Watkins’ Community Education Department offers non-credit classes, workshops and camps in art, design, film, and creative writing for people of all ages, skill-levels, and backgrounds. The mission of the CE program is to provide a distinctive education that will empower youth, teens and adults to embrace their artistic abilities and give them the tools to pursue a life of creativity. Whether you’re a “first-time artist” interested in trying something new or a professional looking to go deeper in your medium, we look forward to making art with you at Watkins — your place to create!
Classes are taught by talented practicing artists who help students gain an understanding of their chosen medium. Emphasis is placed on both the finished product and the process of thinking, designing, communicating and creating. Young Artists are introduced to art fundamentals through drawing, painting, working with clay and other techniques. Teens learn about past and present artists while expanding upon their artistic skills. Adults have the opportunity to explore areas of specific interest, allowing their creative voice to be heard.
Maggie Fansher, Director
Before Watkins, Maggie received her MBA with a concentration in entrepreneurship from the Massey School of Business at Belmont University, defying the idea that ‘artists can’t do math.’ But before all the spreadsheets and financial calculations, she ran her own painting studio at Marathon Village after graduating with a BA in studio art and art history from Centre College. A creative at heart, she has worked for many of the arts organizations in town, from managing the summer programs at Cheekwood to grant writing and show installation with Seed Space.
Sydney Grimes, Coordinator
After graduating from Belmont University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Art in Art History, Sydney worked at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts as their summer camp manager. Sydney is a Nashville native and understands the growing arts community in Nashville.
Watkins’ CE department employs student assistants and many professional teaching artists. More information on our teaching artists can be found on this page under the “Teaching Artists” tab.
In 1885, the State of Tennessee received a special gift that would forever change education and the arts in Nashville: $100,000 and a parcel of land at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Church Street, Samuel Watkins, an orphan who later built a fortune in the masonry business, designated this gift in his will to build a school that would strengthen the city. The resulting school, Watkins Institute, evolved into one of the finest community-oriented education facilities in the region. For 130 years, Watkins’ role has been flexible, addressing the unmet educational needs of Nashville.
Today, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film is an independent institution dedicated to providing education in the visual arts. It is held in trust by the state of Tennessee and is privately supported. In keeping with the vision of its founder, Samuel Watkins, the College believes in providing its students with a solid, practical education that prepares them for careers in the arts. It is an institution that values service to the community and seeks to be a resource for the community. In this role, Watkins offers non-degree arts education in addition to the college curriculum.
Where are you located?
Watkins is located at 2298 Rosa L. Parks Blvd (formerly metrocenter) just minutes from downtown Nashville.
Where do I park? Is there a cost?
There is a free parking lot in the front of our building.
What is appropriate attire?
Students should wear comfortable clothing for working in. Some materials used in class may stain clothing. With this in mind, a smock or apron may be necessary. For safety reasons no roller skates or shoes with wheels embedded into the soles are allowed.
What if I have to miss a class? Can the tuition be pro-rated?
We understand that absences do happen. Because these are non-credit classes, students do not receive a grade nor are they penalized for absences. However, instructors are not obligated to provide make-up time. We do not pro-rate tuition for missed classes.
Can I purchase gift certificates for community education classes?
Yes! Gift certificates can be purchased by contacting the Community Education office at (615) 383-4848
How can I get in touch with my instructor?
It is our policy not to give out contact information for our instructors. However, you may email or call our office and we will gladly relay a message to your instructor and have him/her get in contact with you.
What is your attendance policy in the event of a flu outbreak or other pandemic:
Youth who attend a school that has been closed due to illness/outbreaks will not be allowed in Watkins young artists program classes. If a large number of students or teachers in the young artists program are out due to illness the director may elect to cancel class(es). Teachers who teach at a school that has been closed due to illness/outbreaks will not be allowed to teach classes. Youth and adult students will be encouraged to use sound judgment and not attend class if they feel ill. Please contact our offices at (615) 383-4848 for more details on our illness policies.
How do I register?
It’s easy! Register online here or we accept registrations by mail, fax or phone.
Is your online registration secure?
Yes! Our site uses SSL technology to ensure that your credit card and personal are transmitted safely. While on the registration page, you should notice a locked padlock icon displayed on the bottom right corner.
Is there a registration deadline? How late can I register?
