Our goal at Da Vinci Academy is to provide a professional and disciplined, yet fun and supportive atmosphere where students of all levels can succeed. At the academy, the aim is not only to teach “how” but to cultivate the “why,” forming a deep appreciation for art.
At Da Vinci we’re passionate art nerds who believe in the importance of teaching the foundations of visual and performing art. But while we may be serious about art, we love to have fun too! All our classes combine key skill building activities with creativity and the freedom to explore.
The academy has attracted professional educators with years of experience, who love what they do and share a common goal—to nurture and inspire excellence in each and every student. Students enrolled at the Da Vinci Academy not only learn from teachers that have “studied the arts” but from mentors who have “lived the arts”.
ARMAND SIMON – (Piano, Drawing, Acting)
After becoming a prize winner at the Petrof Piano Competition at the age of thirteen, Armand Simon went on to study at the Conservatory of Rotterdam (Young Talent Program) and continued his advanced studies at the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht, where he became immersed in art.
As a classical pianist, he has performed in The Netherlands, Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Venezuela, Colombia, Germany, USA, France, Spain and Belgium.
In 2004, he returned to Aruba and devoted himself to the artistic development of youngsters on the island. He created the successful concept “2classic4u?” (2005), established the Crescendo foundation in 2006 and has brought some of world’s greatest classical musicians to Aruba with the Aruba Piano Festival (2006-2011). Armand founded Da Vinci Academy in 2010. In 2012 he introduced the Young Actors Club, a unique training program for young teenage actors.
He is also an award winning filmmaker. His short film “E Yobida di Ayera” (2016) screened at 19 film festivals around the world, including the San Mauro Film Festival (Italy), the Cardiff International Film Festival (UK), the Curacao International Film Festival Rotterdam (1st Prize, Caribbean Shorts Competition) and the GATFFEST Film Festival in Jamaica (Winner Viewers’ Choice Award).
NICOLE VAN EER – (Musical Theatre, Singing)
Nicole van Eer received her classical vocal education at the Sweelinck Conservatory in Amsterdam, where she was a member of the opera class. She was coached by Charles van Tassel and Kevin Smith. She sang parts in the operas “Le Nozze di Figaro”, “La Boheme”, “Xerxes”, and went on to play the part of Monica in Menotti’s “The Medium”.
After her studies she performed in “The Phantom of the Opera”. From 1996 to 1998 she played the part of Maria in the musical “West Side Story”, both Joop van den Ende productions. After this intensive theatre period, Nicole switched her attention to the combination of opera and musical in recital form. In August 2001 she was a soloist at the Opera Festival in Valverde in Sicily, Italy, with arias from Puccini, Verdi, Bellini and Donizetti.
In 2004, Nicole moved to Aruba, where she also performed for Her Majesty Queen Beatrix. She started teaching at Da Vinci Academy in 2010.
MONIQUE BAGHERI – (Dance)
Monique started dancing at the age of 4, and has been passionate about it ever since. Her love for dance led her to pursue further dance training abroad. She went to Louisiana (USA) to participate in a summer intensive, participated in a workshop at Stars Dance Studio in Miami (USA) and trained at the Leidse Ballet & Theaterschool (Netherlands).
Along the way, she picked up a few awards including 2nd place winner at the CMB Jingle Team Dance Competition in Aruba (2012) and 1st place winner at the Dance Stars Dance Competition in the Netherlands (2017).
Monique recently graduated as a Physical Therapist (BSc) in Leiden, and has previous teaching experience at Step by Step Dance Academy.
ANGELO KOCK – (Piano)
Having started taking piano lessons at age 9, Angelo Kock has studied with several great music teachers right here on the island. His first piano teachers were Stella Weller-Feliciano and Johnny Scharbaay. Later, and at a more advanced level, he studied with Johnny Croes (Jazz Piano) and Armand Simon (Piano Technique). In conjunction with his piano training, he extensively studied Berklee Harmony and Ear-training with Franklin Granadillo.
He has been a professional musician for more than 15 years, playing in various venues, concerts with different bands, duos, trios and playing solo piano as well. He masters a variety of styles on the piano and keyboard. He also plays the steel-drum and piano-accordion and has performed in Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Cuba, The Netherlands and the U.S. One notable performance was recording piano alongside an orchestra and a group of singers from Aruba for the re-recording of Aruba’s National Anthem in February 2016 in New York.
JESS WOLFF – (Visual Arts)
Jess is a multidisciplinary visual artist from Aruba, a.k.a ‘Luna & the Wolff’. After following different art courses at Ateliers ’89, she went on to study at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.
She works mostly with textiles but also uses nature elements and everyday objects or materials to convey organic associations, psychological moods and abstracted bodily shapes. Being raised in an artistic family she is clearly inspired by her surroundings & Caribbean roots by combining raw nature elements , tropical colors and organic shapes.
Jess is also the founder and coordinator of Much’i Mondi Art Collective, which focuses on art projects that encompass environmental and cultural sustainability. Its aim is to stimulate the art and creativity expressions in many aspects. The most popular event was “Translucent Moon”, a multidisciplinary site-specific collective arts platform that brings art, history and culture to abandoned locations across the island. With a distinct theme for each edition, visitors experience thought provoking lectures, performance art, exhibitions, music and more.
LOURDES HENRIQUEZ – (Administration)
Lourdes is responsible for the administration and makes sure everything runs smooth at the academy. She is usually the first person you see when you walk in. And she is always there with a smile.