Instructor Bios

Instructor Bios

Krista Birnbaum

Krista Birnbaum images and sculptures reflect issues of control over nature. She received an MFA from Syracuse University and a BFA from Miami University. Recent Houston exhibitions include Lawndale Art Center, Gensler Architecture, and Box 13. Her work has also been recently shown at Buffalo Arts Studio, Buffalo, NY, ASU Art Museum, Tempe, AZ, and ROY G BIV Gallery, Columbus OH.

Gabriella Corter

Gabriella Corter grew up in Canada and has lived in Raleigh since 2003. She completed her BFA at the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Canada. She participates in exhibitions around the country and her art can be found at Rebus Works, The Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, and at the Shop at Green Hill in Greensboro, NC. She’s excited to be back teaching at Artspace this summer!

Lena Corter

Lena Corter is a Raleigh native, who studied in the San Francisco Bay Area at California College of the Arts. There, she earned her BFA in Fiber and later, her MFA in Sculpture and Drawing. She has exhibited her drawing and sculpture in the Triangle and Bay Area. With several years of teaching experience, ranging from middle school to community college, she enjoys working with students of all levels and experience to share her love and enthusiasm for the experience of making art.

Sonya Drum

Sonya Leigh Drum is an arts educator, artist and theatrical designer. She has been teaching visual arts in the NC Public School System for the past 16 years, and designs scenery and costumes for professional and university theatres throughout the triangle.  Sonya currently teaches art at Washington GT Magnet Elementary School, where she was selected as Teacher of the Year in 2012. She has also served as a teaching artist for the ASAP program for the last 13 years, and has also taught summer arts programs at the Carrboro Arts Center, Holly Springs School of Dance and Discover Arts Academy. Ms. Drum has been a multi-year winner at the Visual Art Exchange’s Groundspark Street Painting Festival as well as a featured artist.


Alia El-Bermani

Alia El-Bermani received her BFA from Laguna College of Art and Design in Laguna Beach, CA.  This talented traditional painter has had six solo exhibitions as well as had her work featured in numerous group exhibitions across the country.  Her figurative and still life paintings and drawings have been showcased in museums such as the Palm Springs Desert Museum in California, the Anchorage Museum of History and Art in Alaska, the West Valley Art Museum in Arizona, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto and most recently at the Greenville Museum of Art in North Carolina. She is a seasoned teacher who has taught at both the college and workshop level.  She has been a guest lecturer locally at ECU, Meredith College and at Ravenscroft School. El-Bermani is a member of the Portrait Society of America as well as a co-founder of the important blog, Women Painting Women. Her work has been featured in such periodicals as American Art Collector, ArtSee, Art Week, The Independent and LA Weekly. She currently lives and works in Apex, NC.

Ryan Fox

Ryan Fox is a watercolor artist, focusing on landscapes and architecture from around the world. He is a member of the Watercolor Society of North Carolina and the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society. He received his BFA Fine Arts with a concentration in photography from the University of Michigan and has exhibited in statewide and national juried shows.

Andie Freeman

Andie Freeman starts her works with an under-painting in which the canvas is entirely covered with paint, from which she then works to pull the light away from the dark.  Her works are planned out meticulously ahead of time to focus on the visual poetry of light and dark in the composition. Texture and color of the background are as much a part of the finished piece as the foreground and the subject matter. Freeman is a member of the Oil Painters of America and received a BFA in Studio Art, with an emphasis on life drawing and oils, from the College of Charleston, Charleston, SC.

Jan French

Jan French is fiber artist and member of Triangle Weavers Guild currently weaving small hand woven strips and collaborating with others on larger woven projects in the Triangle. She often seeks out and experiments with the wide range or natural fibers as well as discarded materials. She has learned traditional techniques of wool, cotton and flax fiber preparation, spinning, needle felting, wet felting, and dyeing which has enabled her to make and alter fibers. As her one friend says, she weaves “that which can be woven.”

Ursula Gullow

Ursula Gullow resides in Asheville, NC. Gullow teaches painting and design classes at A-B Technical Community College and was named “Outstanding Continuing Education Instructor of 2014.” She is actively involved in the local arts community as board chair for The Media Arts Project. Gullow has written numerous articles about art for regional publications including The Mountain Xpress and Bold Life Magazine. She produced a television series about artists for the WNC public access community television station, URTV until 2008. Venues for her solo exhibitions include PUSH Gallery in Asheville, NC, Malcolm E. Blowers Gallery at UNC in Asheville, and Anthology Film Archives in New York City. Her paintings are exhibited at Haen Gallery in downtown Asheville.