The registration deadline is typically two weeks prior to the first day of class. If there is availability registrations may still be accepted as late as the first day of class, but by waiting you run the risk of the class either being full or being cancelled due to lack of enrollment.
Is there a waiting list for classes that are full?
Yes! In the event that a class is full we will put your name on a waiting list. If a space opens up in the class, the persons on the waiting list will be contacted in the order they are received.
What forms of payment do you accept?
Mastercard, Visa, checks, money orders and cash are accepted.
Can I make a deposit and pay the rest later?
Full payment for tuition and fees is due at the time of registration.
What happens if my class doesn’t make?
Classes may be cancelled or combined if a minimum enrollment of 5 students is not met at least one week before the class begins. Students will be informed of cancellations prior to the first day of class so that alternative plans may be made and full refunds will be issued.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Refunds requested one week or more prior to the first day of class will be refunded 100% of tuition and fees, less a $25 processing charge. Classes dropped seven days or less prior to the beginning of class will be refunded at a 60% tuition rate, less a $25 processing charge. No tuition or fees will be refunded beginning the first day of class.
What do I need to bring the first day?
Unless otherwise indicated, orientations are offered the first night of class to discuss course syllabi and supply lists. We recommend that you bring paper and a pen or pencil for taking notes.
Are supplies included?
Unless otherwise noted, students are responsible for acquiring their own supplies. A supply list and syllabus will be provided the first night of class. Some classes may require an additional material or lab fee.
Where do I find my classroom?
All of our studios, labs and classrooms are conveniently located in one main building. There is a receptionist at the main entrance and on the first night of class signs will be posted to direct you to your classroom.
How many students will be in the class?
The typical class size is 5 -15 students.
Do you offer scholarships or financial assistance?
At this time we do not provide scholarships or financial assistance for ACE classes.
Do I have access to labs or studios outside of class time?
Community Education students are limited to working in studios or labs only when the instructor is present.
Can I check out books from the Watkins Library?
Community Education students are welcome to browse our wonderful Library, but circulation privileges are for degree -seeking students only. If you find you have some time before class and would like to read in the library you are welcome to use their comfortable lounge areas.
How many students will be in the class?
The typical class size is 5 -15 students.
How many teachers will be in class?
One teacher is assigned to each class. Other staff personnel are available to assist classes as needed.
Are materials provided?
Yes! All the materials for your child’s/teen’s class will be provided. Some classes may have an extra materials or lab fee.
Do you have a before/after care program?
Due to space and staff limitations, at this time we do not provide before or after care. Promptness in dropping off and picking up your child/teen is necessary and appreciated. A 15-minute grace time may be granted with permission from the Director. Any time beyond the 15 minutes grace time accrues a charge of $1 per minute.
How early can I drop off my child/teen for class?
Due to space and staff limitations we start accepting students no earlier than 15 minutes prior to class time.
Is lunch care provided?
Lunch care is provided for students, but students must bring their own lunches.
Do you provide a snack or lunch?
Students are responsible for bringing their own healthy snacks and lunches. A vending machine is also available.
Where do I take my child/teen when I first arrive?
Students assemble in Watkins’ theatre, Room 500, immediately prior to and following class. Parents should sign their child/teen in and out on the dismissal roster before and after class each day. Students being picked up by an adult other than a parent should bring a signed and dated note indicating so. If a student utilizes public transportation or drives themselves a signed and dated note must be provided giving permission for Watkins to release the student from our care.
Can I stay in the classroom with my child/teen?
To ensure a safe environment that is conducive to learning we do not allow anyone in the classroom other than registered students, teachers and community education staff.
Do you offer scholarships or financial assistance?
We do offer a limited number of scholarships each semester for young artists ages 5-18. Click here for more information.
Do you offer any discounts?
Yes! We offer sibling discounts. Simply type “Sibling” into the discount code box at checkout.
Can I register my child in a class for older students?
We design our curriculum so that learning objectives and class projects are targeted for specific age levels. To register for a class, the child needs to have reached the minimum age prior to the first day of class.
B.S. Graphic & Communication Design, La Roche College
B.A. Studio Arts, University of Pittsburgh
Matt Allison is an independent graphic designer living in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003 with a B.A. in Studio Arts, and then graduated with a B.S. in Graphic & Communication Design from La Roche College in 2006. He has worked as a freelance designer in Nashville for over six years.
