Teaching Artist Roster

Our Teaching Artist Roster is an important part of our programming in Kentucky. Our artist residencies in educational and community settings are offered in every congressional district in the state and provide hands-on, adaptive experiences in the arts that interface with curriculums and KAS (Kentucky Academic Standards). Our Arts for All Kentucky Artist Roster is adjudicated and comprised of professional artists who not only have a solid background in their art forms, they also are excellent teachers who have had experience in working with individuals with disabilities. These artists are experienced and trained in adapting their art forms to special needs and are familiar with the Universal Design for Learning (UDL). New artists on our Roster are mentored by experienced VSA Kentucky teaching artists.

Gregory Acker

Louisville, KY
Music

As a teaching artist for over 25 years, I offer hands-on world music and related arts workshops, residencies, and performances. Areas of focus include: homemade instrument-building and musical composition, Indonesian music and shadow theater, and, in collaboration with dancer and musician Hamidou Koivogui (Guinea, West Africa), West African music and dance. Students will engage with culture-based musics–playing instruments, singing in different languages, learning about the culture–en route to developing a school performance to share their learning. My background: Peace Corps Africa , MA Ethnomusicology (Wesleyan University, CT), APPEX (Asian Pacific Performance Exchange) fellow, Arts-in-Healing (Ky Center) roster artist, VSA Master Artist and artist mentor.

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Nicole Agro

Lexington and Bowling Green, KY
Visual Arts

I am a visual artist and art educator who is interest in providing participants in my workshops a chance to experience various types of visual art. I am a UK alumnus with a BFA in Visual Art Studio/Art Education, along with a Psychology minor. Aside from my work in art and education, I continue to find ways to utilize art to stay engage and to support communities, local artist, and art education programs. Through hands-on experience and studies, I understand the immense impact that art can play in children and adolescence development across various domains. For this reason, I enjoy collaborating with teachers to create art activities geared towards the personal and academic needs of students. Theses activities can range from traditional or digital art to large scale prints or murals. The opportunity to learn about the students allow me to develop ways to teach art that is both meaningful and relevant to them. This also creates a fun and social environment open to problem-solving, self-expression, collaboration, and independent work. Hopefully, my workshops will give students a new perspective and appreciation for the arts and potentially inspire them with creative ways to support their community.

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Richard "Dick" Albin

Rabbit Hash, KY
Music

I do three different workshops: Creative Storytelling guides students through the process of developing characters, creating a plot, writing and performing the story; Music as Social Studies uses folk music to take a look (and listen) at how music came to Kentucky and how it has changed. Since the dulcimer is Kentucky’s official stringed musical instrument, it figures prominently in this workshop. Playing with History is a workshop that uses playwriting and performance to take a look at local history and folklore.

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Michelle Amos

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts

I provide visual art workshops for people of all ages and ability levels. My work primarily focuses on fiber art: basketry, weaving, doll-making, fabric surface design, creative journals, costuming, etc. I provide experiences in individual, collaborative, small-scale, and large-scale work. I enjoy working with teachers and organizations to support learning in other areas. I am willing to travel outside the Louisville area. Email michelleamosart.blogspot.com

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Karen Balzer

Murray, KY
Dance

As a dance specialist, I have designed workshop activities that encompass Arts and Humanities Core Content for all students, including those with disabilities. I work closely with teachers and administrators to meet both artistic and academic needs for their students through carefully designed dance and creative movement projects. I have an MFA in Dance from Texas Christian University and was a former Dance Trainer for the Kentucky Collaborative for Teaching and Learning.

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Mitch Barrett

Berea, KY
Music, Storytelling

During a workshop we discuss the elements of drama in storytelling, such as character, structure, projection, expression, and dialect. Students create a simple collaborative work through which they expand their skills in improvisation, pantomime and role playing. We discuss the concept that traditional and personal stories reflect on specific cultures, periods, and styles. We consider the roles of storytelling in community-building and the idea that all of us, everywhere, have folk life.

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Danielle Blevins

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts

Danielle Blevins has a BFA in printmaking and a concentration in Book Arts from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and is a trained Master Printer of Lithography with a degree from the Tamarind Institute. She collaborates with both kids and adults to facilitate projects that foster both creativity and community outreach. She first worked for VSA in Albuquerque, NM on a printmaking project that included partnering with a local farmers market.

Picture of Melody Bock-Freeman teaching a student

Melody Bock-Freeman

Lexington, KY
Visual Arts

I take joy in teaching students: about works of art, aesthetics and art criticism; and how to create art within a studio. I have been teaching and providing comprehensive and discipline-based art education in public schools and as a teacher for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. I teach undergraduate art education courses at Eastern Kentucky University, American Sign Language in local communities and have an MA in Art Education from EKU.

