.”

Teajai Travis is a descendent of Afro-Indigenous West Indians who were unsettled on the magical island of Bermuda. He is also descended from a family of Foundational Black travellers and conductors of the Underground Railroad. He often identifies himself as astral-indigenous, paying homage to his celestial relations that beautifully paint the night sky in shimmering constellations. 

As an artist and educator, Teajai is passionate about the celebrations and preservation of storytelling. He finds joy and purpose in guiding learners of all ages to discover their story through fun and thought-provoking exercises. Teajai’ unique style of exploration can be adapted to accommodate a multi-generational audience of varying abilities.

As part of Teajai’s practice, he incorporates percussion instruments and spoken word poetry, to facilitate classroom drumming and storytelling circles. With 11 years of classroom experience Teajai has invented multiple lesson strategies for bridging his style of creative arts with the standard classroom curriculum. In addition to his classroom work, Teajai has accepted multiple invitations to present workshops at teacher PD’s. You might recognize Teajai from the multiple video projects he’s worked on for the GECDSB.

Teajai Travis is the inaugural multicultural community storyteller for the City of Windsor, the former Executive Director of Artcite Inc., and the founder of Sacred Story Studio, the home of A Blaze of Story. He is a founding member of the Bloomfield House and The Windsor Youth Centre. Teajai has served on the board of directors of various community organizations and has appeared in various award-winning documentaries. His written work and artist highlights can be found in various journals, articles and anthologies, and his installation work has been shown in various galleries in Canada and the US.

Teajai enjoys quiet nights at home with his wife, dog, and 2 birds. When he’s not travelling or working on a project, he’s sitting on his sofa watching films and drinking flavoured coffee.


The students were fully engaged and had a lot of fun. It was also clear which students had a strong grasp of skip counting.     The students wanted Mr. Travis “to stay and drum with them for the next 1000 days”!

— Marlborough


Matthew Romain

Puppetry, Music

“A puppet is so captivating that a child can’t help but pay attention to what it does and says. In the teacher’s hands it can be one of the most powerful and effective teaching tools. Moreover, when a student makes and uses a puppet, that power is in their hands, building confidence, developing language, and solidifying their learning. I love guiding students and teachers through those processes.”

Matthew Romain, the Laughtertainer, has been building puppets and performing since 1980. He teaches the art of puppetry to elementary, high school, and university students, and presents hands-on workshops for teachers, performing artists, and enthusiasts.

Matthew embraces each project with joy! Whether he’s teaching a puppetry class, or bringing characters to life for a television show, or animating giant puppets with the Toronto Symphony for audiences of thousands, or enlivening a children’s birthday party in a living room, his work consistently receives the highest praise. He has received numerous awards for excellence in his field.

My students and I absolutely loved this experience! I highly recommend our artist as Matthew was knowledgeable, professional, engaging and gave students access to a different pathway of learning.

— Hetherington

Visual Arts

Ainslee Winter

Visual Arts, Art Therapy

“I see art as an important tool to enhance learning and offer a perspective to a person’s thoughts and emotions visually. Art can provide healing to overcome obstacles and bring communities together through education and cultural representation.”

Ainslee Winter, BA (Hons), DTATI, RP (Qualifying), draws on years of experience as an art therapist and community wellness program provider. Her passion lies in exploring how art can be used as a means for healing and is driven to heal and teach through her creative and compassionate lens. Her business, Revival Through Hands, has developed meaningful programs with numerous organizations including Art Windsor Essex, The United Way/Centraide Windsor Essex County, The Bridge Youth Resource Center, The Children’s Safety Village, AIDS Committee of Windsor, Phoenix Recovery Program, Build A Dream, Autism Ontario, among others.

An excellent facilitator, Ainslee uses art as a tool for exploration to gain insight, awareness, and knowledge while becoming directly connected with the subject matter. Ainslee hopes to continue to support self-discovery, connection, transformation, and inspiration within her professional career and as a program facilitator.

Maryam Safarzadeh

Painting, Poetry

Maryam Safarzadeh began painting at the age of 10 and went on to study many different art techniques (e.g., calligraphy, drawing, creating handmade tiles, acrylic) from Masters of painting in Iran. She studied Graphic Design at the University of Science and Culture of Tehran and has been painting since. 

Maryam’s favourite technique is oil painting on canvas. She also has experience creating large scale tile mosaics, murals, works of calligraphy, and illustrations. She writes poetry as well. Currently, the main subject of Maryam’s paintings are women. She says that it feels as if thousands of women are living inside of her, and she voices them through her paintings.

Maryam has been teaching art and creation for 20 years in art schools, institutes and colleges across Iran as well as in her own studio at SHO Art, Spirit & Performance in Windsor. Her workshops include a combination of Middle Eastern and North American influences. Maryam serves on the Board of the Arts Council Windsor and Region.

Talysha Bujold-Abu

Illustration, Writing

Talysha Bujold-Abu (she/her) is an illustrator, administrator, and writer – she holds a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the University of Windsor (2018) and is recipient of the Conundrum Press Mini-Comic Bursary for Black and Indigenous Creators (2021). Residencies include: New Zealand Pacific Studio (2016), ArtsPond (2020–2021), and Pelee Quarry – Stone & Sky Artists Residency (2020 -2021). Talysha is pursuing a Bachelor of Education at the University of Windsor.