B.A., Art Institute of Colorado
Clark Anderson is a live action, animation, and visual effects Director with over 25 years of experience designing and directing commercials, visual effects for feature films, themed entertainment, and mixed media. Clark is also a veteran studio Creative Director, having been a Creative Director for the Academy-Award-winning VFX-powerhouse Rhythm & Hues for the past 20 years. His international clientele include AT&T, CBS, Kraft, Connoco, Canon, Toyota, and McDonalds to mention a few. Clark has a BA from Colorado Institute of Art, and has been a guest teacher at Academy of Art University in San Francisco and Otis College of Art & Design in Los Angeles.
B.F.A., Watkins College of Art, Design, & Film
Sam earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film in 2012. She currently works as a freelance photographer in the Nashville area. Sam works with local photographers such as Mark Tucker and Caroline Allison. While specializing in Fine Art photography, she has a passion for a variety of photographic mediums.
Daniel is a multidisciplinary artist with decades of experience in visual art and music performance. His initial love of drawing expanded into explorations in mixed media painting, assemblage, collage, digital art, printmaking and video. His teaching experience includes drawing and mixed media art workshops and classes for adults offered through Nashville Community Education, The Community Education program at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film, and arts enhancement projects for youth with Nashville After Zone Alliance (NAZA).
B.A., The University of Tennessee
Gloria is a native of Nashville, where she enjoyed a long career in journalism as a feature writer and editor at The Tennessean before leaving the newspaper business to become a freelance writer. During her career, she covered fashion, home design, gardening, travel and other features, and was travel editor at The Tennessean from 1998 until 2006. Currently, Gloria writes a monthly garden column for The Tennessean, garden and travel features, stories and essays, and maintains two garden blogs. In addition to teaching creative writing classes at Watkins Community Education, she is a mentor in nonfiction and fiction at MTSU Write, a writing certificate program at Middle Tennessee State University, works as a freelance editor and publicist, and leads creative writing workshops and gardening presentations. Gloria also writes fiction, and was a 2004 participant at Sewanee Writers Conference. Her fiction has been published in Drafthorse literary journal.
B.A. Wells collage
M.F.A in Photography from Kansas State University
Angel Barnett is a Fine Art photographer mainly working in alternative processes, more specifically a process call mordançage. She has been teaching all around Nashville for the past 7 years. She has taught all levels of darkroom photography, alternative process, digital photography, the history of photography and photographic theory, as well as some lighting.
Mary Gwyn Bowen
R.N., Excelsior College
B.F.A., Corcoran College of Art and Design
M.A. University of Florida
Mary Gwyn is an artist, art educator and RN working on how those three work together. She believes the arts can share hope and peace within the healthcare environment and is committed to helping artists share their talents in the world of medicine. Mary Gwyn obtained a degree in nursing from Excelsior College, a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors at the Corcoran College of Art and Design, and a Master of Arts in Art Education from the University of Florida. Today, Mary Gwyn paints, works as a day surgery nurse, and is focused on launching Healthcare Artists Together to see more artists make a difference to the lives of others through their art.
B.S. in Education, University of Tennessee at Martin
B.S., East Tennessee State University
Jim Brown is an internationally traveled, award-winning published photographer and teacher whose photographic career spans over forty-five years. As a current contract photographer for USA Today Sports Images, Jim’s photographs are published almost daily either on the web or in print media and his clients include Sports Illustrated, ESPN Magazine USA Today Newspaper, Stouffer Hotel, United Press International, Associated Press, Vanderbilt University, and University of South and Middle Tennessee State University. He has taught photography in four institutes of higher education and also teaches Digital Art & Design to high school students. Jim enjoys working with and mentoring students who desire to learn photography and related subjects while increasing their knowledge, understanding, and application of the medium.
B.A., Tennessee State University
Christopher Cheney is a working artist who exhibits regularly in Nashville at well regarded art spaces such as Art & Invention Gallery, Janet Levine March Gallery, Belcourt Theatre Gallery, and Lequire Gallery Annex. Cheney apprenticed at Hatch Show Print , a letterpress print shop, designing and reproducing letterpress posters and wood/linoleum carving. Cheney began his career as an art educator with the City Museum in St. Louis, MO. Chris and business partner Nieves Uhl own and run Sawtooth Print Shop, a letterpress/silk screen/design studio located in East Nashville, Tennessee.
