The Compass Arts Staff

Gina SamardgeGina Samardge (she/they, founder/director/teaching artist). Known for her warm, engaging style, Gina infuses the principles of elemental music and movement found in the Orff-Schulwerk Approach not only into her teaching, but into her performance work, bringing an honesty and presence to both stage and classroom. Gina is a big believer in the power of play and creativity found in process based arts and sees examples every day of how the arts not only empower people to find their authentic voice and share their story, but to heal themselves and this planet by creating the deep cultural shifts that are so necessary as we work toward a just, healthy, and equitable world.

After moving to New York in 2002 Gina began working with VOICETheatre, The Soon-To-Be-World-Famous Female Clown Troupe and the Main Squeeze Orchestra, as well as other theater, film, and music projects. She’s written and arranged music for theater and film and her ongoing role as the accordion toting Princess Penny made her and the clown/music ensemble, The Maestrosities, a staple in the NYC underground cirque and vaudeville scene for many years. Gina was selected as a Time Out NY Kids’ Top Choice for her sing-a-long birthday parties and in early 2012 she appeared on Sesame Street in the episode “The All Of Our Senses Club.”

As a music educator and teaching artist, Gina has worked with every age group in nearly every capacity imaginable; private school, public school, community music schools, as an outreach artist, and in a variety of arts enrichment programs. She directed The Brooklyn Conservatory Children’s Chorus, producing youth choral festivals for the Conservatory’s outreach choral programs and is a certified Orff-Schulwerk Educator. When she’s not teaching, making music and theater, or steering the CACP ship, she loves to grow veggies in her garden, study permaculture, hang with her chickens, and hike, bike, travel, and eat good food with her husband Andy. She is proudly neurodiverse and she feels an immense amount of gratitude to live in a city that values the process of creativity, play, arts making and community.

Gwynne WatkinsGwynne Watkins (she/they, theater and writing classes, program manager) Gwynne Watkins is a writer, theater artist and mom living in Beacon, New York. She is the bookwriter and co-lyricist of the widely-produced children’s musical Space Pirates! (Winner: 2015 Children’s Musical Theater Festival) and wrote book and lyrics for the 2010 off-Broadway musical Tea with Chachaji (New York City Children’s Theater). Her four original Christmas pageants (published by Beat by Beat Press) are performed annually by churches and schools worldwide. Locally, her short plays have been selected for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival Community Bake-Off and the Aery One Act Play Festival. She is a graduate of the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theatre Workshop and a member of the Dramatists Guild. Gwynne’s performance credits include the original cast of Daydream, the kid-friendly adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that ran for six summers in Prospect Park. A former staff writer at Yahoo Entertainment, she has narrated many videos and conducted dozens of on-camera celebrity interviews. As a journalist, Gwynne has written extensively about the arts and popular culture for both online and print publications, and was a founding editor of the parenting website Her work with Compass Arts is focused on building community, encouraging creativity, and giving kids the tools they need to express themselves.

Hampton FlukerHampton Fluker (he/him, theater arts classes, program development) Hampton Fluker received his BFA in acting from Boston University and studied at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He has served as a teaching artist with The Actor’s Shakespeare Project based out of Charlestown, MA, People’s Theatre Project in New York City, and most recently, with Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. He stars as Marcus Tufo on the NBC Series Shades of Blue, opposite Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta. Other television credits include the recurring role of Michael Goodwin on NBC’s Chicago Med, along with arcs on Evil, The Good Wife, Major Crimes, Blue Bloods, Aquarius and Whitney, directed by Angela Bassett. His film credits include Patriots Day and Instant Family starring Mark Wahlberg, The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock, and the independent features No One Asked Me and The Depths. On stage, Hampton starred in Esai’s Table at The Cherry Lane Theatre and as George in the Tony-nominated Broadway revival of All My Sons, starring Tracy Letts and Annette Benning, earning him a Drama Desk Award Nomination and the 2019 Dorothy Loudon Award. Hampton was raised in Atlanta, Georgia, and resides in Beacon, New York with his partner Amber, two dogs Bayou and Boss Man, and cat Sugar.

