MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS

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”.

Warmly,
Rick Byrd
Educational Manager

Sue Beck
Sue BeckJewelry Design
As a jewelry artist and designer, I strive to capture shapes and colors found in nature and create designs that make my customers feel warmth and love.

As an instructor, my greatest joy is the eureka moment that happens when my students see their creation become a beautiful piece of jewelry, and the pride they feel when their friends cannot believe that they made it themselves.

I’ve always loved working with my hands, whether turning fabric into clothing for myself, daughters and grandchildren, woodwork, or in my 32 years in the dental field. Moving from Long Island to Washington, NC in 2005, I needed to reinvent myself. I started to play with seed bead weaving, but when I began working with sterling silver and 14K gold-filled wire, I knew I had found my new art form. I then added Precious Metal Clay and Dichroic glass fusing to be able to expand my creative abilities and what I could offer to both my customers and students.

Beth Blanchard
Beth BlanchardOil Painting & Homeschool Art
A lifelong resident of Hampton Roads, Beth developed her love of painting and teaching through local artists and instructors like Cleta Norcross, Wayne Fulcher, and Robert Lemasters. Beth believes that every person has an artistic bent, and it’s her goal as a teacher to help her students discover the art they were created to make. Whether she is teaching a four year old how to draw, encouraging the teenager to let go and enjoy the process, or guiding the adult student back to the basics, she loves equipping and encouraging others in their artistic pursuits just as she was encouraged by her former teachers. Beth has taught students drawing, acrylics, oils, watercolors, printing, collage, clay, weaving, calligraphy, and art history, but oil painting is her passion. Beth has taught privately, at her church, and as a K4-12th grade teacher at Suffolk Christian Academy.
Chelsie Brown
Chelsie BrownZentangle Facilitator
Chelsie is a graduate of Strayer University in Chesapeake, Virginia. She has created and facilitated art groups for the last four years using the Zantangle method. She created “The Healing Power Group which included clients throughout the Suffolk area including clients from the Suffolk Workforce Development Center and “For Kids!”, a non-profit organization. Most recently Chelsie worked with clients who attend the SPARC Initiative in downtown Suffolk.
Rick Byrd
Rick ByrdFloral Design
Rick Byrd is an educator, entrepreneur, visual artist, and last but not least, Rick has a natural eye for design. Rick studied floral design under Michael Gaffney at the New York School of Flower Design/American School of Flower Design. Rick also has the distinct honor of studying with noted floral designer Jane Packer. While living in New York City, Rick worked with a wide variety of diversified designers through the New York Botanical Gardens. Rick is also the Education Manager at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts.
Tracy Cissell
Tracy CissellSewing, Quilting, Doll Making, Children's Books and Crafts
My love for sewing and quilting began about six years ago by accident. A friend invited me to a quilt retreat. Without thinking, I said “yes”. She asked if I had a sewing machine. I laughed and said “no”. I had no idea how to even use one! She lent me one of her machines, helped me get the basic notions and materials I needed, and we were off! I created four quilt tops that weekend and fell in love. I also have a background in teaching; I taught college English and Humanities classes for over 12 years. My passion for sewing and creating along with my love of teaching led me to want to share my craft with others who have the desire to try something new or to practice skills they already possess.
Toni Cotturone
Toni CotturoneCommunity Chorus
Mrs. Antoinette (Toni) Cotturone earned her B.S. Degree in Music Education at Malone University in Canton, Ohio and her M.S. Degree in Secondary Music Education with an emphasis in choral conducting from Old Dominion University. While at ODU, she studied privately with Dr. Nancy Klein. Initially employed as a church musician, Toni has directed ensembles ranging from children to senior citizen choirs. During her twenty-one year tenure at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Mrs. Cotturone initiated the choral program, which grew exponentially under her direction. She holds a certification in the LoVetri Institute for Somatic Voicework™, which she acquired at Shenandoah University in 2013. Subsequently, she has reviewed in both 2015 and 2017 and has consistently taken online courses that are offered by SVW. This unique vocal pedagogy method equips those certified to teach all styles and genres of vocal music. After retiring from full-time teaching in the spring of 2019, Toni opened a private studio in Suffolk, Makmuzc Voice Studio, where she now has the opportunity to encourage functional vocal training to students of all ages and levels.
Jose Eric Cruz
Jose Eric CruzPopping & Hip Hop Dance - Outreach Dance Facilitator
Jose Eric Cruz has been living and dancing within the Hip-Hop community his whole life, and has trained under Michael Jackson’s personal Dance Coach of 18 years Bruno Falcon (a.k.a Pop in Taco), and has been teaching throughout the Boston, CT, Maine, Maryland, and DC area for over 14 years, and is now currently teaching in the VA area.
Rhona Lynn Dawson
Rhona Lynn DawsonAcrylic Painting - Outreach Art Facilitator
