ACT's programs would not be possible without the dedication of the teaching artists that lead them. By working with a diverse group of professionally trained artists, our students are able to experience a wide variety of art forms.
Want to become a Teaching Artist?
Applying is easy: simply fill out our online application form. Be prepared to include references. After submitting, an ACT staff member will look it over and then get back to you.
Current Teaching Artists
We are so grateful for the passion and guidance that these artists bring to every program. To learn about each teaching artist, scroll over their photo and click to read more.
Channing Lee & Quinn Matthews
Piper Adonya is an illustrator, visual storyteller, and designer, who earned a BFA in Digital Media from Kendall College of Art and Design. Piper loves fine art but also enjoys getting her hands dirty with graphite, chalk, and paint. When she's not drawing, she can be found creating linocut print designs for jewelry.
Kelly Allen works in a wide range of media and styles including, but not limited to, hyperrealistic representational painting and drawing in oil, acrylic, gouache, colored pencil, and graphite, abstract painting, collage, and sculpture and fiber art from reclaimed materials.
Olivia graduated with a Bachelor's of Social Work from Grand Valley State University. She loves being active, trying new coffee shops, managing her photography business, and listening or playing music constantly! She is looking forward to building relationships will all the incredible students at ACT, and can't wait to see where life leads her!
Laura Armenta has been a professional dancer and choreographer since 1985, and a holistic practitioner, yogini, and educator since 1992. She focuses on Movement Exploration, Various techniques of Contemporary Dance and Somatic Movement, as well as Yoga Flow, Breathing techniques, World Dance. Laura has a BS in Arts and Humanities with a specialty in contemporary dance and choreography from the INBA in Mexico City, Mexico.
Emilee is an artist and fine arts instructor. She earned her BFA in Painting from Kendall College of Art and Design in 2009, and her MFA from Wayne State University in 2014. While pursuing her MFA, she worked as an art therapist at North Central Health Center in Detroit, as well as a gallery attendant at Wayne State University’s Elaine Jacob Gallery and Art Department Gallery. Emilee has worked as an artist studio assistant for painter, Mel Rosas. Currently, she is teaching visual arts.
Becky Baker is a visual artist with experience in a variety of media, focusing on drawing, mixed media, and educational creative projects. She received her BS in Pre-Art Therapy from Indiana Wesleyan University, and worked as Program Coordinator at Artist Creating Together for six years. In 2017, Becky transitioned into a teaching artist role with ACT. As an artist, instructor, and mother of three, Becky continues to foster creative expression and artistic enjoyment for all ages and abilities.
Sierra Skye Baker is a singer/songwriter who sings and plays guitar. She has taught Music Together® classes since 2017, the year she earned a degree in Commercial Music: Vocal performance from Cornerstone University. She began working with ACT as a teaching artist in 2019. Sierra is now studying to become a board certified music therapist.
Hannah Berry is the owner of Lions & Rabbits, a local event and community space centered around artistic development. Through private parties and events, Berry is able to work on community placemaking projects that continue to push economic artistic growth. When she is not working, she spends her time with her family and loves to cook!
Eirann Betka-Pope is a producer, director, performer, teacher, writer, improviser, artist, and activist in Grand Rapids, MI. They are the founder and president of Funny Girls and former owner of The Fuse Box. Eirann is Theatre Manager of The Comedy Project, where they also produce and perform. They teach classes at both The Comedy Project Training Center, and The Grand Rapids Civic Theatre School for Theatre Arts. Eirann is also the producer of Comedy Outlet Mondays at The Comedy Project.
Jenna Betka-Pope is a middle-school special education teacher, a low sensory night coordinator at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, and an actor and theater instructor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Special Education from Central Michigan University, and is currently working on a Master's Degree in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Jenna has been performing on stage since 2000 and teaching theater since 2011.
Sarah Beulla is a Grand Valley State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Public and Nonprofit Administration, and certified in cultural competence. She became involved with ACT as an intern in 2018-19, and began teaching in 2020. As an artist, Sarah finds comfort and inspiration by utilizing mixed media, acrylic, and watercolor painting. She also expresses herself through creative writing as a gateway to explore the unconscious mind.
