The more than 30 School of the Arts instructors, listed alphabetically by last name, are chosen for their expertise in both artistry and teaching.
Amy Artnson 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. Visit her website at amyarntson.net.
Jane Banning has been teaching yoga for two 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 three years as a writer and has thoroughly enjoyed every minute.
Bridget Birdsall (MFA, Vermont College) is an award-winning, published author and instructor for the Writing department of UW-Madison Continuing Studies. She has also taught creative writing, literature, poetry, and playwriting at Edgewood College and Madison College. Despite a life-long struggle with dyslexia, Bridget made a mid-life decision to pursue her MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. Today, she is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships, including the Marge Chandler Scholarship from A Room of Her Own, the international foundation that supports women writers. In 2009, she was a finalist for their $50,000 Gift of Freedom Award. Her debut novel, Ordinary Angels, took first place at the Writers’ Institute First Page Contest. Her YA novel August Atlas is seeking a publisher under the representation of the Jonathan Lyon’s Literary Agency. Bridget is thrilled to have the opportunity to help other writers get their words out in the world.
Laurie Ceesay is a fiber artist, teacher, and hairdresser with a degree in clothing, textiles, and design from UW-Stout. She has always been inspired by fashion, hairstyles, facial features, pop culture, historical fashion, and strong female cultural icons. As a hairdresser, the beauty business has exposed her to great hairstyles, the fashion industry, and artistic makeup applications—which have become elements in her art quilts. Laurie's specialty is portrait quilts, which have been featured (and won awards in) in national juried displays and invitational quilt shows, along with magazine articles and gallery exhibits. She has taught at various regional quilt guilds, the Wisconsin Quilt Expo in Madison, UW-Platteville Continuous Education Sewing and Quilting Expo, and various local schools.
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 two 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 graduated from the University of Colorado with a BA in history and a minor in art. In 1966, she earned a teaching certificate in art in 1980 from UW-Oshkosh. In 1969, she started the art program at Princeton Public School, building it into a thriving, integral part of the school’s curriculum in only two years. She also teaches at different weeks-long workshops, including Lawrence University, Bjorklunden, School of the Arts, University of Wisconsin’s painting at Green Lake, and in Mexico. She has painted most of her life and has made her living painting and teaching. She has won “Best of Show” and “Best of Class” in several shows. Pat has lived on a working farm in Green Lake, WI for 42 years and finds it a great source of artistic inspiration.
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 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.
Jennifer L.W. Fink is a working freelance writer who has previously taught at the School of the Arts and Moraine Park Technical College. Her classes have included Non-Fiction Writing, Creative Writing, Telling Your Story (a memoir and essay class), Honoring Your Creativity, and Writing for Magazines and the Web, as well as various writing workshops. She also teaches an online writing course, Feature Writing in the Digital Age, through UW-Madison’s Continuing Studies. In addition, Jennifer presents and leads homeschooling workshops, including Homeschooling Boys, Single-Parent Homeschooling, and Let’s Make Paper Airplanes, at homeschooling conferences. She’s also organized and moderated sessions at the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference.
Kathie Giorgio's first novel, The Home For Wayward Clocks, released in 2011 by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company, received the Outstanding Achievement award by the Wisconsin Library Association and was nominated for the Paterson Fiction Award. Her short story collection, Enlarged Hearts, was released in April 2012 by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company as well. The sequel to The Home For Wayward Clocks—Learning to Tell (A Life)Time—will be released on Sep 1, 2013, and debuted at the Southeast Wisconsin Book Festival where Kathie will be the keynote. Her stories and poems have appeared in more than 100 literary magazines and in many anthologies. 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 four 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. A year ago, she started teaching numerous workshops all over central Wisconsin to help other artists get started in 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.
Pat Guilday has been doing laser art for more than 15 years, and sand carving for more than 28. He’s taught at SOA for 13 years as well as at Wheatland Grade school. He’s taught many mini classes in sand carving and laser art at his studio. At abbysplace.us he sells pet items for humans and pets, and his work has been featured in shows throughout the Northwoods.
