Hello Happy Campers!
We are super excited this week to let folks know about the new faculty coming to camp this summer. Please join us in welcoming our 18 new instructors!
Retta Leaphart, puppeteer theater artist, fell in love with the story of Pinocchio when she was three years old but had to wait until she was five to enroll in Grandstreet Theater School in Helena, Montana. Since then she has never left the theater, whether acting, directing, or puppeteering. Retta holds a BA in acting and directing from Middlebury College, and an MFA in interdisciplinary theater from Sarah Lawrence College. She has studied at the British American Dramatic Academy and La Mama’s International Symposium for Directors and Choreographers. Retta currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, where she designs, develops and directs her own puppet shows. She continues to perform and direct non puppet theater as well. Most recently, her work has been seen at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and at the Theater for the New City in Manhattan. Retta is a proud member of the Teaching Artist Ensemble at The New Victory Theater; she is thrilled to bring her love of teaching theater to this most glorious setting!
Jessica Krichels, visual artist, has worked as a teacher and artist for over 15 years. Originally from Maine, Jessica lived in Mexico for over 13 years until she relocated to Albuquerque, NM three years ago. She received a B.A. in Visual Arts from Brown University, and studied Photography courses at RISD. In Mexico she studied printmaking and continued her photography work traveling to all corners of the country. She has experimented with a wide range of art media and techniques and participated in over 20 collective art shows and three individual shows. Jessica has a Master’s Degree in Education as well. Jessica currently teaches visual arts to high school students at the Media Arts Charter School in Albuquerque; she worked many years at the American School of Guadalajara, where she created the Photography and Printmaking programs, She founded and ran her own cooperative gallery/workshop/darkroom space, Colectivo Progreso 81 in Guadalajara, Mexico. Jessica has worked at several summer art programs, including The Oxbow School , in Napa, Ca where she taught darkroom photography, and Centrum Arts Foundation in Port Townsend, WA where she taught printmaking.
Okaidja Afroso, dancer/drummer, was born in 1975 into a family of singers and songwriters in Ghana. As a young boy Okaidja sang in churches and worked as a canoe boy on fishing boats on the weekends. By the age of 19, Okaidja was accepted as a professional musician and dancer for the prestigious Ghana Dance Ensemble at the University of Ghana’s Institute of African Studies. The Ghana Dance Ensemble gave Okaidja the opportunity to study with the best teachers in the country such as the late Emeritus Professor A.M. Opoku. Upon his return from the 1997 U.S tour with the Ensemble, Okaidja was invited to teach Ghanaian drumming and dance workshops in Germany. At the same time, the legendary Obo Addy was looking for fresh, young talent to bring to his group in Portland, Oregon. Okaidja served as a principal dancer and performed with Okropong at major festivals and performance venues such as the Kennedy Center, the Newmark Theater and the WOMAD Festival. In 2005 Okaidja recorded his first solo album, The Traditionalist. This album is Okaidja’s interpretation of the folkloric songs he grew up singing. He followed with a second album, Obutu Apla where he ventures away from the strictly traditional. This album was influenced by elements of Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Afro-Peruvian, and Blues music.
Robert Davis Hoffmann (X’aashuch’eet), Tlingit Indian artist and poet, from the village of Kake, Robert once carved and created multimedia sculpture. His busy schedule shifted his focus to painting and design. He bases his work on traditional Tlingit design, but he expresses himself using less traditional forms and materials. Robert had both formal and informal teachers, including his father, high school and college art teachers, and apprenticeships with master carvers. He is a substance abuse counselor at an adult treatment center, teaching cultural art as therapy. He and his wife Kris live in Sitka amidst the floral gardens she creates every year.
Signe Harriday, multidisciplinary artist, teacher, trainer, director, and theatre producer, is Co-founder of MaMa mOsAiC, a Women of Color theatre collective whose mission is to evoke positive social change through female centered work that is empowering and entertaining. She is also an Associate Company Member of Pillsbury House Theatre. She earned her MFA in Acting from the Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University. She performs with professional theatre companies as an actor. As a teaching artist she works with a variety of theatres and community organizations including The Children’s Theatre, Lincoln Center Theater, The New Victory, and Theatre Development Fund. She has designed and implemented arts curriculum for professional theatres, arts organizations, and school districts. As a director, dramaturg, and collaborator, Signe works with other artists, who are deep in the creative process, to articulate and develop their vision and artistry.