Learning to express our creativity through Art has been a part of my life from the day my Mother put a crayon in my hand and with her hand, guided me along an Imaginary line on the blank paper, training me to trace out a picture from my mind’s eye. With Visual Arts as a backdrop, there has been a creative opportunity around every corner. My formal education after High school was local at Tidewater Community College; Majoring in Childhood Development & Visual Arts. With a Focus in; Arts & Theory of Creativity, Design, Art History, Practical Drawing and Painting (Acrylic, Oil & Watercolor paint). A few areas where Art presented opportunities in my life would include; Portsmouth City School system for the Challenged child as a Teacher and Aide. Among many of my duties the most rewarding would be incorporating students in the designing and creating of themed Murals. The Murals were created throughout the common areas of the schools (cafeteria, clinic, hallways and bathrooms). This led me to Costumes & Visual Set design for events within the Portsmouth Public Schools. Art & Craft Instructor for afterschool programs at the YMCA. I launched “Art and Soul”-Suffolk; instructing painting classes for Seniors about 5 years ago in addition to becoming the Instructor for “b Creative Studios”-Suffolk; an Arts and Crafting Studio.
Miguel Dominado
Miguel DominadoPortrait Drawing, Pastel, Drawing, Animation
Bio to Come
Christine Dove
Christine DoveYoga
Christine Dove was awarded her certificate to teach Hatha Yoga on July 5, 1980, by the Integral School of Yoga. She continued her studies in Hatha Yoga, attending many seminars and yoga workshops under the direction of Satchidananda and his disciples of Integral Yoga, Amrit Desai and his disciples of Kripalu Yoga, and the disciples of BKS Iyengar Yoga.She has taught at Body Works in Norfolk and the Eastern Shore Community College and Maryview Hospital for the Wellness Program, as well as privately in the communities. She taught at the Cancer Center at DePaul Hospital and at the Mind-Body Health Institute for ten years from 1995 through 2005. She began teaching at The Suffolk Center For Cultural Arts in 2006 where she continues today.She has also been teaching community classes in in Churchland for the last twenty eight years where she continues today . Christine served as president of the Board of Directors of The Whole Foods Co-op for seven years and as a board member for an additional five years. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University with B.A. in Social Work and has twenty two years of experience in this field.
Alicia Edwards
Alicia EdwardsDance - Outreach Dance Facilitator
Alicia began her dance passion at the age of 5 in Yonkers, NY, taking up Ballet, Jazz and Tap. For over 15 years Alicia has performed as student and teacher in various locations all over the United States. Studying at Washington Adventist University, she was sought out to perform with Acro-Airs team performing all over the east coast. She has worked with numerous community groups teaching lyrical dance for churches and community programs. Alicia’s love for dance did not wain after marriage and children. With a belief that lifelong learning is essential for all, she began to expand her repertoire to include dance forms such as belly dance, African traditional, African modern, Mexican folklorico. Upon relocating to El Paso, TX, Alicia was scouted by the professional dance troop the Sun City Girls and also taught dance fitness in the El Paso Independent School District. In 2016 she relocated to Hampton Roads and she is still sharing her passion with the community.
Barbara Harris
Barbara HarrisPlein Air Painting
Barbara Ann Harris started painting when she was eight years old. Barbara developed her painting skills by taking classes and workshops from local and internationally known artists and she has painted and traveled around the USA and Europe. Barbara enjoys sharing her art with others and has taught classes for the past 20+ years in pastel, acrylic, and oils. Barbara has lived in Suffolk since 1988 and enjoys painting local water scenes and landscapes.
Gavin Harper
Gavin HarperChildren's Chorus
Gavin earned his M.M.E. in Applied Conducting from Old Dominion University and his BA in Church Music and Vocal Performance from the University of Valley Forge, graduating Cum Laude. He has taught elementary music, college choir, and private music lessons. He has performed in Carnegie Hall with the ODU Concert Choir as well as toured Italy twice with the UVF Concert Choir. He has instructed a music camp in Turkey and recently toured England & France with Christ & St. Luke’s Choir. He is a singer with the Doorway Singers, and performs in local musical theater productions with Virginia Musical Theater, Zeider’s American Dream Theater, and the Little Theater of Norfolk. He is currently the Creative Director at the Suffolk Center and the founder & director of the Suffolk Center Children’s Chorus.
Glenn Jodun
Glenn JodunPhotography and Dark Room
Glenn Jodun is a Suffolk native and photographer for over ten years. It all began with Yearbook Club at King’s Fork High School and then progressed into a BFA degree in Photography and Film at Virginia Commonwealth University. He enjoys all forms of portraiture but also likes to dabble into the occasional foray of commercial and event photography.
Phoenix Lampton
Phoenix LamptonCreative Writing
Bio to Come
Pat Langley
Pat LangleyGlass Works
Rumored to be from Saturn, Pat Langley is a non-binary sculptor who grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and earned their Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2016. Working in a holistic way, Pat uses glass, wood, metal, and science to create ethereal sculptures that comment on the interconnectedness of life, the universe, and everything.