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Cynthia Changaris

Louisville, KY
Storytelling, Music

My story/music workshops engage participants in creative expression through music, language and movement, combining rhythm, rhyme, play on musical instruments, expressive movements, and even drawing. I have a large collection of instruments from around the world. Students and teachers find this work stimulating and fun. I’m very adaptive to all levels of abilities. I have a BS in Nursing, a MS in Family Health care, and a minor in Education.

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Deborah Denenfeld

Louisville, KY
Dance

In my school residencies I teach dance as a reflection of culture and time period. This is often folk dance, danced in groups. The outcomes are team building, personal responsibility and fun for children of all abilities. The fun is tied to other curricular areas, based on KCAS and Kentucky Program of Studies. As a dancer teaching in classrooms for over 20 years, I have extensive experience working with diverse students. Willing to travel.

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Cutivetti Dye

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Artist

I am a visual artist and educator that enjoys collaborating with teachers to create new and exciting ways to enrich our students through the arts. I have previous experience working in residential treatment, with special needs and at-risk students K-12. I believe that art has the ability to create, communicate and offer opportunities for educational growth in all students no matter what their personal limitations may be. I am looking forward to working together….“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi

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Alfredo Escobar

Berea, KY
Visual Artist

My residency projects range from simple line drawings on paper to narrative murals on wood. I have worked with thousands of children of all abilities since 1996 through Arts for All Kentucky and the Kentucky Arts Council. The vibrant colors and symbolism in my work reflect my Latin heritage, and I encourage students to celebrate their heritage as well. I have a BFA in Design from EKU. I often work with my wife, Jennifer Rose, on multidisciplinary projects.

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Thomas Freese

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts

I enjoy combining visual arts with storytelling in my residencies. I work with students to either create art from narrative or add visual elements to their stories. As an author, freelance writer and Art Therapist, I help students express their feelings, thoughts and ideas in tangible and creative form. I play guitar and harmonica and I can assist children in making songs, as well. I’ve worked since 1993 with the Kentucky Arts Council.

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Mary Hamilton

Frankfort, KY
Storytelling

I’m very adaptive with my storytelling residencies. I’ve taught students to tell stories, led students in play with a single story using multiple learning styles, helped students informally dramatize stories told by me and by classmates, and helped students create new tales based on familiar folk tale patterns. I use activities easily duplicated by classroom teachers. I have a Master’s in Library Science, a Bachelor’s in Education, and twenty-four years professional storytelling experience. [email protected]

Tricia Hart

Louisville, KY
Visual Art

I am a visual artist and have worked as a licensed Art Therapist for over 20 years. I have experience working with children with mental health challenges, physical limitation, and learning disorders. I work with teachers to develop creative projects that are developmentally appropriate and adapt to all ability levels, using drawing, painting and mixed media techniques to create individual student work and collaborative projects. Projects can be designed to meet specific learning goals.

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Dave Hawkins

College Hill, KY
Music

My young songwriters program works with students as a team to create an original song. We start with a “warm-up” sing-along to get the children comfortable making music together. The grand finale’ is the recording of our new song. Each child will get a copy of the song! With 14 recordings to my credit, including five solo albums in the last 10 years, I’ve been performing music since I was 8 years old.

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Devonna Hisel

McKee, KY
Visual Artist

As a fiber artist I create lesson plans and residencies that collaborate with the teacher’s request and curriculum standards. I can bring sewing machines into the classroom and aid the students in using them to create their own pillows, small quilt blocks, and other sewn items, or I can design a non-sewing project. I have worked with students in public schools, as well as kids in 4-H. I also work with adults. The residencies are designed so that students of all capabilities will learn and enjoy the artistic approach to creating their own unique piece of fiber art. Email [email protected]

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Lorinda Jones

Rineyville, KY
Music

As a folk musician, my emphasis is on American folk music through interactive songs and activities, dulcimer kit building, simplified song writing, and learning to play the dulcimer or folk harp, when appropriate. As a music therapist, I can quickly access and adapt to all ranges of disabilities and choose activities and instruments for success. I enjoy all settings, and can create a program specifically based on client or student goals.

