Staff

Betty P. Lindley
Betty P. Lindley
Founder/Executive Director
Phone: 215-473-7810
Email: blindley@westparkcultural.org

A visual artist and former teacher who moved to Philadelphia in 1974 after living three years in Rome, Italy. Betty started her arts management career in 1978. From 1981 to 1999 she produced over 60 plays working as Managing Director of the Germantown Theatre Guild, Founder and Executive Director of Kopia Theatre at Cornucopia on Parkside Avenue, and co-founder of Venture Theatre where she was executive director for thirteen years. At Venture Theatre she worked with teachers and administrators at 15 different Philadelphia public schools to implement Theatre for Learning, a program that used theatre to teach across the curriculum. Her other positions have included 12 plus years as Development Officer at Art Sanctuary, Founding President of the Business Association of West Parkside, Member of the Mayor’s Small Business Advisory Council (Goode administration), and four years on the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance Board of Directors. She also served on the Program and Board Placement Committees of PVLA (Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts). Betty returned to West Parkside in 2000 where she lives with her husband. She served for three years on the Board of the Friends of the Shofuso Japanese House and Garden and is a member of the East Parkside Historic District Coalition and the Mann Center Virtuoso Committee.

Kennedy McAlister
Kennedy McAlister
Program Manager
Email: kmcalister@westparkcultural.org

Kennedy is an artist, educator, and creative originally from Oklahoma. Her educational journey includes bachelor degrees in both Music and English, and most recently, a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting with a concentration in Music-in-Education from New England Conservatory.

Kennedy’s artistic endeavors reach far and wide – from instruments to voices, visual arts to creative writing – and she is grateful for the community she has found in the arts. She is passionate about guiding and developing young minds, artists, and thinkers, and believes that the arts help students understand the world around them in a more holistic, robust way.

She has taught music and performing arts to students of various ages and experiences – from preschoolers to senior citizens, beginners to advanced students. Her previous employments include a faculty position at the New England Conservatory Preparatory School where she conducted the children’s choruses; assistant conductor for the Philharmonic Society of Arlington’s Chorale; long-term substitute music teacher/conductor at Nashoba-Brooks Middle School; and teaching artist at several theaters throughout the country. She also runs her own private music studio for voice and piano.

Kennedy lives in West Philadelphia with her husband, Parker, and adores this city. She is grateful for West Park Cultural Center and its dedication to bettering the lives and academic experiences of its students.

Niesha Kennedy
Niesha Kennedy
Communications Manager
Phone: 215-515-6615
Email: nkennedy@westparkcultural.org

Niesha Kennedy-Robinson is an accomplished public relations professional that has a genuine love of the arts. With over 10 years experience in Public Relations, and a small business owner, Niesha has the expertise to properly represent the arts and culture industry and social entrepreneurs who run small businesses.  She has worked with a diverse group of artists and is known and respected in the arts community.  Niesha has always been “in the know” and the go to person for the latest happenings. She started her public relations career as Director of Public Relations for Sharp With Art Group. She is also a contributor for Philly Entrepreneurs, Handmade Philly, Mandis Mag, Parkside Journal and others.

She is passionate about community service and volunteers often.  She is a Founding Member and Vice President of the Wolfpack Community Association.  In addition to she also has volunteered for West Park Cultural Center, Alex’s Lemonade Foundation, Philadelphia Community Corps among others.

Niesha is currently a member of For(bes) The Culture, Philadelphia Association Black Journalists, PABJ’s Public Relations Council and The Collective Noire. She currently resides in Philadelphia with her husband and two daughters.

Niki Rice
Development Associate
Email: nrice@westparkcultural.org

Niki Rice is a native New Yorker, writer, and development and administrative professional with a passion for promoting equity, sustainability and culture. She graduated from Bard College in 2018 with a B.A. in Philosophy and went on to pursue a permaculture apprenticeship in Santa Barbara, California. Niki moved to Philadelphia in 2020 after living in Berlin, Germany for a year and a half and completing a post-baccalaureate writing fellowship at Bard College campus in Berlin. She currently lives with her partner and cat in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. 

Aesha Johnson
Aesha Johnson
Social Media Manager
Email: ajohnson@westparkcultural.org

Aesha is a student at Drexel University in the LeBow College of Business majoring in Marketing with anticipated graduation 2022. She worked as a social media intern at the Dornsife Center for Neighborhood Partnerships and has experience with social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.

