Art & Design


MADDY BERGER has a BA in Fine Arts, Queens College and a MFA, Queens College and graduated from FIT as a fashion major.  Since graduating Fashion Institute of Technology, Ms. Berger has been working as middle school art instructor in Queens as well as working at the Gold Coast Arts Center teaching Fashion and Drawing & Painting. She enjoys drawing portraits in her free time.



ANTHONY DIFOLCO is a professionally certified art teacher, fine artist, sculptor, special effects artist and filmmaker. He holds a BFA in Graphic Design and a MFA in Art Education with 5 years teaching experience. He has taught cartooning and classic and current art techniques to Pre K – 12th grade students.




AMIR DIOP started his teaching career in 2017 as a program coordinator at a summer camp, Camp Integrity. By 2019, he was promoted to senior program director. In the wake of the pandemic, Amir worked with Church Street School of Music from 2020 to 2021. He also worked with Art on the Ave as an education coordinator from 2021 to 2023. Amir has worked directly with the NYC public schools through School Materials for the Arts from 2021 to the present. His murals on plywood covering the windows of  high end retailers in SoHo doused colorful acrylic spray-painted images, and poignant phrases with the realities of disparity amongst humankind in America. A unity of significance developed between a collective of artists who would become, SoHo Renaissance Factory or familiarly known as SRF which Amir Diop is cofounder. The work of SRF was recognized by Sotheby’s and selected for exhibition at the National Arts Club in New York City in late Fall of 2020. Formulated from Amir Diop’s neo-savage painting style, visual storytelling, vivid childhood memories and AR components, Lionel the Lying Lion©, rooted in moral lessons, has emerged as Diop’s first children’s book, released in July 2023. Amir Diop lives in the New York metropolitan area and operates out of his Diop Studios LLC.

PAUL DAVID ELSEN is an award winning artist who paints in oil and draws in graphite, charcoal, sepia, etc. His work has been exhibited at The Salmagundi Club, The Heckscher Museum of Art, The Huntington Arts Council Gallery, The Art League of Long Island, The Art League of Nassau County, and the National Art League. Mr. Elsen studied under portrait painter and illustrator Max Ginsburg, the late Irwin Greenberg, Dominique Medici, Ricky Mujica, Robert Silverman, Howard Rose, Paul Bachem, and the late David Beynon Pena. He has taught taught at The National Art League in Queens NyC, and a weekly drawing course via Zoom since the pandemic. He has also conducted drawing workshops, and was a guest oil painting demonstrator for The Suburban Art League, and The National Art League.

DANI GAROFALO has a passion for sharing her talent and teaching art to children ages 6-16. She has also taught paint night classes to adults who have various levels of experience. Her art exhibits include participation the Mercer Gallery in Soho, the High School of Fashion Industries Gallery and the Gallery at the Gold Coast Arts Center. Dani was fortunate to study art in Florence the summer of 2018. As a sculpture major at SUNY Purchase College, she continues to pursue her education in art and art education.



DARYA GAUTHIER has been working as an art and theatre teacher with Gold Coast Art Center since 2015. Prior to that, she was an art teacher at Montessori School of Manhattan for ten years. In addition to this, she has been working as a freelance artist since high school – creating paintings, graphic design projects, and murals for commission. Darya loves working with children and unlocking their creative potential through the arts!



ELIZEH HAKIMI earned her bachelor’s degree in Fine Art major in Interior Design from New York Institute of Technology in 2003. She has been a fine artist and professional illustrator. Her art work is known for its fearless use of imagination, color, abstract and design. She has been teaching Art for the past 13 years influencing the mind of many kids in Great Neck and the Queens school district. In addition she is approved owner of her own interior design and jewelry making business for the past 10 years. She enjoys teaching students about art and its connections to their world. It is her intention to provide a welcoming environment of individual attention and creative expression.


DENISE HOLZ has a Masters from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Graphic Design from Adelphi University. Denise has taught for the last 7 years at Garden City High School, teaching Studio Art I, Darkroom Photography I, and Media Arts I & 2. Prior to Garden City Denise worked for Nassau BOCES for 2 years teaching art in the alternative high school program and twilight program. Denise has experience teaching at the Gold Coast Arts Center for the last 10 years in our summer camp programs as well as cartooning and drawing classes for several of those years. Denise is highly proficient in digital media as well as fine arts & photography.


KAREN HUBELA has her Permanent Certification in Art Education. She has extensive experience teaching art to nursery through high school students, portfolio development to Adult Ed watercolor painting. She has also developed art programs for disabled adults and seniors. Her students have won NYS Scholastic Art Scholarships. She is a John Lidstone Award recipient and a Brooklyn Museum Summer Teaching Fellow. Karen loves connecting students to art and nature. Her own artwork ranges from drawing, painting, illustration, mixed-media collage, murals to woodworking.


MARGARET LIU is a local artist, teacher, and designer specializing in Asian art, with a Bachelor of Arts from the China Academy of Art, focusing on fine arts, fashion design, and jewelry making. Since 2011, Margaret has been teaching and running workshops in painting, crafting, and flower arrangement, integrating traditional art with modern technology, including installation art and graphic design. She believes that “Life is Art.” Currently, Margaret chairs the Youth Development Committee at the Young Gen Foundation, organizing cultural and community events to support and engage local students and young adults.


JESUS MODESTO has a B.F.A., Long Island University and his Certification in Art Education. He has taught and presented in the state of New York and Atlixco Puebla, Mexico. During his travels to Mexico, Jesus taught in elementary and secondary schools such as Heroes del 4 de Mayo and Melchor Ocampo. He has experience working at the Nassau County Museum of Art, teaching at the elementary level. Jesus also taught at the Hillwood Art Museum located in Brookville New York serving as an art educator and working with curators as well as other artists. He is currently working with children with special needs for the Great Neck Public School District. Among his many artistic talents, Jesus is proficient in Photoshop CS6, Maya 3D animation software, & digital photography.

SHERY NASIRI is an accomplished art instructor with 11 years of experience in creating and teaching art to children and adults. She started her career in art in 2003, and has had more than 10 solo and group exhibitions. Shery teaches drawing and sketching to the students by an easy,  step by step method.  Various techniques of applying color are taught, utilizing medias such as acrylic, watercolor, chalk, oil pastel, and colored pencil. Shery believes ART helps everyone, especially children, to calm their mind and find their own way of creativity in life.


ELLEN SCHIFF has a BA in Fine Arts, Queens College and a MFA, School of Visual Arts, Hunter College. She was the Creative Director and Artist for ES DESIGNS, specializing in branding. As Associate Creative Director for BrandEdge, she developed corporate campaigns, logos and product branding. She teaches multimedia classes in GCAC’s Outreach Programs; Children’s Art Studio Whitestone; YMHA ‘Children’s Art’; and painting at YMHA, ‘Adult Ed’. She has exhibited her artwork at the 9th New Century Gallery, NYC; PS 122 Contemporary Art; Fordham Art Gallery, Texas; Lincoln Center Art Gallery, NYC; and numerous other NYC venues. She has received several awards including Art Directors Club Video and Print awards and is a member of Art Initiatives, NYC. Currently she teaches Intermediate Art and Advanced level II Art Portfolio class at the Gold Coast Arts Center and is the acting director of the School for the Arts.