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Instructors

Instructors

Cookie Bell began her career with The Fred Astaire Dance Studios as a professional instructor and competition dancer across the country. Cookie helped to form the first U.S. Amateur Ballroom Dance Assoc. chapter (now called USA Dance) in Prince William County in the early 90’s. She has continued to teach social dance and special instruction to groups, individuals, children & teens as she develops programs in the area.

Christie Blewett has taught and directed music and theater across the country for the last 18 years. Her professional training began at Catholic University, continued with a BFA in Musical Theater from Shenandoah Conservatory and culminated in an MFA in Theatre Education from Fontbonne University. For six years she was the Artistic Director in Residence for the Bay Area Educational Theatre Company in San Francisco, and some of her award-winning work has been featured on the stages of the Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Miss Blewett was a leading actress with Pied Piper Theatre where she played Belle in Beauty & the Beast, Alice in Alice in Wonderland, and the title role in Cinderella.

Lydia J. Bratton has a BA from Marymount University and an Associate Science Degree from Northern Virginia Community College. At both schools she studied Fine Arts, Arts Education, and Graphic Design. In addition, she has attended museum workshops and other teacher-related training. Lydia is a mixed media artist and has taught art classes of all student levels at various schools throughout Northern Virginia. In addition to teaching art, Lydia has taught English as a second language and currently teaches GED/HSE classes during the school year for Prince William County Schools.

She has won the 2018 Kathleen Seefeldt Award for Outstanding Art Educator. 

Barbara Brennan taught Ballroom Dancing for Arthur Murray Dance Studio for ten years, and is a member of USA Dance Association. She is trained in American as well as International dance styles. Bobbie also ran her own dance studio for ten years while competing professionally, and has been joyfully guiding dance students at the Center for the Arts since 2003.

Lee Darter received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Advertising & Graphic Design from Sam Houston State University and her Masters in Art Education from the University of Houston. Lee holds teaching certificates in Texas and Virginia for all levels of art instruction, and has won numerous honors and grants; most recently Lee received the Northern VA Art Educator of the Year Award in 2014. She currently is Visual Art Teacher in Cedar Point Elementary School instructing K - 5th grade students, and is a Certified Zentangle® Instructor.

Suhail Mir is an attorney and a professional photographer and videographer. He has been taking photographs for last 19 years. Suhail’s passion for art and the love for people and nature enables him to create images in artistic and creative styles.  Suhail was voted the Best Artist of Prince William county 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, Best Photographer 2017, and Best Events Photographer 2016. He was also nominated for 2017 Kathleen K. Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence in the Outstanding Artist category.  Mr. Mir has 10 years of experience teaching the art of photography and photo editing software to children and adults. Suhail has won several awards and his work has appeared in full-page ads in the New York Times Magazine, Washingtonian, and other journals.

Michele Frantz has over 20 years of experience as a freelance artist. Her paintings have appeared in numerous exhibits throughout the region, and have garnered several awards. She has a B.S. in Graphic Design, has taken advanced studies in watercolor and composition, and has been teaching art to adults since 1991.

Amanda Shaw has worked for Prince William County Schools since 2004.  She is originally from Upstate New York.  Amanda graduated from Buffalo State College with a bachelor’s degree in Art Education.  She also earned a master’s degree from George Mason University in curriculum and instruction.  In 2011 Amanda received her National Boards Teacher Certification in elementary art education.  In 2018 Amanda was recognized as PWC’s Best Artist.  Inspired by nature she enjoys creating land and seascapes and most recently has begun studying various birds. Amanda’s mediums include painting with a focus on both acrylic and watercolors.

Kimberly Faulkner is a board-certified, creative arts therapist, based in Northern Virginia where she currently has a private practice and therapeutic consulting business, BlueMonarch Creative, LLC. She attended both Hampton University, where she holds a B.A. in Psychology, and Pratt Institute, where she received her Master’s level training in Art Therapy and Creativity Development. Kimberly has over 14 years of experience ranging from her work with behavioral health populations, leading therapeutic art groups with all ages to her role as a corporate wellness trainer. Kimberly’s mission is to enhance wellness for individuals and organizations through assessment, consultation, and creative action.