 

Cameron Bridgers
Cameron Bridgers
Dance Instructor

Cameron Bridgers is a dance artist based in Philadelphia PA, by way of West Orange, NJ. She began her dance journey at Sharron Miller’s Performing Arts Academy in Montclair, NJ and is trained in Ballet, Modern, styles of the African Diaspora, Hip Hop, and improvisation. Cameron is a graduate of Temple University, Boyer College of Music and Dance, holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While at Temple, Cameron performed in numerous student based concerts and has trained and worked with artists such as Kyle “Just Sole”Clarke, Esther Baker Tarpaga, Megan Bridge(Fidget), Jillian Harris, Kun Yang Lin, and more.

Cameron is a dedicated advocate for dance Education in the K-12 setting and enjoys teaching students of all ages. She believes every person can benefit from and has the ability to find expression in movement. Cameron will be apprenticing with the Koresh Kids Dance outreach program this fall, assisting in the integration of dance in elementary schools in the Philadelphia district. She has taught for Yes and Collaborative Arts, as well as her alma mater West Orange High School, in their dance program. She is excited to join the dancelogic team as dance instructor.

Kamil Simmons
Kamil Simmons
Dance Instructor

I am Kamil and my goal is to develop coping skills and build self-esteem through creativity and expression. Dance is one of my favorite areas of creativity. I have danced with a variety of professional dance companies over the years. My love for dance allotted me the opportunity to create my own dance masterclass series that explores improvisation, jazz, ballet, modern, praise, hip-hop, etc. Dance is Freedom.

Franklyn Athias
Franklyn Athias
Coding Instructor (danceLogic)

Franklyn is Senior Vice President Network and Communications Engineering at Comcast Cable where he has worked for the last 22 years. He has a BS degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Computer Science and has previously worked for  the Franklin Mint, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and J.P. Morgan.

Janice Merendino
Janice Merendino
Drawing Instructor

Janice is a professional artist, college professor, and one of five founders of the Clay Studio. She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education and Bachelor of fine Arts in Ceramics from Moore College of Art. As founder and director of the Branch Out Project, Janice has taught over 2,000 non-artists in schools, government agencies and corporations how to draw to use visual thinking to develop more innovative approaches to problem solving in areas other than art. Janice developed and taught West Park Cultural Center’s afterschool ceramics program for nine years.

Natasha Cohen-Carroll
Natasha Cohen-Carroll
Photography/Video Instructor

Natasha Cohen-Carroll graduated from Haverford College with a double major in English and Fine Arts with a concentration in photography. She was awarded the Center for Peace & Global Citizenship Grant and taught photography and theatre to children in Ahmedabad, India. Natasha is bilingual in English and French and advanced in Spanish. She has been an artist/counselor with the West Park Cultural Center’s Camp Ginkgo for the past two summers and has led stop-motion and poetry workshops throughout the year. She recently co-organized the Mustard Seed Film Festival with Hariprasad and is working on documentary film projects about community and culture.

Claudine CocoSoliel Bastien
Claudine CocoSoliel Bastien
Guitar Instructor

Claudine CocoSoleil Bastien aka “ CocoSol ”  is a magnetic world fusion vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Montreal, Canada. In the past 20 years in Philadelphia, CocoSol performed with the finest musicians in the community, including; Owen Brown, Marc Johnson, Doug Grisby, Jeff Lee Johnson, the Philadelphia symphony, Ustad Khan’s (musicalbeats.net), and many more, bringing her multi ethnic flavor and soulful presence to the mix. 

Her professional teaching experience extends to 17 years as the head music teacher for elementary and middle school students of Gladwyne Montessori, where she also conducted the 18 seats ensembles and the school performing rock band. In 2015, she founded Sowelu Music (sowelumusic.com), a studio on wheels delivering excellencies in private training, artistic development and production in the greater Philadelphia.

Megan Holliday
Megan Holliday
Ceramic Instructor
Email: megankholliday@gmail.com

Megan is a ceramic artist and recent graduate from the BFA program at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. Megan has experience working with children in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. She specializes in wheel-thrown pottery and incorporates elements of drawing and painting with three-dimensional forms. Her work often features themes of sustainability, wellness, and (im)balance.