Dana Joy Helwick

Who is Dana Joy?

Dana Joy Helwick (she/her/hers) is a visual and performance artist, educator, coordinator, improviser, and a firm believer in “all things fun all the time.” A proud northern California native with a BA in Art from UCLA, Dana moved to NYC in 2011 to pursue her masters degree in Art Education from NYU with an emphasis on social justice. Since then she has been a teaching artist in the Bronx, an art and technology teacher at a special-education K–7 school in Manhattan, a grade 3–5 art teacher at a large charter school in Queens, and a teacher of improvisational theater at Improvolution in the West Village. Improv has taught Dana how to say “yes, and” on stage as well as in life, how to be a better listener, how to be more present, and the power of play as a radical act. For eight years, Dana also assisted in coordinating and facilitating the Art21 Educators program, a professional development initiative and learning community that is dedicated to using contemporary art and artists as creative role models for teaching and learning. In her work in and outside of the classroom, Dana has realized that collaboration is a key to her creativity. At the same time, she will always enjoy the solitary act of meditating on the seductive lines in her black and white drawings. Dana loves big rocks, sunshine, costumes, things that are crunchy, things that are shiny, and magic.


Promoting empathy in the elementary art room, inspired by contemporary artists.

Teaching with contemporary artists as creative role models for playing with purpose in a variety of school and educational settings.

Utilizing performance can be a powerful asset to support students’ emotional needs.

Follow Dana's Adventures in Art Education:

Email: playwithpurpose62@gmail.com

Instagram: @playwithpurposeart / @bigideasforlittlehumans

YouTube: Play with Purpose-Art