Meet the Mentors

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Update 6/9/19: Daniel Lelchuk (Music), Peirong Li (Music), and Sarah Feng (Writing) have been added to the roster.

We are so excited to host our inaugural Arts Collective with this group of artists. You may apply to study under them for free in the COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective, a fellowship program designed to foster growth in the interdisciplinary arts.

More about the Collective here.

Apply to the Collective here.


Heather Laurel Jensen | Poetry, Fiction

Heather Laurel Jensen is a junior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, Arizona. She serves as National Student Poet of the Southwest 2018, and is co-president of Creative Youth of Arizona, an LLC which assists with the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards in Arizona and administers the Phoenix Youth Poet Laureate program. Her poetry, short stories, and photography have been published by the Alliance for Young Artists and Writers, Best Teen Writing of Arizona, diode poetry journal, Polyphony HS, and the Blue Marble Review, among others.

Lyrik Courtney | Poetry

Lyrik Courtney (b. 1999, Tampa, Florida) is a German Studies and Creative Writing double-major at Agnes Scott College, where they have been the recipient of the Janef Newman Preston Prize and the Betty W. Stoffel Award for Poetry. Much of Courtney’s work consists of abstract narratives about afro-surreal subjects or deconstructs the (necro)pastoral image and landscape. The erotic form, where it appears in the poems or short prose, is often, if not always, rendered grotesquely. They were one of the 2018 Winter Tangerine Writing Fellows and are a June Fellow (2019) of the Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets. Lyrik is an alum of various Winter Tangerine workshops and the Adroit Journal’s Summer Mentorship Program (Class of 2017). They have been published in journals such as Liminality, Ninth Letter, Blueshift, and Strange Horizons, and are the blog editor and interview correspondent for TRACK//FOUR, a magazine for people of color.

Darren C. Demaree | Poetry

Darren C. Demaree is the author of eleven poetry collections, most recently “Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire”, which will be published in June of 2019 by Harpoon Books.  He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal.  He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.  He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

Kate Bucca | Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction

Kate Bucca holds a dual-genre MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts, where she served as the Vermont Book Award Fellow, and a BFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She is the author of a novel, Companion Plants (Fomite Press), and was a finalist for the 2018 Hillary Gravendyk Prize and the 2018 Autumn House Press Rising Writer Contest. Her short fiction, essays, poetry, and paintings can be found in WelterLimestone, Timber, The Nervous Breakdown, DigBostonHalf Mystic, and elsewhere.

Kate works as a freelance writer and editor, and as an administrative assistant for the UPEI Faculty Association. This summer, she will serve as a creative writing mentor for the COUNTERCLOCK Arts Collective. Kate is an M.Ed. candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island with a focus on gender identity, writing pedagogy, and poststructuralist feminist theory. She has read manuscript submissions for the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency; taught Algebra 2, Eastern Maine Skippers Program, and Freshman Seminar at George Stevens Academy; presented a workshop as a visiting residency lecturer at Goddard College; and tutored students in Writing and Mathematics at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. She lives in PEI and Vermont with the writer Dominic Bucca and two cats, Snack and Barney.

Shahé Mankerian | Poetry

Shahé Mankerian is the principal of St. Gregory Hovsepian School in Pasadena and the co-director of the Los Angeles Writing Project. He is the recipient of the Los Angeles Music Center's BRAVO Award, which recognizes teachers for innovation in arts education. His manuscript, History of Forgetfulness, has been a finalist at the Bibby First Book Competition, the Crab Orchard Poetry Open Competition, the Quercus Review Press Poetry Book Award, and the White Pine Press Poetry Prize.

Sarah Feng | Poetry, Fiction

Sarah is a 2018 Foyle Commended Young Poet of the Year and the runner-up for the Adroit Prize for Prose. She has also been recognized by Teen Vogue, the Critical Pass Junior Poet Prize, the National Council of Teachers of English, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, the Leyla Beban Young Author’s Foundation, the California Coastal Commission, Write the World, the American Scholastic Press Association, and more. Her work is in the Adroit Journal, the Critical Pass Review, Gigantic Sequins, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She was Kenyon Young Writer's Workshop '18 and the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship '17.

