Sign up for our Email Newsletter: x

photo of a class of students in an art class with a teaching artist

Meet the Teaching Artists


VSA arts of Nevada is always looking for qualified, experienced teaching artists for our art workshops for children and adults of all abilities.  A degree is not necessary, but previous teaching experience is mandatory. If interested, please send a resume and references to our Program Director at  Applicants must be willing to undergo a background check.

VSAN teaching artists are professional artists with expertise in one or more arts disciplines and skills in working with children, youth, adults and teachers in school and community settings. In addition, VSAN teaching artists are familiar with disabilities and effective methods for adapting techniques and differentiating instruction to reach all learners.  All VSAN teaching artists share one thing in common, a passion for teaching and the arts.


Elizabeth Brooks is a member of the Reno community, originally hailing from St. Louis, Missouri where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in K-12 Art Education and Masters in TESL.  She is proud to bring her Art Education skill set to Reno where children’s art is not a part of every school week for kids. Also enjoying adult education, she has taught Visual Art Integration classes for teachers in the WCSD on how to marry visual art with science, math, social studies, and language arts to create learners who will use this integrated approach to learning to become the inventors and engineers of the future. Elizabeth  creates with drawing media, watercolor and acrylic paints, ceramics, and does custom illustration.


Jordan Cervalli graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Art with an emphasis in painting and a minor in Art History. She has been painting for over fifteen years and has been enthusiastic about working with children all her life. She is excited about bringing her love for art and painting to students.


Photo of Teaching artist Lorna Denton

Lorna Denton has taught art for over 16 years in the USA and in England. She has been involved with VSA since 2001.  Her teaching experience  includes adults and children covering a wide range of visual arts.  In the UK, she ran an Art Department for a school, teaching 11- 16 year old students a wide and varied arts curriculum.  Lorna strongly believes that the arts are an essential part of an individual’s development, as they encourage self expression, confidence, and  a sense of personal achievement. These goals are reflected in her teaching approach and her emphasis on experimenting with a variety of materials.

Lorna completed a Textiles Degree at West Surrey College of Art and Design in the UK, followed by a teaching certificate. Since then she has continued her studies mainly focusing on photography and printmaking.


Photo of Teaching artist Tia Flores

Tia Flores has taught for VSAN since 1989.  Since accepting an art teaching position with Coral Academy, Tia still manages to teach two classes a week for adults with disabilities at the Lake Mansion, Access Art and at the Larry D. Johnson Community Center in Sparks, Leisure without Limits.  Tia is also a professional gourd artist.




Lauren GamboaLauren Gamboa was born in San Diego, CA and is a multimedia artist.  Lauren has been a competitive figure skater, sorority sister, art instructor, gallery manager, NFL cheerleader, wood shop technician, and the personal assistant to the director of Trade at the New York Mercantile Exchange! It is this eclectic background that draws Gamboa to personal narratives, universal experiences, and the art of storytelling. She has over seven years of instructional experience in the visual arts, including two and three-dimensional foundations, multimedia, and video and stop animation at the primary through higher education level. Gamboa earned her M.F.A. in Sculpture and New Media at Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, and also studied at the Rome campus. She holds a B.A. in Art Studio from the University of California, Davis.


Photo of Teaching artist Erik Holland

Erik Holland loves teaching art. He has taught art for VSAN, Rainshadow Charter High School, and Sierra Arts. Erik is also a working artist, selling his work through galleries including Ryrie’s Art and Home, the Co-op Gallery in Reno, Vigil’s Collection in Nevada City, and Briggs and Company in Winters, CA and events including NadaDada Motel and Reno Open Studios. He is the “DadaMayor De Esprawlius” of the NadaDada Motel event. He has also published hundreds of political cartoons in various publications. Since 2000, when he came to Nevada from Alaska, Erik has lived in the Artist’s Lofts in downtown Reno.



Photo of Teaching artist Gene HughesGene Hughes has taught for VSAN since 2008 moving from Chicago, Illinois where he also taught and exhibited his graphite artwork in a variety of prestigious studios and galleries.  Mr. Hughes teaches high school and adult students of all abilities and ages.




Diedre Hopkins Burke has been teaching art for 20 years, specializing in Oil and Acrylic Classes. A professional artist herself, her personal style is “Realistic Impressionism” and her paintings are in collections throughout the United States, including the Columbia University’s Lou Gehrig Medical Center, NYC to Habitat for Humanity’s Los Angeles Center, President Clinton’s personal art collection and other private collections.  Her paintings of Princess Diana were published in the book Diana in Art, London, 2007. To see samples of her art, visit her website:


Carol Johnson has been a practicing artist for many years and has now branched out to watercolor-collage using papers including oriental, metallic and handmade.  She uses photographs and recycles old watercolors to draw inspiration for new pieces.  She enjoys visualizing and then creating, watching textures, color, and lines come together in her work.  Her florals, abstracts and landscapes use a lot of color and the design is generally bold and free – just like she loves her life to be.

