Teaching Artists

Jeri Hillis is self employed as a professional artist and art educator in Hot Springs, AR. Jeri has served on the Board of Directors of the Fine Arts Center of Hot SprinJeri Hillis picturegs and is a founding member of the St. Croix Artists’ Cooperative, USVI.  Jeri works closely with Erin Holliday, the Executive Director, on the programmatic and artistic integrity of Emergent Arts.  She regularly serves as a Teaching Artist at Emergent Arts.  Jeri received a partial Masters of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.  This semester at Emergent Arts Jeri will be offering drawing, painting and clay classes for youth as well as an adult clay class.

Gianna St. Grace has been practicing belly dance for seven years, and performing for about four of those years. Initially she began solely as a tribal fusion dancer but gradually came to fall in love with American Tribal Style®. Both styles offer creative freedom but in different ways. Gi12552854_1061187387235643_5928126810635810541_nanna St. Grace received her teacher training certification for ATS® in August 2014 and currently teaches several level one sessions at Emergent Arts. She has additional training with Rachel Brice planned and will offer beginning fusion classes in the near future.  Gianna teaches several classes at Emergent Arts each semester.

Barbara Schuette arrived from Minnesota in June of 2013 and fell in love with Hot Springs.  She has taught Hatha Yoga so moving into studying Tai Chi, being certified to teach Dr. Lam’s Tai Chi for health is a perfect fit.  Barb looks forward to sharing this marvelous art and is excited to return to Emergent Arts for the Spring 2017 semester.

Kayla Bradbury is a certified doula, maternity agency owner and children’s theatre instructor for Emergent Arts.  At Emergent Arts she currently teaches a series of theatre classes including Improv Jam, Pantomime Time & Behind the Mkaylaask.   In 2013 she graduated with a degree in Theatre Arts and Women’s & Gender Studies from Arkansas State University, where she received extensive training in crafts both onstage and off. Kayla is a Hot Springs native and lives with her husband, Drew, on their permaculture farm, A Living Pantry.

Kai Coggin teaches Words & Wine, the Adult Creative Writing Class offered here at Emergent Arts. Kai Coggin is a poet and author living on the side of a small mountain in Hot Springs, AR.  She holds a degree in Poetry and Creative Writing from Texas A & M University.  Her work has been publCoggin Pictureished or is forthcoming in Split This Rock, Yellow Chair Review, ANIMA, Blue Heron Review, Lavender Review, Broad!, Elephant Journal, ITWOW, [empath] quarterly, Catching Calliope, and other literary journals, as well as anthologized in several international collections.  Kai is the author of PERISCOPE HEART (Swimming with Elephants Publications, 2014).  Her poetry has recently been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry 2015.  She is also a Teaching Artist with the Arkansas Arts Council, specializing in bringing poetry and creative writing to youth.  www.kaicoggin.com

Heather Bennet comes from generations of farmers and green thumbs, Heather Leigh Bennett has practiced practical herb work in both professional and private settings since she was introduced to herbal medicine NYC in 2001. Her skills in growing, wildcrafting, and preserving herbs have been a private study and passion of Heather’s for a decade and a half. Citing herbalists Rosemary Gladstar and Susun Weed as major influences on her work/art, Heather had the pleasure of learning under Weed’s tutelage in April 2017. She brings to her first round of classes a desire to encourage her students to actively practice herb work in their everyday lives by learning each one in a nourishing relationship between plant and person. As a guide to the green world, she aims to assist her class in realizing herbal medicine as “the people’s medicine”: simple, instinctive, and safe.

B Jensen Hale is an artist and designer currently working in Hot Springs, where he was raised. He’s a wanderer, moving to and fro from time to time, but so far has always arrived back home. Hale is a recent graduate of Arkansas Tech University and is pursuing an MFA in Printmaking in the near future. Well versed in a variety of media, he is a strong believer in the healing capabilities of creation and takes pride sharing that passion with others. Hale is excited to join Emergent Arts as a Teaching Artist.

For over 21 years now Jerry Matlock has been studying the incredible inner art of tai chi.  For the last 7 years, he has been working with Dr. Paul Lam’s tai chi programs within his Tai Chi for Health Institute.  Currently, Jerry is the Senior Trainer for his programs in Arkansas.  Also, Jerry has been teaching different tai chi forms with the Oaklawn Center on Aging here in Hot Springs at the Senior Center on Woodbine Street. We are thrilled to have Jerry Matlock join us at Emergent Arts this semester!

Deby Sweatt is joining Emergent Arts for two sessions of Children’s Yoga.  She feels it’s funny how our mind and body are one and yet often times we have a disconnect between the two.  Deby believes that yoga is a way of maintaining the connection between the body and the mind and allowing a sense of calm health to pervade our lives.  A strong sense of commitment to nursing and yoga are the foundation that provide Deby with a personal style of teaching and nurturing.  We hope your children can join in these exciting new classes!

Sam Breashears has been writing and reciting poetry for 30 years and will earn a Master of Liberal Arts degree in May. His classes encourage a free exchange of ideas about performing original poetry and will allow the students to grow as a performer. Sam is excited to join Emergent Arts this semester.

Laura Myers is a Hot Springs native who recently moved back from Portland, Oregon. She creates art from many different mediums including painting, photography, and sculptural works. She first became interested in photography as a child, taking photos of plants in her backyard with a camera handed down to her by her father when she was only nine years old. She continued to pursue her passion for art in college, completing a Bachelors in Art Practices with a minor in Photography from Portland State University with an emphasis in alternative photography processes.