Andy Reinhardt (AKA Andy Rinehart; operations, tech/media, band leader) Andy is Compass Arts’ financial and operations whiz, Internet technologist and resident musician / band leader / multi-media author. Andy operated a web development business for over two decades before branching more recently into financial services and becoming Compass Arts’ chief operating officer. A graduate of the music conservatory at SUNY Purchase (focus on composition), Andy has recorded with such notable musicians as David Torn (from David Bowie’s band), and Mick Karn (of the band Japan) and has had his music released worldwide. The magazine Jazziz said of his second CD Jason’s Chord, “might be the best progressive album of the year, if not the entire decade,” and the December ’06 issue of Guitar Player held a songwriter feature examining Andy’s unique approach to writing.

Sasha Van’t Hul (she/her, dance, program coordinator) is dancer/choreographer, writer, somatic mindfulness instructor and arts educator. A native of Ann Arbor Michigan, Sasha arrived in New York City through her acceptance into the Alvin Ailey and Martha Graham schools. She received her BFA in dance from the University of Michigan. She’s worked with Urban Bush Women, Bill T Jones as well as many others. Her works as a solo artist and choreographer have been presented at many venues throughout NYC and Canada. Sasha has an extensive background working in arts and education spanning over 20 years. As a teacher and curriculum developer she has specialized in making art accessible to different populations and mentoring teachers on how to integrate the arts into their classrooms. Since 2012 Sasha has been running her own yoga and mindfulness business. As a writer, her work surrounding race and identity has been published in journals and anthologies. With a deep love for dance, play, and artistic expression she aspires to always nurture and share this joy with others.

Compass Arts Teaching Artists

Heather Davies (she/her, movement and visual arts classes) Heather is a movement, dance, and expression artist and instructor. Drawing on her many years of experience in yoga and hoop dance, she develops integrative creative movement programs designed to deeply empower bodies and minds and has brought these programs to various Hudson Valley locations for over a decade. As a true devotee of communication and connection, Heather is passionate about creating inspiring spaces for folks to explore and authentically express themselves.

Caty Therese (she/her, visual arts classes) Caty has become a well-known fixture among Beacon families, serving in a variety of teaching roles at local art programs and camps. You may have seen her at Beacon Craft Workshop, Garrison Art Center, Common Ground Farm Camp, Beacon Farmers Market or Fall Kill Creative Works. Her first love is ceramics and the idea of molding a mound of clay into something magical. Caty lives with her golden retriever Bud and cats Cream Cheese, Ariana and Carlos and spends the warmer months in her organic garden and searching for the best vegan food to share on her lifestyle blog. Art serves as her daily motivation and passion.

Laura Volpacchio Simon (she/her, dance classes) Laura is a lifelong dancer and multifaceted artist. After a professional dance career, Laura worked as a creative movement teaching artist for various NYC organizations including NYC Head Start, Dancing Classrooms and Kaiser’s Room. She has undergone training in working with neurodiverse & differently abled kiddos through the Marquis Studio Teaching Artist Training Institute and has taken continuing education classes in dance & arts therapies. Laura’s classes provide a safe space for kids to experience the joy and self-expression inherent in dance that is often missing in traditional dance education. Her goal in all of her work is to meet kids wherever they are, allowing them to express themselves in whatever ways feel authentic and true. Laura is a Mama to 1.5 year old Lionel “Lio” Jude – Compass has been a sacred & nurturing space during her transition to motherhood and she’s so excited to be part of the team. You can learn more about Laura at

Gabriel Pages (he/him, drawing, cartooning) Gabriel is a versatile artist & storyteller, with two decades of experience in storyboard art, digital illustration, and visual effects. He has taught drawing classes on the Outschool Platform, Education Without Walls, and the Newburgh Armory. He lives in Beacon with his family and labradoodle

Katy Wallace (she/her, assistant choir director) Katy hails from California and has been teaching music lessons on and off for about 20 years. She plays and teaches guitar, banjo, ukulele and bass guitar. She fell in love with folk music, songwriting, recording and community music making while playing with the all female neighborhood band Sugar Mountain Mama Serenade in her twenties. Eventually she worked as a clerk and teacher at a wonderful music store, The Folk Music Center in Claremont, California. A few years later she joined the rhythm section of Shon Sullivan’s indie rock band Goldenboy. After multiple gritty but exciting US tours and the amazing experience of recording two studio albums; “Sleepwalker” (2011) and “The New Familiar” (2012) – both on Eenie Meenie Records, she moved to Brooklyn and started a family. Soon after becoming a mother, Katy founded the children’s music group The Sparrow Sisters and led sing-alongs at the Park Slope Library and Prospect Park adjacent cafes from 2015-2019. Her family moved to Cornwall in 2021 and now she spends the bulk of her time homemaking, community building and unschooling with her two young people.

