Upturn Arts Lead Staff

Dana Reed
Founding Executive Director

Dana M. Reed is the Founder and Executive Director of Upturn Arts. She founded the organization in 2010, transitioning from NYC’s Wall Street to her love of dance to provide high-quality arts education for the underrepresented youth in New Orleans. She graduated with honors from the University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Education in 2003. Dana’s dedication to dance is evidenced by working as a master dance educator with notable worldwide institutions such as the Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine (2001-2014); Nightingale Bamford School in New York City (2006-2009); Cikal School in Jakarta, Indonesia (2008); and, Tulane University in New Orleans (2012). She also completed the GNO’s Strategic Partnership Community of Practice and is a New Orleans Youth Alliance Executive Director Cohort member. Recently, she has been selected to participate in an ArtSpace Immersion program to expand the reach of Upturn Arts. She continues dancing and performing with The Sunshine Dancers and loves teaching her new Mindful Movement class.


Kirkland Green
Special Projects Director
Music, Dance, Theater

Kirkland Green is a singer/songwriter, dancer, and musical theatre actor based in New Orleans. With extensive experience in vocal and live performance, he also trained in stage choreography, contemporary hip-hop, tap, jazz, and aerial performance. He’s worked with local theatre companies like Theatre Baton Rouge, JPAS, Rivertown, and Le Petit.

After earning his BA in Political Science from LSU, Kirkland taught Social Studies in Plaquemines Parish. Currently working on his debut album, Kirkland is the frontman of the Upturn Arts’ house band, Upturn Funk. He is excited to use his love of education and performance as Special Projects Director of Upturn Arts.

Jill Browne
Program Manager
Visual Arts

Jill Browne is a former elementary educator of twenty-one years. Originally from Washington, D.C., she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and became a certified teacher in Phoenix, AZ. On summers off, she worked with Free Arts of Arizona during their Arts and Theater Camp series. Creating dynamic performances with youth from group homes and homeless shelters inspired her to obtain her Master’s in Expressive Arts Therapy. She is a visual artist who sells her paintings on Pirates Alley in the French Quarter.

Makayla Tate
Outreach Coordinator

Makayla Tate is our AmeriCorps VISTA outreach coordinator for 2023. She has prior institutional knowledge of Upturn Arts, having served as a classroom assistant and Tulane’s WaveCorps summer staffer in 2022. She utilizes this lived experience to develop new community events and programs to expand our accessibility to more young artists in our largest areas of need. Makayla is also a talented singer and songwriter studying to become an interior designer.

Jade Johnson
Registration Manager
Visual Arts

Jade Johnson is a New Orleans based illustrator specializing in children’s editorial and bookwork. Her work has been recognized by Creative Quarterly, Applied Arts, and the Society of Illustrators. After receiving her BFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, she taught visual arts in local arts education programs until hanging up her apron in 2021. As Registration Manager, Jade manages registration, processes financial aid, and coordinates field trips.

Christine Todd
Grants Coordinator

Christine Todd attended New Orleans dance schools and graduated from the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts. She began teaching in the metro NYC area elementary schools while earning her BA in dance and developmental psychology from Sarah Lawrence College. Since returning home, Christine has performed and taught dance locally. She believes in creating a supportive studio environment where young artists can become competent at seeking and sharing knowledge. She has been part of the Upturn Arts staff since its founding in 2010 and assists with researching, writing, and tracking our grant applications to fund our programs.

Meet Our Teachers

Get to know our community of awesome Teaching Artists!

2022 At
A Glance

Number of
Young Artists
$ 1
Dollars Awarded in Financial Aid
Number of
Teaching Artists