Alex WasalinkoMarketing & Communications Manager
Betsaleel (Bets) CharmelusChief Executive Officer
Eugene CottrellNorth Carolina Lead
Hayley KrichelsColorado Lead
Janelle Saint-EloiRecruitment and Alumni Engagement Coordinator
Julia DurkinChief Financial Officer & Director of Human Resources
Maggie PhillipsPhiladelphia Lead
Stephanie Markman MayénChief Partnership Officer & Director of Communications
Utsa HazarikaNew York City Lead
Margo DrakosFounder & Trustee Chair
Alex WasalinkoMarketing & Communications Manager Reading Time: < 1 minute
Alex Wasalinko is a poet, artist, and educator. As ArtistYear’s Marketing and Communications Manager, she is responsible for managing ArtistYear’s marketing and media presence.
Alex received her B.A. in English literature and philosophy with minors in art history and French from the University of Scranton. She also holds an MRes in creative writing with a concentration in ekphrastic poetry from the University of Strathclyde. As a writer, she often uses visual art, the natural world, and urban landscapes to explore themes of selfhood. She also enjoys experimenting with found language and imagery as a medium for expression.
Prior to starting her role as Marketing and Communications Manager at ArtistYear, Alex served as an ArtistYear AmeriCorps Creative Writing Resident Teaching Artist for two years at Alexander Adaire Elementary School in Philadelphia.
She has taught children’s after school arts classes and managed organizations’ social media in Scranton and Philadelphia, PA. In 2019, Alex was a research assistant and guest alumni playwright for the University of Scranton’s original oral history play, The Porches Project, which presented the history and evolution of Scranton’s historic Hill Section via community members’ stories.
In her spare time, alongside continuing her artistic practice, Alex enjoys practicing photography, cooking, and hiking.
Betsaleel (Bets) CharmelusChief Executive Officer Reading Time: < 1 minute
Betsaleel (Bets) Charmelus (he/him) is a facilitator, community advocate, and an auditory story-teller. He currently serves as ArtistYear’s Chief Executive Officer.
As a facilitator, he has worked with Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation, Moore College of Arts & Design, Rowan University, Drexel University, TEDx, the Maryland Department of Education, the Philadelphia School District, New Victory Theatre, and many more academic and organizational partners. As a community advocate, he has worked as a music facilitator for survivors of sexual trauma with JJPI’s B.O.S.S Program, as the program director for the anti-violence non-profit Beyond the Bars, and as a founder & supporter of local grassroots men’s mental health support groups. As an auditory story-teller, he’s shared his music from coast to coast, collaborating with and performing alongside many other artists.
Bets is passionate about finding & claiming new spaces, building strong, inter-dependent communities & exploring the difference between questioning oneself and asking oneself questions.
Eugene CottrellNorth Carolina Lead Reading Time: < 1 minute
Before joining ArtistYear as the North Carolina Lead, Eugene Cottrell was a decorated educator and band director in North Carolina public schools.
He began his 25 year teaching career as an assistant director of bands at West Point Middle and High Schools in West Point, Mississippi. In 1999 he moved to Northwood High School and Horton Middle School in Pittsboro, NC where he was challenged with rebuilding a program that had been neglected and fallen to only 28 enrolled students. Within 3 years the total number of students at Horton and Northwood grew exponentially to over 130 enrolled in the band program. After 6 years the program at Northwood had grown large enough to allow for full time high school duties. Under Eugene’s leadership, both schools’ bands garnered superior ratings, with the Marching Chargers of Northwood racking up 1st places awards at local, regional and national competitions. More than one administrator commented that “the Marching Chargers are giant slayers” because they had defeated so many bands larger than them for overall grand championship honors.
After 15 years at Northwood, Eugene moved to a new high school in the Sandhills region. Before retiring in 2021 his wind ensembles, jazz bands and chamber ensembles racked up superior ratings in state competitions while playing college level literature from the grade V and VI NC state lists. During his time at there, Eugene saw the band almost double in size and receive countless 1st place caption awards and numerous grand championships for best band of the day.
In 2005 Eugene was awarded the Mr. Holland’s Opus Award which recognizes music teachers who best demonstrate the spirit and dedication of “Mr. Holland” portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss in the 1995 hit movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus. In 2011 Eugene was awarded the Jackson Parkhurst for Special Achievement by the North Carolina Symphony. This award recognizes NC teachers “that make a lasting difference in the lives of students of all abilities and backgrounds, serve the community in an exemplary manner as a role model in music education, instill a love for music in children and inspire students to reach appropriately high musical standards.”
Eugene graduated from Concord College in Athens, WV. In addition to his music and teaching practices, Eugene is a published photographer with his photos appearing in North Carolina galleries. He also loves golf…more than it loves him back.
