The two visual art areas of the Tennessee Arts Academy explores art from the perspective of production, history, criticism, and aesthetics. Instructors, whose work has influenced current educational practice and theory, come from around the country to provide stimulating and practical instruction. In addition to the visual art sessions, all participants attend performances, musings, special events and other activities, with plenty of time built in for networking and reflection.
Thom Knab is a 2020 inductee into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. He was honored as New York State Art Educator of the Year in 2018. Knab has served as a keynote speaker for several state conferences and has several publications to his credit in the magazine SchoolArts, including “BRAG: The Brick Room Art Gallery,” “The Roadrunner Art Walk”, and “Copper Family Crests.” As an artist he has exhibited his work in four solo shows over the past five years. Knab has served as an art educator at Dodge Elementary in East Amherst, New York, since 1990, where he began a 1,000-square-foot art gallery called BRAG. He earned his degrees in art education from Buffalo State College and served as the National Art Education Association elementary division director from 2015 to 2017. He received both the National Elementary Art Educator and the Eastern Region Elementary Art Educator honors in 2018.
Lori Santos grew up with a family interlaced in Hawaiian, Portuguese, Puerto Rican, and Taíno cultures. She has worked with Indigenous artists and art education communities worldwide, including Canada, Mexico, Tonga, Peru, and the United States. She earned her degree in art education with a specialization in art history of the Americas from the University of North Texas in Denton. Santos supports the inclusion of contemporary Indigenous artists to expand place-based concepts in art education. Her recent scholarship emphasizes Indigenous pedagogies and art as stories of place, identity, and environment. She is the founder of the Puzzle Peace Pledge Project.
Isolde Beebe has taught visual art for more than twenty years to children and adults. She has experience in different types of schools and settings. Her recent focus has been on the role sketchbooks play in helping students grow in their drawing skills, material experimentation, and overall creativity. She develops all her curriculum to help students find their own artistic voice by providing the tools professional artists use to develop their own style. Her favorite element of art is color, her favorite principle of art is pattern, and her favorite materials are gouache and fiber arts. Beebe takes inspiration from hikes and walks in the mountains near her home and feels most alive when in nature or creating art inspired by nature. Beebe teaches drawing and painting at Cascade High School in Everett, Washington, and was named Secondary Art Teacher of the Year by the Washington Art Education Association in 2020.
Anne Grgich was born in Portland, Oregon, and has spent her whole life creating art in the Northwest. As a child, she exasperated her parents by taking books from the shelves and filling them with paintings. As a mature artist, some of her most popular works are based on the same principle. Grgich repurposes old library books into an unfolding series of complex canvases by adding collage, textural elements, and multiple layers of paints, while still allowing glimpses of the book’s original material to shine through. Grgich is one of the most original and innovative of the group of American artists known as Outsiders. In addition to profiles in many publications and to showings and exhibitions in this country and abroad, Grgich’s work is in the permanent collections of many international museums. She has curated more than fifteen exhibitions and is currently an online art teacher at Sonheim Studios.