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 Arts for All Kentucky teaching artists.

Application for Arts for All Kentucky Teaching Artist Roster (PDF)

Gregory Acker

Louisville, KY
(502) 419-8937

As a teaching artist in educational and community settings for over 25 years, I offer world music and related arts workshops, residencies, and performances. I focus on traditional culture-based musics, and design and adapt hands-on activities that are inclusive and invite participation, collaboration, and a deeper understanding of music and the culture(s) it comes from. Specialty areas:

  • Indonesian music and shadow theater–students learn to play and compose on gamelan percussion instruments (using numbered keys), then develop and create shadow plays to accompany their music.
  • West African music and dance (in collaboration with Hamidou Koivogui from Guinea)–students learn traditional rhythms, songs, and dance steps, playing a variety of percussion instruments (djembes, shakers, bells, dununs).
  • Homemade instrument-building and musical composition–students learn about world music instrument families, how instruments vibrate, design and build their own instruments, and improvise/compose with peers.

Residencies usually culminate in a school or community performance featuring the students, or sometimes an audio or video recording. Virtual or NTI instruction is available. I prefer to work within 1 hour of Louisville.
My background: BA Oberlin College, MA Ethnomusicology (Wesleyan University, CT), Peace Corps service in Africa (2 countries–Morocco and Togo), APPEX fellow (Asian Pacific Performance Exchange), Arts-in-Healing and Arts Education teaching artist (Kentucky Center), AFA Kentucky Master Artist and artist mentor.

Profile Picture Dick Albin

Richard "Dick" Albin

Rabbit Hash, KY

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.

Picture of Michelle Amos

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

Profile Picture of Mitch Barrett

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.

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.

Profile Picture of Cynthia Changaris

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.

Picture of Deborah Denenfeld

Deborah Denenfeld

Louisville, KY

In my school residencies I teach dance as a reflection of culture and time period. This is often folk dance, danced in groups. Simple movements, done together, as they have been for hundreds of years, build connection, trust and community. Opportunities for creative movement mingle with the comfort of group choreography. The outcomes are team building, personal responsibility and fun for children of all abilities. The fun is tied to other curricular areas, based on Arts Standards and your state’s Program of Studies.

During COVID shutdown, I led 163 virtual Dance Parties for all ages on Facebook Live. These remain on Facebook as free resources for all. As a dancer teaching in classrooms for over 30 years, I have extensive experience working with diverse students. I also founded and run Dancing Well: The Soldier Project, a nonprofit that brings uplifting group dance to Veterans & family members impacted by PTSD or brain injury. Willing to tailor to your needs. Willing to travel. I can also provide experiences online.

Profile Picture of Cutivetti Dye

Cutivetti Dye

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Artist
616-340-5448[email protected]

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. Email Muddy Hands Ceramics

“Be the change you want to see in the world” -Gandhi

Profile Picture of Alfredo Escobar

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.

Picture of Thomas Freese

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, storyteller and visual artist, I inspire students with my proven successful artwork (12 books, a line of wood crafts and a dozen educational and entertaining story programs). From origami and pop-up cards to creative writing to wood folk art we can have classroom fun!

Nicole Garneau

Disputanta, KY
Visual Art, Drama, Creative Writing, Media Arts

I am an interdisciplinary artist and work with students in building community through the arts. I also work as an Appalachian Teaching Artist Fellow through Berea College Partners for Education, and as a Master Trainer with TimeSlips Creative Storytelling. My philosophy in working with children includes helping students cultivate habits of enjoyment in their creative work. The idea of taking our own creativity, ideas, and vision seriously can be especially challenging for many students. I encourage experimentation with ideas and process. Utilizing a feedback, I can modify communication while working with students. Students are encouraged to share their experiences and develop active listening skills. This is helpful for both students with and without disabilities. Participation consists of creating, observing, speaking and listening to others. Some of my past residencies have included using numbers  as a storytelling tool, creating personal shrines and commemorative art, producing videos inspired by literature and documenting traditional arts and crafts like yarn-making. My residencies can easily interface with classroom curriculum.

Don Hammond

Heidrick, KY
Visual Arts, Music
606-627-5590[email protected]
With a vast experience of over thirty years in art design, music and communication, class dynamics and interaction are always at the forefront of learning. Residencies often integrate all three disciplines into the classroom. My desire is to work with educators to create and institute lessons that will meet the benchmark goals of the students.
Having degrees in theology and music, coupled with lifelong studies under skilled craftsmen with their aesthetic knowledge, brings a unique style of creativity to the curriculum.
Influenced by the diversity of life has produce a motto which guides my approach to teaching…

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.

