As a collector and a sculptor, Hayes tries to uncover the meaning of life in her own work while at the same time creating a new poetic and visual context for her students. She describes ‘stuff’ she finds, collects and stores away has special memories, becoming the foundation for creating a personal narrative of artworks. Hayes has a strong affirmation and self-identity in her art, and she believes her work will project the same for viewers and learners alike. According to book artist Molly VanNuys’ philosophy, Hayes also believes that the creative process is a serious undertaking that comes from philosophy and personal experiences. As a public-school teacher for twenty-five years, she has always found that her children and students inspire her creativity and make her a better teacher.
Dustine Hayes is a High School Art Teacher in Montgomery County and has also taught at the elementary and middle school levels. Hayes graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore with a BFA in General Sculpture Studies and Master of Arts in Teaching. Attending the University of Georgia’s Book Arts Graduate Studies Abroad program in Cortona, Italy was a powerful experience for the artist and is a major influence in her artwork.
Dustine Hayes has installations in many corporate environments and artwork in private collections throughout the United States and Europe. Her work has been exhibited at the Contemporary Art Museum, Baltimore, MD; the University of Georgia, Athens, GA; Cortona, Italy; the Maryland Institute College of Art Thesis Gallery; and the Decker Gallery; Rockville Art Mansion to name a few. Dustine Hayes has been published in “School Arts” and her artwork has been printed in other publications.
“Making and Teaching Art – I love what I do, and I do what I love.”
Ellen Lafferty (she/her)
Ellen Lafferty has been an instructor at VisArts in Rockville since 2013.
During this time she has taught summer camp, afterschool programs and homeschool children, introducing them to many different art forms. During the school year she teaches art and technology to PK3 through 8th grade at Sacred Heart Bilingual School in Washington DC. Ellen looks forward to merging art and technology this summer as she will be teaching STEM classes.
Kevin Franco (he/him)
Kevin Franco is an artist and educator in Montgomery County, MD.
Franco received his BFA in Illustration and MAT in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). As an undergraduate and graduate-level student at MICA, his practice evolved, responding to color, experimentation, pattern, and both local imagery of animals and abstract work. As an educator, Franco believes in the importance of choice, student-driven opportunities, and the idea that knowledge is constructed through experience and self-guided inquiry. He hopes to encourage his students to pursue an artistic path where they feel challenged and where they can continue to build skills they feel are important to their own aesthetics.
Kimberly Swanner (she/her/they/them)
Kim graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri with a degree in Japanese Area Studies.
She studied ceramics under Kansas City artist Bernadette Esperanza Torres and has been teaching children and adults since 2006. Her hobbies include video games, Japanese language & anime, art, and table-top gaming.
“Teaching is something that allows me to not only enjoy the things I love to do (ceramics, drawing, painting, crafting), it allows me to share those things with others as well. I want learning to be engaging and interesting, and it makes me happy when I see students get into what they’re doing. I really enjoy teaching, and get so much fulfillment from it.”
Sarah Sater-Murray (she/her)
Sarah is a self- taught artist who enjoys acrylic painting as well as working with a wide range of mediums, drawing inspiration from nature, the magical realm, feminism, and Mother Earth.
She has a professional background in both carpentry and sewing and has been an instructor of adult classes, childrens’ classes, and camps at VisArts since 2015. She believes that the artistic process is oftentimes just as important as the finished product and that as long as we are creating, we are doing good work. Sarah encourages her students to learn that there are no mistakes in art, only opportunities for more creativity within the process.
Her goal for each class is to create a safe, fun, and exploratory environment free from self-judgment where students can tap into their own personal experience and creativity to make exciting projects and learn new skills. She strives to help each student find their individual artistic voice and offers personalized guidance and encouragement wherever possible.
Sarah’s hope is that she can help foster a growing love of art and the process of creating art that can be carried with the students into the rest of their lives.