MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS
Dear Prospective Student:
At the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, we take education seriously! Providing diversified educational learning opportunities to our community is part of our mission. We welcome everyone to experience learning at the Suffolk Center. We carefully select instructors who can teach everyone in the class to succeed regardless of any challenges or differences they may have. We are so confident that you will be enriched through the educational experiences we provide at the Suffolk Center, that we earnestly say “Welcome to Class”.
Relatively new to the Dance Fitness scene, she received her Mixxedfit Certification in
September 2018 and began teaching in February 2019. Fitness is my passion.
After having children she found herself heavier than she had ever been. At the time she had been telling her oldest son, then 5 that the three main components to a healthy life included 1. Eating, 2. Sleeping and 3. Exercising. Soon she realized she wasn’t following her own words, and immediately decided upon a gym membership with the YMCA. After enrolling, she began trying class after class until she fell in love with Zumba. After about a year of consistency she required more challenge and got introduced to the then Hip Hop Class, now called MIXXEDFIT. There she learned dealt with some harsh truths about her own self love. Through discipline and consistency she began to witness not only her physical form change but her mindset change.
Jara is grateful for her fitness experience, and to all those who have influenced her on her journey. She strives to honor those instructors who have aided her on and off the dance floor, through her classes and in her personal lifestyle. She has a strong love of fitness and a dedicated practice, and hopes to share that love and dedication with anyone who is willing to get on the floor. Her goal is to help individuals realize that fitness is more mental than it is physical and growth through fitness can be an all encompassing change of mind, body, and spirit. Due to her experience as a young single black fit-activist mother, BREATHE was born. Breathe is a book that teaches you how to make good healthy smoothies in a simple and delicious way. It is a
collaboration of smoothie recipes that she put together to assist families, individuals, women, men and children alike to build resiliency everyday and live healthy eternally. She has taken the holistic approach to help her through her journey modeling, her fitness and healthy food lifestyle.
From adolescence to adulthood, Stephanie has consistently sought opportunities to further creativity, expand spirituality, and build authentic connections. Much of this yearning is rooted in growing up with scoliosis. Having a spinal deformity provided a unique perspective regarding her physical limitations, social acceptance, and self-worth.
It was this awareness that fueled Stephanie’s passion to teach art; a subject based in the expression of one’s individuality. For 15 years, Stephanie taught art in the Suffolk Public School system empowering young people to own their truth and express themselves through creative formats.
In 2019, Stephanie began experiencing intolerable scoliosis pain, prompting her to move beyond her physical insecurities and try yoga. After her first Hatha Yoga session, Stephanie was hooked. Shortly after, she registered for a 3-month Yoga Immersion Program led by Selena Kipnis, (owner of Organic Roots, LLC Suffolk, VA). Encouraged and motivated by this wealth of knowledge, Stephanie desired to bridge her newfound love of yoga with her first love of teaching art. As a result, Stephanie became certified in Therapeutic Art Instruction (Transformation Academy), with the intent to unite emotional intelligence and cognitive behavior with visual expressions. Stephanie currently provides Therapeutic Art practices at her studio, Art-Ventures, LLC located in Suffolk.
Inevitably, her excitement for learning gained momentum and led to her Usui Reiki Level I attunement, participation in Sudarshan Kriya’s SKY Breathing Method pranayama retreat, completion of Sadhguru’s Inner Engineering Comprehensive Course, and becoming 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Certified.
Stephanie feels connection with others is paramount for living a fully open existence. Teaching art and yoga provides an unbiased platform that dismantles the illusionary walls of separation, thereby establishing soul connections with limitless possibilities.
I continually improve on my own designs, and produce a wide range of styles, from colorful contemporary to a more traditional product. I would love to see market baskets brought to the farmer’s market to hold peoples’ purchases again!
Her teaching experience includes elementary Art education for the City of Portsmouth Public Schools, Renaissance School of the Arts, Suffolk Art Gallery, Suffolk Art League, Rawls Museum Arts in Courtland, and she currently teaches Art for Suffolk Public Schools at Oakland Elementary School. She currently teaches classes for children, and precious metal clay classes for adults in several Art Schools and Galleries.
She has been working with precious metals (silver and copper) and teaching classes for the past 10 years in silver and copper metal craft. In late 2017 she completed a rigorous qualification process for Senior Instructor status with the International Art
Clay World and is also a certified instructor for the Rio Grande Precious Metals and Gemstones Company. She holds three instructor certifications for Precious Metals and teaches silver jewelry classes in Art Centers, Galleries, in the local Hampton Roads area. She continues to further her precious metals education with the best instructors throughout the United States.
She has been the featured artist in the Virginian Pilot, Suffolk Living Magazine, and the Coastal Carolina Crafters Guild. She is a member and registered instructor of the international organization Alliance for Metal Clay Arts Worldwide (AMCAW).