Taylor Bultema is a working artist residing in Grand Rapids. She received her BFA in 2013 from the University of Michigan’s School of Art & Design with specializations in printmaking and community outreach. While there, she found her own unique style of printmaking, which involves using transparent inks to manipulate the original image. Taylor loves making her own work, but she enjoys sharing art with others even more.
Mandy Cano Villalobos
Mandy Cano Villalobos is an interdisciplinary artist who works in painting, fiber, performance, and video. She exhibits internationally, and has taught at Calvin University, Kendall College of Art and Design, and Grand Valley State University. She graduated from George Washington University with an MFA in 2006.
Zyra Castillo has a BFA with a concentration in sculpture, working in various mediums from metal to paper sculpture. Her art also incorporates public collaborative installations. She now has included writing to her artistic expression. Zyra is a certified K-12 visual arts teacher, teaches English as a Second Language, and has worked in educational technology, regularly incorporating online resources and instruction.
Darius Colquitt is an award-winning entertainer, educator, writer, director, and entrepreneur. He has premiered in, produced, or directed over 90 productions and features with numerous theatrical and entertainment companies throughout the midwest, and has shared spaces and performed with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, the late Maya Angelous, and Taraji P. Henson. He is the founder of Darius Colquitt & Company, and is the CEO & Producing Artistic Director of #BAMTalent.
The Grand Rapids Community Media Center (CMC), is ‘building community through media' by helping local people tell stories, share their creativity and talents, and learn about each other through platforms of expression that have been historically inaccessible to many of our region’s population. By introducing audiences to new voices and ideas on stage, screen, and over the air, they enhance community engagement and create connections. Their arts and cultural programming builds community.
Hannah DeBoer is a professional singer and voice teacher from Grand Rapids, MI. Currently, she is an associate teacher at Grand Rapids Voice Collective, where she works with singers of all ages and abilities. Hannah holds a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Grand Valley State University and a Master of Music in Voice Performance from Wichita State University, where she worked as a teaching assistant and created their first musical theatre voice class.
Maggie DeJong graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a major in Pre-Art Therapy. She loves exploring various mediums of art, but painting and drawing are her greatest areas of enjoyment and inspiration. She had the opportunity of interning with Artist Creating Together during the summer of 2016 and found it to be an enriching experience.
Michael Dollar is a classically-trained vocalist and percussionist and is an award-winning local audio producer and engineer in TV, music, and film. Currently, he teaches Digital Art and Design at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, in addition to operating a college-wide recording studio. He has also written six audio courses for three different colleges throughout the state of Michigan.
Dorothy Dorney has been teaching since 1999. Her art-making revolves around fiber/textiles, photography, and the metal arts. She holds a BS in Art Education, a Bachelors of Fine Arts, and a MFA in Design. Dorothy is a frequent ArtPrize artist.
Josh Dunigan has been a musican and teacher since 2001. He plays music with people of all ages and abilities to explore expression, communication, development, and community. As a member of two award-winning bands, Josh explores the music of the African Diasapora through Afro-Beat and Latin music.
Steven Edelman writes fiction and is a visual artist with a focus on collage and multimedia art. He has been teaching visual art since 2018 and has a Master of Art degrees in both Religious Studies and Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a Specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy. Steven is an Expressive Arts Therapist and owner of Depth Arts and Therapy.
Betsy Edgerton is a lifelong early childhood educator. An avid story teller who works with students through stories that empower, educate, and inspire.
Erinn Epp, MA, MT-BC, is a pianist, vocalist, and music therapist with a passion for group music-making. She received degrees in music therapy from Wilfrid Laurier University and New York University, and is currently pursuing her PhD with a research focus on performance and community building. Erinn has worked in a wide variety of educational, healthcare, and community settings, taught at the undergraduate level, and has led the ACTion Choir since 2009.
Nora Faber Overvoorde
Nora Faber Overvoorde is a certified art teacher and professional artist who has been teaching and painting since 1997. She paints on clay board using a multi-layered technique beginning with inks, acrylic mixes, and/or watercolors. When these layers dry, she etches with a tool and removes paint with stencils and rubbing alcohol, then rubs them off to reveal the layers beneath and add color and balance to the piece. Nora loves painting and teaching, and especially loves teaching for ACT!
