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Interested in working with us? AAC is hiring Art Instructors! Click here for the position description and to apply.
Many of AAC’s instructors are professional artists and art educators who have achieved the highest degrees in their field. AAC’s instructors teach regularly at AAC as well as at local elementary schools and universities.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Sobia Ahmad moved to the United States at the age of fourteen. After attending the University of Maryland, College Park and receiving a BA in Studio Art and a BS in Behavioral and Community Health, she worked with the Montgomery County government as a Behavioral Health Program Coordinator. There, she developed mental health educational materials and programming for minorities while practicing as an interdisciplinary artist. Currently, she leads art and wellness workshops at various arts and community centers in the DC-area, sharing her passion for art as a tool for both personal and societal transformation. Sobia’s artwork investigates identity as an immigrant female in the US. Her work has been included in multiple collections and has been exhibited internationally— including the Craft and Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado. Recently, she was awarded an artist fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center and is the recipient of the esteemed year-long Next Generation/Sanctuary Artist Fellowship at VisArts in Rockville, MD.
Kate has been a proud art educator since 2009 after getting her BFA at James Madison University in 2008. She started teaching at the high school level in Prince William County, VA for the first 5 years of her career and then switched to elementary school and has been teaching in Arlington County since 2014. Kate has currently been focused on incorporating sustainable themes into her artwork and lessons. Kate also enjoys visiting museums in DC, traveling and reads over 30 books a year!
Sarah Emily Balough is a visual artist and art educator based in Alexandria, Virginia. She received a M.F.A in Oil Painting from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and holds a B.A in Studio Art from the Robert E. Cook Honors College. Inspired by The Golden Age of Illustrations, Balough’s watercolor and ink illustrations draw from popular culture, folklore, and her own experiences to convey the complexities of the concept of home and the act of homemaking. Depicting women engaged in strange, and often precarious tasks, Balough’s work is concerned with the sedimentation and evolving components of the idea of “home.” Mainly, how the act of being “at home” or not having a “home” has become a stock measurement for our lives. When not teaching or creating art, Balough dreams of living in an old house in Maine with many donkeys.
Mills Brown is an artist and art educator from Florence, South Carolina who works and lives in Washington, DC. She received her MFA in studio art from American University in 2017 and her BA in English and Art History from Wofford College in 2015. Mills has shown work in group shows in Washington, DC and has participated in the GlogauAir Artist Residency in Berlin, Germany. When not in the studio, Mills is most often making art with preschoolers at a local Montessori school or teaching students of all ages at AAC.
Eliza Clifford is a designer, arts educator, and multidisciplinary artist based in Washington, D.C. Her work focuses on ideas surrounding womanhood, mental health, ephemeral identities, and evolving social/political environments. She utilizes a variety of mediums, including intaglio, serigraphy, book arts, comics, and textiles. She currently works as a Designer and Bookbinder at Distinctive Bookbinding and Leather works and as an instructor and studio artist at the Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. She also owns and operates a small online store, Lavender Lizard Press, that makes handmade prints on paper, textiles, and other hand sewn goods.
Molly has been getting messy with kids and teens at AAC since 2014. She earned her BFA from James Madison University in 2011, and her MA in Art Education from George Washington University in 2016. Currently, Molly is developing a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) curriculum, which allows students to apply their knowledge of a number of subject areas in an engaging way. When Molly isn’t teaching she enjoys listening to her favorite podcasts, visiting the many museums in DC, and baking.
Robert French has taught at AAC since 2014. With a background in studio art and art history, Robert has also taught art for Arlington Public Schools and currently teaches art history at Northern Virginia Community College. Robert’s own artistic focus has been on sculpture and in particular, ceramics. He feels that art is a necessity for any culture to thrive.
Madison Gerisch is a printmaker, watercolorist, and K-12 art teacher for students with emotional behavioral disorders in Largo, MD. She is based in the DMV area focusing her artwork on the everyday life between nature and humans, and what their impact is on the environment. She graduated in 2020 with her BA in Art Education from Marymount University. Her work has been included in exhibitions in Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn, NY as well as the Barry Gallery in Arlington, VA. In addition to creating art, Madison also enjoys running different marathons!
Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi was born in Tehran, Iran and currently works in the Washington, DC area. Hedieh received an MFA in studio art from American University and a BFA from the Corcoran College of Art + Design. She has received many awards, including the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellowship, Bethesda Painting Award, Carol Bird Ravenal Travel Award, and the Robyn Rafferty Mathias Research Grant from American University. Hedieh has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions nationally. Her work has been reviewed in a number of publications, including The Washington Post, Hyperallergic, and Art Papers. Heideh has been an artist-in-residence at the Vermont Studio Center, Jentel Foundation, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Playa Summer Lake, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is currently a resident artist at the Arlington Arts Center and is represented by Hemphill Fine Arts Gallery in Washington, DC Hedieh has been teaching Painting and Studio Experience classes at the American University since Spring 2012. She also has been teaching children and adult courses at the Arlington Arts Center for more than a decade.