Picture of Dave Hawkins

Dave Hawkins

Galloway, Ohio

In my young songwriters program I work with students in a team setting to create an original song. We start with a “warm-up” sing-along to get participants comfortable making music together. During the course we work cooperatively to create an original song, the theme of which is chosen by the group. The grand finale’ is the recording of our new song. An MP3 of the song will be made available to participants! I’m a Nashville Singer-Songwriter with 45 years in the business. I have 9 albums in release and enjoy sharing my music with folks around the world.

Grace Henderson

Hindman, KY
Visual Arts
606-765-7879[email protected]

As an artist and educator, I have created a variety of art integrated lessons that teach core content through engaging students in a variety of media and techniques. Individualized lesson plans can be designed to fit the curriculum and are great way to teach math, science, and ELA concepts. I have over thirty years of experience teaching math and art in K-12 schools. Sample programs include:

  • STEAM lesson on Color
  • Triangle quilt paintings 
  • Tunnel Books for ELA or Science
  • Digital Illustration
  • Clay Café family engagement night
  • Group painting classes
  • Art of Math
  • Tessellations
Profile Picture of Devonna Hisel

Devonna Hisel

McKee, KY
Visual Artist
(606) 438-0307[email protected]

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]

Picture of Lorinda Jones teaching

Lorinda Jones

Rineyville, KY

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.

I’m available to present virtual seminars/tutorials/demonstrations.

Profile Picture of Sam Kirby

Sam Kirby

Bowling Green, KY
Media Arts
270-202-6832[email protected]

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!”

Picture of Christine Kuhn teaching

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
Theatre 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 enjoy offering 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 can create lessons in multiple formats:
1) Zoom (or other digital platforms) interactions in “real” time,
2) pre-recorded video content to be used any time
3) paper-based lessons and interactive activities
4) A customized mixture of of two three of the formats above

I look forward to working with you!

Smiling woman holding a banjo near house entrance.

Melanie Turner

Garrett, KY
[email protected]

As a singer, songwriter, musician, and certified elementary teacher with over 27 years of experience, Melanie extends her love for music to the community through hands-on workshops, residencies, and performances. Her sessions cater to individuals of all ages, creating an inclusive space where the joy of music becomes a shared experience.

Sample Programs:

  • Children’s Literature and Songs: Incorporating children’s books with corresponding songs and activities.
  • Dulcimer Lessons: Beginner dulcimer workshops, group lessons with a class set of dulcimers.
  • Dulcimer Building: Workshop on building dulcimers from prefab kits, understanding the components and assembly.
  • Rhythm Fun with Various Instruments: Group rhythm sessions using diverse instruments like drums, shakers, tambourines, etc. Exploring different rhythms and beats.
  • Bluegrass and Folk Songs: Performance sessions featuring bluegrass and folk songs accompanied with instruments such as banjo, guitar, dulcimer, and mandolin.
  • Songwriting Class Activity: Creative workshops and group activities on songwriting.

Melanie takes pride in being an instructor for the Pick and Bow music program, contributing to the development of aspiring musicians. Additionally, she is a founding member of the all-female band, Coaltown Dixie, breaking barriers and showcasing the strength and talent of women in the music industry. Recognizing the importance of arts and education in rural communities, Melanie is a Partners for Rural Impact Appalachian Teaching Artist Fellow.

Pic of Bob Montgomery

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.

Precious Perez

Louisville, KY

As a singer/songwriter, music educator, and disability advocate, I aim to use music as a vehicle for change and self-expression. I thoroughly enjoy introducing children to music through play, which can involve finger puppets, instruments, and story books. As a Latina woman with a disability, I bring diversity into all of my projects, whether I am teaching a lesson on rhythm using reggaetón, or infusing Spanish into my lessons, there’s something for everyone. I specialize in teaching songwriting and ukulele, meeting students where they are and connecting their core curriculum to music. My background: Music Enrichment specialist at Children’s Academy, teaching artist for grades K-2 and 5 and Youth Choruses Coordinator via the Handel and Haydn Society, double bachelors in music education and performance from Berklee College of Music

Picture of Suzanne Renfrow

Suzanne Renfrow

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Arts
(270) 526-2740

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.