Jennifer is a Nashville-based editor and indie publisher. She runs Wandering in the Words Press, which helps authors cut through the red tape of getting their books to market in a polished and professional fashion. Jennifer has edited more than fifty manuscripts from clients around the world and locally in Nashville. She is also a freelance adventure travel writer with more than fifteen years experience and a Master of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University’s Medill. When she’s not writing or editing, Jennifer enjoys mentoring students in Middle Tennessee State University’s certificate in writing program (MTSU Write) and teaching workshops through Nashville’s The Porch Writers’ Collective. In her free time, Jennifer can be found getting dirty in her garden or sweating it out while training for her next marathon. In a former life, she was a television reporter in her native state of North Dakota. Uff-da!
B.F.A, Watkins College of Art, Design & Film
Michael is an illustrator with a focus on digital art and media. His primary applications include Photoshop CS6, Corel Painter and Google Sketchup. His work is applied to book illustrations, visual development for movies and games, storyboarding, plein air, landscape, and portrait paintings. He is excited to teach his first class with Watkins Community Education.
Timothy Davis is a Nashvillian of 10 years standing, although born in Charlotte, NC. Davis co-authored — with John T. Edge, Sara Roahen, Sheri Castle and others — The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook (UGA Press). Last year, I released The Hot Chicken Cookbook: The Fiery History and Red-Hot Recipes of Nashville’s Beloved Bird (Spring House Press). Now in its second printing — and about to go into a third — the book has been reviewed or otherwise mentioned in Time, National Geographic, and Food Republic, and was the subject of a feature on NPR’s Morning Edition. It was written with greasy hands, a fierce passion, and not a little antacid. Davis’ partial publication credits include pieces for Salon.com, Mother Jones, First We Feast (VICE), Saveur, the Christian Science Monitor, Travel + Life, Harp, Gastronomica, and Oxford American. Davis is the former staff writer and food columnist at Creative Loafing in Charlotte, NC and Weekly Surge/The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, SC, and contributed as an associate editor for Gravy, the official newsletter of the Oxford, Mississippi-based Southern Foodways Alliance. Davis is a regular contributor for a number of area publications, including East Nashvillian, Nashville Scene, Edible Nashville, Nashville Lifestyles, and NATIVE.
M.F.A. Candidate, Savannah College of Art and Design
B.S., Lambuth University
B.S., Union University
Dallas’ career has involved interior design and project management, as well as undergraduate interior design instruction. With a special passion for items related to architectural history, her background has included work as a furniture and decorative arts preservationist.
B.F.A., Belmont University
Originally from Memphis, Anna came to Nashville to Belmont University where she received her BFA in Painting. A majority of her work is centered on the human form. Teaching begins with learning your self and as a figure model for many years, she learned her subject from the inside out. This can be applied to all of her disciplines and she thinks it is an honor to pass this knowledge on to you.
Bob Giordano has had an active role in the Tennessee Screenwriters Association (TSA), serving as the President in 1998 and co-creating the Script Development Program which assists writers in developing their screenplays from concept to completion. In 1997 Mr. Giordano received an honorable mention at the Nashville Independent Film Festival for writing, directing and producing his short film Blind Spot. In 2002, he won the Hollywood Symposium Contest for his feature-length script Grendel and in 2001 was the winner of the Writer’s Network Screenplay competition for the feature-length script Resistance.
B.F.A., University of Georgia
Katie Gonzalez first studied the art of bookmaking in Cortona, Italy, during the summer of 2006. Since founding linenlaid&felt handmade books in 2010, she has turned her passion for books into a full-time profession. Katie designs and binds meaningful books every day in her studio in East Nashville, including one-of-a-kind journals, photo albums, guest books, baby books, and artist’s books. She teaches bookbinding and graphic design classes, sells her work in local shops and galleries, and frequently exhibits at regional art shows. Her work combines traditional bookbinding techniques and the principles learned while earning her graphic design degree at the University of Georgia.
