Sculptor, illustrator and educator, Joe Vena was born and raised in the suburbs of Southern New Jersey. He holds a BFA in theatre from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. For the past decade he worked at the Children's Museum of Arts, where he developed and directed the Media Lab department. There, he built a following as an arts educatator behind the Clay Bar, his original concept and a popular destination at CMA. As a stop motion animation teacher and enthusiast, Joe has worked closely with numerous NYC schools, both public and private, as well as New York International Children's Film Festival and Brooklyn Autism Center.
In 2013 he traveled to Sri Lanka in partnership with the Cartwheel Initiative, where he used stop motion animation to foster collaboration between teenagers from disparate parts of the country. Films from his classes have been featured in the Tribeca Film Festival, Jackson Heights Film Festival, and Arlington International Film Festival. As an artist in residence and art teacher at Nord Anglia International School in the East Village, Joe has developed the Art Bar, a creative resource for the school and community. He lives in Brooklyn with his lovely wife, their adorable son, and their polydactyl cat.