Meet the Staff

Michele Vavonese

Michele Vavonese

Director

Michele considers it an honor to work with, support and introduce to the broader arts industry the highly underexposed and underrated works of HOPE artists. Made up of many truly gifted individuals, Michele comes into work each day invigorated with the possibilities of giving HOPE artists every opportunity their hard work deserves. Through the utilization of fantastic funders, a dynamic HOPE team of professional artists and creative therapists, years of knowledge in programmatic systems,         Read more–>

Erica Melendez

Erica Melendez

Student Services Coordinato

Erica went to California State University, Dominguez Hills where she obtained her B.A. in Sociology in May 2016. She plans on continuing her education towards a Masters of Social Work. After volunteering in many non-profit organizations, Erica has gained a passion for work in the helping profession. Her compassion towards adults with intellectual disabilities has given her the skills and commitment to improve and strengthen the abilities of the students of Hope Center for the Arts.        Read more —->

Jorge Chavira

Artist Services Specialist & Performing Arts Instructor

Jorge Chavira brings an energetic and enthusiastic passion to helping others at Hope Center for the Arts. This devotion also secured him a B.S. in Human Services from California State University of Fullerton.

Jorge’s background as Music Instructor eventually gave him the opportunity to start work at Hope Center for the Arts as a substitute music instructor. Like many of the facilitators at HOPE Jorge is an experienced and professional artist/performerr.

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Steve Enzweiler

Steve Enzweiler

Director of Hi Hopes

Steve’s musical passion was inspired by his dad, a jazzstride pianist who introduced him to the American song book, gave him lessons, and showed him some rudiments on an inherited Spanish-American War drum. A professional musician from the age of 13, Steve’s played almost every gig imaginable, from middle school sock-hops to Big-10 Homecoming dances; smokey NYC or Chicago jazz clubs to major concert venues across the country; dates for home grown demos to studio work with grammy recipients. In between gigs,                                                                 Read More —>

Steven Noguera

Steven Noguera

Director of Hand Bells

A professional musician since the age of 12, Steven Noguera has performed all across the United States; and composed and recorded over 60 pieces of music.   For a significant portion of his life he was a successful entrepreneur and business owner.  However, after being struck by personal tragedy when his only son lost his life to spinal meningitis, Steven was inspired to redirect the focus of his life and his career when in 1999 he joined the Hope family.                                                                       Read More —->

Diana Maddox

Diana Maddox

Director of Therapy Services

Diana is a Board-Certified Music Therapist, HOPE Choir Director at Hope Center for the Arts and the Director of Therapy Services. She received her B.A. in Music Therapy from California State University Northridge and is currently obtaining her Masters in Counseling at California State University Fullerton. She completed her music therapy internship at Whidbey General Hospital in Coupeville, Washington where she worked with patients in Medical Surgery,                                                                                  Read More —–>

Sandra Carter

Sandra Carter

Horticultural & Fiber Arts Instructor

Sandra D. Carter is certified in both Horticultural Therapy and Social-Emotional arts therapies from UCLA and engaged as a therapeutic fiber arts facilitator. She has over 20 years of experience in the field of special education focusing on adults with intellectual disabilities. Sandra has a trained  therapeutic approach to instruction which is evident in her appetency of task breakdown and tailored alternative instruction. Sandra is a fully regarded fiber artist,.                                                         Read More —- >

Maja Ruznic

Maja Ruznic

Visual Arts Instructor

Maja Ruznic was born in Bosnia & Herzegovina and came to the United States in 1992 as a refugee.  Once in the United States, she studied Psychology and Art at University of California Berkeley and received her M.F.A. from the California College of the Arts in 2009.

Maja is a working artist whose paintings, drawings and performances explore memory and how it shapes our understanding of reality.  She has exhibited nationally as well as internationally and has shown her work at ArtTranspoder (Berlin),                                                                    Read More — >

Heather Wright

Heather Wright

Visual Arts Instructor

Heather Wright is a sculptural ceramic artist. Her B.F.A. in Ceramics was received from California State University Fullerton California in 2016.. She is the recipient of numerous awards while at CSUF including the Elizabeth Touhey scholarship for art in 2010, and notable award for the Student Research Day at CSUF for her sculpture, “My Daddy’s Chair” as well as first place in the student show for her piece entitled “Open Form” . Her recent group exhibitions include Epitaphs at Biola University, AMOCA annual Ceramics call                                                                                        Read More — >

Our Mission

Our Mission: Through the arts, we transform the lives of adults with intellectual disabilities.
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