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Who We Are

Playing with Colorful Dough

We are a community based program. All of our instructors are artists themselves.  They are locally based and love working with children and art.


Founder - Monique Rutherford


Monique is passionate about bringing clay to children and believes all children should have access to art, regardless of socioeconomic status. A sculptor herself, she understands that playing with the medium of clay helps children develop a growth mindset by learning that “mistakes” can be smushed down and reshaped again. “Clay has the power to reduce anxiety, awaken creativity, foster socialization and heal from trauma. This program was created to help kids get out of their heads. It offers children a break from being told what to do and how to do it. Clay gives children the opportunity to problem solve and think for themselves so they have the chance to create in ways that are meaningful to them.”

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Muna Halabi


Yarmouk University, Irbid, Jordan, MFA
Muna’s strong passion for working with children stems from her own understanding and work as an artist. She brings of the wonder and joy of clay to our kids by encouraging them to explore and discover their uniqueness through clay.

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Roxanne Herrera


UEI College—Fresno, CA
Roxanne is a muralist, sculptor and youth advocate. She has a strong background in bringing art, sports and wellness activities to children. Roxanne likes to include a brief meditation session before her class begins to help kids settle after a long day at school. Her love for children and the arts shines in the way she brings clay to children and that makes her an excellent addition to our team.

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Sophia Hoggatt


San Francisco State University
A strong advocate for children in the arts, Sophia’s brings her knowledge, experience and passion along with her infectious sense of humor into the classroom making her an invaluable addition to our program.

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Rylee Laugen

Rylee is an artist who loves working with children. Since her early days in babysitting, Rylee has been sharing her love and knowledge of art to kids. She has become a wonderful mentor and excellent role model for our children. We are very pleased to have Rylee join us in bringing the joy of clay to kids.

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Iris Mayhew

A Mom and artist herself, Iris understands the importance of art in the lives of young children and brings that passion along with her own experience into our program.

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Colleen Sidey

HSU, Humboldt, CA
Colleen is a professional Youth and Adults arts educator with over 15 years of expertise in ceramics, sculpture, drawing and painting. Colleen is an artist whose sculptures have received numerous awards and is featured in galleries, colleges and at the John Michael Kohler Art Center; she exhibits throughout the United States.

Colleen’s love for kids is plain to see once you see how children light up when walking into her class! We are very pleased that she’s joined us in bringing art back into our public schools!

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Dominican University of California
Isabella is an art therapy graduate student who is passionate about encouraging creativity in others. She has many years of experience working with children as an afterschool teacher and school counselor. Isabella believes everyone is inherently creative and can benefit from expressing themselves through art making. 

Isabella Sziraczky

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Irene Thwaites

Academy of Art University, San Francisco
Irene works to create community though the arts. She loves working with kids, offering them opportunities to explore new horizons and introducing them to the endless possibilities of art through clay. Irene often volunteers her time working with children at her local church and likes to spend time with other children and artists at the Richmond Art Center in Richmond, CA.

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