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Sam Kirby

Bowling Green, KY
Media Arts

Sam Kirby is the CEO and Creative Director of Vid Monster Productions. An interactive video production workshop with Sam is designed to engage students in every aspect of creating a professional video. Each student will walk away having gleaned critical thinking/problem solving skills, an increased sense of their own creativity, and an end product to be proud of. Students will divide into groups where they will be challenged to work with limited items to create a story. Upon completing their story line, they will be guided to film their story with hands on instruction. After this, Sam will do an interactive editing session for all of the students in which they are able to call the shots and make decisions. The final stage is to premiere the work before their class, where they will receive feedback and praise for the hard work they have done. The overall goal is not to create multimedia professionals, but to expose them to the rewarding process of creating media content!” [email protected]

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Christine Kuhn

Lexington, KY
Visual Artist and Music

My residencies use 2 and 3-D mediums, creative movement, music, and computer presentations. The goal of my residencies is to create a classroom environment in which students feel relaxed, confident, creative and cooperative. I focus on a theme of interest to students, usually one they choose themselves. Recent themes have included; Myths of India; Native American Weaving; Drawing People and Art of Africa. I have extensive experience in teaching and working with special needs populations.

Jonathan Lerner

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Art

Jonathan is a teaching artist, yoga instructor and award-winning visual artist from New York City, now living in Kentucky. He has been teaching and exhibiting for the past twenty years since graduating from Oberlin College. His expressive sketchbook journaling workshops for intermediate, middle and high school students are hands-on and experiential for participants with and without disabilities. His mindfulness, breathing and movement-based approach is adaptable to classroom settings. Students use simple art materials and are guided in developing creative learning skills. Jonathan provides a nonjudgmental environment, emphasizing play in developing cognitive skills, sensory awareness, and self-regulation. Classroom subjects and themes can be integrated into the residency and National Core Art Standards are addressed. Selected journal entries can be used to create a digital exhibition as a culminating event.

Profile Pic of Talleri A. McRae

Talleri A. McRae

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts

“I am a teaching artist who curates theatre arts experiences for students of all ages. I often use a story as a jumping off point for a highly participatory lesson for younger students, and will often offer story as metaphor when I facilitate more specific skill-based lessons for older students. My hallmark style involves placing the student experience at the center of each lesson, and crafting accessible, personalized questions that explore not only the art of theatre, but the depth and breath of the human experience. I look forward to working with you!”

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Bob Montgomery

Berea, KY
Visual Artist

Metal-working residencies are designed to complement the teacher’s lesson plan. For example, with a unit on Colonial America, we see how iron was used and how important it was on the frontier. In a science class we study energy transfer and how heat affects iron in the forge. While studying the concepts, the students work in the forge and help create a project that relates to their course of study. Metal armature sculptures can then be decorated with various materials.

Picture of Carrie Neumayer and her students

Carrie Neumayer

Louisville, KY
Visual Artist

Carrie’s residency offerings can be tailored to a theme that supports inclusive learning in any curriculum subject (addressing Common Core) and could include group comic anthology projects, mural projects, experimental photography lessons or pop art sculptures.She holds a BFA in painting from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and a MAT in Art Education from the University of Louisville. Carrie has eight years of experience teaching diverse student populations as an art teacher with Jefferson County Public Schools.

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Suzanne Renfrow

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Arts

I design unique activities that encourage students of all abilities to experience and create art. I coordinate the arts activities with curriculum themes chosen by teachers and KAS (Kentucky Academic Standards). My goal is to provide the tools and environment where students can feel comfortable and confident to make art whether it be in the classroom or at a community event. I have taught pottery, painting, and mixed media art classes to students of all ages for several years through schools, universities, community groups, and Arts for All Kentucky. I have been a studio potter for 17 years and have a BFA in studio art.

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Patricia Ritter

Burkesville, KY
Visual Arts

As a teaching artist, I encourage participation and expression by offering a variety of projects, techniques and media. I work with teachers to develop residencies that are accessible and developmentally appropriate, and can include drawing, painting, murals, collage or puppetry with the goal of helping each student experience creativity through hands-on art processes. I have taught students of all ages and abilities through grants with the Kentucky Arts Council and other programs since 1995.

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Jennifer Rose

Berea, KY
Music

My residencies most often focus on traditional Appalachian music and dance. Classroom groups can learn to play the dulcimer, try out Kentucky pioneer dances, or sing along with Appalachian folk songs. My lifelong training as a dancer and musician, BA in vocal music from Berea College , and two decades of teaching experience through VSA and others qualify me for work with any group. I often work with my husband, Alfredo Escobar, on multi-disciplinary projects.

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Andee Rudloff

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Artist

As a teaching artist, I engage all students through visual language and in variety of visual art media. I work with educators and staff to develop residencies which are accessible and meet curriculum goals. Residencies may include drawing, painting, murals, lettering, street art, installations and design. I am equally comfortable facilitating inclusive hands-on learning experiences with both small and large groups of students. With over 20 years of experience in art engagement, I enjoy encouraging students of all ages in art making experiences while working with administrators to achieve the specific goals of each learning community.

