VCA News

The Virginia Commission for the Arts Adds 14 New Artists to the Statewide Teaching Artist Roster

Richmond, VA | The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) announces its newest cohort of teaching artists to the statewide Teaching Artist Roster. The Roster serves as an online resource for Virginia’s nonprofits, units of local and tribal government, or schools seeking professional teaching artists to facilitate immersive and participatory arts residencies. Applicants are selected based on the mastery of their artistic discipline and instructional experience in diverse learning environments. Through an Advisory Panel process and Commission Board approval, the following 14 artists have been awarded inclusion over the past two grant cycles:

   Angela Dribben | Literary Arts and Poetry, Meadows of Dan

   Chris Jeter | Hip Hop and Wellness, Richmond

   (Eli)zabeth Owens | Musical Alchemy, Richmond

   Inspira Dance | Partner and Street Style Dance, Alexandria

   Kuumba Dance Ensemble, Inc. | West African Drumming/Dance, Lynchburg

   Local Motion Project | Dance and Creative Aging, Alexandria

   Maggie Kerrigan | Book and Paper Arts, Virginia Beach

   Grandin Theatre Film Lab | Film and Visual Literacy, Roanoke

   Groovy Nate | Music and Movement, Arlington

   Muzi Branch | Mural Painting, Richmond

   Robin Ha | Graphic Novels and Illustration, Winchester

   Sarah Irvin | Cyanotypes, Richmond

   Synetic Theater | Physical Theatre, Arlington

   Quentin Walston | Jazz and Composition, Brunswick, MD

“As the state agency dedicated to investing in the arts to benefit all Virginians, the VCA is committed to diversifying and growing our Roster. This, in turn, diversifies and grows the patrons engaging with the performing arts, allowing us to truly fulfill our mission” said Margaret Hancock, Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. “This VCA-driven program is at the forefront of bringing arts to every corner of the Commonwealth, and we are so pleased to expand the program with these twelve new talented artists.”

A Commitment to Arts Education

The VCA recognizes the essential role of arts learning and education in the intellectual and creative growth of Virginians of all ages. Through the VCA’s Arts in Practice and Education Impact Grants, teaching artists are actively engaged in providing hands-on participatory arts education across the Commonwealth.

FY25 Arts in Practice | Up to $2,000

Arts in Practice grants are intended for short-term residencies and workshops (20 hours or less). Eligible applicants may apply to bring in VCA Teaching Artists for educational programming twice a year for activities taking place July 1, 2024 through June 15, 2025. This is a non-competitive rolling grant that is reviewed in-agency. This grant requires a 15% cash match from the sponsor organization. Deadline: April 15, or until funding is exhausted.

FY25 Education Impact | Up to $5,000

Education Impact grants are intended for longer-term residencies and workshops. Eligible applicants may apply to bring in teaching artists for educational programming taking place July 1, 2024 through June 15, 2025. Applications utilizing VCA Teaching Artists are reviewed in-agency, otherwise, applications are reviewed by statewide Advisory Panels in the Spring and then approved by the Commission board in June. If approved, awards are made in mid-August. This grant requires a 1:1 cash match from the sponsor organization. Deadline: April 1.

About the New Artist

Angie Dribben

Angela Dribben | Meadows of Dan

Angela Dribben is an autistic artist and writer based in the Appalachian region of Virginia. In addition to leading poetry workshops, she serves as VP of Poetry Society of Virginia’s West region.

Chris Jeter

Chris Jeter | Richmond

Chris passionately utilizes hip-hop for healing, merging it with mindfulness to foster reflection and authentic storytelling. Through his songwriting workshops, he seeks to catalyze both individual and communal change. Chris was awarded a VCA Songwriting Fellowship in 2022.

Eli Owens E1707248412386

(Eli)zabeth Owens | Richmond

(Eli)zabeth Owens, an avant-garde music producer, harpist, multimedia artist, and music educator. Their passion for music has led them to creating spiritual experiences through the fusion of music, experimental video, and interactive digital art.

Inspira Dance E1707248517839

Inspira Dance | Alexandria

Inspira Dance integrates culture, history, and movement into high-quality dance programs for students of all ages. Inspira Dance embodies a community-based approach to make dance an integral part of shared spaces, inspired by the Spanish word “Inspirar” – to inspire.

Kuumba Dance Ensemble 1

Kuumba Dance Ensemble, Inc. | Lynchburg

Kuumba Dance Ensemble, Inc. tailors its workshops and performances to the entire community, providing hands-on drumming and dancing experiences. Founder Sheron Simpson, initiated Lynchburg’s “Drums Not Guns” program as a proactive measure against youth violence.

Local Motion Project

Local Motion Project | Alexandria

LMP’s inclusive programming engages people of diverse identities, offering dynamic classes that respond to social issues, education philosophies, and exercise science. Their dance programs foster artistic expression by teaching participants to create, perform, and understand movement.

Maggie Kerrigan

Maggie Kerrigan | Virginia Beach

As a former elementary-school teacher, Maggie enjoys teaching others how to create their own works. Specializing in altered books and paper, she utilizes a diverse array of techniques such as cutting, folding, carving, painting, paper-casting, and other exploratory methods to craft sculptural pieces, 2D artworks, and installations.

Grandin Film Lab Showcase E1707248803868

Grandin Theatre Film Lab | Roanoke

Tyler Lyon leads the award-winning Grandin Theatre Film Lab in Roanoke, VA. The Film Lab equips youth with critical skills necessary for pursuing cinematic or visual arts studies at the university level, as well as for entering the commercial television or film industry.

Elnathan Starnes E1707248901922

Groovy Nate | Arlington

Groovy Nate’s interactive shows inspire children to move, sing, and play creatively together. His engaging workshops offer a unique blend of fun, education, and entertainment reminiscent of Sesame Street meets Parliament/Funkadelic.

P Muzi Branch

P. Muzi Branch | Richmond

Muzi’s mural residencies transform public spaces into vibrant hubs of exploration and discovery. He brings a wealth of experience to students, having taught at several Virginia universities as well as serving as Director of Arts of the VCU Health System.

Robin Ha

Robin Ha | Winchester

Robin Ha is an award-winning author and illustrator whose experience in the comics industry informs how she teaches visual storytelling. By balancing conceptual and practical aspects, she empowers students to apply the knowledge gained in her graphic novel workshops to the real world.

Sarah Irvin 2

Sarah Irvin | Richmond

Sarah Irvin is a multidisciplinary artist that leads cyanotype workshops. Her workshops provide a historical overview of this alternative photography process and encourages students to use found objects and investigate the environments around them.

Synetic Theater

Synetic Theater | Arlington

Synetic Theater’s workshops actively engage students, keeping them on their feet and fostering imaginative participation. Suitable for both theater and non-theater classes, these workshops encourage students to employ creative thinking and collaboration.

Quentin Walston 2 E1707249397987

Quentin Walston | Brunswick, MD

Quentin brings history to life by skillfully recreating the sounds of influential jazz artists and styles. His jazz and music composition workshops shares insights and stories, song by song.

About the Virginia Commission for the Arts

The Virginia Commission for the Arts – established in 1968 – is the state agency dedicated to investing in the arts of the Commonwealth. Through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Commission invests in arts organizations, municipalities, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, educators, and artists.

Media Contact

Margaret Hancock, Executive Director

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