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Meet Our 2020 Faculty & Staff

A vocal music faculty member/ choral director conducting a group of singers.

Mark T. Richards (Architecture + Design)

Mark Richards received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture at the University of Kentucky and a Master of Architecture from Pratt Institute. Recently relocated from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, Mark has worked with architecture and industrial design students in Lexington, New York, LA, and Paris FR.

Stephanie Sang Delgado (Architecture + Design)

Stephanie is Co-Director of office ca and has taught architecture/design to high school students through the Center for Architecture & Design in Columbus, OH. She is currently a Visiting Teaching Fellow at the School of Architecture at Taliesin in Scottsdale, AZ.

Dan Bernitt (Creative Writing) - Chair

Dan Bernitt is an American author, playwright, and performer. His solo performances include Yelling at Bananas in Whole Foods; Phi Alpha Gamma; and Thanks for the Scabies, Jerkface!; among others. His work has been featured in venues across the United States, as well as in Ireland and Italy. A recipient of the Robert Chesley Award for Lesbian and Gay Playwriting, both his books, Dose: Plays & Monologues and Phi Alpha Gamma, were named finalists for the Lambda Literary Award. He holds an MFA in Playwriting from The New School, where he studied with Jon Robin Baitz and Christopher Shinn. As a guest artist, he has performed and taught workshops at numerous colleges and universities in the United States. He serves on the faculty of the Kentucky Governor's School for the Arts. He lives in New York City.

Olivia Cole (Creative Writing)

Olivia Cole is a writer from Louisville, KY. She is the author of the PANTHER IN THE HIVE series and the books A CONSPIRACY OF STARS and AN ANATOMY OF BEASTS (HarperCollins). Her essays have been published at Bitch Media, Real Simple, the LA Times, HuffPost, Teen Vogue, and others.

Asha French (Creative Writing)

Asha is an alumna of GSA ’98. She is a member of the Affrilachian Poets and recently received her Ph.D. in English from Emory University.  Her work was published in the New York Times last year, and many of you will remember her from her reading during GSA 2019’s Opening Ceremony.

Theresa Bautista (Dance)

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 (Dance)

John Cartwright is from Madisonville, KY and began his training in Evansville, IN. He graduated from Butler University with a degree in Dance – Arts Administration.  He performed and choreographed for the Louisville Ballet, Louisville’s Moving Collective, and Thodos Dance Chicago. John currently dances with Chicago Repertory Ballet, and is the Secondary Program Faculty Head at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s Youth Dance Program.

Ila Conoley Paladino (Dance) - Chair

Ila Conoley Paladino holds 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, New Mexico State University, University of Kentucky, Savannah State University, The Moving Collective, and Ormao Dance Company. Ila choreographs concert dance, site-specific work, dance theatre, and community modern. She is faculty at Local Motion Studio in Alexandria, VA and The Kentucky Center Governor School for the Arts as well a freelance artist and director/choreographer of ICONography Dance.

Bill Caise (Drama)

Bill Caise, a native of Kentucky, holds a BA from the University of Kentucky and an MFA in Acting from the University of Iowa.  Fresh back from a study abroad in Ghana--Bill's is glad to be back at GSA! Over the past year Bill has kept busy directing, both, The Colored Museum by George C. Wolfe and Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage. As an actor Bill was seen in Cormac McCarthy’s Sunset Limited.

Ellie Clark (Drama)

Ellie is an alumna of GSA ’95; she’s currently based out of Atlanta, GA and is co-founder of The Girl Project and Project SEE Theater, amongst many other accolades.

Bo List (Drama)

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, and educator, he serves as Director of Theatre for Sayre School in Lexington, and as Co-Founder and Producing Artistic Director of AthensWest Theatre Company.

Will Cravens (Film + Photography) - Chair

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’s.

James Kenney (Film + Photography)

James Kenney is a WKU Photojournalism professor and director of the Mountain Workshops. He has taught in scholastic education programs since 1994. He has worked at newspapers in Nevada, photographed projects overseas, spent summers at National Geographic and the Lexington Herald-Leader, and currently photographs Tennessee Titans games for the AP.

Richard Byrd (Instrumental Music) - Chair & Dean of GSA Faculty

Dr. Richard Byrd is Professor of Theory/Composition, Composer-in-Residence, and trumpeter with the Faculty Brass Quintet at Eastern Kentucky University.  After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in trumpet performance at DePauw University, he earned his Master’s and Ph.D. degrees in music theory from the University of Kentucky. He serves as Chair for Instrumental music and Dean of Faculty and has been with GSA since 1989.

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, Jr. (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 taught at Western Kentucky University for twenty-eight years, where he maintains an extensive performance schedule in collaborative music with faculty colleagues and numerous guest artists.  His performances have taken him throughout the US and to cities including Toronto, Paris, Madrid, Birmingham England, and Novaro Italy.  Dr. Speer holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Piano Performance, and a Ph.D. in Music Education. This summer marks his thirteenth year at GSA.  

