First Teaching Artists

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Over our twenty-five-year history, we have enlisted the support of over 350 TeachingArtists to oversee hands-on artistic workshops with artworxLA students. Today, we look back at the Teaching Artists that were at the foundation of our artistic program. Through poetry, illustration, and painting, these unique individuals used their talents to embolden the creative minds of young teens and inspired a tradition of teachingarts education that has spanned over two decades. 

Ken Breisch

Ken Breisch

Kenneth Breisch partnered with artworxLA in 1992 and connected us with the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) for our first artistic workshop series. He linked us with a few of his graduate students to teach our earliest workshops. Ken shared his skills as an architectural historian to inspire our students. Ken earned his Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Michigan and has taught at SCI-Arc, the University of Texas and the University of Delaware. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and the Society of Architectural Historians, where he was the First Vice President. Ken Breisch currently works as an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program on Heritage Conservation at the School of Architecture at USC.

artworx LA student,  LA City Councilman Jose Huizar, and Ulises Diaz.

artworxLA student,  LA City Councilman Jose Huizar, and Ulises Diaz.

Ulises De Jesus Diaz Castro was a community leader and urban activist who worked to strengthen the voice of diversity in Los Angeles. Ulises was one of our very first Teaching Artists and continued to work in our classrooms often over our 25 years, sharing his passion for architecture and urban planning with our students. His works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts, the Gamel Dok Architecture Museum in Copenhagen and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Ulises passed away on March 30th, 2016. All of us at artworxLA miss him dearly. 


Monique Birault joined Ulises to teach our architecture workshop in our first year of programming. As a graduate student, she joined artworxLA to support us as aTeaching Artist. Monique is a Los Angeles based architect who has immersed herself in the artistic landscape offered by South California. Often calling herself a multicultural Southern Californian, Monique started her formal training studying music and graduating with a masters in architecture from SCI-Arc. Currently, Monique manages designs and works with university architects to develop ideas for campus beautification as a Project Manager at USC, and she oversees her own line of decorative fashion jewelry. 

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As a Teaching Artist, Manazar Gamboa shared his passion for poetry and creative writing with young students in our program. A convict-turned-poet, Manazar devoted his life after prison to writing and sharing the liberating power of literature with individuals from troubled backgrounds. Gamboa's writings have become an important staple of the urban Chicano experience. In the late 1970s, his writings were published in revered magazines such as the Chicago Review. Manazar Gamboa passed away in 2001 at the age of 66. We remain grateful for the positive impact he had on our students. 


HK Zamani (Habib Kheradyar Zamani) is an Iranian artist that lives and works in Los Angeles. Zamani was one of our very first Teaching Artists and produced a collection of frescoes with artworxLA students. These works were presented at our first public presentation at SCI-Arc. HK illuminated our students' understanding of the process of painting and opened their minds to presenting public works. As a working artist, Zamani has exhibited his works in New York, San Francisco, Prague, Seoul, and Saigon. His works are in the permanent collections of LACMA, Berkeley Museum of Art, and AD&A Museum at UC Santa Barbara. Zamani became the founder and director of PØST in 1995. This experimental gallery has held over five-hundred exhibitions since its conception.