Robert Calonico, Director of Bands at the University of California, Berkeley, where his duties include directing and arranging for the 240-piece “Pride of California” Marching Band, conducting the University Wind Ensemble, and teaching applied woodwinds. A professional musician since 1972, Robert has performed with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, Oakland Ballet, Berkeley Symphony, Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Maria Muldaur, Joan Baez and James Brown among others, and many San Francisco based Broadway shows. Robert serves as Director of the Danville Community Band, and is past-president of the California Music Educators Association, Bay Section.
Cherie Hacker, visual artist, is a conceptual artist and abstract painter whose work is process oriented. From Chicago, Cherie holds a MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, a BA in Studio Art from UC Davis and served a Graduate Internship for the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is a member of Axis Gallery in Sacramento, California with a warehouse studio amongst ten other artists and the E Street Gallery. A “Teaching Artist” through the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, she teaches art to all ages. Recently, Cherie taught workshops on “Creative Exploration” at the Smithsonian, Crocker Art Museum, Joy Guild on Orcas Island, and for the Norcal AIDS Cycle Benefit. She exhibits nationally and is an avid nature lover working on an ongoing environmental art project using photography, painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation. Now in its tenth year, this project has taken her from Alaska throughout the Northwest. Many of her joy filled experiences come from camp life and sharing her knowledge of art with students. www.hackerartpub.com
Mark Tedin, fantasy illustrator and visual artist, was born in Sitka, Alaska. When younger, Mark wanted to be an astronaut, but settled for drawing pictures of outer space and flying saucers—and monsters, and tentacle creatures….. He attended Gonzaga University in Spokane,
Washington, where he studied art. He received his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, on a Kreielsheimer scholarship. He went to Seattle in 1992 and began fantasy illustration work at what was then a small start-up gaming company called Wizards of the Coast for their new card game Magic: the Gathering. From 1997 – 2000, he worked as a staff conceptual artist for Wizards of the Coast, and contributed to Magic: the Gathering supplemental decks, as well as providing art for the Dungeons & Dragons and Star Wars role-playing games; the Legend of the Five Rings, Vampire: the Eternal Struggle, Shadowfist and Netrunner card games; and the Hordes miniature game. His work won two “Best of Show” awards at the Origins 2004 Convention, and he was the Artist Guest of Honor at Lucca Comics & Games in Lucca, Italy in 2008. He has been a featured artist at conventions around the world, as well as at events across the US. He teaches basic drawing, illustration, visual composition, digital art, and figure drawing part-time at the Northwest College of Art and Design near Seattle. He has had several shows at Krab Jab Studio, where he is a contributing artist.
Andrés Carlstein, writer. In 1999 he rode a motorcycle from New York to the tip of Argentina and wrote a book about it (Odyssey to Ushuaia, Chicago Review Press, 2002). He is a lifetime martial artist with over 25 years’ experience in various styles (including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Muay Thai, Kali, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, andTai Chi), and has been an instructor and manager of several martial arts schools. He’s worked as a bouncer, bartender, and headhunter in New York City, a travel writer, a semi-pro poker player, a fish processor in Alaska, and was accepted to medical school (which he passed up to travel and write). His travels have taken him to every state in the Union, and almost every country in Central and South America. He is currently an Iowa Arts fellow at the University of Iowa, completing an MFA in fiction at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where he teaches the Undergraduate Writers’ Workshop in Fiction. His work has also appeared in The Miami Herald.
Amy Butcher, writer is an MFA candidate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. Her essays and short stories have appeared in The Indiana Review, The Colorado Review, Brevity and others, and she currently teaches nonfiction writing and literature at the University of Iowa. When not writing, she’s traveling or cooking—in fact, her Portobello mushroom burger was once named a finalist in Emeril Lagasse’s Great American Burger Cook-Off!
