Meet Our 2017 Faculty

Hines, Jordan

Jordan Hines (Architecture + Design)

Jordan Hines is an architectural designer living in Lexington, Kentucky. After years of practicing architecture in Houston, Louisville, and Lexington, Jordan is currently a faculty member at the University of Kentucky College of Design in the School of Architecture where he teaches first and second year design studios and is co-coordinator of the Design Discovery Program. He is co-founder of Informal Office, a small research and design firm. Jordan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a Masters in Architecture.


Mark Richards (Architecture + Design)- Chair

Mark Richards received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at the University of Kentucky and a Master of Architecture from Pratt Institute. Currently based in Brooklyn, NY. he is a freelance designer & Visiting Assistant Professor at Pratt. Mark has worked with architecture and industrial design students in Kentucky, New York, New Jersey, and Paris, FR.

Bernitt, Dan

Dan Bernitt (Creative Writing) - Chair

Dan Bernitt is an American author, playwright, and performer, whose worked has been performed in venues across the United States, as well as in Ireland and Italy. His books, Dose: Plays & Monologues and Phi Alpha Gamma, were named finalists for the Lambda Literary Award.


Mitchell L.H. Douglas (Creative Writing)

Mitchell L. H. Douglas is a cofounder of the Affrilachian Poets and Associate Professor of English at IUPUI. He is the author of two poetry collections: \blak\ \al-fə bet\ , winner of the Persea Books Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor's Choice Award, and Cooling Board: A Long-Playing Poem, an NAACP Image Award nominee. A Louisville native, he lives in Indianapolis.



Olivia Cole (Creative Writing)

Olivia A. Cole is an author, blogger, and poet. Her work has been published in such publications as The Oregon Literary Review, The Comstock Review, The Huffington Post, The Daily Dot, xoJane, and others. She was a semi-finalist in the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Awards. She published her first novel, Panther in the Hive, in April 2014 and its sequel, The Rooster's Garden, in February 2016. She signed a 2-book deal with HarperCollins Katherine Tegen Books in 2016 for a new young adult series, the first of which is due out January 2018.


Theresa Bautista (Dance)- Chair

Recently hailed as “mesmerizing” on stage, Theresa Bautista is dancer, teacher and choreographer and the Founder and Co-Artistic Director of Moving Collective, a modern dance company in Louisville, Kentucky. She has worked professionally with numerous dance companies including ICONography Dance and The Susie Thiel Collaborative and serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Kentucky Department of Theatre and Dance.

John Cartwright_Website

John Cartwright (Dance)

John Cartwright is originally from Madisonville, KY and began his training in Evansville, IN at the Children’s Center for Dance Education.  He continued his studies with the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts, Nashville Ballet, Ballet Austin, National Taiwan University of the Arts, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. John graduated from Butler University in 2008 with a degree in Dance and Arts Administration.  After graduation, John spent 2 seasons with the Louisville Ballet performing works by Val Caniprioli, Amy Seiwert, Helen Pickett, Lila York, Alun Jones, and Bruce Simpson. While in Louisville he was a guest artist with Moving Collective, directed by Theresa Batista.  In 2010 John joined Thodos Dance Chicago where he had the privilege to perform works by Bob Fosse, Ann Reinking, Bella Lewitzky, Sybil Shearer, Ron de Jesus, KT Nelson, Garfield Lemonius, Kevin Iega Jeff, Lucas Crandall, Brian Enos, Autumn Eckman, Kristina Isabelle, and Robyn Mineko Williams. His choreography has also been produced for main stage, touring, and educational outreach shows for Thodos Dance Chicago. John was a member of Thodos Dance Chicago for 7 seasons and the co-artistic director of Thodos Dance Chicago’s Youth Ensemble for 5 seasons.  John has performed as a guest artist with Chicago-land companies such as Chicago Repertory Ballet, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theater, NoMi Dance Company, Momenta Dance Company, Schaumburg Dance Ensemble, and the Berkshire Ballet Theater. He teaches ballet, pointe, jazz, and contemporary at the North Suburban School of Dance in Northbrook, IL and choreographs for their pre-professional company, Inspired Dance.  John is excited for his first summer as a faculty member at the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. 


Ila M Conoley Paladino (Dance)

Ila has BA in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and MFA in Dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Ila is a choreographer, instructor, and occasionally a performer. Ila has taught and been a guest choreographer at several institutions including Pikes Peak Community College, University of Texas El Paso, University of Kentucky, Ormao Dance Company, The Moving Collective, Flatlands Dance Theater, and Savannah State University. She is a freelance artist and director/choreographer of ICONography Dance.


Bill Caise (Drama)

Fresh back from Cuba--Bill's is glad to be back at GSA. Over the last year Bill has lead a Research Tour to Tulsa, Boley, and Oklahoma City—OK  researching the Black Wallstreet, Cowboys and the Trail of Tears. This research was used to create the show: The POWER of Secrets—which explored the rich African American history of Oklahoma. Additionally, Bill is excited to have completed his first series of classes in PhD program.