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Octavia Sexton

Orlando, KY
Theater

My storytelling/ writing residencies incorporate literary/drama elements with Appalachian storytelling. Core content based and using participatory activities, I focus on developing performance and literary skills and individual creativity to present and/or write a story, skit o play. I adapt my teaching strategies to the dynamics of the classroom and may use drawings, costumes, masks, musical instruments or objects gleaned from a classroom scavenger hunt. I have a degree in education and over 25 years teaching experience.

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Dianne Simpson

Heidrick, KY
Visual Artist

My residency projects range from embroidery needle work, loom weaving, painted quilt blocks, basket weaving, to free form weaving. I like to work with the teacher/coordinator to develop projects that will unite the units of study together. I am proud of my Appalachian heritage and encourage students to be proud of their heritage and embrace it. I cherish the opportunity to share my arts and crafts techniques with others.

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Judy Sizemore

Annville and Eastern KY
Literary Arts

As a literary artist, Sizemore has collaborated with teachers to integrate literature, creative writing and the arts with the social studies curriculum through 100+ in-school residencies (varying from one week to nine months). She has over 300 stories and poems published in magazines and anthologies and one published book of poetry. Her greatest pleasure is helping young people to find their own voice, whether they are writing poems or documenting their community traditions.

Kim Soule

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Art

I am an artist and retired art educator with 27 years of experience. I love working with teachers and students to create community at your school. “Inclusiveness is at the heart of all good projects!” Some of my projects have included: Collaborative paintings, Clay murals, Barn quilts, Cold wax painting, as well as individual student artwork. I live in Bowling Green but enjoy traveling to meet new students and teachers. I have served as the President of the Kentucky Art Education Association and serve on the Board of Directors for the National Art Education Association. For more about my projects check out my blog! http://vsakim.blogspot.com

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Pat Sturtzel

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts

As a fiber artist, arts educator and art therapist (MA, University of Louisville ), I work to balance the teaching of skills with encouraging creativity at the appropriate developmental level for participants. I work with the teacher/facilitator to develop a project/theme that supports learning in other areas. Activities include fabric surface design (dyeing and printing and stitching on fabric) mask-making and other 3-D techniques. I offer visual aids and hand-over-hand support as needed. [email protected]

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Letitia Usher

Louisville, KY
Theatre

Letitia Usher uses her education, theatre, health, and counseling backgrounds to build self-awareness and empowerment in young people. She is a certified Teacher, Counselor, and Master Storyteller who has over 25 years’ experience in Theatre Education. She works with all ages and abilities to custom design workshops and residencies for the individual needs of a group or school. Letitia specializes in process-oriented theatre and storytelling programs. Through these programs, young people are given an opportunity to learn about themselves: build self-esteem and confidence, improve communication skills, develop creative expression, awareness of emotions, increase co-operation skills, physical co-ordination and more. Ms. Usher has taught theatre and literacy building/storytelling programs to young people in multiple states, including; KY, TN, CA, CO, PA, and NY.

[email protected]

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Matt Wallace

Louisville, Kentucky
Theatre

Matt Wallace is an actor, director, teacher, and playwright. As Artistic Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars, he facilitates ongoing theatre-based programs in Kentucky prisons and juvenile facilities. He works with all ages and abilities and tailors workshops/residencies to the individual site or school. Matt specializes in using theatre in teaching tolerance and conflict resolution with incarcerated and at risk youth. He holds a BFA in Theatre from the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre.

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Kyle Ware

Louisville, KY
Theatre

Kyle Ware is an actor, writer, director, artist and educator based out of Louisville, KY, currently serving as Director of Education for Kentucky Shakespeare and Co-Artistic Director of Think Tank Theatre. As a Co-Performing Founding Artistic Director of Le Petomane Theatre Ensemble, he co-created over 20 new works. He works with all ages and abilities and can tailor workshops and residencies to the needs of the organization. Specialties include: acting, direction, dynamic story creation, Shakespeare, arts integration, team-building, personal, interpersonal and professional development.

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Patrice A. Will

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts

I strive to create an art environment that ensures success and discovery for each student. I teach painting and mixed media projects that are visually pleasing and yet sturdy enough to touch. I am committed to mentoring young people and I have 6 years experience in adaptive art projects. I have a master’s degree in Expressive Therapy from the University of Louisville , and worked in the mental health field for 12 years.