B.F.A., University of Georgia
Heinsohn has shown repeatedly in group shows at Allan Stone Gallery, most notable of which was the Summer Group Show of 1995 where he was included along with Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and other historically important painters. Recently he received the ” Critic’s Pick ” From The Nashville Scene, as well as a feature in the Tennessean, for his solo exhibit at Estel Gallery in Nashville. In 2010 his work was shown at Preston Contemporary Art Center in New Mexico and at The Lowe Gallery in Atlanta and featured in Nashville Arts Magazine. Heinsohn was also selected to teach a workshop in conjunction with the ” Modern Masters ” abstract painting exhibition from the Smithsonian American Art Museum at Cheekwood Art and Gardens in Nashville.
M.F.A. School of the Art Institute of Chicago
B.F.A. Lipscomb University
Sensory experiences inform and largely dictate our reality, moment to moment and day to day. Matthew’s work is based on the exploration of these experiences, playing and tinkering with sensory input to create new, but familiar sensations. In a sense, he is interested in “hacking” the brain at a primal level to evoke feelings and false memories.
J. Joseph Kane is the Program Director of SLANT (Student Literary Artists of Nashville, TN), a non-profit that provides creative writing opportunities for Nashville-area teens. He is also a Copy Editor for the literary magazine Midwestern Gothic. Before moving to Nashville, Joe taught creative writing in Detroit Public Schools as a writer-in-residence of the Inside Out Literary Arts Project. Joe’s poems and stories have been featured in a number of magazines, including RHINO, Elimae, theEEEL, Clapboard House, The Splinter Generation, Cricket Online Review, Central Review, Psychic Meatloaf, Temenos, Right Hand Pointing, and Admit2.
Shawn Krise has been a working, selling and teaching artist for over 30 years in and around Nashville. She teaches most any media but specializes in drawing and painting methods and concepts that extend beyond the particular medium. Shawn holds a BS in Art Education and has written and facilitated art programs for such organizations as Girl Scout Council of Middle Tennessee, Senior Citizens, Inc., and Metro Parks and Recreation. She has also had an extensive career as a commercial illustrator/graphic artist as well as her ongoing work as a commissioned portrait painter.
Kenneth Lacy Jr.
M.A., Ball State University
B.A., Ball State University
Kenneth has an innate passion and strength in pencil-drawing that he has fostered for many years. His preferred medium is the use of pencil and he prefers to render human face and figure drawings. Kenneth is enamored with educating people about the society in which we live and enlightening people about experiences that they encounter on a daily basis, but to understand from a different perspective. He encourages people to see life not only how it is shown to you, but from a more profound understanding. Kenneth has taught Sociology at the collegiate for three years and loves teaching. He now has developed a passion to teach Art to his community from a sociological perspective.
Emily Sue Laird
B.F.A.Watkins College of Art
Emily Sue Laird is a Nashville-based visual artist, production designer, educator, 3D printer, and installation artist who earned a BFA Cum Laude in Fine Art from Watkins College of Art in 2011. As Creative Director of Artist Nashville, Emily Sue has been responsible for the design and production of large scale temporary and permanent sculptural installations, mural projects, chalk art, faux finishing, retail displays, educational workshops, special events, marketing collateral, and set designs for theater, live music, television, and film. Since 2012, Emily Sue has produced custom work for brands such as West Elm, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Holiday Inn Suites, Clayton Homes, Cox Automotive, Ingram Content Group, Janet’s Planet, The Mother Goose Club, The Adventure Science Center, My Gnome on the Roam, Tennessee Women’s Theater Project, Nashville Public Library, Fenwick’s 300, and Bongo Java, as well as custom art for multiple music festivals including Marathon Music Works’ Block Party, Nashville Scene’s 25th Birthday Bash, and Bonnaroo. Emily Sue’s sculptures, 3D prints, textile art, paintings, and home goods can be found in local galleries and boutiques around Nashville. Her personal work has been selected for Critic’s Pick by the Nashville Scene as well as featured by Native Magazine, WPLN, Lightning 100, Broadway World, and Nashville Arts Magazine. When she’s not running Artist Nashville, Ms. Laird can be found at StudioNPL, Nashville Public Library’s high tech maker space for teenagers, where she enjoys teaching kids how to make just about anything they can imagine. She also moonlights as Technical Director at the Rymer Gallery in downtown Nashville, Tennessee, where she supports the Director and Curator with all technical aspects of operating a high-end contemporary fine art gallery.