Sarah Harris

Sarah Harris attended college at Alfred State, the University of South Australia in Adelaide, and graduated from SUNY College at Buffalo with a B.S. in Art Education. Four of her drawings and ceramic pieces are in their permanent art collection. In 2004, she moved to Clayton, North Carolina to begin teaching elementary art. During that time she was nominated for the Best First Year Teacher Award and earned the Leading With the Heart Award. After seven years, she decided to stay at home with her two young daughters in Raleigh. While at home she worked on commissioned art pieces and private art lessons. In 2016 the opportunities to teach art again, at Artspace and Arts Together, renewed the spark to be in the classroom. She has a passion for drawing and painting but loves to explore different mediums and techniques. She is so excited to be a part of the summer programming at these two wonderful arts organizations and continue to grow as an artist and educator.

Emily Howard

Emily Howard is an artist and educator living and working in Raleigh. She has been teaching and showing her work throughout the Triangle for over 10 years. Howard has taught a wide range of ages, from elementary to adult, at Artspace, The North Carolina Museum of Art, The Boys and Girls Clubs, The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham and is currently adjunct faculty at Meredith College. Her passions include fibers, mixed-media, 2-D and 3-D and Arts Education. When she’s not teaching or making art, Howard enjoys spending time in nature or cooking with her husband and 2 sons.

Tara Kernan

Tara Kernan graduated with a B.S. in Art Education from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. She has been teaching for many years and currently teaches at Hunter GT/AIG Magnet Elementary. Kernan has particular interest in the links between visual art, cultural anthropology, sociology and art history. She uses these links to help each of her students make real-world connections through art and interdisciplinary study.

Vivian Magarino Gomez

Vivian Magarino-Gomez has worked with children for over 25 years both as an art therapist and an art educator. She wrote and illustrated the book, “Big Dots. Little Dots. The Elements of Art.” Vivian is a nationally board certified teacher in Early and Middle Childhood/Art and currently teaches at Apex Elementary.

Eric McRay

McRay received a BFA degree at the Maryland Institute, College of Art, where he earned a four-year scholarship for his artistic talent.  A native of Washington, DC, McRay started his teaching career at the age of 16 teaching youth at the YMCA and the Capitol Hill School. Over the past fifteen years, McRay has had a varied range of teaching & lecturing experiences with United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake, Mary Phillips School, Longview School, Tammy Lynn Center for Developmental Disabilities, Wake County Public Schools, NC State University, Saint Augustine’s University, Artspace, and various NC arts councils.

Beverly Mecum

A native of Raleigh, Beverly Mecum has explored a variety of art media and techniques throughout her life.  She is particularly fond of surface design, drawing, printmaking, and clay.  She feels most fulfilled when she is able to combine these loves into one.  She graduated from Meredith College with a Bachelors in Art Education.  Over the last few years, Beverly has taught multiple media to a variety of students.  She currently teaches visual arts at Reedy Creek Magnet Middle School in Cary.

Julie Niskanen

Julie Niskanen Skolozynski received a BFA from Iowa State University in 2005. During the summer of 2003 she lived and studied in Rome, Italy, and traveled around Europe. In 2008, Julie received a MFA in printmaking from the University of South Dakota, where she also managed the fine art gallery and taught drawing classes. She currently lives in Angier, NC, working as a professional artist. She is the founder and owner of Rooster’s Crow Studio in Angier, where she works on her artwork and teaches a variety of art classes (homeschool art classes, private and group art lessons for youth and adults, and wine & design workshops). Julie is a member of Artspace Member Artists in Raleigh, Davidson Galleries in Seattle, WA, the Southern Graphics Council International, and the Printmakers of North Carolina.

Along with her artwork, Julie teaches workshops, and gives demonstrations and workshops at conferences, universities, and art centers. She recently was an artist in residence at Tryon Palace in New Bern, NC where she worked on a series of prints and drawings and gave printmaking workshops. This residency was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her award-winning work has been exhibited extensively, nationally and internationally, and is in many private and public collections. In May 2013, Julie was a part of the International Mezzotint Festival at the Ekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Here, she gave master classes at the museum and had several news interviews. Other recent exhibitions include the Frogman’s Faculty Exhibition in Vermillion, SD, and American Impressions: a Contemporary Printmaking Exhibit at the Shangai International Convention Center in Shanghai, China.