Karen Ann Hoffman, a member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin, is a beadwork student of Sam Thomas and Lorna Hill of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada. She also holds a master’s degree in human development from UW-Stevens Point. She has taught workshops to a wide variety of students. Youth and elders, men and women; even non-English speakers have all enjoyed learning the techniques, history and culture involved in Iroquois Raised Beadwork from her. She has led workshops at the Kohler Art Center in Kohler, WI; and at the Indigenous People’s Empowerment Workshop Series at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, MI. A Master Artist through the Wisconsin Folk Arts Apprenticeship program, Karen Ann received a year-long grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board to take on an apprentice. The goal of the program was to provide support for a Master Artist to transmit culturally significant traditional arts to a talented learner/apprentice. This program culminated in a public display of the artwork generated by the master artist and the student. Karen Ann’s beadwork is in the permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution (NMAI) and the Indianapolis Children’s Museum. Her award-winning beadwork has been displayed at the Mitchell Museum of the American, the Bergstrom-Mahler Museum, the Eiteljorg Museum, and the Wisconsin Arts Board’s Lobby Exhibit. She has served as speaker at a number of beadwork conventions and as an artist in residence at several museums.
Mary Ann Inman is a practicing artist and teacher who graduated in 2000 from UW-Whitewater with 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." She also teaches through the School of Eclectic Art.
Julie Tallard Johnson MSW, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist who has maintained a private counseling and consultation service—Healing Services on the River—in Prairie du Sac, WI since 1995. She is author of 10 psycho-spiritual books, which have received many positive reviews and awards including three Roundtable awards, Best Youth Book from New York Library, and the Independent Book Award for Best Multicultural Book for Youth for The Thundering Years: Rituals and Sacred Wisdom for Teens (His Holiness the Dalai Lama wrote a piece for this book). Teen Psychic: Developing Your Intuitive and Spiritual Powers received a Star Review in Publisher’s Weekly and remains one of her most popular books with young readers. Wheel of Initiation: Practices for Releasing Your Inner Light is based on her popular initiation course for adults. Her most recent title, The Zero Point Agreement: How to Be Who You Already Are, is due out Nov 15, 2013. Julie has a popular online newsletter, The Meaning Maker, offering readers inspiration and resources based on three decades of studies and exploration into the psychology of creativity and the link between creativity and spirituality. She is a gifted teacher and counselor who enjoys inspiring others to live the creative life. She is presently seeking publication for her first novel.
Rogers Keene has been involved in theatre for many years as an actor, director, and writer. His most recent work has been with The Milwaukee Public Theatre, touring Wisconsin with a musical he wrote on end-of-life issues. He played 18 different characters in this musical play. He incorporates songs and humor in all the shows he writes, believing that these help the audience be more open to diverse ideas. His shows are designed to promote post-show discussion.
Nancy Koberle-O'Connell is an award-winning artist with more than 30 years’ experience in graphic design. She is currently a senior artist at UW-Madison Continuing Studies, where she works extensively with the Adobe Creative Suite. Her portfolio includes work for American Girl and several Fortune 500 companies, as well as work for Continuing Studies.
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. Her many honors include the highest Teaching Excellence Award from the Florida Association of Community Colleges and Florida’s Royal Palm Literary Award for Poetry, and Gainesville’s Fine Arts Association 2012 Best of Show art award.
John (Jack) Lehman is the founder and first publisher of Rosebud, a national magazine of short stories, poetry, and illustration for people who enjoy good writing. He is also the literary editor of Wisconsin People & Ideas, managing partner of Zelda Wilde Publishing, and was editor/publisher of the free, Madison/Milwaukee/Minneapolis street-quarterly Cup of Poems with a Side of Prose. John hosts the innovative writing site CoolPlums.com. In addition, he was a feature writer for Isthmus and a regular business columnist for BusinessFirst. He is a nationally published writer and poet with 25 years of experience teaching creative writing and 20 years as a creative director/senior copywriter for Midwest advertising agencies. John’s latest nonfiction books are Everything Is Changing: New Ways to Gain Loyal Clients and Customers Quickly and America’s Greatest Unknown Poet: Lorine Niedecker Reminiscences, Photographs, Letters and Her Most Memorable Poems. His own poetry collections include Shrine of the Tooth Fairy, Dogs Dream of Running, Shorts, Brief Poems of Wonder and Surprise, Acting Lessons, and The Village Poet. John is a graduate of the Great Books Program at Notre Dame University with a minor in math and has a master’s degree in curriculum development from the University of Michigan.
