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The Academy of Fine ArtsThe Academy of Fine Arts

Meet the Instructors

Solly Blank
Solly Blank is a native of Heidelberg, Germany, where she began her study of art. She has lived in Lynchburg since 1977. She has always liked to draw and paint. In 1980 she decided to become more serious about her art and began taking drawing and pastel lessons from Howard Coleman. Her love for watercolor began shortly after. She then began taking classes from Dick Frisbee. Taking workshops with Ralph smith, Ernest Johnson, Frank Webb, Don Andrews, Serge Hollerback, and Tony couch strengthened her skills further. A few years ago, she became interested in painting in oil. She started classes with Bertha Crockett. For several years now she has been studying, and taking workshops with Rosalie Day White. She likes to tackle any subject matter, which includes landscapes, florals, animals, architecture, interiors, figures and portraits. More importantly, she likes to create compositions, which include people. She is fascinated with light and shadows and how they affect the painting. Watercolor painting appeals to her because of its delicate and transparent qualities as well as the constant challenge to "control" this medium. Oils are exciting to her for the ability to shape and build-up the composition. Solly has won numerous awards and her work is hanging in many private collections in the United States, Germany, France, and Austria. Two of her paintings are in the permanent collection at Lynchburg College. Since 2006, she is also teaching watercolor classes at the Academy of Fine Arts and the Lynchburg Art Club.
May Carter
May Carter is the Pottery Studio Director and serves as a pottery instructor. She has been a potter for over 40 years, has studied with Robert Eckels at Stratford College, at the Penland School, the Odyssey Center and received a BFA in Ceramics and Painting from East Carolina University. She alternates between handbuilding and throwing in her work. “I love introducing new students to clay and seeing that “aha” moment when it clicks about how fun it is to work in this wonderful medium. And I still feel like I am learning every time I start a new project.
Dana Cohen
Dana Cohen is a freelance illustrator working mostly in watercolor and ink. Her work has a narrative quality and can be described as whimsical with just a little bit of bite. She received a BA from Florida State University in Studio Art and a MFA from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Illustration. Two fantastic art professors from her past have influenced and inspired her to teach when not working on illustration assignments. She has experience working with all ages and skill levels and on occasion brings cookies to class.
Jack Glenn
Jack Glenn Jack Glenn has extensive experience in fabricating stained glass: he has been working in stained glass for 43 years! He started learning the craft as a teenager, then worked in a Chicago factory making reproduction Tiffany lamp shades for Sears. He has had his own stained glass business in downtown Lynchburg since 1990.
Donna Headley
Donna Headley studied pottery many years at the Fine Arts Center and now at the Academy and is an accomplished potter and kiln “guru.” Recently she has studied kiln fired glass under several instructors including Brad Walker of Warm Glass Studio in North Carolina.
Jill Jensen
Jill Jensen is a professional artist who has focused on hand-painted art quilts, printmaking and painting. Ms. Jensen has been a Virginia Commission for the Arts artist in residence many times throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and has been a fellow at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Her work has been included in regional, national and international exhibitions. She holds degrees from the College of William and Mary and Columbia University. View Jill's Website
Jane Garrett
Jane Garrett attended as an art student at Lynchburg College and RMWC. She has worked at Spun Earth Pottery, and had her tiles published in Five Hundred Tiles by Lark Books. She is an accomplished handbuilder in clay, decorative painter and mosaic artist. She is an artist member of the Riverviews Coop Gallery.
Barbara Lane
Barbara Lane Barbara Lane is a master handbuilder in clay, has taught at the League of new Hampshire Craftsman, is a juried member of the Washington, D. C. Kiln Club. She teaches and maintains a gallery at her Earthstar Studio in North Hartland Vermont.
Lori Madden