Pat believes in the importance of arts education, and that every person deserves the opportunity to learn and express themselves through art. They love to travel and strives to bring love, beauty, and inspiration into others’ lives by promoting creativity.

Harriette Laskin, Emeritus
Harriette Laskin, EmeritusPottery
Harriette has been working with clay since she was seven years old. As an educator, Harriette has taught for over 40 years in public school and at Tidewater Community College. After her retirement, Harriette helped to form the clay program at the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts in 2006. Harriette says that “Mud pies are a lot of fun!” She welcomes anyone who still likes to play in the mud to join her!
Larry McMasters
Larry McMastersPhotography
Professional photographer in Tidewater for over 30 years specializing in black & white portraiture and weddings. Hometown raised in Chesapeake with eight grand children. Other interest: running, family, church, cycling, playing trombone in orchestra & big band jazz. Teaching photography at SCCA since 2005.
Rami McKinney
Rami McKinneyBasket Weaving
I am a Navy wife and mother of two, and basket weaving has been a passion of mine for nearly 20 years. I first took basket weaving classes in 2001, while we were stationed in Hawaii, and fell in love! I have been making baskets ever since, and have taught classes to spread the love of this lost art everywhere the Navy has stationed us. I can teach basket weaving classes to children 11 & up and adults.
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!

Lisa Morrison
Lisa Morrison Ceramics
Cynthia A. Quesenberry
Cynthia A. QuesenberryMetal Clay Arts, Ceramics, Printmaking and Metalsmithing
Cynthia Quesenberry earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art Education from Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA, she later earned a Master’s Degree from Troy State University, Troy, Alabama. She has continued the study of Ceramics, Printmaking and Metalsmithing at Universities and Craft Schools around the USA.

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).

Rachel Vredenburg
Rachel VredenburgCeramics and Pottery
Rachel is one of the pottery/ceramics instructors at the Suffolk Center. She has been making pottery since 2012. She is a graduate of Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s in Studio Art. Most of Rachel’s works are inspired by nature and are reflected in her art.