Elizabeth Lewis holds a BFA in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston, MA, is certified in stress management training (CHt) through FeelYourBest Horizons Stress Management Program, and is licensed as a one-on-one HeartMath Provider through the HeartMath Institute, San Jose, CA. She has advanced training in trauma healing and body-mind-spirit practices from around the world as taught by Capacitar International. Additionally, she is certified in Franciscan Studies through Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, and is currently receiving training as a forgiveness facilitator through the nine-month Self-Mastery, Wholistic Psychology, and Spiritual Healing Program at the Midwest Institute for Forgiveness Training in Minneapolis. Elizabeth's art works have been exhibited nationally. She is co-author of Interruptio; her other published writings include poetry, short stories, and newspaper and magazine articles. A motivational speaker, Elizabeth travels internationally presenting lectures and workshops on healing art, healing writing, stress management, and more. She is a wellness instructor for Alverno College’s Telesis Program and leads yearly healing and meditation tours to Pieve International School in the Umbria region of italy. Visit www.elewishealingarts.com to learn more.
Dennis McGill has been working as a professional photographer since 1970 and operated his own portrait studio in Rhinelander for more than 25 years. He is a member of the Professional Photographers of America, the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Association, and is the director of the Wisconsin Professional Photographers School.
Judy Miller has taught music in public schools, taught piano privately for 24 years, and taught “I Drum, You Drum” at School of the Arts in 2012. She earned a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in music from UW-Stevens Point and has participated in four National Orff Conferences; "The American Orff-Schulwerk Association is a professional organization dedicated to the creative teaching approach developed by Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman. We are united by our belief that music and movement—to speak, sing and play; to listen and understand; to move and create—should be an active and joyful experience. Music and movement teachers find in the Orff Schulwerk a total approach to fostering creativity and conveying musical knowledge and skills." Visit www.aosa.org to learn more about this philosophy.
Suzanne Myers Otto lives in Madison, WI and has been sewing since childhood. Wearable art is her favorite branch of the quilting tree. Suzanne has won many awards for her quilted clothing and her colorful garments are regularly juried into national exhibitions. Mixed-media is a more recent interest and it has Suzanne hooked. Sign up for Suzanne’s classes, and you’ll leave with her contagious enthusiasm for the visual arts. Her teaching experience includes the Wisconsin Quilt Expo, UW-Platteville Sewing and Quilting Expo, Southwest Tech Sewing and Quilting Expo, Mad City Quilt Guild, Sheboygan County Quilters Guild, and others.
Christopher Powers has worked as a professional acoustic musician for more than 30 years. He teaches private lessons through his home studio and the Madison Music Guitar Store, and in 2011 taught 11 adult group courses through UW-Madison Continuing Studies. He leads a monthly Instructor-led bluegrass jam for the southern Wisconsin Bluegrass Music Association, and has taught at the School of the Arts at Rhinelander for 12 years. He started several enduring string bands in Madison, including the Bluegrass Survivors, Nobody’s Bizness, and the Hardly Brothers. He toured Wisconsin schools for six years with the UW Heritage Ensemble, and another four with his own original shows. He currently performs weekly with the Old Tin Can String Band, doing lead vocals and playing mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, and guitar. He is the rhythm guitarist for the classical-grass ensemble Graminy. He has recorded four complete albums of music, and appears on a dozen more projects. He spent three years as assistant technical director at the Crystal Grand Music Theater in Wisconsin Dells. Since 1979 he has hosted the popular “Mud Acres Bluegrass Special” on community radio station WORT-FM. He holds a bachelor’s degree in creative and expository writing from Beloit College, and an associate degree in computer Information systems from MATC.
