Ms. Womble is a Miami native and passionate arts leader with more than 15 years of experience. She excels at team building, managing change, strategic planning, and fundraising. Her vibrant approach to all tasks and thoughtful analysis of opportunities helped her drive a significant period of growth and transition at Arts for Learning, increasing the annual budget by more than 55% in one year as a result of program expansions and evaluation initiatives. Under her leadership, Arts for Learning developed programs to serve children and youth from infancy through high school, providing Miami’s youth more opportunities to grow up with the arts.
Prior to helping establish and lead Arts for Learning, she managed a private art collection and handled artist and community relations and marketing services for ArtCenter/South Florida. She studied at the Institute for American Studies in Aix-en-Provence, France and holds a degree in Art History & Anthropology from the University of Miami. When not advocating on behalf of children and the arts, she can be found dancing in her kitchen, telling the same joke repeatedly to her son, or picking up the fallen mangoes in her yard.
Ms. Mattson joined Arts for Learning in January 2004. She holds a BS degree in Systems Analysis from the University of Miami’s School of Business, where she graduated with honors. She quickly became a key part of Arts for Learning’s executive management team as she rose though the positions of Administrative Coordinator, Business Manager, and then Finance Director. She believes in the connections between music and math and that her childhood training in piano, choir, and violin are serving her well in her career.
Ms. Suarez joined Arts for Learning in April, 2016. She holds an AAS in Hospitality Management from Formatur and an Entertainment & Customer Service Management diploma from Sandals Resorts International. She has more than 15 years of experience in the operations/administration support fields. While working in hospitality, she was in charge of several cultural galas, exhibitions, concerts and visits to sites of artistic and/or historic interest, oriented to create awareness and increase revenues. As a volunteer, she created and participated in initiatives to help build and restore houses in impoverished neighborhoods in Cuba, Jamaica and Saint Martin and also created family and children oriented activities in these communities. While working in the TV/Media industry in Miami for more than 4 years, she held administration and business development management positions, servicing prestigious networks such as Telemundo, Univision and Discovery en Español. She is currently enrolled in MDC’s School of Continuing Education and Professional Development business courses.
Carolina Candelaria joined the A4L team in 2013. She holds an AA in English Literature from the Honors College at Miami Dade College, and a BFA in Drawing from Florida International University. She began work as an intern at Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays, Inc. while at FIU, and continued to become the festival’s Artist Coordinator & Curator of the Viernes Culturales Gallery. Later, she served as Executive Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director of Miami Dade College’s Museum of Art + Design, housed in the National Historic Landmark Freedom Tower in Downtown Miami.
Dia Carter Webb earned a BA degree in Fine Arts from the University of Florida and a Masters of Science in Art Education from Florida International University. Mrs. Carter Webb joined Arts for Learning in 2004, after 16 years of teaching in the Miami-Dade County Public School system at both the elementary and middle school levels. During six of these years, Mrs. Carter Webb taught at the School of Choice Expressive Arts Program at Charles R. Drew Elementary School. Mrs. Carter Webb was an early adopter of Arts for Learning’s GET smART program and is experienced in integrating the arts with core subjects, incorporating various pedagogies, enhancing instructional performance through partnering with diverse community resources, and providing professional development for classroom teachers. She has directed A4L’s early childhood program since 2007, and is highly skilled in inclusion strategies. She currently serves on Miami-Dade County’s All Kids Included Steering Committee.
Ms. Bennett received a BS degree in Economics from Florida State University in May of 2004. She first joined Arts for Learning as a Dance Teaching Artist in 2004, and now holds the position of Program Director and Artist Services Administrator. Ms. Bennett worked as a professional dancer and choreographer for many years, having found a passion for movement, performance and the choreographic process. As a Teaching Artist, she shared her artistry with both children and adults of all ages. She formerly served as a Guardian ad Litem in Broward County, where she advocated for the best interest of Florida’s abused and neglected children. She has volunteered as a mentor to young girls at Girl Power, a non-profit organization in Miami-Dade County. She has also served as the Vice-Chairperson of Miami Gardens Progressive Young Adults, a subcommittee of the City Council that represents the interest of young adults in the City of Miami Gardens. In 2015, Ms. Bennett participated in Young Audiences Emerging Leadership Institute (ELI), an intensive professional development program for individuals who are committed to strengthening their skills and competencies in order to become transformational leaders in the arts-in-education field. Through her work as a Program Director, she has developed a passion for working with teens and helping them to discover their fullest potential. Ms. Bennett gets to continue this mission by leading Arts for Learning’s teen internship initiatives, the ArtWorks Internship Program and the Wall(in) Project.
Laura Luna is an artist from the “Cuban Golden Generation” living in Miami, FL, since 1980. She studied at San Alejandro School of the Arts at the same time as Jose Bedia, Ruben Torres-Llorca, Gustavo Acosta and other important artists from the 80’s. After graduating from art school in 1978, she trained in sculptural ceramics at the same workshop (Santiago de las Vegas) attended by Amelia Pealez, Rene Portocarrero and Wifredo Lam. Ms. Luna has extensive teaching and lecturing experience including teaching college courses in Art History, Art Appreciation, and Drawing, Painting and Sculptural Designs as well as facilitating lectures, workshops and presentations both locally and internationally. Ms. Luna began her work with Arts for Learning as a teaching artist in 2005, prior to becoming a Mentor Artist in 2006.
Guadalupe Figueras is a media artist, filmmaker and art educator living in Miami, FL. She holds a BFA in Digital Art from Florida International University, a M.A. in Curatorial Studies in Digital Art from School of Design in Barcelona, Spain, and a M.A. in Arts, Philosophy and Social Practice from the European Graduate School. She served as an artist in residence at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami for several years, and has been a team member of complex cultural projects such as the Influencers Festival and the LOOP Video Art Fair in Spain, and the Miami Film Festival in Florida. She recently worked as the Head of the Cultural Affairs department at Broward College South Campus, where she had the opportunity to conceptualize and execute the all cultural programming for the campus. She joined Arts for Learning in 2019, where she is thrilled to serve as a part-time Program Manager, in charge of the Lewis Arts Studio and other afterschool programs.
Yazminda Merida-Acosta brings extensive sales and customer service experience to Arts for Learning. Her administrative experience is also due in part to her previous work in medical billing, augmented by her Medical Office Administration Diploma from Concorde Career Institute. As A4L’s Program Assistant, Yazminda is a huge support to the entire Program department, and serves as liaison to A4L Teaching Artists.