Our Team

Committed to families, community engagement, museum education, and early learning.

Board Members

Mitzi Cohen, McKinsey & Company
Will DuBose, Will DuBose Design
Cathy Elkies, Phillips
Lois Gelernt, Manhattan Country School
Samantha Gilbert, Ford Foundation
Dr. Christopher-John Godfrey, Pace University
Rob Krulak, Acme Projects LLC
Kevin Lee, Treasurer, AIG
Karen C. Liu, Community Leader
Risa Meyer, Style Simple
Edwina Meyers, NYC Administration for Children's Services (Ret.)
Bevy Smith, Host of BEVELATIONS on SiriusXM Radio & Page Six TV Co-host
Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Henry Luce Foundation
Ahmed Yearwood, Y INTERACT

Staff

  • Candice Anderson

    Executive Director

    Candice Anderson has been the Executive Director of Cool Culture since 2007, and has devoted her career to improving educational opportunity and life outcomes for children and families in New York City's most disadvantaged communities. Prior to joining Cool Culture, Candice served as Director of Child Care and Head Start Collaboration at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services; and as Senior Policy Associate for Child Care, Education and Youth Development at Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York, New York City’s premier child advocacy organization where she conducted research and advocated on behalf of vulnerable children and families. Candice received the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Extraordinary Women award while at Cool Culture, has an MS in Urban Planning from the New School for Social Research, received her B.A. from Oberlin College and in 2010 became a graduate of the Executive Level Program at Columbia Business School’s Institute for Not-for-Profit Management. In October of 2015, Candice was appointed by NYC Mayor, Bill de Blasio, as a new member to the Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission.

  • Nilufa Begum

    Development Assistant

    Nilufa Begum is the Development Assistant at Cool Culture, where she supports the Development team with fundraising and marketing efforts across the organization. She first joined Cool Culture as a Development Intern during the Summer of 2016. Nilufa also volunteers as a Digital Analyst at Project HEAL. Prior to Cool Culture, Nilufa has worked as a University Center Building Manager and as a Leep Center Student Assistant at Clark University. She also worked as a Development & External Affairs Intern at Inwood House. Nilufa holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Business Management from Clark University.

  • Roseann Evans

    Director of Development

    Roseann Evans is Director of Development at Cool Culture and brings over 20 years of nonprofit experience working in a range of small and large institutions in Brooklyn and Queens and has a wide-range knowledge ranging from writing government grants for capital and program funding; creating and utilizing fundraising platforms; creating public relations and marketing plans; coordinating special events, and developing and managing programs. Her work prior to joining Cool Culture includes serving as the Director of Development of Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, and as Senior Grants Officer at Queens Public Library and serving as a member of several arts panels including the Brooklyn Arts Council, Bronx Council on the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs; and as a board member of Agape Community Service Corporation and the file myles gallery. She holds an MSM from Warner University, a BFA from Parsons School of Design – The New School University, and post-graduate certificates from Fordham University in Program Marketing and Columbia University, Teacher’s College in Non-Profit Management.

  • Lehna Huie

    Assistant Manager of Programs

    Lehna Huie is the Assistant Manager of Programs at Cool Culture. Lehna is a multi-disciplinary artist, educator, curator, cultural worker and mother exercising a belief in the power of multi-vocal art. She is an artist amplifying stories of love, loss, and remembrance. Huie is deeply committed to the fusion of arts and social change as a path to liberation: exploring the past, present and the future of struggle and freedom. Her work embodies cultural critique, celebration, and transformation. Lehna is an advocate for women’s rights raising awareness relating to leadership development, reproductive justice and mental health. She uses art & social justice as a tool to provide safe space for expression. She often does murals, design work and workshops for organizations and grassroots communities. Collaboration and community are key components in her life's work. Huie’s studio practice makes use of various materials on walls, canvas, paper, and wooden surfaces and her style utilizes a combination of abstract expression and portraiture to tell unique stories uplifting the lives and spaces of Women of Color.