Diana Randolph a professional artist for 30 years, has displayed her landscape paintings nationally. She teaches art workshops, writes poetry and fiction, and has had many instructional articles published by the Daniel Smith Artist Materials company. Her paintings hang in permanent collections throughout Wisconsin and her landscapes can be seen in the online gallery at www.portalwisconsin.org and at four galleries in northern Wisconsin. She holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Northland College and has studied with master pastelist Albert Handell. Visit her website to learn more.
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.
Bernard Rosen is the founder of Rosen Wellness, LLC. He holds a PhD in holistic nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health, a master’s degree from the J. L. Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, and a bachelor’s in economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He is an Ayurvedic lifestyle educator and a ParaYoga® Level II certified yoga instructor, achieving the highest level of recognition from Yoga Alliance as an RYT (Registered Yoga Teacher) 500. Prior to founding Rosen Wellness, LLC, Bernie was a marketing and strategic planning executive for more than 20 years. His life and career transition was based on his desire to improve his own health and to help and encourage others to realize the same benefits he experienced. Since adopting a healthier lifestyle Bernie has lost more than 40 pounds and proudly states that he has never felt better in his life. Rosen Wellness was developed so Bernie could provide nutrition education and consultation for individuals, groups, and businesses. It is a holistic nutrition and lifestyle consulting service integrating Eastern and Western approaches to health and vitality. It is Bernie’s mission to model, inspire, and educate balanced body, mind, and spirit.
Louise Schotz now teaches a wide variety of fiber arts, quilting, and jewelry classes in her studio in Irma, WI, following a career teaching high school chemistry. Her quilts have been exhibited in Wisconsin, Chicago, Houston, and Paducah, KY, as well as in traveling exhibits through the Professional Art Quilters Alliance. She has received a wide variety of awards for her art and her teaching and continues to study jewelry making. Visit www.uniquelyschotz.com.
Angela Voras-Hills earned her MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts-Boston, where she taught creative writing and composition. She has served as fiction editor for Madison Review, managing editor of Breakwater Review, and reads poetry submissions for Ploughshares. She has been awarded the Martha Collins Prize in Poetry, a fellowship from the Writers’ Room of Boston, and a scholarship to attend the Key West Literary Seminar and Writers’ Workshop. Her work appears in MARY, Barnstorm, and Cimmaron Review among others. Learn more about Angela by visiting her blog.
Torrey Youngstrum was born and raised in Wisconsin, but has lived all over the United States. She became interested in ceramics while earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin, and took a course through Austin’s Laguna Gloria museum and gallery. Her interest was furthered while teaching at Earlham College in Richmond, IN, where she directed the preschool program during the day, and had access to the ceramic studio in the evenings. Upon moving to the Washington, DC, area she apprenticed herself to a master potter, learning to formulate glazes from raw chemicals and honing her abilities as a potter. Upon moving to Rhinelander in 1989 she set up a studio of sorts in the basement, with firing facilities in an outside shed. She is currently a substitute teacher at the high school; a potter working at home; the vice president of the Northern Arts Council, and an officer in the PEO Sisterhood (a philanthropic organization promoting educational opportunities for women).
Dr. Laurel Yourke, UW-Madison Emeritus, is the author of Take Your Characters to Dinner, on the craft of fiction, and Waiting for Beethoven, a poetry collection. She has received teaching awards from the Council of Wisconsin Writers and the UW-Madison Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. Her poetry has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and has appeared in university presses, the Wisconsin Academy, the Wisconsin Fellowship Calendar, and other periodicals.
Phil Ziesemer, co-owner of Phil Ziesemer Photography, Ltd. in Merrill, WI began working as a part-time wedding photographer after high school graduation. In addition to his studio work he served as the registrar of the Wisconsin Professional Photographers School which he helped found. He has taught six photography and digital media classes at the School of the Arts since 2010. He team taught a Photoshop class at the Wisconsin Professsional Photgraphers School and was a featured speaker at the Iowa Professional Photographers convention. He has been honored by the Professional Photographers of America with the degrees of Certified Professional Photographer, Master Photographer and Craftsman Photographer. He received his education at the Milwaukee Area Technical College and UW-Platteville.