Dumfries-based educator and artist Cheryl Miehl explores a variety of mixed media acrylic techniques and processes as she builds the beauty of thinly veiled layers to cultivate ethereal interactions in her imagery. She earned a Master of Interdisciplinary Studies in Art with a focus on mixed media painting from Virginia Commonwealth University, and is an active member of the Virginia Art Education Association. Cheryl leads the Visual Arts Department in the Cambridge Program at Brentsville High School, Prince William County School District.

Carla Jaranson graduated from JMU with a BS in Art Education.  She has taught art to children and adults for over 30 years and retired from teaching elementary art in 2010. In 2000 she earned an MIS Degree in Painting and Computer Art from VCU. She worked as an adjunct professor with GMU in Art Education until 2013. Her study of Chinese brush painting began in 1978 under Pearl Chang and later Roddy McLean, Ming Friedman, Prof I-Hsiung Ju, Betzi Robinson and calligrapher John S. C. Wang. She joined the Sumi-e Society in 1983 and has served as treasurer, exhibition chairman and newsletter editor for the local chapter. Since 1996 she has shared her love of East Asian brush painting by teaching workshops for art teachers in Virginia and web mastering the SSA website. She has served four years as SSA President.

Jean Seelig of Haymarket Virginia has studied art in many forms since the 1970s. After years of college courses and NOVA classes she decided to concentrate her work on Asian brush painting.  Initially she studied under Ming Friedman, and subsequently with Betzi Robinson, Marie Kaneko Shaughnessy, Henry Wu, Liang Wei and many others.  Jean is a member of the Sumi e Society of America and has exhibited in several national shows, most recently in 2018.  Her work has also has been featured annually at the Millwood Show, Bluemont Piedmont Friendship Heights exhibit, and at the V Galleria in Kennett Square, PA.  In addition to teaching Introduction to Brush Painting, Jean has taught programs in Asian art appreciation and brush drawing for Shenandoah University.  As president of the NCAC chapter of the Sumi e Society, her love of this art form grows and flourishes with others who share the joy of Asian brush painting. Jean is a retired licensed therapist and takes great care to emphasize the meditative and healing potential in the practice of brush painting.

Nicole Osborne is an artist based in the DC metropolitan area but was born and raised in Gatlinburg Tennessee.  Nicole received a BFA from East Tennessee State University and an MFA from GW Corcoran School of Arts & Design.  Nicole works in multiple traditional and digital media, and is a full time professional graphic designer and commercial artist.  “Ms. Nikki” has taught art classes, camps and workshops for children in NoVA and DC since 2014.  Programs taught at the Center for the Arts include Art FUNdamentals for children, and animation and videography courses for teens and adults.

Kelly Glyptis holds an M.M. in Vocal Performance from Indiana University where she performed leading roles. She made her professional debut with the Atlanta Opera and performed with several professional theater companies across the U.S. She trained with the Washington National Opera Institute, Operafestival di Roma, Canadian Operatic Arts Academy, and Charley Creek and IU Opera Workshops. She has won several outstanding actress awards, multiple vocal competitions, and received acclaim in Opera News Magazine. Ms. Glyptis is a certified Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors and is an active fight choreographer and consultant. 

David Johnson is a recent graduate from George Mason University where he earned his BFA in Theatre. DC area credits include Lettice and Lovage (Quotidian Theatre Company) In Love and Warcraft (No Rules Theatre Company) and Young Playwrights' Theatre of DC 25th Anniversary Festival. He also appeared on an episode of Evil Kin (Brothers in Hate) on the Investigation Discovery Channel. David is excited to return as a teacher and director with the Center for the Arts where he participated with Pied Piper Theatre for 10 years, performing in several leading roles, including Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music.

Maudeleora Kaufman will be a senior at VCU as a theatre performance major. She has been in several shows at VCU such as Macbeth (Fleance), 'Green Square' (Bernadette), Really, Really (Grace) and many others. She also is active in the film community with roles such Harper Lewis in Come Darkly Near and her newest film will be coming out in May titled Before the Fall with Nicholas Scarpinato. Miss Kaufman is a veteran of Pied Piper Theatre where she performed several leading roles and she has taught for several years in the Pied Piper Theatre Summer Camps.