Hayley KrichelsColorado Lead Reading Time: < 1 minute
Hayley Krichels is an artist and educator. She received her BA in Photography from Bard College, and has been working in art education for the past seven years– first in the non-profit realm at RedLine Contemporary Art Center and the Clyfford Still Museum, then as a teacher with Denver Public Schools. As an artist, she is primarily interested in humor and play, which she explores through photography and sculpture.
Janelle Saint-EloiRecruitment and Alumni Engagement Coordinator Reading Time: < 1 minute
Janelle Saint-Eloi is a filmmaker, writer, and creative entrepreneur. As Recruitment and Alumni Engagement Coordinator she is responsible for recruiting artists of various and unique artistic disciplines to serve as Resident Teaching Artists throughout ArtistYear’s service regions. Janelle is also responsible for keeping ArtistYear’s network of alumni connected to each other and engaged with the National Cohort for support towards creative learning.
Prior to joining the leadership team, she served as a Resident Teaching Artist (RTA) in the Queens cohort. During her service Janelle used film and television to help students develop critical writing and analysis skills. She also used creative storytelling through board games, comic books and poetry to highlight the importance of personal story through different artistic mediums. Inspired by her year of service, Janelle is passionate about creating a network of mindful, easily accessible children’s media content backed by child psychology.
As a filmmaker and writer, the theme of Janelle’s work highlights unique coming of age stories. She is connected to the Philadelphia film scene through her alma mater Temple University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Film and Media Arts.
When she is not working Janelle can be found on the tennis court, on a hiking trail or visiting family in Boston. Janelle has been teaching herself coding and programming in her spare time, and is in the process of developing a life-planning and organization app.
Julia DurkinChief Financial Officer & Director of Human Resources Reading Time: < 1 minute
As ArtistYear’s Chief Financial Officer and Director of Human Resources, Julia Durkin provides strategic leadership for the organization’s financial, compliance, and human resources planning and implementation, in addition to supporting ArtistYear’s operations, program, and realization. Julia brings almost 20 years of financial and operational experience in the public and nonprofit sectors, with a focus on start-up organizations, developing policies and procedures to increase impact and efficiency.
Prior to ArtistYear Julia served as Operations Director for Play On Philly, where she created the Human Resources department, guided the organization through six years of successful financial audits, and managed the budget growth from $1.2 million in 2013 to $2.4 million in 2018.
She has also served as Operations Director and Director of Compliance for Senator Bob Casey’s successful 2012 reelection campaign.
Julia serves on the board of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, serving on the Finance & Audit, as well as the Strategic Planning Committee.
Julia received a Bachelor of the Arts with a double major in Performance Studies and Political Science at Northwestern University. She also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the Fels Institute of Government at the University of Pennsylvania, and a certification in Human Resources from the Society for Human Resources.
As a lifelong musician, she studied bassoon with Shirley Curtiss, performed in chamber ensembles at Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School, performed in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Orchestra under the direction of Rossen Milanov, and participated in numerous musical theatre productions over the years.
Maggie PhillipsPhiladelphia Lead Reading Time: < 1 minute
Maggie Phillips is an educator and movement artist who uses performance, digital media, and experimentation to explore connection and storytelling. She has extensive training in contemporary dance, circus aerials, and dance improvisation. As Philadelphia Lead, Maggie mentors a large cohort of Resident Teaching Artists (RTAs) and through that hopes to cultivate courageous, thoughtful, and innovative leaders in the teaching artistry field.
Maggie previously supported our onboarding and program coordination, and served as ArtistYear’s ACCESS (Artists Connecting Creatively to Enrich and Support Schools) Lead. Maggie managed RTAs as they served in Philadelphia schools and as content creators in partnership with YouTube Kids. Maggie also served for two years as an ArtistYear AmeriCorps RTA — as a member of the Class of 2020 at F. Amedee Bregy School in Philadelphia, and as a Senior member of the Class of 2021 with ArtistYear ACCESS.
Maggie Phillips is originally from Eau Claire, WI and grew up immersed in dance, music, and competitive figure skating. Maggie is a graduate of Middlebury College where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in chemistry and dance.
Stephanie Markman MayénChief Partnership Officer & Director of Communications Reading Time: < 1 minute
As ArtistYear’s Chief Partnership Officer & Director of Communications, Stephanie Mayen is responsible for the full range of funding development activities for ArtistYear, ensuring stability and responsible growth for the organization over the short- and long-term.
Stephanie has been committed to public education since the beginning of her career, spending the first portion of her professional life in the classroom. She taught middle school English as a Teach For America Corps Member in St. Louis and went on to teach in a high-performing charter school. She parlayed her experience in the classroom into her work with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI).
