Meet the Team

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Mel Brown (she/they)


Carmel is an artist and systems builder committed to collective liberation and creativity. An exhibiting visual artist and costume designer, They are the founder of the non-profit vintage shop Colored Vintage and have co-founded several collectives. Current positions include co-founder of DSM 215, a collective highlighting mental health and creativity and co-director of the Young Artist Program, a queer youth led artist residency. They are a member of the second class of the new MFA/MSW degree at the University of Pennsylvania and their personal narratives have been published in Ginger Mag, Womanly, and Caldera.

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Sam Merkt (she/her or they/them)


I'm a fiber artist, community organizer and full spectrum doula. I have been with YAP since it's inception and love making collective zines with the crew. I enjoy playing with clay & paper, and occasionally trying my hand at the sewing machine. I love watching reality TV (Love Island anyone?), swimming in the ocean, & snuggling with my pup.


Ingrid Raphael (she/they)

Teaching Artist

I’m an educator, filmmaker, and curator who’s interested in dance, justice, herbalism, and tech/data. I've been with YAP this past year & I enjoy solo walks, traveling, and dancing to afrobeat & house music.

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Sophie Lee (she/her)

Teaching Artist

I'm an artist and mentor who has been with YAP for the past four years. My mediums include illustration, collage, and digital, but recently I've been interested in working with fiber arts and ceramics. I love big sweaters and taking long walks through the city.

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Alex Thomer (She/They)

Alumni / Mentor

I have been with YAP since my sophomore year of high school, so about 4 years. I mainly work in the fiber arts but I have been branching out into painting recently. I usually spend my time reading, exploring food, playing video games, or some combination thereof.

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Ivy-yon Jackson (she/they)

Alumni / Mentor

I was a YAP participant for 3 years, as a high school student. Now as a college student, I am in a mentorship role. I am studying psychology. I enjoy sewing, specifically embroidery. Being in YAP have me the opportunity to develop as a person and as an artist. My favorite pastimes are spending time with my nephew and watching baking shows.

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Kris Hill

Alumni / Mentor

I’m Kris, an alumni/mentor at YAP :D! Pronouns are she/they, I talk a lot, I’m very dramatic lol, I’m very shy until comfortable, I love music, I do art/paint. My favorite is acrylic paint, it’s just the best! And I’m excited to start my journey on becoming an LGBT+ (Advocate) interior designer and realtor!


Ella Wilkerson (she/they)

Alumni / Mentor

I was a YAP member starting my sophomore year of high school and now I am a sophomore in college. I am studying social work but creating art helps when the assignments are long. I like embroidery but recently digital art and graphic design has been my favorite thing! I usually spend my time rewatching Youtube videos and watching The Crown or Modern Family.