Sharon Kinnison (Musical Theatre)

Sharon offers a twenty-year career as an actor, singer, director, and writer.   Teaching positions include Bellarmine University, Indiana University Southeast, and Louisville Collegiate School.  Regional stage acting/directing credits:  Actors Theatre of Louisville and Stage One.  National credits: Center Repertory Company, Diablo Light Opera Company, and Contra Cost Musical Theatre

Henry Lewers (Musical Theatre)

Henry Lewers is a music director, conductor, and pianist. He has served as associate conductor on the national tours of Bullets Over Broadway and Memphis, and as a music assistant for the Broadway production of Aladdin. Henry recently completed his masters in orchestral conducting at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

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 a now a freelance choreographer and teacher.

Matthew Gaddie (Visual Art) - Chair

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.

Aubrey Nibert Brice (Visual Art)

Aubrey is an alumna of GSA ’02.  She’s currently teaches art at Bryan Station High School in Lexington, KY.  Do yourself a favor and check out her work linked under the “Artwork” tab at www.aubreynibert.com.

Susan Harrison (Visual Art)

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.

Brian Somerville (Visual Art)

Amanda Balltrip (Vocal Music)

Amanda Balltrip, soprano and Harlan, KY native, recently made her solo debut with the National Chorale at Lincoln Center. She is a winner of the Kentucky District MONC Auditions, as well as the Alltech Opera Scholarship Competition. A GSA alum and graduate of UK (B.M. and M.M.), Amanda currently is a faculty member of the University of the Cumberlands and McNeil Music Center. 

Brittany Benningfield (Vocal Music) - Chair

Dr. Brittany Benningfield (GSA Vocal Music 2001), soprano, currently serves as Lecturer in Voice at Southern Illinois University.  BMME from Campbellsville University, MM and DMA in Vocal Performance from the University of Kentucky.  Dr. Benningfield happily returns for her fifth year as a faculty member to GSA and cannot wait to meet this year's students!

Shareese Johnson (Vocal Music)

The Herald Times described her voice as “rhapsodic splendor.” Shareese Johnson 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 University of Kentucky and on faculty at Berea College.

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, and 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, 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 UC-CCM and has studied in France and Italy. Currently she is Music Library Specialist and Vocal Studies Faculty at the University of North Alabama. 

Dr. A.T. Simpson (Vocal Music)

Dr. Alexander T. Simpson Jr. is the Founder and Artistic Director of the regionally-acclaimed Black Classical Artists of Louisville. An Associate Professor of Music at Bellarmine University, Dr. Simpson is GSA’s Vocal Music Chairperson and the Choral Director. A Vocal Instructor since GSA’s 2nd year, Dr. Simpson received his PhD from the University of Kentucky. 

Bryony Rowe (Program Counselor In Residence)

Bryony Rowe has a doctoral degree in school psychology and has worked in school districts in Kentucky and Texas for 17 years. She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at Colorado State University and graduate degrees in school psychology at the University of Kentucky. Currently, Bryony works as a school psychologist for Frederick Douglass High School and Carter G. Woodson Academy in Lexington, Kentucky, and as a part-time online and on-campus instructor for the Eastern Kentucky University psychology department. She lives in Lexington with her husband, 11-year old son (aspiring movie director), and gray tabby cat, Lucy. Bryony has strong appreciation for the arts and actively participated in community and university theater and vocal and instrumental music performances in childhood through her young adult years.

Harry Pickens (Artist In Residence)

Harry Pickens, B.A, CAPP, is an award-winning performing artist, educator, positive psychology practitioner, and life transformation coach. As pianist and composer, his multifaceted musical career has featured collaborations with hundreds of the world’s great jazz artists, choral works featuring the poetry of Wendell Berry, and a recent performance for the Dalai Lama. 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, he also serves as Artist-In-Residence for the Kentucky Governor’s School For The Arts and served as Ambassador For Artistry In Education at Berklee School of Music during the 2013-2014 academic year. Blending his artistic identity with cutting-edge research in peak performance psychology, he has taught over 20,000 musicians how to transform performance anxiety into rock-star confidence through his From StageFright to Standing Ovation™ workshops. As a positive psychology practitioner and life transformation coach, he develops and shares practical applications of cutting-edge research in the science of wellbeing. He recently served a three-year term as Special Assistant To The Provost For New Initiatives at the University of Louisville, where he developed and taught ‘A Course In Thriving’, a semester-long exploration of the core mindsets, skills and character traits of the world’s most resilient, successful, fulfilled individuals, which received the highest evaluations in the history of the Honors Program.

Documentarian - TBA

John Combs (Pianist/Collaborator)

Angela Eaton (Pianist/Collaborator)

Kaleb Hilton (Pianist/Collaborator)

Jerram John (Pianist/Collaborator)

Phillip Morgan (Pianist/Collaborator)

Johann Van Niekerk (Pianist/Collaborator)

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Following Governor Andy Beshear’s executive order outlining specific steps all public-facing businesses should take to contain and limit the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), all Kentucky Performing Arts venues are temporarily closed.