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Community School of the Arts Instructors

Autumn Soto
Autumn Soto | BFA in Graphic Design | Ceramics
"I have always loved art and trying new creative mediums, but I fell in love with ceramics after taking classes at Austin Peay. I enjoy the long process of ceramics where you learn to understand the medium and all the work that goes into the finished piece at the end. I hope to help students find that same purpose and meaning with their own pieces."
Eboné Amos
Eboné Amos | MFA in Dance | Dance
"As an instructor, I am interested in individuality. My primary goal as an instructor is to cultivate an environment where my students can find validity in their dance abilities through exploration and self-discovery."
Jonathan Wheeler
Jonathan Wheeler | BS | Photography
"I think I realized that I had the passion of an artist when I would spend extensive hours in the darkroom developing my film or printing photos and it was the only thing I could think about constantly."
Shana Thornton
Shana Thornton | Writer and Owner of Thorncraft Publishing | Creative Writing & Yoga
"Both reading and writing have always been a big part of my life and my routines. Writing is a practice, and many parts of it become better with time and effort."
Rachel Qualls
Rachel Qualls | BFA | Visual Art
"My mom always encouraged me and my brother to draw and make things, so I think I knew I was an artist from the time I was very young. Middle school is when I knew I wanted to be an art teacher."


Joanna Grisham
Joanna Grisham | MFA | Creative Writing
"From my earliest memories, I was always creating characters and building worlds, but I didn’t know much about creative writing until I took an intro class in college. The first short story I ever wrote was in that intro class. My professor submitted it for a scholarship, and I won. I was shocked. I didn’t know anyone would care about anything I’d written. I had only ever written for myself."
Alyssa Amos
Alyssa Amos | BA Theatre | Theatre
“Growing up a very shy kid, I found comfort in the stories and scripts I read, and absolutely fell in love with theatre as a form of storytelling and character building. If my favorite characters could be kind, brave, smart, outgoing- then so could I! Theater helped me grow into who I am today. My goal is to help guide younger folks to do the same.”
Sarah Spillers
Sarah Spillers | BA Art Education | Painting
"I’ve always loved art; however, I did not find painting until I was a sophomore at Austin Peay. I believe this medium found me when I was ready to let go of my fear of making mistakes. Acrylic paint is forgiving, freeing, and an understanding material. Teaching gives me the opportunity to share my passion for creating with my students and I truly hope I am able to inspire them to do the same."
Galaxie Ruiz
Galaxie Ruiz | BFA Studio Art | Youth Ceramics
"When I began to make art as a child, I was met with only positivity by family, peers, and instructors. I believe it's the main reason I continued to pursue art at all. As an instructor, I hope to inspire students in the same way. Ceramics in particular interests me because I feel like there is always something new to explore. I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to share this excitement with my students."
Taylor Lorance
Taylor Lorance | BS in Agriculture | Dance
"Dance has always been a meaningful and important part of my life, whether utilized for self-expression, an outlet for difficult emotions, or simply entertainment. My main goal as a dance teacher is to share the meaningfulness of dance with my students so that they too can experience the beauty of the art. I hope that they can also develop a passion for movement and utilize it as I have. Aside from these things, I want my students to have fun and look forward to learning and dancing more!"