The School of the Arts instructors, listed alphabetically by last name, are chosen for their expertise in both artistry and teaching.
Paper Arts form the basis for almost unlimited creativity and delight. Nancy Akerly is a paper artist, teacher, origamist, box maker, book binder, paper marbler, and owner of Liberty Grove Paper Arts. She has taught classes throughout Wisconsin at The Clearing, Ellison Bay; Peninsula Art School, Fish Creek; The Miller Art Museum, Sturgeon Bay; and Sievers School, Washington Island; as well as numerous private classes throughout Door County; Taipei, Taiwan; and Germany. Her work may be seen at The Jensen Center at The Clearing and occasional art fairs throughout the Midwest. Learn more at libertygrovepaperarts.com»
Amy is an emerita professor of art at UW-Whitewater. She earned a BFA in painting from Michigan State University and an MFA from UW-Milwaukee. She has taught at School of the Arts at Rhinelander since 2003. Her work hangs in galleries in Italy, China, Finland, England, and all across the United States. Of her paintings of water surfaces, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel critic James Auer wrote: “Arntson in my eyes, is a phenomenon. Her watercolor paintings of wave patterns are at once expressionistic and photo-realistic. You’d swear they were color slides but they aren’t. Simultaneously abstract and precise, they testify to water’s regenerative role in the life cycle. They play wonderfully on the differences and similarities of photography and painting.”She has also served as an art/design consultant to the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education and is the author of national art and design textbooks. Learn more at amyarntson.net»
Jane Banning has been teaching yoga for 2 years, and as a person over 55, has learned how to adapt classes not only for her own body’s changing needs, but also for students of varying levels. She has trained in Yogafit, which is a Vinyasa or "flow" style of yoga that is meant to be accessible to people who are looking to improve their strength and flexibility rather than to learn complicated, obscure poses with Sanskrit names. Being comfortable in our bodies frees us to create without—or with fewer—physical barriers. Jane has attended SOA for the past 3 years as a writer and has thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
Emily K Bright
Emily K Bright earned her BA in English from Williams College and her MFA in poetry from the University of Minnesota, where she also served as the university's scribe for human rights. She taught creative writing and literature at UW–Eau Claire for several years before moving to the scenic Northwoods to focus on writing. Emily has published short stories on postcards, radio stories on Wisconsin Public Radio, and poems in collections whose topics range from cooking to death to laundry. She is the author of a poetry chapbook, Glances Back, and the book Powerful Ideas in Teaching: Creating Environments Where Students Want to Learn. Learn more at emilykbright.com»
Laurie Ceesay is a fiber artist, a national quilting instructor and hairstylist with a degree in clothing, textiles, and design. Her specialty is portrait quilts and she is inspired by the hair and fashion industry, pop culture, and retro looks from the ‘40s-‘70s. Her award-winning quilts have been featured at national juried and invitational quilt shows, in published books and magazines, and on season 13 of “Quilting Arts TV” on PBS.
Bob Curry has MFA degrees in both acting (SMU Professional Theater Training Program) and fiction (Vermont College). He has been a professional actor for 30 years, with seasons of classical repertory at American Players Theater in Spring Green, WI and The Old Globe in San Diego, CA. He is head of Playwrights Ink, a Madison Playwrights’ development group. He has taught at UW-Madison Continuing Studies Write-by-the-Lake and School of the Arts at Rhinelander for more than a decade and also teaches academic and creative writing, literature, and film at Madison College. His screenplay, The Last Great Ride, was turned into a film starring Ernest Borgnine and Eileen Brennan.
Bruce Dethlefsen, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2011-2012), is the author of 2 chapbooks, A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor. His full-length book, Breather, published by Fireweed Press, won an Outstanding Achievement Award in Poetry from the Wisconsin Library Association. His new book, Unexpected Shiny Things, has been published by Cowfeather Press. Bruce’s poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac and Your Daily Poem. A retired educator and public library director, he lives in Westfield, WI, and has conducted dozens of poetry writing workshops and hundreds of public poetry readings.
Pat Dobrinska has been a professional artist for more than 40 years and has taught secondary and adult learning workshops throughout the state and in Mexico. She paints in watercolor, oils, and pastels, specializing in portraits and landscapes. Her paintings are displayed in galleries and private collections throughout the country. She has won “Best of Show” and “Best of Class” in several shows.
Wade Fernandez (Wiciwen Apis-Mahwaew) has been sharing his musical art on stages and classrooms worldwide for more than 20 years. Wade is an international award-winning touring musician/recording artist/songwriter/producer who performs with voice, guitar, and Native American flute. As a certified teacher with extensive educational experience in classrooms and on stages, Wade brings a warm personality and sense of humor that draws in students and audiences to get them actively involved. Visit wadefernandez.com for more information.
Kathie Giorgio’s fourth book, Rise From The River, will be released by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company in early 2015. Her stories have appeared in more than 100 literary magazines. She’s the director and founder of AllWriters' Workplace & Workshop, an international creative writing studio.