Havens, Julane

Julane Havens (Drama)- Chair

Julane Havens is the Associate Artistic Director for Commonwealth Theatre Center in Louisville, where she has directed over 20 productions including Camino Real, Anon(ymous), Oresteia, Pericles, and Romeo & Juliet. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association with a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Missouri – Kansas City/ Kansas City Repertory Theatre.


Bo List (Drama) - Chair

Bo List, a native Kentuckian, is a proud graduate of the Universities of Kentucky and Memphis Departments of Theatre and Dance (BA, 2000 and MFA 2003, respectively). A playwright, director, educator, and producer, he serves as Producing Artistic Director of AthensWest Theatre Company and Director of Theatre at Sayre School.

Will Cravens_Website

Will Craves (Film + Photography)

Will Cravens is a filmmaker and photographer based in Louisville, KY. Primarily a cinematographer, Will has worked on a wide variety of productions,from short films and music videos to large-scale feature films shot here in Kentucky. Will also spent several years working in video production, shooting commercials for clients including UPS, GE Appliances and Papa John.


Molly Dunigan (Film + Photography) – Chair

Molly Dunigan is a photographer and owner of Pfunk Studios, LLC in Lexington, KY. In 2015 she was the only local photographer hired for the Breeders Cup. Her other clients include businesses within the fashion, fitness and horse industries as well as home interiors. Publications: In Style Magazine, Sophisticated Living, Tops in Lex and the Chevy Chaser. She has been featured on Pursuit of Style,; Printed on Cotton. and The Farmer and the Foodie. She has a degree is Arts Administration from the University of Kentucky.


Richard Byrd (Instrumental Music) - Chair

Richard Byrd is Professor of Theory/Composition at Eastern Kentucky University and trumpeter with the EKU Faculty Brass Quintet. He is an active performer, teacher, composer/arranger and writer. He can be heard on the DiMartino/Osland Jazz Orchestra CDs Quotient and Off the Charts and his solo CD Portrait of a Trumpet..


Nancy Campbell (Instrumental Music)

Nancy Campbell teaches at the School for Creative and Performing Arts and serves as Orchestra Content Specialist in Lexington. She held leadership positions in both Kentucky Music Educators and the American String Teachers’ Association. She conducts two of the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestras and co-directs Lexington’s Original Viola Ensemble.


James Corcoran (Instrumental Music)

James R. Corcoran Jr., Associate Professor of Music at University of the Cumberlands, serves as instrumental faculty, percussion, for the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts. He is a free-lance musician in Kentucky and the surrounding region, is active with the Percussive Arts Society and is sponsored by Innovative Percussion.


Doug Drewek (Instrumental Music)

Dr. Doug Drewek is the Jazz Ensemble Director and Instructor of Saxophone and Clarinet at Centre College. He has played with a wide variety of ensembles including DiMartino-Osland Jazz Orchestra, The North Carolina Jazz Repertory Orchestra, The North Carolina Symphony, The Lexington Philharmonic, the Temptations and Aretha Franklin.


Donald Speer (Instrumental Music)

Pianist Donald Speer has traveled throughout the US and Europe as a collaborative artist, including performances in England, France and Italy. He has just returned from a performance at the Canadian Flute Festival in Toronto, and will travel to Madrid later this summer to perform for the International Clarinet Association. In addition to his collaborative work with GSA faculty and other well-known artists, Dr. Speer has maintained an active performing and teaching schedule at Western Kentucky University for the last 24 years.


Sharon Kinnison (Musical Theatre)

Sharon Kinnison offers a twenty-year career as an actor, singer, director, educator and writer. She is currently the Fine Arts Chair at Louisville Collegiate School. Her regional and national stage acting and directing credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville, Stage One, Music Theatre Louisville, Valley College Center Repertory Company, Miry Productions, Diablo Light Opera Company, North Bay Opera and Contra Cost Musical Theatre.


Jacob Priddy (Musical Theatre)

Jacob Priddy is a music director based out of Cincinnati, OH. A native of Louisville, KY, he is a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He has served as music director for a variety of companies and educational institutions including Northern Kentucky University, Thomas More College, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, and the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater.


Donna Richards (Musical Theatre) – Chair

Donna Richards has a BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from the Los Angles School of Performing Arts at UCLA. Donna lived in New York for 12 years where she performed and traveled with various Broadway shows such as “Chicago,” “Cabaret,” “West Side Story,” “A Chorus Line,” “42nd Street,” “Oklahoma,” and “Showboat.” She is currently working on projects that are site base choreographic pieces dealing with the science of climate change and the environment.


Matthew Gaddie (Visual Art)

A 1999 graduate of GSA, Matthew Gaddie received his B.F.A. (Ceramics) from the University of Evansville. He completed his M.F.A. (Ceramics) from Hood College. From 2004 until present, Matthew was a full-time studio ceramic artist. From 2010 until 2015, Matthew Gaddie was an Adjunct Art Professor at St. Catharine’s College .


Susan Harrison (Visual Art)- Chair

Susan Harrison is a mixed-media and installation artist, and seasoned art educator, currently serving as an art commissioner for the Jeffersonville Public Art Alliance. Harrison is founder of Brick Street Studios, a cooperative studio/ pop-up gallery space in in New Albany, Indiana.

