Teaching Artist Learning Lab (T.A.L.L.)
Teaching Artist Learning Labs
First Things First – What Is A Teaching Artist?
“A teaching artist is a practicing professional artist with the complementary skills and sensibilities of an educator, who engages people in learning experiences in, through, and about the arts.” –Eric Booth
A teaching artist, by definition, is a two-career professional: a working artist and a working educator. As a working artist is they are involved in an ongoing process of discovery, problem solving, discipline and refinement of skills in their discipline. As a working educator, it is essential that the artist is also developing a knowledge base and skills to be an effective partner in education. Achieving a meaningful balance between these two professions, whereby one feeds the other, is an ongoing process that requires a deepening awareness for the teaching artist of what their teaching brings to their art and what their art teaches them about learning.
Teaching artists are a crucial resource for the future of arts education, the arts in general, and the overall process of learning. The role of the teaching artist is an integral part of the overarching arts education constellation, which includes:
- short and long-term school and after-school residencies
- arts experiences, including in-school performances by professional artists, as well as field trips to studios, galleries, museums, and performances.
- integrating the arts throughout the curriculum as a way of engaging all types of intelligence’s in the learning process.
- arts education standards backed up by ongoing curriculum-based arts instruction in pre-K-12.
- discipline-specific learning in the arts: visual art, dance, theater, music, poetry, etc.
- higher education and on-going development for the professional artist, as well as the professional artist who is also a teaching artist.
- lifelong learning in the arts through community arts events, classes and workshops.
Successful teaching artists help provide a tangible link between the creative process and all kinds of learning, and they make manifest in classroom and community settings the human drive to survive by making meaning of their lives!
2017 TALL Artists
Erick is a recent graduate of Midwestern State University, where he received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Sculpture. While at MSU, he was named in the Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges, and worked as Installation Assistant in the Ceramics Department.
He was also selected to participate in the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture Teaching Artists Learning Lab and Grants Panel in 2016 $ 2017. Erick was recently accepted to the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Rinehart School of Sculpture, where he will pursue a Masters of Fine Arts and continue to teach at the university level.
“I feel a career in the arts is not only fulfilling for the artist, but can be utilized to enrich and inspire one’s community and its youth.”
Chance Harmon is one of the top performance instructors in the nation. He began his career as a teenager performing at various theme parks like the award-winning OPRYLAND U.S.A. in Nashville, Tennessee. Chance has performed on numerous cruise ships, regional theater productions, and Broadway national tours. His theater performance and directing accolades led him into the world of television. He began as a vocal coach and performance specialist for MTV, working on shows like Say What? Karaoke. During his many years in New York City, he worked for Food Network, Fox News and on shows like Fear Factor, just to name a few. He directed, produced and performed on many distinguished broadcast and live theater events. From Broadway workshops to Emmy Award winning television, his professionalism is renowned and he is highly respected in the television and theater community.
VARIETY called him, “A bright spot on the stage.”
An actor, singer, and teaching artist, Bryson Petersen has co-administered the Wichita Theatre’s in-school workshop series, Acting Out In Class, for four years. In the summer of 2017, he trained as a teaching artist at Lincoln Center as a part of Lincoln Center Education’s Summer Forum, and he has participated in the Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture’s Teaching Artist Learning Lab for two years. Bryson has performed for over 14 years in over 50 musical productions in North Texas. His most recent stage credits include TJ in Sister Act: The Musical, Prince Eric in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, and Danny Zuko in Grease. His latest co-directing credit is Disney’s The Lion King, Jr.
Audra Lambert lives and works in Wichita Falls. She was born in Bridgeport, Texas, and is a practicing artist who commits herself to the pursuit of furthering the arts in our community. She graduated with a B.F.A from Midwestern State University, majoring in printmaking and minoring in metalsmithing where she received many student accolades. Since 2013 she has been working as a muralist, and loves making public works. Audra is an active member of the Wichita Falls Art Association where she engages with fellow local artists and current serves on the W.F.A.A. board. Her main goal in life is to produce art and help others to engage themselves in the arts as well. She believes that all people can benefit from the arts weather they are making art or enjoying it.
Jessica B. Johnson
Jessica Johnson is a professional artist who specializes in portrait drawings and paintings. She also works with ceramics and explores in graphic design. Jessica received her Bachelors of Fine Arts from Midwestern State University from Juanita and Ralph Harvey School of Visual Arts in December of 2009. In 2014, she took her art a step forward and established her own business known as JBJ Artistry.
Hope is thrilled to share her passion for the theatre with everyone this summer. Hope has studied theatre artistry at Midwestern State University and Queen Mary University in London, England. She is working towards a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Technical Design and Performance. She has worked professionally as a scenic painter for Backdoor Theatre for 3 years. She has also worked on productions such as the touring production of Mamma Mia! and several local theatre productions. Her most recent role was as Mama Rose in the Backdoor Theatre’s production of Gypsy. She wants to show people that there are no limitations on the stage. Through theatre, “Everything’s coming up roses!”
ToiEasha Cooper is a Wichita Falls native, working towards her Bachelors in Psychology at Midwestern State University. She has practiced all types of artistry, but specializes in visual art. She enjoys painting portraits, pencil sketches, and collage. Art has always helped her with communicating emotions without words, and she can’t wait to help others say that they need to say with, or without words.
Vanity is a versatile and multi-talented entertainer and performance artist. She served the Wichita Falls ISD as an elementary school music teacher. She is now a substitute educator in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD as well as a music producer and actress for various professional individuals, companies, organizations and venues.
