CEPA is privileged to have an incredible group of teaching artists working with our staff and students through our Arts Education programs. Bringing their passion for teaching, a wealth of knowledge and experience, and true creativity and vision, these artists embrace the notion that creativity is inherent—and that learning is a lifelong endeavor.
Danni Jo Bechtold is a writer, artist, and actress. She was born in Bozeman, Montana and is currently studying to become an art therapist. She has created content her entire life and is drawn to help young women heal from trauma by helping them process it through art.
During her childhood summers, she would visit extended family in Buffalo and even took this very camp that she is now teaching this July! She loves having a million art projects up in the air, working with children, and wandering through CEPA’s art galleries.
Christian has always been interested in capturing a moment and became interested in photography when he was about 9. He used his Mom’s digital camera at first and then in 2012 he came to a CEPA Summer Camp where he learned how to use a film camera and the darkroom. Since then Christian has taken all of the CEPA classes and has broken into the professional field of photography as well as becoming a teaching artist for CEPA. Christian has acquired the equipment necessary to shoot weddings, portraits and most anything that comes up. His depth of knowledge of photography and technology and his interest in sharing his love of photography with others has led to his teaching a youth workshop of his own.
Caroline Doherty is an artist and educator based in Buffalo, NY. Her work employs multiple mediums, including sculpture, performance, video, and public projects. She has exhibited and been a resident artist internationally, most recently at In/Future Ontario Place in Toronto, SOMA in Mexico City, ArtPark in Lewiston, NY, Tsinghua University in Beijing, the Chongjiang Contemporary Art Museum in Chongqing, and CEPA Gallery in Buffalo. She has been a Teaching Artist for over 15 years, facilitating artmaking for youth, university students, and adults in formal and informal settings in the US, Mexico, and Canada. She holds a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art, and an MFA from the University at Buffalo (SUNY).
Karen Lee Lewis is a Teaching Artist, poet and photographer. Karen is an arts education specialist who teaches creative writing using all the arts. Her poetry, short fiction, features, interviews and photography have been widely published. She develops programming for many non-profit organizations throughout Western New York. She also teaches creative writing to children in a variety of settings, including public, private and parochial schools. Karen offers adult writing workshops at The Blue Plate Studio: A Creative Writer’s Workshop. Karen is a member of the Board of Directors of the Buffalo Audubon Society, and she serves on the Literary Advisory Council for Villa Maria College. She is a fellow of The Banff Centre, Canada’s creative leader in arts and culture, and the Western New York Writing Project. Karen participated in the first National Seminar on Teaching Artistry at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Her publications include a full-length collection of poetry entitled What I Would Not Unravel (The Writer’s Den), and a chapbook of poetry illustrated with her photography entitled Solitude.
An artist and educator working in the Buffalo area, much of Sara McKenna’s work ranges from traditional processes such as wet plate collodion, salt printing, and 16mm to digital photography and video production.
She has taught both public school children and adults at various public institutions in Hillsboro, Oregon, and upstate New York.More about Sara McKenna
An artist who specializes in photography, video, and sound, Megan Metté holds an M.F.A. in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a B.F.A. in Photography from the University of Louisville.
Megan has taught at R.I.T., Community Darkrooms, Genesee Community College, and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.More about Megan Metté
Saffi Rigberg is a photographer and photography instructor with a focus on children, families, and the special needs community. She approaches both her personal work and work as an instructor with an element of inquisitiveness, self-exploration, and play. Using mindfulness in her workshops, she aims to teach the individual how to observe as a means of capturing the subject in a uniquely thoughtful way. Her work has been displayed at Museu Cerdà in Puigcerdà, Spain.
Danielle Perla began teaching CEPA Gallery’s Summer Camps in 2003, and she’s been hooked ever since. In addition to teaching at CEPA, Danielle has taught summer classes at Artpark and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and has been a ski coach for the Holiday Valley Freestyle Team.
Currently she teaches art at Orchard Park High School.More about Danielle Perla
An artist and educator with a wide variety of experience teaching at institutions including Virginia Tech, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and the University of Rochester, Alison Slein received an M.F.A. in Imaging Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology and a B.A. and B.F.A. in Art History and Photography from the University of Missouri.
As an artist, Alison has been awarded an NYFA Fellowship for photography from the New York Foundation for the Arts, a Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation Fellowship, and an Individual Artist Grant from the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts.More about Alison Slein
Michelle Tomaino is an artist, a photographer and enjoys mixed media, creative writing and Photoshop. She currently attends Arts Experience at People Inc. Michelle started an internship at CEPA in September 2014 through the Western New York Employment Training Program and is now an official teaching artist for our youth program.