Claudia Lee is a full time studio artist and instructor who has been teaching for over 30 years. She is the author of Hand Papermaking from Lark Books and was a designer for many of their other publications. She is a former president of Tennessee Craft. She was one of the first recipients of a Master’s grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission and, in 2011, she was chosen to create the awards for the Governor’s Arts Awards. She owns and runs Liberty Paper, a working and teaching facility in Liberty, Tennessee.
B.F.A., The Rhode Island School of Design
After graduating from the Illustration Department of The Rhode Island School of Design, Lauren’s artwork has charmed audiences of all ages in editorial, products, and publishing. When not doing freelance work, she is actively showing her work in galleries across the country. Lauren taught Illustration at Montserrat College of Art and The Rhode Island School of Design before starting a new chapter at C.R. Gibson in Nashville, TN. As part of their creative team, she uses her love of pattern, color, and whimsical illustration to bring an array of fun products to the public.
Billy Martinez has been working among the footsteps of comics and fine art for over 21 years. He is the publisher of Neko Press. His works include Wildflower, Kickass Girl, and The Deepest Dark. His art has been featured in Heavy Metal Magazine and as well as The Family Guy and Hellboy for Inkworks trading cards. He has been commissioned by Starbucks Coffee and has designed work for Qualcomm Communications. Billy teaches over 17 classes a week at Neko Press Art Studios. On a regularly monthly basis he performs live art throughout the United States and is continuing his series of 1000 Girls paintings. 2012 marked the release of – In Your Face, a complete guide to drawing facial expressions. Soon after came his follow up – Body Movin’ in 2013. This book features a solid approach to figure drawing. 2014 marked the 15 year anniversary for Neko Press. There will be a great deal of live art and brand new works coming at you straight from the mind and hands of Billy Martinez.
B.F.A., East Texas State University
M.F.A., Texas A&M University
Rob McClurg received his M.F.A in Ceramics from Texas A&M University. He began teaching in 1986 at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago spending many years teaching various ceramics, firing and kiln building techniques. Mr. McClurg later began teaching at Oxbow School of Painting in Michigan, where he also the coordinated the ceramics program. He is currently an adjunct instructor at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film teaching both ceramics and 3D design. In addition to teaching Mr. McClurg shows his fine ceramics at galleries such as Sarratt and Ruby Green Contemporary Art Center.
B.F.A, Belmont University
Anna McKeown is an embroidery and mixed-media artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Belmont University. Anna grew up in Southern Illinois and was raised by a big family with a love for gardening, antiques, and domestic crafts. The subject matter and style of her work is strongly influenced by mid-century paper ephemera, gender norms, memory, and the exploration of her personal relationships. She lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, Troy.
M.A., Savannah College of Art & Design
B.F.A, Middle Tennessee State University
Mike Meredith is a digital illustrator specializing in children’s markets. Mike has been working in the Nashville area for the past 25 years starting as a caricature artist at Opryland Theme Park. Mike has worked in Web and Graphic Design, Illustration and Education.
B.F.A., Appalachian Center for Craft
Certificate, College of the Redwoods
Stephan is a woodworker and object-maker living in Nashville, Tennessee. He began his training at the Appalachian Center for Craft where he received a BFA in furniture design. He continued his training at the College of the Redwoods, where he earned a certificate under the direction of Michael Burns, Greg Smith, Jim Budlong and Eijler Hjorst-Westh—who were themselves graduates of the same program under direction of founder James Krenov. He received his MFA from East Carolina University in 2011.
Grace Mikell Ramsey
M.F.A. Tulane University
B.A. Stetson University
Grace Mikell Ramsey studied religion and art at Stetson University and after graduating, moved to New Orleans in the summer of 2007 to teach in the Recovery School District and make art. She received her M.F.A. in Painting from Tulane University in May 2012 and was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant Award in June 2012. She primarily works in oils and makes figurative paintings that function in a dreamlike narrative space between fantasy and reality. She explores themes of girlhood and womanhood, working loosely from her own experiences, memories, musings, introspections, and fears. Her work has been shown at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Art Gallery, and has been published in Oxford American, Artvoices, Arkansas Life, and The Idle Class. In October 2014 she was awarded the Joan Mitchell Foundation Career Opportunity Grant, and in February 2015 she was selected to represent the state of Arkansas on www.figure50.com, an online exhibition featuring one figurative artist per state. This spring, her work was exhibited in a solo show at the Boswell Mourot Fine Art Gallery in Little Rock. In addition to teaching undergraduates painting and drawing at Tulane, she recently taught numerous art classes for both children and adults at the Arkansas Arts Center Museum School in Little Rock.
