Staff

The Residency Project @ 880 is an unincorporated not-for-profit.

Sarah Umles

Residency Director

Sarah Umles holds her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of California, Riverside and her Master’s Degree in Arts Administration & Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She works in Academic Affairs at the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), where she regularly facilitates programs to support faculty-artists in their teaching and professional development. She also works as a mentor to students who are in the early stages of developing their conceptual foundations and technical skill sets. Sarah is most proud of the her work guiding CalArts faculty and students through the process of finding and applying for internal grant support for their creative projects. She also facilitates the Research & Practice Fellowship Program at CalArts and has taken inspiration from this program for the Residency Project at 880.

Outside of CalArts, Sarah sustains an active interdisciplinary arts practice. She has curated numerous exhibitions highlighting work by emerging artists and has exhibited her own solo and collaborative work in the context of several notable arts institutions and festivals, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; California Museum of Photography in Riverside, CA; Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Chicago, IL; 2nd Floor Rear in Chicago, IL; and BoldPas in Pasadena, CA.

One of her formative experiences as an undergraduate student was a two-month internship with International Child Art Foundation (ICAF), a non-profit in Washington, D.C. whose mission it is “democratize creativity and develop empathy universally through the arts.” The ICAF is a pioneer of STEAMS Education, integrating arts and culture ("A") and sport and play ("S") with STEM disciplines for a creative and holistic education.

Dr. Debora Joy Nodelman

Education Director & Lead Instructor

Debora Joy Nodelman holds a PhD in Education with a concentration in Cultural and Curricular Studies from Chapman University, Orange, California. Debora retired in 2017, with 41 years of public school teaching experience. She continues to hold a valid California Professional Clear Multiple Subject Teaching Credential. Numerous accolades include National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), scholarships from Edison International and the State of California for NBCT, multiple Teacher-of-the-Year awards, and Chapman University Graduate Writing Fellow. Her dissertation research, utilizing a qualitative, arts-based research methodology, questions how to best facilitate aesthetic experiences for children using culturally and socially responsive practices. Debora presented her research at the American Educators Research Association (AERA) and the California Council of Teachers of Education (CCTE) on several occasions.

Matthew Umles

Finance & Facilities Director

Matthew Umles holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, Riverside. Over the span of Matt’s career, he has worked on unmanned robotics projects, cutting edge battery technology, and human interface design for top-of-the-line medical equipment. Matt earned his first patent in January 2015. In his current post at Rain Bird, Matt oversees product innovation and development for a line of sustainable irrigation products designed to reduce water waste. He has an easy going attitude and is open-minded to various models of shared living. Matt is an energetic and actively engaged uncle to his niece and nephew (6 and 4 years old, respectively). He also loves animals and has a particular affinity for lost/injured pigeons (ask us about that later).


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