Elizabeth Audley (return to theatre) Elizabeth Audley has over 30 years of experience as an actor, director, and teacher. She is a founding member of the Greenfield Collective, and was a primary deviser and core collaborator on Fifty Days at Iliam, which sold out its run in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. She’s been a teaching artist for theaters in Milwaukee, Los Angeles, New York, and beyond, and has directed and taught acting at Lehman College, Ohio University, and Nassau Community College, where her focus was ensemble-based, devised, and original student-written work. She has over 20 years of experience in voiceover and narration, and runs her own film production company. She lives in Beacon, New York. Her current focus is on the intersection of arts and civic engagement, and reflecting and building community. She is particularly drawn to making new and devised work, and guiding actors and non-actors through the process of growing trust, discovering empathy, creating ensemble, and uncovering their voice. She aspires to change the culture of professional theater, challenging exploitative and dehumanizing norms and power structures. She feels strongly that the arts, and theater in particular, have the power to increase the flow of empathy in the world, and that that is their most important function.

Zach Baxter (he/him, dungeons & dragons) is a Beacon resident and has been leading role-playing games for Compass Arts since 2021. Zach has found Dungeons & Dragons to be a great community builder and creative outlet for kids and adults alike. Zach is originally from Fayetteville, Arkansas, but has been in the New York area for over 10 years. He has degrees in Political Science and International Relations from American University in Washington, DC.

Kevin Bertholf (he/him, dungeons & dragons) was born in the Catskills but drawn out of the hills to Beacon by an obsessive love of coffee. He is an IT professional, amateur homestead farmer, photographer, and father. In between his visits to coffee shops, you may find him running role-playing games/board games with Compass Arts or narrowly avoiding poison ivy and hornets while foraging berries. Kevin is usually the one in the overalls.

Juliet Strong (musical stew) Juliet Strong has a background in folk, classical and jazz piano and voice. She grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area folk music scene, among a tightly knit community of folk musicians, dancers, poets, and theater artists. Juliet has a degree in vocal performance from the University of Oregon, and received actor training from California Shakespeare Theater, and Berkeley Repertory Theater. She holds a certificate of distinction in vocal pedagogy from The Boston Conservatory at Berklee College, and has taught early childhood music as a Music Together teacher. She has been seen on stages with the Oregon Festival of American Music, Shotgun Players, A Traveling Jewish Theatre, Bootstrap Theatre Company, and in Yosemite National Park. Juliet has taught students of all ages for nearly 20 years in programs and schools in California and New York City. She currently maintains a private studio in Beacon where she lives with her husband and young daughter. She believes that supporting young families and making music with young people is one of the foundations of building good citizens, and communities.

Chiara Di Lello (printing and bookmaking) Chiara Di Lello is a teacher and writer. Her poetry and essays have appeared in numerous publications, and her watercolors and art books have been showcased in Brooklyn and the Hudson Valley. Before becoming a Beacon resident in 2022, Chiara taught fifth grade full time in New York City, where she was born and raised. When not teaching or making things, she enjoys reading, spending time with her dog and improving her gardening skills.

Amanda Spinella (she/they, imagination playhouse) Amanda Spinella is a dynamic performer, educator, and creator based in Poughkeepsie, NY. Ame studied theater (performance & directing) at Emerson College and has been a successful professional actor & vocalist in cities from Boston to Los Angeles since graduation. Amanda is an accomplished producer, director, assitant director, and event producer working on feature films, music videos, commercials, and events with some of their favorite stars (Kehlani, Ludacris, A$AP Rocky, Aquaria, Lagoona Blu) and continues to facilitate creation by inspiring her students, colleagues, and audiences to breathe life into their passions and release what boxes them in.
No matter the job from emceeing local events to teaching improv, Amanda’s work is rooted in their belief in the magic of storytelling to remind us the only path forward is one we first imagine. Amanda also performs with three bands, and her debut self-titled alt rock album, Ame, is out now on all platforms.