M.F.A., University of North Carolina
B.F.A., Murray State University
Nashville, Tenn.-based artist Lesley Patterson-Marx was born in 1975 in Louisville, Ky. She received her BA in Fine Art from Murray State University in 1997 and her MFA from The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 2001. She has exhibited her artist’s books, prints and mixed-media works in galleries, art centers, colleges and universities across the U.S., including Cynthia Broan Gallery in New York City; Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, Wis.; Berkeley Art Center in Berkeley, Calif.; and Frist Center for Visual Arts, TAG Art Gallery and Zeitgeist Gallery in Nashville. Her work has been featured in national publications, including Craft and ReadyMade, and 500 Handmade Books, Volume 2 . She is a founding member of Platetone: Printmaking, Paper, and Book Arts in Nashville, TN. Lesley works as a teaching artist and illustrator, having taught at Watkins College of Art, Design, and Film, Vanderbilt University’s Sarratt Art Studios, Art & Soul, and University School of Nashville.
M.F.A., University of Southern Maine
Keith R. Potempa holds an M.F.A. in Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast Program, where he studied under Hugo and Bram Stoker award winning authors. Keith has completed three novels to date in the genres of literary, young adult, and heroic fantasy. He is currently seeking representation. His short fiction has appeared in several small-press publications.
CUNY New York City College of Technology, BTech, Design and Visual Communications, Illustration
Damian is an award winning visual storyteller from Brooklyn, New York living in Nashville, Tennessee.
B.A., University of Virginia
M.F.A., East Carolina University
Sanford is a watercolor painter who was seduced by the book arts and now creates watercolor sculptures. She has been teaching art for more than twenty years and is currently an instructor at Watkins College of Art, Design and Film in Nashville. Her many awards include First Place in both the Tennessee and Kentucky Watercolor Society Exhibitions. Museum collections containing her paintings include the Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, the Tennessee State Museum and the Parthenon. Publications include Maxine Masterfield’s Painting the Spirit of Nature and the exhibition catalog for Pop-up Now.
M.F.A., Glasgow School of Art
Noah Saterstrom is a visual artist working in painting, drawing, video, animation, essay, and text/image collaborations. Selected recent exhibitions include Babboo’s Moving Pictures (Exploded LA), Soldiering (UA Poetry Center, Blaze Vox Books), Collaborations (Warren Wilson College), Bunny Magic: 100 Works on Paper (Yardmeter Editions, Brooklyn, NY), and Memory (Memory) for Periodic Companions (drawings/ novel) with Laynie Browne, Soldiering (painting/ poems) with Anne Waldman, and Wastrels Find a Home (animation) with Kate Bernheimer. Saterstrom posts a new painting or drawing every day or so on Noah’s Work-a-Day Page. He is founder of the online arts journal Trickhouse.org. He has taught at Warren Wilson College, Western Carolina University, University of Arizona Poetry Center, The Drawing Studio, and given lectures and taught workshops widely, in and out of academic institutions. He has taught Text/Image, WordPress, Web-Design, Flash, Painting, Drawing, and Non-Darkroom Photography Classes. Saterstrom grew up in Mississippi and holds an M.F.A. from the Glasgow School of Art.
Tamara Scott is a writer, trainer, SEO, and blogger. She works full-time as a business technology writer and blogger in Nashville. Interested in the science of Search Engine Optimization (SEO), she believes in blogging as an art form and a business necessity. Outside of academic and business writing, she has also been published in the Tennessee Philological Society’s Bulletin and 2nd & Church.
B.A., Emmanuel College, Boston
A professional lettering artist, Edwina Shannon has designed alphabets for personal and business use, conveying “the message” through the feeling created by the letters as well as actual words. She has taught calligraphy and design to adults and children through community classes both in Tennessee and the Boston area. Using the principles that define classical lettering, her artwork highlights the letterform. She designs logos, messages and citations. Her work has been included in calligraphy artists shows in both Nashville and Boston.