Stephanie joined NMSI in 2014 as Grants Manager and held a number of positions during her seven years with the organization, rising to Director of Fundraising and Operations by the end of her tenure. During her time at NMSI, she developed and supported NMSI’s strategic growth strategy, led NMSI’s federal fundraising efforts, raised over $30 million dollars from public and private sources, developed processes and procedures for the organization, and developed fundraising strategies to diversify funding for the organization, all with the goal of maximizing impact and student success.
Stephanie earned a Master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and Bachelors’ degrees in English and communications from Southern Methodist University.
Utsa HazarikaNew York City Lead Reading Time: < 1 minute
Utsa Hazarika is an artist and writer. Her research-based practice ranges across video, installation and photography, and explores how an interdisciplinary dialogue can push us to think about power, memory and resistance. Her work has been exhibited in India and the United States, and she has been awarded residencies and fellowships internationally, including by the Queens Museum, Asian Cultural Council, and the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in the United States; Lijiang Studio in China; and Khoj International Artists’ Association in India.
Through her work on Artreach India’s innovative arts programs, Utsa managed art education projects focused on women and children in low-income communities and shelters for the homeless in Delhi. She has since worked on educational initiatives in the arts at The New School Art Collection, and the CASA Teaching Residency at the Queens Museum, which engages K-12 students in the NYC Borough of Queens public schools.
Through both independent projects, and work with local and international organizations, Utsa has over a decade of engagement with community-based research, advocacy and education. Her work has focused on indigenous communities and marginalized urban communities in South and South East Asia, and immigrant communities in Britain and the United States. Her art and academic research has been published internationally including in Ethnos: Journal of Anthropology (UK), Trans Asia Photography Review (US) and The Caravan (India). She holds an MFA in Fine Arts from The New School and an MPhil in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.
Margo DrakosFounder & Trustee Chair Reading Time: < 1 minute
Committed to a life of service that harnesses the innovative power of technology and the transformative potential of the arts, Founder and Trustee Chair of ArtistYear, Margo Drakos is a concert cellist, founder of tech companies, impact investor, and proud active duty Military spouse. Margo served as CEO of ArtistYear from its inception in 2016 to 2021.
Margo is Managing Director of Draper Richards Kaplan Fdt. (DRK), a global venture philanthropy firm supporting early stage, high-impact social enterprises. In this role, she serves on the Boards of Ameelio, Public Rights Project, and Rocket Learning. Margo has spent the past decade working with private and public sector institutions leveraging technology and strategic alignment to realize scale, revenue generation, and sustainability. In this capacity, Margo served as Partner and Chief Technology Officer at McChrystal Group LLC.
Margo has spent the past decade working with private and public sector institutions leveraging technology and strategic alignment to realize scale, revenue generation, and sustainability. She has recruited, led, and motivated matrix and dispersed organizations of engineering, product, marketing, and growth teams in the non-profit and commercial spaces while maintaining high-quality standards. Until 2017, Margo spent four years as Chief Technology Officer and at McChrystal Group LLC, a software and service company designed to optimize organizational performance.
Margo began working as a professional musician at age four, performing on national radio and television commercials. Over the course of her career as a cellist she performed as a soloist, chamber, and orchestral musician on the world’s preeminent stages on five continents. Margo entered music conservatory at fifteen as a double major in cello and composition and graduated from Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia in 1999. She served as Artist-in-Residence and Cello and Chamber Music faculty member at the Aspen Music Festival and Manhattan School of Music from 2002-2008. Margo’s positions included cellist of the American String Quartet, Principal Cellist of the Oregon, San Diego, and Seattle Symphonies, and Associate Principal of Pittsburgh Symphony. She toured regularly with “Musicians from Marlboro” and has recorded and produced for Sony Classical, Naxos, Arabesque, and Longhorn Records.
In 2007, embracing the power of technology to democratize access to the arts, Margo co-founded and led her first start-up, InstantEncore.com, the world’s leading provider of web and mobile technology to the performing arts. In that role, Margo executed strategic partnerships to enable some of the first live web and mobile concert streaming and download events from Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House. In 2011, she was made a Partner at the SwitchCase Group, the lead investor in InstantEncore.
In 2010, Margo was honored as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, a community of extraordinary global leaders under forty. Margo has been invited to speak on technology, entrepreneurship, and the arts at institutions and events including Americans for the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, the Global Competitiveness Forum of Saudi Arabia, TechVenture in Singapore and the World Economic Forum at Davos.
Margo received a Masters in Human Rights from Columbia University and holds Executive Degrees in Global Leadership and Public Policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School and Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. Her publications have appeared in the Aspen Institute Magazine, The International Affairs Review, The Stanford Social Innovation Review, and The Cornell International Law Journal.
ArtistYear TrusteesReading Time: < 1 minute
Margo Drakos, ArtistYear Founder & Chair of the Board
Robert Carpenter, PhD.