Keith Norval

Keith Norval is a local painter, printmaker, and arts instructor. He received his BFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design, GA. Drawing on his African upbringing and his local environment, Keith creates whimsical paintings, primarily in oil paint, in his Artspace studio. He has exhibited his work throughout NC, as well as in NY, CO, FL, and MI, and his work is collected internationally. He has completed murals at the Albany Medical Center in NY and locally at York Elementary School in Raleigh. Keith has taught in the Artspace Summer Arts Program for several years, continually designing new, exciting classes.

Lisa Pearce

Lisa F. Pearce has been teaching art in public schools, museums and at the college level since 1993. She holds an MFA in Sculpture with a MEd in Art Education with further studies at Penland School of Crafts, Bullseye Glass, Tin City Glass, John Campbell Folk School and the Corning Museum of Glass. She is an exhibiting mixed media artist and an artist member of Artspace and has held numerous board positions with the NC Art Education Association and a past president and current member of Tri State Sculptors. She has created semi to permanent public artwork for the NC Department of Public Instruction, tactile art for the Governor Morehead School for the Blind, Olds Elementary and Meredith College. In her studio classes she brings unique techniques and media that challenge and empower the student’s sense of self as a creative and critical thinker.

Kerr Pelto

Kerr Pelto is the current President of the Triangle Calligraphers’ Guild in Raleigh, NC and is on the Steering Committee for the 2016 international calligraphy conference, A Show of Hands. She has been teaching  both group and private calligraphy classes since 2010. She first started learning calligraphy in 1978 in order to design her own wedding invitation. In addition to teaching, she works on commissions from individuals as well as companies. Also in her bag of tricks is her love of writing personal Fairy Tales, flourished with words, lettering, and art.


Gretchen Phillips

Gretchen Phillips is an art lover, painter, jewelry maker, teacher, tutor, face painter, mother, wife, and dog owner.

Anna Podris

Anna Podris paints with oils and encaustics in her Artspace studio. Since earning her BFA in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design, GA. Anna has shown her work in NY, FL, VA, CO, and throughout NC. She enjoys teaching classes to youths and teens because she finds inspiration in their fresh ideas! Anna has taught at Artspace for many years.

Scott Renk

Scott Renk is an urban sketcher, award-winning animator, and teacher of at-risk students. After attending the 3rd International Urban Sketchers Symposium in the Dominican Republic in 2012, Scott has developed an urban sketchers community in Raleigh, North Carolina and beyond. He currently leads sketching sessions at CAM Raleigh, Artspace, and has led recent drawing workshops for the North Carolina Museum of Art, and the Activate 14 AIA North Carolina Summer series. He will lead an Urban Sketching workshop for the National AIA conference in Atlanta 2015.

Rebecca Rousseau

Rebecca Rousseau is an abstract and expressionist artist. Her abstraction is simple and organic and built from bold, energetic colors. Her inspiration is influenced by the aesthetic traditions of Haiti, Mexico, and southern California, and she takes inspiration from the rich East Coast art culture. Rebecca received her B.A. in Education from UNC, Chapel Hill in 1990. She currently teaches at Artspace, NC Museum of Art, Durham Arts Council, Pullen Arts Center, and privately.  She is in both national and international collections and is active in the local art community.

Susan Soper

Susan Soper was born in Brooklyn, NY and raised on Long Island. She graduated from the State University College at Buffalo, NY with a BS degree in Graphic Design and a minor in Art therapy. After graduation she moved to Wyoming where she and her family stayed for the next twenty years. Soper began creating Lithographs in 1988. She furthered her studies by attending The Tamarind Institute of Lithography’s Summer Workshop in New Mexico and traveled to South Dakota to attend Frogman’s Print and Paper Workshops at the University of South Dakota.  She specializes in stone and waterless lithography. She relocated to North Carolina in 2003 and in 2006 she was juried into Artspace Artist Association.  She currently works from her Artspace studio 102 in Raleigh’s city market.  Currently she teaches youth and adult printmaking and drawing at Pullen Art Center, Village Art Circle, and Artspace and conducts private printmaking workshops in her Artspace studio. Many of her original hand pulled lithographs have been included in exhibitions in, North Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Colorado, and Wyoming.

Dawn Valentino

Dawn Valentino resides in Youngsville, NC and has worked as an Art Educator in Raleigh, NC for 19 years. She has a B.F.A. from Old Dominion University in Drawing and Sculpture. Her Master’s degree is in Art Education from Syracuse University.  She has worked at Wakefield High in North Raleigh for 15 years.