Ashley Gordon is a Wisconsin native who has been painting for more than a decade. Originally educated in acrylic painting and sculpture, she transitioned into encaustics more than 4 years ago when her curiosity was piqued by an article. Purely self-taught in the medium of encaustics, Ashley lends her own voice to her work, not influenced by any one school of thought. She has taught numerous workshops all over central Wisconsin to help other artists get started in the revival movement of this exciting, creative medium. Ashley’s work can be seen and purchased at The Revival in Waupaca, WI, and The Whimsical Charm in Appleton, WI. Learn more at ashgordon.wix.com/encaustic»
Elizabeth R Griggs
Metalsmith Elizabeth R Griggs took her talents and knowledge of her greatest passions: jewelry making and teaching, to a new level by founding Casual Ore Formal, a jewelry design and instructional company based in Eau Claire, WI. Learn more on Facebook»
Mary Ann Inman
Mary Ann Inman is a practicing artist and teacher who graduated in 2000 from UW-Whitewater with a BFA with an emphasis on painting. She has taught for UW-Madison Continuing Studies and through her own School of Eclectic Art for 12 years. Classes taught include watercolor, mixed media, drawing, composition, design, and abstract. Expect to have some light-hearted fun as you are challenged "to kick it up a notch."
Mary Sue Koeppel
Mary Sue Koeppel is the author of Between the Bones: Poems; In the Library of Silences: Poems of Loss; Writing Strategies Plus Collaboration; and Write Your Life: the Memory Catcher. She was the award-winning editor of Kalliope, a journal of women's literature and art. Currently, Koeppel co-edits Writecorner,which sponsors the annual E.M. Koeppel $1,100.00 Short Fiction Award. She has interviewed writers for the half hour TV programs Worth Quoting and Writer-to-Writer. She is a Florida Humanities Scholar, has given numerous workshops for teachers and writers, and been faculty for the National Master Teacher Seminars and the National Institute for Teachers of Writing. Her visual art is now in collections in the United States and Japan. Her many honors include the highest Teaching Excellence Award from the Florida Association of Community Colleges, Florida's Royal Palm Literary Award for Poetry, and Gainesville’s Fine Arts Association 2012 Best of Show art award.
Artist, writer Elizabeth Lewis (BFA, Emerson College, MA) is a stress-management and body-mind-spirit coach. Her areas of expertise include HeartMath, forgiveness facilitation, stress management, meditation, happiness, chakra healing art, and body-mind-spirit practices from around the world. Learn more at elizabeth-lewis-coach.com»
Cynthia Quinn (AD in Graphic Design, Madison College) is an award-winning graphic designer providing creative project management services for local, regional, and national clients. She is an experienced instructor and has taught graphic design, oil painting, and watercolor for Madison College and UW-Madison Continuing Studies. Cynthia is also a signature member of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and the Midwest Watercolor Society. Learn more at cynthiaquinn.com»
Diana Randolph has been a professional artist for 34 years. She received a BA in art from Northland College, studied with master pastelist/author Albert Handell in several workshops, and has taken numerous writing workshops. She paints, writes, and teaches continuing education art classes. She is the author of Beacons of the Earth and Sky, Paintings and Poetry Inspired by the Natural World (Savage Press 2012). Her paintings are in numerous private and public collections. Diana has exhibited her paintings nationally, and is a member of the Pastel Society of America and Wisconsin Visual Artists. She is represented by 3 galleries in Northern Wisconsin. Her home studio is open by appointment year round and is open to the public during the annual Blue Moon Art Tour.
Dottie Reeder developed her lifelong interest in cooking and baking at a young age. She has always considered food preparation to be an important part of her life. Dottie has taught and given many presentations on various culinary topics. She is the author of From Blueberries to Wild Roses, a Northwoods cookbook utilizing wild foods native to her Northern Wisconsin home. On visits to several Eastern European countries, she spent time teaching English to young students, with most of her lessons including food preparation and often a baking class. Dottie believes that food is a universal language that brings people together and deserves to be shared! She has also taught basic food preparation and nutrition to local families through the University of Wisconsin-Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. She currently teaches cooking classes in her own studio, iNgReDiEnTs School of Cooking, as well as for Nicolet Area Technical College.
Taku C Ronsman
Taku C Ronsman is a multicultural music and dance enrichment specialist with a BA in human development/psychology from UW–Green Bay, and a MEd in dance-movement therapy from Antioch/New England Grad School in Keene, NH. She works with groups of all ages in community settings and at music and arts festivals, parties, wellness programs, and conventions.
Angela Voras-Hills earned her MFA at the University of Massachusetts–Boston and was a fellow at the Writers’ Room of Boston. Her work has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets 2013, Hayden's Ferry Review, and Linebreak, among others. She recently received the Spring Promise Award from the Sustainable Arts Foundation and currently lives in Madison, WI.
Phil Ziesemer, co-owner of Phil Ziesemer Photograhy, Ltd. in Merrill, WI, began his career in photography as a teenager. He has been an instructor at School of the Arts Rhinelander since 2010, teaching classes in photography and digital media. He has also taught at the Wisconsin Professional Photographers School at Treehaven and was a featured speaker at the Print Masters winter meeting for two years. He has been honored with the Professional Photographer of America degrees of master photographer and photographic craftsman. He was educated at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and UW–Platteville.