Art Academy Faculty

Instructor Biographies | MACC | 2014

Cheryl Bankes holds a BA in art from Southern Illinois University.  After moving to Denver in 1977, she attended the University of Denver and then Metro State College, where she received her teacher certification in 1985.  Cheryl taught art at Denver East High school for 17 years, retiring in 2005.  This will be her seventh summer teaching ceramics at the MACC.


Amy F. Blomquist has a decade of teaching experience in Denver Public Schools and holds a degree in Spanish and an MA in Bilingual and ESL Curriculum and Instruction.  She recently obtained her degree in Photography from the Art Institute of Colorado and is a successful lifestyle portrait photographer and co-founder of the Emerging Exposures community photography project.


Janelle Constance was born and raised in Colorado Springs and moved to Denver to attend the Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, where she majored in Art Education and Painting.  She currently teaches visual arts at Southmoor Elementary School.  When she’s not inspiring young artists at school, she loves to hang out with her friends, stay involved in her church community, play the piano and of course, create lots of arts and crafts. Janelle is familiar with a wide variety of studio mediums, including painting, photography, ceramics, printmaking, fiber and digital media.


Jennifer Cooper graduated from Alfred University in 2006.  After college, Jennifer was a resident artist at Terra Incognito Studios in Oak Park, IL for two years.  From there she moved to Busan, South Korea to teach English and work as a resident artist at Busan National University of Education.  In South Korea, Jennifer was able to travel and experience much of central and southeast Asia.  In 2009 Jennifer traveled from Panama to Guatemala researching ceramics and experiencing Central American life.  Jennifer now teaches three-dimensional art at Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy in southwest Denver and is a member of the Arvada Ceramic Arts Guild.


Ann Fleming was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and holds a degree in Art and Design from the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from Denver Botanic Gardens.  She taught Glass Design at Edinburgh College of Art and at Sunderland Polytechnic in England before moving to the U.S.A. in 1979.  Her carved glass sculptures are in public and private collections in Europe and North America and her botanical illustrations have been published and exhibited in the USA and UK.  She has a studio in Denver and teaches art in Denver Public Schools. This is her fifth year teaching at the MACC.


Kit Hernandez is a dynamic and multi-talented artist and educator who offers students a chance to explore their creativity and have a great time in the classroom.  Kit is a long time faculty member at the Art Students’ League of Denver and has worked with summer programming at Colorado Academy.  She has created art activities for special events sponsored by the City of Aurora and taught art programs for private schools and non-profits in the Denver area.


Scott Kinnamon is a Denver based filmmaker and educator who uses film as a tool for engaging and educating youth. He is the founder of the Young Filmmmakers Workshop through the Denver Film Society and Freds Films and has has presented filmmaking programs at schools and organizations throughout the country as well as at the BNY Mellon Wealth Management Denver Jewish Film Festival.


Jill P. Mott is a photojournalist, journalism educator, content producer and digital storyteller based in Fort Collins, Colorado.  She earned her undergraduate degree in news photography from the acclaimed Newhouse School of Communications at Syracuse University.  While living in Zimbabwe, Jill created a nonprofit Kids with Cameras program that allowed youth with limited opportunity and no photography experience to document the world as they saw it.  Jill is the co-founder of the Emerging Exposures community photography project, which offers young people the chance to express themselves through digital photography in an expansive and creative way.


Joan Paschall has been a glass artist for over 30 years, working with fused and stained glass. She has shared her passion for glass art with students in both retail and nonprofit environments, exhibited her own work, and created custom projects for individual clients.  Joan currently teaches and maintains the studio at the Clements Community Center in Lakewood. She is a warm, knowledgeable and engaging instructor who is looking forward to exploring the art of glass with students at the Mizel Center this summer!


Carol Redmond holds a Master’s Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  Her mixed media constructions have been exhibited by galleries in several states, and are included in corporate and private collections.  She has taught classes for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Outdoor Arts, the Greenwood Village Arts-in-the-Schools program, and the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities.  Carol is also the former Outreach Coordinator for the Oriental Institute Museum at the University of Chicago, where she used art experiences to teach middle school students about life in ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia.


Ron Ruelle is a freelance cartoonist who lives in Boulder. He has been drawing since kindergarten, and has created daily syndicated cartoons, local editorial comics, graphic novel stories, and various other projects over the years. Ron also teaches cartooning and graphic design at the Community College of Aurora. You can see his work at


Catherine Salazar, a potter with a passion, loves designing and creating sculptures and functional forms out of clay. Her creative process involves researching her ceramic forms from historic, decorative and functional perspectives. Catherine holds a Master’s Degree in Visual Arts with an emphasis in Ceramic Sculpture from the University of Northern Colorado.  She was a Denver Public Schools Art teacher for over 30 years, and has also taught classes and workshops for the Denver Art Museum and the Art Students’ League of Denver.  Catherine has received many honors for her work as an artist and educator, has exhibited her work extensively, and is very active in the arts education community.


Steve Schaffner is a local artist and art educator who is currently teaching K-5 art at Hudson Academy of Arts & Sciences.  Originally from Illinois, he has now lived in Denver for more than 12 years.  Since residing in Colorado, Steve has studied art education and earned his teaching licensure from Metropolitan State University of Denver.  His pursuit of a life invested in the arts has also included extracurricular work with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Redline Gallery, the Center for Visual Arts, and the Colorado Academy.


Jean Smith is a popular artist and educator who specializes in colorful and whimsical ceramic sculpture.  She holds a BA in Art and Elementary Education from Milton College, and has worked with students as an artist-in-residence at East High School and the Logan School for Creative Learning here in Denver.  Jean is a member of two co-op galleries in Denver, Ice Cube Gallery and Zip 37 Gallery, and exhibits her ceramics in solo, invitational, and juried shows in the Denver area.


Vicky Smith has taught ceramics for over 25 years in nonprofit art centers, public and private schools, colleges and artist cooperatives.  Her work has been exhibited in both local and national venues.  At the MACC, Vicky teaches adult clay classes year round, children’s classes during the summer for the Art Academy, and manages the ceramics studio.  She holds an M.F.A. from Rhode Island School of Design and a B.F.A. from the University of Colorado.


Darin Sullivan is an artist and instructor at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, teaching art in several different media for the past ten years. He has taught a wide range of subjects, including drawing and mosaics, to all ages and ability levels. Darin is currently illustrating a children’s book about adventurous hamsters!


Betsy Tobin, Artistic Director of the Now or Never Theatre, has toured her original theatre performances in the United States, Canada, and throughout Europe.  She has won numerous festival awards and earned an international reputation as a solo puppeteer. Her work integrates puppetry with acting, masks, shadow theatre, and video. She is a published playwright and a theatre and puppetry teacher, as well as a director, performer, and visual artist. Betsy has created masks, puppets, and giant figures for numerous parades and processions. For more information and photos, go to