What if you had a crazy idea to do something you love and it worked?

It's called Alameda Arts!   

Alameda Arts was born in January 2012 at a time when Paden Elementary School did not have an on-site after school program. Returning from a PTA meeting Kate proclaimed, “I know what we are going to do to change our lives!” She took a leap of faith, quit her job in the city and started at Paden with five students enrolled. Kate and Hazel looked through their cupboards for supplies, friends and family did the same, they recycled whatever they could because of their tight budget. Hazel followed, quitting her city job and started at Maya Lin Elementary with fifteen students that August. 


Kate translated her love of children, art and her passion for helping families into the founding of Alameda Arts. Together Kate and Hazel saw a need in Alameda for a quality after-school experience that centered around the child. Being moms first has helped them built a joyful community of families who value the importance of children choosing how to play and learn after school.


Alameda Arts has grown to three schools, two summer camps, and includes hundreds of kids getting messy with art and running on playgrounds. In 2017 Alameda Arts was the recipient of an Alameda Education Foundation Innovative Program AwardThey now teach about growing this model of arts education to educators around the country. 

2020 Update:  Kate and Hazel launched Create Like a Kid TM to make space for grown ups to tap into their inner child, connect with others, and exercise their creativity.  They continue to provide innovative programming for children with their monthly subscriptions and online art store.

Meet the Co-Founders

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Originally from Plattsburgh NY, Hazel has lived in the Bay Area for more than thirty years and does not miss the snow. She loves a good adventure and a good laugh with friends. She graduated from San Francisco State and worked many years in food service.  Her travels brought her to many far away lands including Egypt, Thailand, Israel, India, Australia, Mexico and Europe but landed her back in Alameda. She enjoyed collecting ideas and treasures along the way.


Hazel is the proud mother of one daughter, a recent graduate of the University of Vermont (Go Catamounts!). She recently joined the Tap Dancing Christmas Trees.  She loves spending time with friends and family, knitting, playing card games and creating all sorts of art. She is grateful for the daily adventures of being surrounded by her little friends. 


Being fifth in a family of twelve children has made Kate a flexible and thoughtful person who knows how to have fun! Hailing from Palos Verdes Peninsula, she moved to the Bay Area in the 80s, later settling in Alameda when she and her partner had their two boys. Working long hours in the food service industry and missing time with her family nudged her to make a change. Her work as a pre-school teacher along with her studies in theater and singing have added to the gifts she shares with the kids. 


When not in the classroom, you will find Kate hiking with friends, and taking bike rides with her family. She loves a messy art project and enjoys practicing them at home. You will often see Ms Kate at a ball game or kids productions, she tries not to miss them. She loves a good book and time with friends. Kate has two college-aged sons about to leave the nest. Thankfully, she has lots of kids in Alameda to love.

Alameda Arts Staff



Renate Westbrooks

Site Director

Fun Fact: I have been teaching so many years I have taught some of my students' children.


Stephanie Bailey

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I am as sweet as a strawberry!

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Emelyn Rosales

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I love to collect "I ️heart " t-shirts of places.


Elizabeth Romero-Garza

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I love to rollerblade. 


Diana Craia

Teaching Staff

On my daughter’s 10th birthday, her wish was to travel in time to play with me as a kid at the same age as her.


Jolene Morales

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I collect magnets and mugs from new places I visit.

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Christine Fernandez

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: My favorite thing to do is spend time loving my family.



Ambrosia Dryden

Site Director

Fun Fact: I Iike to organize things for fun and I love ice cream. I make costumes for charity events. 

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Kaleena Ugaitafa

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I took my first plane ride when I was 18 years old!


Jake Cuenca

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I love to compete. I did competitive swimming for 8 years, and recently, I compete in tournaments for the card game Magic: The Gathering.


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Ari Bird

Site Director

Fun Fact: From ages 12-14 I lived in Guadalajara, Mexico with my family. I learned Spanish, explored the region, and developed a love for Chile/lime covered fruits and fresh juice served in plastic bags. 

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Lamont Banks

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: I’m a really good baker!

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Ian Schaefer

Teaching Staff

Fun Fact: My cat's name is Boogie.