Patricia Ritter

Burkesville, KY
Visual Arts

As a teaching artist of over 20 years with VSA, The KY Arts Council, Arts for All KY and The TN Arts Commission, I encourage participation, creativity and expression by offering a variety of projects, using various techniques and media in the visual arts. My residencies can include not only hands-on art projects, but also pre and post-residency activities and can be presented and taught on virtual platforms. I work with teachers to meet their classroom needs and design art projects that are accessible and developmentally appropriate using drawing, painting, murals, collage, simple printmaking and more!

Profile Picture of Jennifer Rose

Jennifer Rose

Berea, KY

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.

Profile Picture of Andee Rudloff

Andee Rudloff

Bowling Green, KY
Visual Artist
615-438-6852[email protected]


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.

Zoom classroom
Virtual, easy pdf lessons
Muraling instruction video on Arts for All Ky site

Picture of Octavia Sexton on stage

Octavia Sexton

Orlando, KY

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.

Available for ZOOM classes.

Profile Picture of Judy Sizemore

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.

Sizemore provides distance learning options, including Zoom meetings for poetry writing. The same activities are available as paper packets for students lacking reliable Internet access.

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 Kentuckians For The Arts. For more about my projects check out my blog! http://vsakim.blogspot.com

Picture of Pat Sturtzel

Pat Sturtzel

Louisville, KY
Visual Arts
502-396-1195[email protected]

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]

Kelsey Tullis

Bowling Green
Dance and Movement

I’ve been teaching dance professionally since 2008 and have always strived to make my classes accessible to everyone because dance is for EVERYONE of all ages and abilities. I received my bachelor’s degree from Western Kentucky University with a double major in Dance and Arabic and since then have worked for dance studios, schools, performing arts centers, disability and community organizations.

As a teaching artist, I collaborate with educators to build lesson plans that enhance curriculum in ways that best suit the needs of all students. I have experience teaching many styles of dance including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Improv, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Celebratory and Folk dances, as well as, beginning Ballroom styles like waltz, cha-cha, and salsa. Dance is a great way to offer interactive components for learning in history and social studies. Physical education and dance have similar goals in developing gross motor skills. Dance offers kinesthetic learning for understanding elements of music and math. Science connections are made to anatomy by learning to identify and isolate muscle groups. In addition, dance provides opportunities for social-emotional learning (SEL) by developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work, and life success. 
Teacher and students raising hands in classroom.

Letitia D. Usher

Murray, KY
Theatre Arts and Storytelling
502-599-4585[email protected]

Letitia Usher (Tish) is a Theatre Instructor/Consultant & Artist who uses her education, theatre, health, and counseling backgrounds to boost self-awareness and empowerment in young people through the expressive arts. She has over 25 years’ experience in Theatre Education. Tish works with all ages and abilities to custom design workshops and residencies for the individual needs of a group or school; specializing in process-oriented theatre and storytelling programs. Through these programs, young people are given an opportunity to learn about themselves, others, and the world. Tish’s custom designed workshops and residencies; build self-esteem and confidence, strengthen communication skills, develop creative expression, identify emotions, increase co-operation and focus, enhance physical co-ordination, boost group ensemble, practice problem solving skills, manage anxiety… and much more. Ms. Usher has taught theatre and storytelling programs to young people across multiple states, including; KY, IN, IL, TN, CA, CO, PA, and NY.

Available on Zoom

Matt Wallace

Louisville, Kentucky
502.574.9900, ext. 12[email protected]

Matt Wallace has been Producing Artistic Director of Kentucky Shakespeare since 2013 and Director of Shakespeare Behind Bars since 2008, with extensive experience facilitating theatre-based programs for all ages and abilities, including multiple programs in Kentucky prisons and juvenile facilities. Through in-person and virtual/digital methods, his work uses Shakespeare’s universal truths and the power of the arts to transform lives, developing skills in areas of conflict resolution, empathy, communication, cooperation, self-esteem, and self-confidence. He holds a BFA in Theatre from the Webster University Conservatory of Theatre, and awards include the Kentucky Council on Crime and Delinquency Volunteer of the Year Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to the Kentucky Criminal Justice System.

Profile picture of Kyle Ware

Kyle Ware

Louisville, KY
(502) 574-9900

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.