Fernanda Lopez, LMHC, MA, Art Therapist
Fernanda was born and raised in Medellín, Colombia. Back in her homeland, she was studying psychology and painting until one day she realized that a bit of oversea exposure could bring fresh air to her life. She enrolled in a cultural exchange program and landed in Massachusetts, where she found that both of her passions were actually a real profession, deciding to become an expressive arts therapist.
After obtaining her masters degree, she realized that she wanted a city to call home where a space for healing and empowerment through the arts was possible. The multilayered richness and culture of Lawrence, MA provided all that she needed to manifest her vision. Many trustful hands opened doors and LA House became a reality. One by one, Renée, Issa, and Jenna became part of the household, becoming Fernanda's studio sisters. They just embodied LA House as "a room of their own". Together they keep constructing, expanding and inventing LA House, envisioning room by room while nurturing the growth, healing and creative transformation of the world.
Renée Hopkins, M. Ed, RYT-200
Renée is a mover who finds her groove working with people to find a home in their creative selves, in their bodies, and in their places and spaces. Together. And seeing what sort of choreography can be made with that to build momentum for good art and good change. With a background in dance and an M.Ed. in Community Engagement, she loves to straddle the arts and community spheres and hang out with art therapists (her other LA Housemates). She is also a registered yoga teacher focusing on healing the trauma held in the body through fierce, focused, intentional movement.
Issa Van Dyk, MA, Art Therapist
Issa graduated from Lesley University in 2014 with a master’s degree in Art Therapy, and mental health counseling. Issa’s undergraduate degree from the University of Redlands within the Johnston Center was a self-created Bachelor’s titled “Expressive Transformation, Art and the Spiritual”. In Issa’s therapeutic work she focuses on exploration of how the unconscious and conscious mind work together to create a healing trajectory through art, play, music, and psychodrama. Issa is passionate about individual growth, as well as social justice, and community healing through the arts. Issa brings a sense of humor, as well as a deep compassion, and interest in learning about others in all the work she performs.
Jenna A Feldman, MA, ATR-BC, Art Therapist
Jenna is an art therapist and teaching artist devoted to fostering personal growth, social justice, and healing through the arts. She started as a young, impassioned art enthusiast running after-school programming for youth in Hartford, CT and quickly realized the powerful emotions and insight creativity can evoke. Since then, she has unrelentingly hungered for a greater understanding of how to hold space for people, their wounds, and their dreams while enriching the world with art.
Since graduating with a Masters in Art Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University, she has worked as an art therapist and teaching artist in various settings and cities while continuing to learn learn learn. Her work uses a wide range of creative and expressive outlets, ranging from community murals to creative writing to explorative artmaking. Jenna feels blessed to be welcomed into La House by friends and inspirations, Fernanda, Issa, and Renee, and continues to build a home away from home in the creative community they build in their studio and in greater Lawrence together.
james-valentín, Teaching Artist, Cultural Worker
james-valentín is a teaching artist and community organizer from Lawrence, MA, and El Cibao. As a queer person of color, j-v has always found inspiration in voices from the margins. Although poetry is his main medium, j-v has also expressed himself through photography as well as dabbling in videography. j-v has 4 years of experience in creative workshop facilitation as well as 3+ years of experience with youth-led organizing, spending these last few years crafting space(s) for himself and his community to refashion our world.
Destiny Medina, Bachelor of Art Therapy
Destiny was born and raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts though her Latin roots are strongly embedded in her passion of spreading love, joy, and hope to others. She has always enjoyed exploring different art mediums and materials. Once she figured out that she could combine her love of the arts with her passion to help others through therapy, she knew what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. She enrolled to multiple college programs but found only one that had what she was looking for. Once studying art therapy at Lesley University, she knew this was her calling. Destiny’s desire has always been to help those in her community by using her talents and academic knowledge for the greater good. Destiny’s passion for social justice, giving a voice to the underserved, at-risk, and minority groups is what keeps her motivated. Her jack of all trade’s personality keeps her open to all possibilities. Through photography, mixed media arts, painting, drawing, and sculpture work the possibilities to create and inspire are endless.