Vanity is a gifted percussionist and plays any percussion instrument including the piano and steel pan drums. She is a member of the award winning and nationally acclaimed vocal group, Of Scripture. Within a music studio, Vanity provides a wealth of expertise for any aspect of music studio production including music management, production, engineering, instrumentation, vocal arrangement, vocal coaching, composing, and writing. She is experienced in video production, modeling, and dance choreography and performance. She finds time to lend her talents to churches, theatres, concerts, and various other venues. Vanity strives to be a master teaching artist, in occupation and in life, who loves to grow, absorb and share any and every learning opportunity with a heart of love, respect and unity.
Amber Day Scott
Amber Scott is a Wichita Falls native, who graduated from Midwestern State University in 2001. She spent the next seven years exploring the supportive creative communities in Nacogdoches, TX, Fayetteville, Arkansas, Austin, TX, and the DFW area. Upon returning to Wichita Falls, she could apply her artist experiences to her work with veterans at the behavioral health hospital and children at the Red River Hospital, the chemical dependency clients at the Recovery Center, and the students At Rose Street Mental Health. Amber practices holistic artistic principles. She believes form, function, balance, flexibility, improvisation, and acceptance can be applied to every aspect of our lives and are essential for emotional well-being.
Miguel “Mick” Contreras is from El Paso, Texas and had originally come to Wichita Falls on a temporary teaching assignment at Sheppard AFB. However, after his assignment, he stayed in the area because he began to like living in a smaller and very friendly city. He began to explore the music scene by going to local jam sessions and a short time later he formed “The Mick Jason Band” which was named after both of its founders.
Mick has been playing music formally since he was eight years old, but his Mom always said he actually started playing the family piano when he was three. At thirteen he began to play the guitar, quickly developed his skills on the bass, and by the time he was twenty one, he began to compose and sing his own songs.
His education includes being a non-traditional music major at Holyoke Community College, and went on to get a BA at UMASS Amherst, and an MA in Applied Linguists at UT-El Paso. Mick has composed numerous songs and poems and published his first song, “The La La La Song” a few years ago. Mick continues to play in the Wichita Falls area where he incorporates both cover songs and his own original music.
Kiana Cockheran was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was born into a big family of 36 siblings, including her. A good portion of them are musically inclined, so it was a family thing. Kiana was given her first pair of drumsticks at the age of 6, and to the surprise of her siblings, began imitating everything they did. Struggling with ADHD since childhood, she didn’t let that stop her, she saw her disability as a gift. Kiana can play drums by ear and her favorite is the Djembe, which is a hand drum. As a kid, she got many scholarships to participate in the Louis Armstrong Jazz Camps. Kiana was the only female percussionist, playing alongside professionals such as Wynton Marsalis, Bobba Kenyata, and even the governor and Mayor of New Orleans.
Semeia Mitchell is a singer, songwriter and musician. Born and raised in Wichita Falls, Tx, Mitchell discovered a love and talent for the melodious through her family of varying artists and the church. By age 5, Mitchell was attending Yahama Music School after having expressed an interest in the piano. This was the beginning of a childhood full of musical exploration and growth. During this time, she made great strides in her learning, advancing to private instruction and also showed great passion for singing. Mitchell was a member of McNiel Jr. High choir and Rider’s Girls Choir and Acapella.
Early adult life brought travels and living out of state, 2 years of college, and several years of call center tenure.
Since November 2015, Mitchell has been performing under the name Sej Miles. Mixing a host of arrangements and original music, Miles exhibits a folk style with a blues/soul sensibility, all channeled through voice and the ivories. Mitchell’s work as Sej Miles has brought wonderful platforms for creative expression
and opportunities to serve her community. From work with Meals on Wheels to performing for the Chamber Of Commerce After Hours, Mitchell continues to put community service as a part of her purpose in performing. In July 2016, Mitchell added a side project call Ground Floor Rising, a creative collaboration with local soul fusion singer Brittany Roberts. With Ground Floor and Rising, Mitchell has continued local performance, as well as in Austin and Corpus Christi.
Mitchell is currently expanding her contributions through art with the WFAAC as a teaching artist.
Chip Kouri has applied his artistic abilities in the arts, fashion, and beauty industries for many years. Rising to director of education of a beauty manufacturer. He has long been an advocate for arts education and strives to share his knowledge of the arts with both young and old.
Whitney Hogue graduated from Midwestern State University May 2017 with a degree in music education. She has studied voice under Dr. Donald Maxwell for four years and conducting with Dr. Dale He
idebrecht for two. Whitney has lead a children’s choir and assists with an adult choir at Floral Heights United Methodist Church on Wednesdays during the school year for three years.
Whitney has always enjoyed music and working with children. She wants to teach children to turn to music to cheer themselves up or to help them celebrate their achievements.
“Music has always been a part of my life. As a youngster, I would dance all day long if I could. I joined the choir and band in Jr high. Band was more natural for me (precision). In my first year I went from beginners band to second chair in A band. However, in high school, my love for sports overshadowed my love for music, or so I thought. During my freshman year, I began freestyle rapping and writing lyrics. It wasn’t long after, that developed a true passion for writing and performing those lyrics. Since 17 years of age, I’ve been signed to 3 independent reco
rd labels, written and recorded 100s of hip hop tracks, and performed in various venues with up to 1,500 individuals in attendance. Now, at age 31, I have learned to use my voice to motivate, encourage, and empower others to continue to set and achieve their goals throughout life.”