Michael's talent was recognized at an early age when accepted to Cass Technical High in Detroit, and he later earned a B.F.A. in Fine Art from Wayne State University. He received an award from the U.K. Art Society for his drawing of Albert Einstein as well as the Indira Ghandi Award for Drawing. Michael has also participated in Artprize for over half a decade and has finished in the top 20 four times.
Vincent Frank earned his BA in Music from Saginaw Valley State University in 2020, and has been teaching music since 2017. Concentrating in vocal performance and piano, Vincent also has experience playing guitar and steel drums. He first worked with ACT as a Fund Development intern in 2019. Other interests of Vincent's include music composition and arranging, painting, and reading.
Amy Gascon is the Training Center Director at The Comedy Project theater, which she helped found in March 2019. She is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory in Chicago and Grand Valley State University, where she also works in the Center for Entrepreneurship. Amy has taught for the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, teaches and performs weekly for The Comedy Project, and is a member of several comedy troupes in the area.
Christine Gribble has been a professional photographer since 1995. She is an award-winning, international photographer accredited by Special Kids Photography of America for her work with children who have specials needs.
An art educator for more than 20 years, Cynthia Hagedorn has organized and led art programming emphasizing “The Masters” and cultural works. She has facilitated art studios in Holland, Zeeland, and downtown Grand Rapids, leading people ages 2 through 102 through various art mediums, such as chalk, acrylic, watercolor, mixed media and glass. As a working artist, Cynthia works in abstract acrylic art. She attended Northwood university and Indiana University.
Daine Hammerle is a full-time working musician that specializes in drums and hip-hop production. As well as gigging behind the drums, he also DJs many different types of events. Daine has been a teaching artist since 2012.
Annalise Hammerlund is an expressive arts therapist with years of training in visual art and dance. She has a Master's in Expressive Arts Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University, as well as a Bachelor's in Psychology, Art and Dance from Alma College. Annalise has been involved with ACT since her internship in 2013.
Derrick Hollowell was raised surrounded by inspiration through art and sports. Despite medical challenges, he graduated from GVSU with a Bachelor’s in Fine Arts and pursued art, music, and community building. Today, he operates a community art gallery and continues to reach out to the community, specifically through youth mentoring. He loves to explore mediums and blends his interest in hip-hop music with visual interpretation and hopes to continue influencing young people through that.
Leah Ivory holds a B.A. in music with a concentration in performance from Calvin University. She has been accompanying and directing ensembles since 1992. In 2006, she traveled to West Africa and began studying the djembe tradition from the region. She received formal training through the Tam Tam Mandingue Djembe Academy and became a Certified Djembe Instructor in 2017. She uses djembe to help people of all ages and abilities connect, improve motor skills & communication, and feel happy.
Carol has been a staple in the art community in Grand Rapids for over 40 years. She is a Graduate of Kendall College of Art & Design and Western Michigan University with degrees in Illustration (BFA) and Social Work (MSW). In 2009, Carol received the YWCA Tribute Award in the Arts. or many years, she’s excelled in both arenas receiving recognition for her art and for her many years working with students with physical and cognitive disabilities through Artists Creating Together.
Jaimé earned her BFA in Fine Art Photography at Kendall College of Art & Design in 2010. Her interests are in photography, hand-lettering, illustration, and paper arts. Since graduation, she has taught through Kendall’s Continuing Studies program, after-school art programs, and recently with ACT. Currently, she is a freelance artist who also works with Spectrum Community Living Supports and 6.25 Paper Studio.
Deavondre Jones, founder of DanceSpire, has developed a unique and rewarding dance career despite a humble upbringing. Since the inception of DanceSpire in 2013, he has touched thousands of lives as a speaker, performer and instructor throughout the Midwest. In Michigan, he is best known for his commitment and consistency behind the weekly drop-in class: #DropInWednesdays. To stay updated with the work he's doing you can follow his weekly "Consistency Builds Momentum" Vlog on Youtube.