  • Sandra Nanita

    Assistant Director of Programs

    Sandra Nanita is an Assistant Director of Programs at Cool Culture. Previously, she worked with NJ SEEDS, an organization that builds leaders from inner city youth while closing the achievement gap. Sandra is experienced in working with children and young adults in various programs focused on building youth leadership. Sandra graduated from Rutgers University, where she earned a BS in Business Management and Latin American Studies. Also an artist, Sandra has showcased her artwork in exhibits throughout New Jersey.

  • Adriana Herrera Perhamus

    Program Assistant

    Adriana Herrera Perhamus is the Program Assistant at Cool Culture. She has a background in community organizing and arts administration. Her work is driven by a mission to see the world become more equitable for young people. Before joining Cool Culture, she worked as the Community Programs Fellow with NEW INC, an arts and design incubator initiative of the New Museum. Adriana was born and raised in Rochester, New York. She holds a B.A from Eugene Lang College, where she graduated with a degree in Culture & Media and Race & Ethnicity studies.

  • Victoria Senn

    Cross Department Assistant

    Victoria Senn is the Cross Department Assistant at Cool Culture. She joined the organization as an AmeriCorps fellow in 2014 and has supported Cool Culture's work in various capacities since. Her passion in museum & arts programming as well as social justice evolved from her work with young children in college. As the Cross Department Assistant, she supports both program and development teams. A New York native, Victoria holds a B.A. in Sociology as well as Spanish Language & Literature from Stony Brook University.

  • Kanika Srinivasan

    Senior Director of Operations and Strategy

    Kanika Srinivasan is the Senior Director of Operations and Strategy at Cool Culture. She has a diverse professional background in local and international community development, program implementation, partnership management, and operations. Kanika comes to us from Citizen Schools where she served as the Director of External Engagement and led her department to create sustainable partnerships, mobilize volunteers, ensure stakeholder satisfaction, and deliver high-quality programming for students. Prior to Citizen Schools, she served as an Indicorp Fellow in Western India concentrating on agricultural development and public health in tribal communities. She also worked at the Council on Foreign Relations in the Corporate Program, as well as in the Executive Office as the Special Assistant to the President. Kanika graduated from Bucknell University with a double major in International Relations and Spanish.

  • Ayoka Wiles-Abel

    Senior Director of Programs and Innovation

    Ayoka Wiles-Abel is Senior Director of Programs and Innovation at Cool Culture and has over two decades of background experience in the arts, dance, culture, and education. Ayoka has worked with several community-based organizations integrating the arts, literacy, spirituality and cultural education in programming for youth and adults. She is seasoned nonprofit professional with over 20 years of experience in programs, finance, evaluation, and fundraising. She served as the first Associate Director of Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy and then returned to serve as the Associate Executive Director/Interim Director of Finance for 5 years. While at Ifetayo, she also was a dance teacher/coach and managed an award-winning youth ensemble which received the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award recognized by First Lady Michelle Obama. Ayoka most recently served as Grants Director and Director of Programs and Strategies at the Brooklyn Arts Council. She received a B.A. in Economics from Mount Holyoke College and a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management from Milano Graduate School of Management and Policy, New School. Additionally, she has a Nonprofit Management Certificate from Columbia Business School, Institute of Nonprofit Management.

Associates

  • Chang Chia "James" Liu

    Evaluation Consultant

    Chang Chia "James" Liu is an Evaluation Consultant at Cool Culture. He was born and grew up in Taiwan, and completed his double Masters degrees in Psychology and Art History at the City University of New York. He is currently a PhD candidate at Purdue University studying Educational Psychology with a focus on learning motivation and evaluation. James is also an artist, specializing in oil paintings and digital illustrations.

  • Cathleen Wiggins

    Director, Leadership in Technology and the Arts, Bank Street College

    Cathleen Wiggins is Director of the Leadership in Technology and the Arts Program at Bank Street College of Education, which is a collaborative Master's degree program with Parsons New School of Design and Sarah Lawrence College. Cathleen is also a member of the Museum Education faculty at Bank Street. A former public early childhood and elementary school teacher and theater artist, she brings her life long love of the arts and education to her many professional endeavors. She is passionate about museum education, the transformative power of the arts in education, and to minimizing the success and opportunity gap for our nation's children.