Carol, a third generation native Nevadan, loves the West which is evident in her work with big skies, wide open spaces, and mountains featured in almost all landscape pieces. She is pleased to be a part of the Dusty Roads Group at St. Mary’s Art Center.  Her work can be seen with the Sierra Watercolor Society and at St. Mary’s Art Center in Virginia City, as well as annually in the  Brown Bag Lady Show in Jackson, Wyoming.  Her work is also featured at the Yart Sale during Artown and the Annual Open Studio Show every autumn.


Photo of Teaching artist Suellen Cupp

Suellen Johnson is a practicing artist who has taught art to children and adults for 30 years in Oregon and Nevada. She came to Reno and began teaching a variety of courses for VSAN in 2008. She particularly enjoys helping individuals see their creative potential. She also teaches Drawing & Foundations at TMCC and Relief Printmaking at Oxbow Press. Her artwork is exhibited within the region, as well as nationally. Suellen has a BFA from PNCA in Portland Oregon and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.




Ashley Marie Peck draws from her Inupiaq Eskimo heritage, blending an animistic spirituality with her own globe trotting, self discoveries of human relationship and awareness. Her traditional mediums and stylistic approach is said to achieve “a knowing intention, juxtaposed against unguarded intimacy.”
Peck completed her B.A. in Art from the University of Nevada Reno,  holds a Certificate of Completion for graduate studies from Hellenic International Studies in the Arts, Greece and a Master in Education from UNR. Peck’s group exhibitions include Art Slaves, Art @ The Studio, Like, Love, Lust: A Secret Show at the Nevada Museum of Art and Art from the Underworld at Holland Tunnel in Parikia, Greece. She holds awards from The National Arts Program, the CIRI Foundation and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and Pi Lambda Theta honor societies.
Peck is currently an art teacher at North Valleys High School, VSA Nevada and a yoga instructor at The Studio, Reno, NV.  Peck loves spending time with her husband, family and friends and traveling this beautiful world that we live in!


Photo of Teaching artist Jacy RobinsonJacy Robinson has been teaching art since 2004 and teaching for the VSA since 2006.  Jacy’s main teaching interest is in ceramics, and he shares this interest with all ages wanting to learn something in that medium. Jacy wants to share with others what he knows so that they can enjoy clay as much as he does.





A group of young children pose with their arms outstretched during Robin’s Creative Movement/Music workshop.

Robin’s Creative Movement/Music workshop   Robin Robinson has been a teaching/performing artist for thirty years. After studying Art and Dance at the University of Nevada in Reno, she performed extensively with several modern and folk dance companies throughout Nevada and California.  Robin had a private practice as a massage therapist for over 15 years and also studied yoga at the Iyengar Institute. She has taught many therapeutic movement courses for diverse populations and has been an AFAA certified fitness professional. Robin has always loved singing, playing guitar, and percussion instruments, and she currently enjoys combining music and dance in Creative Movement classes for children and adults.


Paula Robison is a visual arts teacher and illustrator.  She’s a volunteer with the David J. Drakulich Foundation’s Veterans’ Art Project, a Story Time storyteller at Sundance Books and Music and proud mom of Rosemary, Elsa and Ethan. She lives with her family in Reno.




Photo of Teaching artist Stephanie Richardson

Stephanie Richardson has taught acting for VSAN since 2004.  Stephanie is a 1990 graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts where she received The William B. Kenan Scholarship and The Chancellor’s Award for Artistic Excellence.  What she enjoys most about teaching is when her students are able to come out of their shells and actually take on another character. Stephanie is also a part- time drama instructor for The Davidson Academy, and the Executive Director and Founder of Theatreworks of Northern Nevada.




Photo of Teaching artist Elaine SlikkerveerElaine Slikkerveer has been an educator for over 16 years. She was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and became interested in art education when she started working at a kindergarten called Instituto de Educacão do Rio de Janeiro, an experimental school created to prepare teachers. Ms. Slikkerveer graduated with a degree in Elementary School and Early Childhood Education and School Administration and Supervision at Universidade Federal Fluminense.  Elaine also worked in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, and was an administrator at Sociedade Pestalozzi do Brazil Rio de Janeiro.  She moved to America and has worked as an Art Instructor  for VSA Nevada since 2008.



Katie Steenberg was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. Katie received her bachelors degree in Liberal Arts at the University of Nevada Reno with a concentration in painting and a minor in psychology.  She teaches at numerous artistic venues around Reno. Katie loves teaching children because, like Pablo Picasso, she believes that every child is an artist.