Maggie King Johns
Maggie King Johns is visual artist primarily working in painting and sculpture. Her work explores feminine identity and alternate realities through the structures of mapping, language, color, materiality, and symbols. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama and graduated with a BA from the University of Virginia in 2014. In between undergraduate and graduate school, she worked a various art nonprofits and at an art school in San Francisco. She received a MFA in Painting from Boston University in 2020. While not making art, Maggie is a passionate art teacher. Along with teaching at Arlington Art Center, she teaches Painting 1 and Advanced Painting at University of Maryland Global Campus.
Becca Kallem is an Arlington-based artist and art educator. She is a resident artist at AAC, where her artistic practice focuses on painting and drawing abstract symbols and motifs from life. Her work has been shown at the Heiner Gallery (DC), Artisphere (VA), Washington and Lee University (VA), the College of William and Mary (VA), Boston University (MA), and the Bowery Gallery (NY), in addition to other galleries and art spaces in the DC area. She has held a Fulbright fellowship in Madrid, Spain, as well as artist residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. She currently teaches art for AAC and Arlington Public Schools. Becca’s teaching experience also includes classes and workshops for Arlington County Parks and Recreation, the George Washington University, the Luce Center of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and Knowledge Commons DC.
Originally from Wisconsin, Melanie Kehoss received an MFA from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2007 and a BA in Art from Lawrence University in 2002. Her multimedia papercut art has appeared in over eighty exhibitions throughout the US, and she serves as VP of Membership for the Guild of American Papercutters. Melanie joined AAC as an instructor in 2012, and has also taught at Georgetown University, Carthage College, US Arts Center, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Lindsey Kircher earned her BFA degree in Drawing and Painting from the Schreyer Honors College at the Pennsylvania State University in May 2019. She was recognized with the Creative Achievement Award for the College of Arts and Architecture at Penn State in 2019, and the Kara D. Berggren Award recognizing the most “outstanding piece of artwork” in the undergraduate juried show in 2019. She held her senior honors thesis show, “Babe Cave,” at the HUB-Robeson Galleries in January 2019, and has been featured by New American Paintings and I Like Your Work Podcast. Lindsey was nominated and selected to attend the Yale Norfolk School of Art in 2018. She has also attended the Open Wabi Artist Residency and the Atlantic Center for the Arts Residency. Lindsey taught oil painting to adults Art Instructor at the Center for Arts and Crafts at Penn State from 2017-19 and served as the Gallery Interpretations and Public Programs Intern at the Palmer Museum of Art in 2019. She is excited to be continuing her passion for teaching art as an instructor at the Arlington Arts Center.
Stephanie Lane brings more than 30 years of fine art experience to AAC. From 1982 to 1989, she served as picture researcher and editor for the National Geographic Society. From 1999 to 2004, she studied abstract art at the Corcoran College of Art and Design under William Christenberry, participating in all of Christenberry’s master classes. Since then, Stephanie has become a commercial muralist and continues her fine art practice in the DC area. Her paintings and drawings have been included in numerous juried exhibitions and have received a number of awards. Stephanie’s photography has been featured in National Geographic magazine and her photo work is represented by National Geographic Creative. Stephanie lives and works in Bethesda, MD where she maintains a studio.
Molly McCracken was raised in a creative family in Michigan and now lives in Arlington with her own creative family. Throughout her career, Molly has worked with artists of all ages, from toddlers and preschoolers exploring materials as a first art experience, to established artists doing research in museum collections at the National Museum of the American Indian. Molly currently co-chairs a program at a local elementary school which offers art history lessons with a complimentary project to all classrooms. Her own art focuses primarily on collage and abstract acrylic painting; however, Molly loves to try everything and has experimented with drawing, oils, printmaking, ceramics, fiber arts, and bookmaking.
Olivia Tripp Morrow
Olivia Tripp Morrow is a visual artist and art instructor who grew up in Alexandria, VA, and currently lives in Washington, DC. Olivia earned a BFA in Sculpture from Syracuse University in December of 2012. Prior to becoming an instructor at AAC, Olivia worked at a Makerspace where she taught laser cutting, MIG welding, media blasting and powder coating, plasma cutting, 3D printing, and metal clay classes to kids and adults. Olivia is currently a short-term resident artist at AAC, where she also has an installation on view in the atrium through June 2018. Olivia has exhibited her work both nationally and internationally, and in April 2018, she will have a solo exhibition at IA&A at Hillyer in Washington, DC.
Jennifer Penick studied studio art in Portland, Oregon, before receiving an MA in Italian Art History from the University of Washington. She lived in Rome, Italy, for 25 years before moving to Virginia in 2001. Her small-format collage and multi-media works explore themes of history, art history, collecting, and natural history. Her works often use vintage European paper, photos, maps, and engravings. In addition to exhibiting her work in Rome, Portland, and Arlington, she is a contributing artist to the nationwide Art-o-Mat project.
Nicole is an art and museum educator who sparks conversations that inspire creativity. Nicole works with art lovers of all ages at the National Portrait Gallery and the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. In the studio, Nicole loves to create through the lens of art history. Her favorite mediums include printmaking, collage, fiber arts, and sculpture. When Nicole isn’t in the studio or museum, she enjoys gardening, trying out new recipes, and hiking in National Parks.