Visual Art

Ira Joel Haber | Sculptural Work and Design

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer, photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines.  He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Creative Artists Public Service Grant (CAPS) two Pollock-Krasner grants, two Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grants and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists' Fellowship Inc. in 2017 & 2018 he received the Brooklyn Arts Council SU-CASA artist-in-residence grant.

Lorette C. Luzajic | Painting

Lorette C. Luzajic, of Toronto, Canada, is an award winning artist, writer, and founding editor of The Ekphrastic Review. She creates collage and mixed media based works that are at turns abstract, urban, surreal or pop. Her works are inspired by eclectic curiosity, a sense of adventure, and an irreverent outlook on the world. Lorette takes in the stories around her, through poetry, fiction, travel, cinema, art history, music, mythology, psychology, religion, and individual narratives and remixes them in her studio laboratory. She has exhibited in hundreds of shows and venues locally in Canada and around the world, and is collected internationally. Last year, she was awarded top prize for a painting by Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Canada.  In 2017, she participated in a two week symposium of international contemporary artists in Tunisia, North Africa. Visit her at

Anouk Vercouter | Charcoals

Anouk Vercouter, born in 1991 (Ostend - Belgium),  lives and works in Ghent, where she graduated as a Master in drawing and printmaking at LUCA School of Arts. Anouk is especially triggered by the period in art history where fine art and the representation of beauty disconnect.  She expresses the results of her romantic vision by effortlessly drawing on paper, mainly in graphite or coloured pencil . The artist, whose oeuvre is situated between visual art and illustration , reaches out to her viewers by inviting  them to join her on a trip into the imaginary. Her ambition is to never impose an unambiguous interpretation but to hand out only a few "props" in order to uncover a unique story into the individual viewer's imagination. The diversity of the storylines and the unrestricted associations revealed by her drawings, contaminated by the carefully chosen objects that the artist surrounds herself with in her studio/Wunderkammer excite  her imagination and force her to draw, continuously.

Linden Eller | Contemporary

Born in 1984, Linden spent her youth in the urban Sonoran desert of Phoenix, Arizona before moving to Southern California to obtain her BA in Studio Art. She’s since lived and worked out of New England, Europe, India, Australia, Samoa, New Zealand, and Japan.  She currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona. This primary interest in place and self-archival attracted her to the collage medium. Using a combination of found fragments and personal elements, she composes floating abstract shapes sewn together with thread on paper.  Her work centers around themes of memory architecture, its process, and the layers of alterations which happen each time a recollection occurs. Linden’s work has been mentioned online in Frankie Yen magazines, and been included in numerous publications such as Collage by Woman: 50 Essential Contemporary ArtistsCreate!, Inside Artists, Making The Cut Vol. 1, and Art Ascent. Recent residencies include Dar Slimane (Morocco), La Filature des Calquières (France), Tenjinyama Art Studio (Japan), Cowwarr Art Space (Australia), and Tiapapata Art Centre (Samoa).

Ashley Cai | Painting and Animation

Ashley Cai is a painter, animator, and digital artist from the suburban heart of California's Silicon Valley. She is a caricature artist, graduating high school senior and has attended multiple summer programs including CSSSA Animation. Her work is driven by her excitement for cohesive color schemes and often explores the peculiarities of human behavior. Ashley derives inspiration for stories from situations encountered in her sleepy surroundings. She hopes to make an experience out of viewing her art by building narratives into the piece, whether still or moving. Her animated film has been screened at twelve film festivals globally such as the Austin Film Festival and received a national silver medal from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Janelle Cordero | Painting

Janelle Cordero is an interdisciplinary artist and educator living in the seventh most hipster city in the U.S. As a writer and a painter, Janelle is constantly experimenting with form to create hybrid, genre-less pieces. Her poetry has been published in dozens of literary journals, including Harpur Palate and The Louisville Review, while her paintings have been featured in venues throughout the Pacific Northwest. Her debut poetry collection, Two Cups of Tomatoes, was published in 2015, and her chapbook with Black Sand Press was published in 2018. Her newest chapbook with Bottlecap Press, which also featured original artwork, was published in January of 2019. Stay connected with Janelle’s work at


Grace Coberly | Voice and Composition

Grace Coberly (she/they) is a composer, conductor, and aspiring music teacher from the suburbs of Chicago. A sophomore at Haverford College, she’s a music and linguistics double major with a passion for ensemble singing. She has sung in thirteen choirs, including the district and all-state levels of ILMEA and the Heritage Chorale of Oak Park, IL (as the 2015 recipient of the Marcie Hartman Mentoring Scholarship). She has also led two a cappella groups — including her current group, the Haverford College Mainliners — and founded two others. This past spring, she bought a pack of plastic kazoos and organized her friends into their school’s first kazoo chorus, just to ensure that no one was taking her too seriously.