For 10 years dance instructor, Lori Madden, has been providing instruction in Irish step dance, Irish social, ceili and set dance to children of all ages as well as to adults. In addition to her classes through the Academy, Lori also teaches Irish dance in Charlottesville, Richmond and at the Mountain Road Fiddle Camp in West Virginia. Lori has performed with the Humorous Abandon Irish dance ensemble at Floyd Fest and the Lake Eden Arts Festival and also in the full length Irish dance productions Drowsy Maggy and Robin Hood. In 2003, Lori served as Irish dance consultant for the Paul Wagner film Angels. Lori is Executive Director and dance coordinator for the Blue Ridge Irish Music School in Charlottesville.
Jill S. Markwood
Jill S. Markwood is a media specialist at Central Virginia Community College as well as an instructor for the Photography Certificate program. In addition, Ms. Markwood teaches photography at the Academy of Fine Arts and does freelance work. She has designed and published a book of her images, and also presented her work in multiple artist exhibitions as well as a number of solo exhibitions. From the time she received her first camera as a child, she was fascinated with capturing moments on film. To this day, she is most comfortable with a camera in hand, completely absorbed in capturing an image. This fascination with the photographic image is whatkeeps her intrigued with the media. Her images are kept mostly pure with very little digital manipulation because she believes the world that exists around us is beautiful and exciting just the way it is.
Liz McCormack
Liz McCormack Liz McCormack has been a self taught and accomplished silversmith for over 25 years, creates unique one of a kind jewelry with sterling silver, bronze, copper and gemstones. She is the owner/craftsman of "Just Liz Handmade Jewelry”. She has taught for the Fine Arts Center and now the Academy for nine years, and also teaches in Nelson County. View Liz's Website
Suzanne Michaels
Suzanne Michaels Suzanne Michaels has taught riding lessons in the past and is an experienced horse woman. As a child she was fascinated with colors and glass, and found her source of expression in kiln fired glass. over the past six years she has become an avid and knowledgeable glass fuser, studying extensively with Lib Elder and with Brad Walker, author of Contemporary Fused Glass.
Chatham Monk
Chatham Monk maintains her studio at Oxide Pottery. While obtaining a Drawing degree from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Chatham enjoyed working with varied media including ink, paint, charcoal, fabric and clay. After moving back to Virginia, she began working with paper patterns and textures in her handbuilt functional clay forms. You can now find Chatham behind the counter or in the studio developing new patterns and forms at Oxide Pottery.
Justin Rice
Justin Rice has his studio at Oxide Pottery. He earned his BFA degree in Drawing/Printmaking from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2005. After relocating to Richmond, Virginia, he began to hone the craft of throwing clay on the potters wheel. In 2009 he made the migration up the James River to Lynchburg with the opening of Oxide Pottery. Justin continues to create and show drawings and prints as well as produce functional pottery for Oxide.
Jon Roark
Jon Roark was born in Lynchburg, Virginia and is a graduate of E.C. Glass High School. He graduated from Lynchburg College with academic focuses on European History and Studio Art. Jon moved to New York City and entered the illustration program at the Fashion Institute of Technology. After graduation from FIT Summa Cum Laude, Jon moved back to Lynchburg. He was an Art Director for The Design Group and later for High Peak Sportswear and taught Advanced Graphics at Lynchburg College as an adjunct Assistant Professor for seven years. In 2004 he began teaching at Heritage High School. His first illustrated book “The Last Bowl of Tea” by Robert Stewart was published in 2009.
Christine Rooney
Christine Rooney was born in Springfield, Ohio and grew up on a small farm. It was here that her love for broad bands of color, horizon lines, and quiet landscapes began. After graduating in fine arts from The Ohio State University in 1970, Ms. Rooney worked as a landscape artist for an architectural design firm in Palo Alto, California. While in California, she also studied art at San Jose State University and Foothill College. In 1974, she and her husband moved back to the East Coast. She resumed graduate studies at West Chester State University in Pennsylvania and later at Randolph-Macon WomanÍs College in Lynchburg, Virginia. It was during this time that she began working as a freelance artist. Ms. Rooney works in her studio near the Blue Ridge Mountains where she does both commissioned work and a variety of art in silverpoint, graphite, encaustics, pastels and experimental mediums. In the summer for 2003, she joined four artists in a working studio at the Riverview Artspace in downtown Lynchburg. She lives in Lynchburg with her husband, Michael. They have two children.