Ashley Werhun, dancer was born in Edmonton, Alberta, where she received most of her early training. She furthered her dance education after high school at the Alberta Ballet School and with Alonzo King at LINES Ballet in San Francisco. She then went onto dance professionally with Ballet British Columbia. For the last four years she has been touring the world performing with Trey McIntyre Project.
Julie Zhu, visual artist, grew up drawing sofas from life and rhinos from animal books. Coerced into learning Chinese brush painting and calligraphy in middle school, she rebelled by turning to oil painting in high school. She began painting at the Yellow Barn Studio in Glen Echo, Maryland as a gifted teenager among retired ladies. After studying at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Julie submitted a series of portraits to the youngARTS program by the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts (NFAA), and became one of twenty student artists out of 7,000 across the country to participate in youngARTS week in Miami and win scholarships. In Miami, judges chose her to be one of three Presidential Scholars in the Visual Arts. As a Presidential Scholar in both academics and art, Julie exhibited two paintings in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. in 2008 and through youngARTS, she was chosen to be a student artist working with conceptual artist Olafur Eliasson in the HBO documentary MASTERCLASS, which aired in 2010. At Yale, Julie majored in art and mathematics, studied painting abroad in Auvillar, France, and in 2011, attended the Norfolk Summer Artist Residency. Julie has participated in various group shows at the Yale Art Department, the Slifka Center, and the Dean’s Office, in addition to two individual art shows at the Yellow Barn and one at Taylor Companies in 2008. From 2007 to 2011, Julie cartooned for the Washington Post as a syndicate cartoonist.
Joe Montagna, musician, Joe has been playing guitar since 1984, professionally for over 20 years in various bands. He toured the U.S. in the late 90’s in an authentic KISS tribute band, “Dressed to Kill” playing the part of KISS front man Paul Stanley, even taking them to Sitka in 2009. By day he is “Mr. Joe” to his Kindergarten P.E. students at Baranof Elementary School here in Sitka, on weekends he is an active founding member of local rock/ funk band ‘SlackTide’, performing everything from the Beatles to Zappa. He loves to improvise on his instrument and ‘jam’ with new musicians, especially in his newest collaborations in Sitka with the ‘Holland Tunnel Orchestra’. He is a die-hard Mets, Jets and Knicks fan, born and raised in Queens, NYC. Loves Van Halen, Phish and can’t wait to FISH here in Sitka, Alaska!
Kirsten Docter, musician, is a member of the Naumburg Chamber Music award-winning Cavani String Quartet. A first prize winner of both the Primrose International and American String Teachers Association Viola Competitions, she has performed on major series and festivals throughout North America and Europe. Ms. Docter and her colleagues in the Cavani Quartet serve as ensemble-in-residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music. She is a member of the viola and chamber music faculties at the Cleveland Institute of Music and a visiting assistant professor of chamber music at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.
Paul Cox, percussionist, currently teaches music history and percussion at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Oberlin Conservatory, where he is a Visiting Assistant Professor. He is the director of the Case Percussion Ensemble and an active percussionist and composer. Cox formerly served as the Assistant Curator of Music (1996-2004) and Associate Director of Performing Arts (2005) at the Cleveland Museum of Art, where produced over seven hundred concerts and regularly performed, lectured and wrote essays for the museum’s magazine Cleveland Art. During his tenure there, he was also the co-director of the internationally acclaimed Aki Festival of New Music (three-time winner of the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming). Born and raised in Sitka, Alaska, he attended the Sitka Fine Arts Camp growing up and later attended the Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied percussion with Michael Rosen and earned a bachelor of music degree. He also studied percussion and composition at Yale University’s Norfolk Festival, Aspen, the Royal College of Music (London) and Rice University. He continues compose music, play drums and work on his book about the composer John Cage and choreographer Merce Cunningham.
These amazing artists and teachers will be joining our returning team to help make SFAC 2012 a wonderful experience for everyone.
By the way, folks, keep your eyes peeled here for info about ADULT CAMP! It will be happening this summer, and details will be presented soon! Meanwhile, we keep plugging away, getting camp and campus in the best possible shape for our summer season.
A man paints with his brains and not with his hands.”