Leavv | Electronic (low-fidelity)

eavv is a musician hailing from Germany, with a focus on silky, relaxing instrumental hip hop. Spherical synths and smooth piano chords are often part of his music, which is generally themed around little moments, travels and dreamy memories.

Songs from his album Mind Garden (2018) have been listened to over 7 million times collectively across Youtube, Spotify, and music streaming services. His previous works include recreation (2017), essence (2017), and currents (2017).

Elizabeth Newkirk | Piano

Entrepreneur, activist, and musician, Elizabeth Newkirk encompasses thoughtfulness and artistry in all of her work, performances, and collaborations. She is the co-founding member and pianist of Bow & Hammer, her primary ensemble. With Bow & Hammer, she explores her passion for duo repertoire of the early 20th century, while balancing it with new and standard works. Extremely inspired by the slow-food movement, she is dedicated to creating concerts that can mirror the thoughtfulness and thoroughness of the food movement, furthermore creating a relevancy for new audiences, meaningful experiences, and a camaraderie among other disciplines. “IndustryNight” and “Élevé ,” are just two examples of presentations by Bow & Hammer that feature a wide range of disciplines, artists, and small businesses in Chicago. Growing up on her family farm in Indiana, Newkirk came to Chicago to pursue studies in Piano Performance. She received her MM from Roosevelt University with a minor in Collaborative Piano where she studied with Ludmila Lazar, Dana Brown and Angela Yoffe. Receiving her BA from Columbia College, she studied under pianist/composer Sebastian Huydts and jazz with Dennis Luxion. Additionally, she has had the privilege to work with Mary Sauer, Cliff Colnot, and Sylvia Wang. Newkirk currently is on faculty at Columbia College Chicago.

Kathryn Satoh | Violin

Kathryn Satoh is impassioned by genuine and purposeful human connectivity, and uses these characteristics to drive her artistic career. Ms. Satoh is co-founder and violinist of her primary ensemble Bow & Hammer, curating new performance series which affirm the relevance of classical music in mainstream social interaction. Through their original concert series, “IndustryNight” and “Élevé”, BH has cultivated close collaborative relationships with other artists and small businesses and has held local and international residencies (Italy, Canada) to develop their communal mission. A collaborator to the core, she sees chamber music as a timeless manifestation of social progress. Highly regarding her value as a communicator and advocate for the arts, Ms. Satoh is an active teaching artist. She has held faculty and/or administrative positions at many music schools throughout Chicagoland, and maintains a private violin studio throughout Chicagoland. With Bow & Hammer, she acts as a guest lecturer and collaboration coach, and has individually adjudicated various festivals and competitions. Ms. Satoh holds two Bachelor of Music degrees with distinction from the University of Colorado in Violin and Voice Performance under the teaching of Lina Bahn (Corigliano Quartet) and Patrick Mason.

Peirong Li | Piano

goes to a small private school in the Silicon Valley and is going to be a senior in the upcoming August. She was born in Beijing, China, and came to the U.S. in fifth grade. Having been a piano player for more than ten years, Peirong has performed at many recitals and participated in various competitions, such as US Opening Competition and MTAC branch competitions. Her experience also includes many types of volunteer works, such as accompanying for a choir at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, and participating in a coalition for musicians who want to give back to their community by performing at senior houses. Peirong usually plays classical piano pieces from all four periods in music history. However, she also enjoys playing contemporary pieces in her free time.

Daniel Lelchuk | Cello

Daniel was appointed Assistant Principal cellist of the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra in Fall 2013 by music director Carlos Miguel Prieto. Described by the Washington Post as a “dazzling virtuoso,” he has concertized throughout North America, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. He was invited as visiting cellist with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra in Doha and has also performed as principal cello at the Royal Opera House Muscat (Oman) with the Castleton Opera (Lorin Maazel, music director) and with the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería in Mexico City.

Learn more about the writing mentors here.

Learn more about the art mentors here.

Learn more about the music mentors here.