Mary-Colin Santos
Mary-Colin Santos has taught Kindermusik in Lynchburg for 13 years. She is active in the music ministry at St. PaulÕs Episcopal Church, singing in the choir and playing in the bell choir. She has a BA in Music from the College of William and Mary and a Master of Library Science from the University of Maryland. She and her husband Michael have a grown son, a lovely daughter-in-law, and four little white rescued dogs.
Kim Stiffler
Kim Stiffler served as an apprentice to Texas silversmith and jewelry designer Deborah Alcala, who runs a private studio in the Dallas area. In college she took studio art courses in photography and fresco/mosaic design, receiving her B.A. in Art History from R-MWC and an M.A. in the same subject at the University of Bristol, England. Her jewelry is on display at the Academy of Fine Arts.
Michelle Velastegui
Michelle Velastegui, is a Spanish teacher for Heritage High School, where she also directs, choreographs, and costumes their productions. Some of her favorite shows have been, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, and the Drowsy Chaperone. She loves working with students on all aspects of the stage. She also works as for US Airways at Lynchburg airport, and teaches Zumba for the YMCA. Michelle has also been a part of the Academy's production teams and has worked on props, sets, and costuming, along with playing the role of Maggie, in the Academy's production of 42nd Street. She is passionate about the stage and teaching kids to live out their dreams. Michelle is married to her best friend, and has 2 beautiful children and 3 adorable Chihuahuas!
Angela Weaver
Angela Weaver taught Kindermusik for 8 years before taking a break and raising her children. Now she homeschools her two boys and is back to teaching Kindermusik for the Academy. She also teaches drama and literature for an area homeschool co-op. She has been involved with music and drama most of her life, including traveling with a drama and music troupe, directing children and adult choirs and teaching voice.
Kenneth Weinfurtner
Kenneth has an MFA in Studio Art from Radford and attended Museum Study Programs in Europe. He currently teaches studio classes at Central Virginia Community College, as well as the Academy. Kenneth has an MFA in Studio Art from Radford, A BA in Art History from the University of Ky., and attended Museum Study Programs in Europe. He currently teaches studio classes at Central Virginia Community College, as well as the Academy.
Megan Wells
Megan Wells is a professional artist who moved to Lynchburg with her husband recently from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Megan taught high school art at Westminster Academy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida for 6 years before moving to Virginia. In addition to focusing on her own work and teaching, Megan has given private lessons, created and implemented several large mural pieces, and has painted numerous commissions for clients. She lives and breathes art and the creative process and also loves chocolate.

Website: www.makewells.typepad.com

Rosalie Day White
Rosalie Day White received her B.A. and M.Ed. from Lynchburg College in Virginia. She also attended the Washington Studio School in Washington, D.C., and undertook independent study in Paris, France, on three occasions. Her work has been widely exhibited in venues such as the Courtyard Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Wichita Center for the Arts, Wichita, Kansas, the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk, Virginia, and L'Hermitage, Rueil Malmaison, France. Ongoing commercial representation is through the Washington Printmakers Gallery, Washington, D.C., the Warm Springs Gallery, Warm Springs, Virginia, and the Callen McJunkin Gallery, Charleston, West Virginia. Her Work is included in private and corporate collections in the United States and France. Ms. White currently teaches at Amherst Middle School, Amherst, Virginia, The Art Box and the Academy of Fine Arts, Lynchburg, Virginia. She is one of the Founders of The Beverley Street Studio School in Staunton, Virginia. July of 2012 brought her Thirteenth season as artist in residence, Nimrod Hall, Bath County, Virginia. Her excellence as a teacher earned her a listing in Who's Who Among America's Teachers in 1992 and 1998. She has been selected Virginia Governor's School Outstanding Educator three times. The most recent being July 2009.

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