Veronica Sharpe has taught music and theater at the Center for the Arts’ Pied Piper Theatre for 7 years. She graduated magna cum laude from James Madison University with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education. At JMU, she was awarded the Joy Hollar Costello Endowed Scholarship for Music Education and the Samuel B. Cross String Education Scholarship and presented original research at conferences throughout the southeastern United States. As a violinist, her teachers included acclaimed artists Wanchi Huang and Vernon Summers. Ms. Sharpe is the orchestra teacher at Pennington Traditional School and Piney Branch ES.

Miss Becca has grown up with Pied Piper Theatre.

Kristine Shackleford has been in the dance world for 20 years between dancing and choreographing. She competed with her dance studio and was a member of her high school’s dance team. In 2007, she became a full time choreographer for Blair Dance Studio. Her choreography competed in several states ranging in styles from tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, to hip hop. Ms. Worley has choreographed several PPT shows in the past 5 years.

Shania Stewart has been involved with the Center for the Arts for the past 11 years performing in numerous Pied Piper Theatre productions while also serving as Choreographer, Stage Manager, Assistant Choreographer, and Assistant Costumer in many others. She has also performed with the Gray Ghost Theatre Company, Riverside Dinner Theatre and the Showcase School of Dance Company.

Emily Thomson has recently moved from Upstate New York to Virginia. She received her BA in Studio Art with Concentration in Painting from SUNY College at Oneonta, and she also holds an Advanced Certificate in Character Animation from AnimationMentor in Emeryville CA. Emily has taught children’s and teen’s art classes at the Saratoga Arts Center in Saratoga NY. She is an accomplished fine arts painter with work shown in many juried shows in Upstate NY. Her art interests include illustration, sculpture, and computer graphics.

Amy Treat started out as a dancer with the Arlington Dance Theatre, but has performed with Rooftop Productions, most recently appearing in Mafia Murders. She has branched out into TV work as well, appearing in many locally produced shows. Amy teaches performing arts classes here at the Center. 

Annaliess Trommatter is a Manassas based artist.  She is fascinated by light, from external sources to bio-luminescence and how it interacts with the world.  As a fine artist, she is focused on exploring these relationships between light and dark through charcoal, pastels and colored pencils.  Annaliess teaches both art classes and theatre classes here at the Center. She has been involved with Pied Piper Theatre for several years as Stage and Production manager, costumer and scenic artist.  She studied theatre and fine arts at NVCC and graduated Spring 2018.

Josh Vest teaches several theatre classes at the Center for the Arts and has performed in Rooftop Productions' shows A Christmas Carol and Mafia Murders and their Evening of Comedy showJosh has also appeared in an independent film and web series. 

John Waldron has been working as an actor, instructor, and director for over 20 years. He received a BFA in Theatre from Virginia Commonwealth University. He has performed at the Kennedy Center, Wolf Trap, Classica/Synetic and Murder Upon Request and has directed and taught at numerous theatre camps, workshops and schools. He helped create the Past Time Prime Time Players--sponsored by the Center for the Arts--at The Prince William County Senior Center. He can be seen in the movie Talk to Me as well as an episode of Investigative Discovery Channel's Who the Bleep? as a Doo Wop singer.

Dale Walsh started in tech work 45 years ago and teaches the “Behind the Scenes” theater technical class plus specialized courses in sound and lights for the Center for the Arts. He is the resident sound designer (and occasional assistant director) for Pied Piper Theatre and technical lead for Rooftop Productions, and has worked on nearly 50 productions for the Center.  In 2011 he received a Kathleen Seefeldt Award for Arts Excellence from the PWC Arts Council in recognition of this work.  He is also a technical advisor and master carpenter for other local theater groups, and has attended Broadway tech master classes in NYC.

Cindy is currently a judge for the Washington Area Theatre Community Honors. Her early career was spent as a TV sound recorder and film/video editor in NYC and Venezuela. She has been a producer for Pied Piper Theatre and did the hair and makeup for Rooftop Productions' The Addams Family.