Sarah Sung is a Graphic Designer and Illustrator from Lawrence, Kansas, now living in Nashville. She graduated from the University of Kansas with a BFA in Visual Communications, emphasis in Graphic Design and Illustration, and has 14 years of professional experience working with record labels, non-profits, and corporations. Sarah has also loved the opportunity to work with amazing clients as a freelancer during those years working on various types of projects and learning how to work in different styles and mediums.
Alexandra Jo Sutton received her MFA degree in studio art from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work includes sculpture, experimental photography, installation, and video. Centering on memory, time, nature, and the body, her work involves a sensitivity to materials and experimental practices from growing crystals to body casting. Alexandra is a member of Coop Gallery in Nashville, TN, and has recently had noteworthy exhibitions at Mixed Greens Gallery in Chelsea, NYC and Marginal Utility in Philadelphia, PA. She is originally from the small town of Clanton, Alabama where she grew up eating peaches and loving animals. She lived in Philadelphia for four years while earning her MFA and working in arts administration. She currently lives in Nashville, TN and teaches studio art/art history at Belmont University and Austin Peay State University.
Wren Whitman is a homeschooling mama of two and began calling Nashville home in 2010. Since learning how to knit, Whitman has been exploring wool’s abilities and limitations within itself and its relation to other fibers and materials. The process of felting is when wool is compressed and entangled by aggravation, the process transforms whisps of wool into strong and dense textile that will not unravel.
Sara Wilhelm has been teaching art since 1998 at Stratton Elementary. Wilhelm has also been teaching for Watkins Youth Program since 2000! She has taught for Cheekwood’s summer programs, as well as, for the Art Institute of Tennessee–Nashville. Her goal as a teaching artist is to instill confidence, creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills into her students!
Ariel Williams is an artist and teacher. She has lived and worked in California, Washington, Maine, Ireland, and the Midwest. A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ariel has shown her work in Chicago, California, and abroad. She has taught art to students of all ages in museums, schools, summer programs and colleges.
Nieves Uhl is a printmaker and designer living in Nashville, Tennessee. She worked at Hatch Show Print , a letterpress print shop, designing and reproducing letterpress posters and wood/linoleum carving. Nieves and business partner Chris Cheney own and run Sawtooth Print Shop, a letterpress/silk screen/design studio located in East Nashville, Tennessee.
2298 Rosa Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37228
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Watkins Community Education hires exceptional practicing artists to teach courses that encourage creative thinking through instruction in a variety of visual arts media. Teaching Artists guide students through a process of skill development (principles, basic concepts, specific vocabulary, and latest working techniques of the medium) and individual discovery (marked by inquiry and exploration). Teaching artists create a safe and supportive learning environment where students can feel comfortable taking risks and engaging in creative challenges. Key components of creating environments designed to support student learning include demonstrations, critical reflection, references to the work of both historical and contemporary artists, and hands-on experience in our state-of-the-art studios. Individual attention and small class sizes (5-15 students) encourage participation and dialogue. If you feel this description fits who you are as a Teaching Artist then we would love to add you to our team!
Approximately four – five months before the start of a “term” (spring, summer, or fall) we will post a “Call for Course Proposals” and corresponding “Course Proposal Forms” to be filled out by interested instructors. You can find this form by following the link below. Only those who complete the forms, and submit requested supplementary materials, by the marked deadline will be considered to teach our courses. If you have questions about filling out the forms, please contact Maggie Fansher, director of community education.
The call for 2018 spring adult classes, and summer youth classes will open mid-September.
Please submit the following materials in order for your course to be considered:
“Watkins is always a good place to learn and grow.”
“I haven’t taken an art class in years and really enjoyed revisiting my creative side with great people!”
“The class was so much fun and the instructor was great!”
“I simply wish I could have taken the class longer! I look forward to taking the next class at Watkins in the next session.”
“The class was challenging, but easy enough to have fun. I think we were all pleased with what we produced.”
“Weekend options are great for those who have a busy weekday schedule or come from out of town.”
“I loved every part of this camp.”
“Excellent program all around. My son had a fantastic time and learned a lot!”
“My child really liked the stop-motion animation during the spring intersession!”
“The times were convenient. My older child did well with the 7 hour day.”