Ra, Sunny_Website

Sunny Ra (Visual Art)

Sunny Ra received her Master of Fine Arts from Hunter College, CUNY, Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania and Painting Certificate from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her main focus is in painting and drawing but does not confine herself to any one medium. In 2016, Ra received a Professional Development Grant from the Great Meadows Foundation to travel to New York City in February 2017 for the annual College Art Association Conference, the largest International gathering of Visual Arts professionals.Ra currently lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky. She teaches painting and drawing at Louisville Visual Art and works at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, Arts in Healing program. .

Salgado, Rudy_Website

Rudy Salgado (Visual Art)

Rodolfo (“Rudy”) Salgado lives in Louisville, KY, where he is Executive Director of Calliope Arts Printmaking Studio & Gallery and teaches with Louisville Visual Art and Kentucky College of Art & Design. He exhibits his artwork nationally and internationally, and received an MFA from University of Iowa

Arnold, Shareese

Shareese Arnold (Vocal Music)

The Herald Times described her voice as “rhapsodic splendor.” Shareese Arnold is a recipient of the Ursula Springer Endowment Award from the Wagner Society of New York and a 2015 Met winner for Kentucky. She is working toward her DMA at the UK and on faculty at Berea College.

Brittany. Benningfield

Brittany Benningfield (Vocal Music)

Brittany Benningfield, a Kentucky native, is a lyric soprano and voice instructor residing in Lexington, Kentucky. BM: Music Education, Campbellsville University; MM in Vocal Performance, University of Kentucky. She is currently completing the Doctor of Musical Arts degree at UK. A 2001 graduate of the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts, Ms. Benningfield became a faculty member for the Vocal Music discipline in 2015. She currently serves as Interim Director of Choral Activities at Transylvania University.

DeVizio, Claire

Claire DiVizio (Vocal Music)

Soprano, Claire DiVizio received her BM in Vocal Performance from the University of Michigan and her MM in Vocal Performance from the University of Louisville. A three time winner in the Michigan District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Ms. DiVizio’s roles in the standard operatic repertory include Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Giorgetta (Il Tabarro), Dido (Dido and Aeneas), the Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro), and Leonora (Il Trovatore). Ms. DiVizio, is the Founder and Artistic Director of the Thompson Street Opera Company, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of contemporary operatic woks. Founded in 2011, the TSO just completed its triumphant 6th season!


Barry Lawrence (Vocal Music)

Barry Lawrence has studied at the University of Louisville and Indiana University. Internationally, he has performed Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess in England, France, Italy, Holland, Japan, Iceland, Yugoslavia, Poland, Austria and Germany. He has toured nationally in productions of Jerome Kern’s Showboat and Menotti’s Amahl and The Night Visitors. Mr Lawrence was a student of Nicola-Rossi Lemeni and Virginia Zeani.


Eleanor McClellan (Vocal Music)

Eleanor McClellan has performed on stage and in recital on three Continents. She received an M.M. from the University of Louisville, completed course work towards the D.M.A. at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and has studied in France and Italy. Currently she is Music Library Specialist and Vocal Studies Faculty at the University of North Alabama.


A.T. Simpson (Vocal Music) – Chair

Dr. Alexander T. Simpson Jr. is an Associate Professor at Bellarmine University, the Artistic Director of Black Classical Artists of Louisville and the President of Kentuckiana Branch of the National Association of Negro Musicians. He received his doctorate from the University of Kentucky, has been GSA’s Choral Director since 1996 and a GSA Voice Faculty member since the program’s 2nd year.


Michael Spears (Program Counselor)

Michael Spears has a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling certification. He is an alumni of Brescia University, Saint Catharine College and Eastern Kentucky University. Mike has worked with high school students in a variety of environments including serving as the GSA coordinator for Boyle County High School. A native of Lexington, Mike lives in Danville with his wife and three children.

Pickins, Harry

Harry Pickens(Artist-in-Residence)

Harry Pickens is an internationally recognized jazz pianist who has performed in 17 countries on four continents with hundreds of legends in the jazz world, including Dizzy Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Freddie Hubbard, James Moody, and more. He is the 2009 Recipient of the Kentucky Governor’s Award for the Arts in Education, the state's highest honor in the creative and performing arts, a four-time-winner of the LEO Reader’s Choice Award for Best Jazz Musician, and Artist-In-Residence for the Kentucky Governor’s School for the Arts. A Kentucky Educational Television documentary about Harry, In the Garden of Music, recently received a regional Emmy Award. A 2010 recipient of Leadership Louisville’s ‘Connector’ designation signifying trusted community leadership, he currently serves as Special Assistant to the Provost for New Initiatives at the University of Louisville. As a professional musician, speaker, teacher, and consultant, Harry Pickens uses the power of sound, story, and song to help individuals and organizations get 'in tune' with their greatest possibilities. His inspiring and unique performances, ‘keynote concerts’ and workshops have touched the lives of over 250,000 people over the past 25 years.

2018 finalist announcement & auditions (1)