MEET OUR TEAM
DM WILDING - CEO & CO-FOUNDER
Donna-Maree Wilding is the founder and CEO of Creatively Wild Art Studio. Better known as “DM,” she hails from New Zealand and has worked all over the world. DM has been teaching private and group art classes for more than 20 years. Her warm, inspirational, uplifting teaching approach to art and self-expression brings creative encouragement to all the toddlers, kids, teens and adults that she works with. DM has developed and taught programs for “LeAP,” funded by The Bloomberg Project, which was formed to transform schools in the South Bronx. Her accomplishments include founder of the children’s program at The Art Studio NY, creator of adult mixed-media classes at Harlem Village Academies, as well as playing a key role in the “Find Your Passion” initiative, which has been lauded by President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg. Her unique teaching method combines artistic technique with authentic self-expression to encourage a positive, open, joyful and empowering artistic experience for anyone. Her students find every aspect of their own lives expanding through creative expression as their artwork matures rapidly on the canvas. DM shares her passion for creativity, self-empowerment and authentic artistic self-expression as a pathway to freedom, inner peace, celebration and deep joy. DM’s method is to create a magical, sacred, creative space for each student, regardless of age or ability.
SALLY NOVAK- Studio Manager & Visual Arts Instructor
Sally Novak received her BFA from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn New York campus. She graduated cum laude as a painting major. She works in oils, acrylics, mixed media, sculpture and printmaking. She’s an award-winning artist with numerous art sales, solo and group shows. She’s an experienced Art Administrator, having co-curated a group show at Westbeth Gallery in Manhattan. She has been represented by galleries in San Diego, Palm Springs and New York, and her work is collected in both the United States and Europe. Sally is both Studio Manager and Teaching Artist at Creatively Wild Art Studio. She instructs toddlers, children, teens and adults. Her emphasis involves not only art instruction, but providing her students creative freedom. Color theory, art history, and art critiques round out her curriculum. She encourages students to think critically and independently, widening their creative vocabulary. She is currently working on a year-long project by creating a painting a day, which can be seen on her Instagramaccount. For more information and samples of Sally’s diverse body of work, please refer to her website.
ELENA CHESTNYKH - TEACHING ARTIST
Elena Chestnykh was born in Russia, she has been an exhibiting artist for twenty years. Her work has been shown in numerous venues including the Museums of Contemporary Art Erarta in Saint-Petersburg and New York; Art Center WINZAVOD in Moscow; State museums in Novosibirsk, Tomsk, and Kemerovo, Russia; Nord Art 2010, Rendsburg, Germany. Novosibirsk State Museum of Fine Art and Kemerovo Regional State Art Museum have her artwork in their collections. In the early period of her career she traveled around the world painting and learning different cultures; she painted in Italy and Syria, India and Indonesia and other countries. In 2011, she created a multimedia installation “City. Meeting Place”, which was presented in the Museum of Local History, Novosibirsk.In 2013, the Museum of Contemporary Arts Erarta presented her solo exhibition in New York Erarta Gallery. In 2015-2016 she attended the MFA FA program at the School of Visual Arts. In 2015, she contributed to the International Conference “Art in Modern Education”, Novosibirsk. Since 2016, she has written her blog about American art in English and Russian. In 2016 she curated a group exhibition “Breach” at the Rabbit Hole Gallery in Brooklyn.
LEIGHA PETTETT- TEACHING ARTIST
Leigha Pettett, a teaching Artist, Columbia University graduate with a BFA in Visual Art & Art History, is included in numerous private collections—from Lenny Kravitz White Box’s founder, Martin Liu, financier Steve Cohen, and Artinfo.com CEO, to the permanent collection of the Paduka Arts Center Museum, KY. She is a recipient of the New York Foundation for the Arts Award Grant, and the National Arts Club Presidential Award. Solo shows include 116 Houston Gallery; Dumbo Arts Center; Galapagos Arts Space; Brooklyn Arts Project, and her curatorial projects selected for inclusion in the 54th Venice Biennale. Her work appears in the private and public collections of financial and entertainment based organizations including MTV, showcased on the hit reality series “The Real Housewives of New York” and “The City.”
CANDICE ZEGARRA - Director of Dance program & TEACHING ARTIST
Candice is the Director of our dance program. She graduated from Manhattanville College in 2014 with a B.A. in Dance and Theatre and a minor in Communications on a performing arts scholarship. She has studied and performed many styles of dance and performing arts for over 15 years including; ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, street jazz, musical theatre, modern, contemporary, salsa, acting for the stage & camera and more. While in college, Candice studied and performed numerous works by professional renowned choreographers and directors and held roles in many department theatre productions. Candice was an active choreographer for the Dance department's seasonal concerts, club showcases, on-campus events and was a Captain and choreographer for the college’s hip hop crew. She has danced on tour with Marta Renzi & Co. at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and has performed in the Table of Silence 9/11 project, the xyz NY series at The Tank, Dance Astoria, RAW Artists Showcase, Peridance Faculty Student Showcases, Amalgamate Dance Company's 6th Guest Artist Showcase, Barton Booth, Why, Why, Always at Abrons Arts Center, Mark Morris Dance Center, Disney World, New York City Center and more. Candice has also trained and performed in Italy with Amalgamate Dance Company/DAMAGEDANCE's BREAKOUT program and in The Galen Hooks Method. She currently dances with Double Up Dance Company: Team LEGGOO, and freelance dances with various entertainment companies, choreographers and in music videos for recording artists. Candice has taught various styles of dance to ages 2-18 yrs for three years. Outside of work, Candice maintains her creativity through choreography with her project-based collective of artists, Segarra Dance Theatre Projects, where they focus on bringing awareness of the arts to the people through various performing art forms.