Faculty & Adjuncts 

Our full-time and adjunct faculty are carefully selected based upon their knowledge of media to be taught, their ability as an instructor and their experience as a professional artist.  Most have earned a BFA degree, with the majority also holding an MA or MFA degree. Faculty members are rated by their students each term, relative to their effectiveness as an instructor.

We also routinely bring in a number of visiting national and international artists to teach in our program.


MIGUEL ABUGATTAS is a native of Peru who began working with ceramics when he returned to San Antonio. Taking classes at Southwest School of Art, he earned a certificate in ceramics in 2007. Abugattas’s work has been exhibited in numerous shows throughout the U.S., is included in public and private collections, and is included in 500 Cups by Lark Books.

MELINDA ADAMS is an Associate Professor in fashion management at the University of the Incarnate Word, with graduate degrees from the University of Wyoming and an undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska. Her surface design and textile art pieces have been included at national and international shows such as AQS, ITAA, and Hoffman Challenge.

KEVIN AUER holds a Certificate in Book and Paper Conservation from The University of Texas, in addition to a master’s degree in U.S. history from The University of Texas at Austin and a BA degree in Asian studies from Connecticut College. He has worked as a conservator of medieval manuscripts at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and rare books at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin. He currently teaches studio classes at the University of Texas Austin with a focus on book structures and print media.

ROBERT BALFOUR is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and the University of Georgia. He has been a woodworker for 14 years and is the owner and operator of Revival Woodcraft, a custom furniture and cabinetry business. He specializes in hand tool woodworking and antique reproduction. He is currently developing a makerspace with interest in the intersection of craft and community development.

BENNER BARCLAY acquired his first pottery studio in San Antonio in 1985 following a four-year apprenticeship with Dennis Smith. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in English and history, but was seduced into clay with his first throwing class. He has taught wheelthrowing in San Antonio, TX; Rockville, MD; and Mandeville, LA where he also maintained his studios. With 30 years of experience as a professional potter, he returns to San Antonio and Southwest School of Art.

MICHELLE BELTO is a full-time studio artist and international instructor. Her signature work is encaustic and oil on custom handmade paper canvases. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and most recently in Sydney, Australia. Belto has authored a book on the subject, Wax and Paper Workshop and two videos demonstrating encaustic painting process.

SYLVIA BENITEZ is a nationally known installation artist whose work has begun to explore landscape painting within the context of a site-specific agenda. She is the recipient of two Pollock-Krasner awards, an AICA award, and two National Endowment for the Arts Visiting Artist Awards. Benitez has led over 60 community-based mural workshops along the eastern seaboard.

KIM BISHOP has an MA in Gifted and Talented Curriculum from Texas State University and a BFA in Commercial Art from Southwest Texas State University. She has been teaching and practicing art for more than 26 years. Bishop’s works are installations of personal thematic issues in a variety of medium and techniques.

SABRA BOOTH holds an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA from the University of Houston. She is a nationally and internationally exhibiting artist with recent shows in New York and Germany. Booth was a Fulbright Scholar to Finland and has been awarded grants by Artpace and by the Brooklyn Arts Council and has traveled and sketched extensively in Europe, Mexico, and Japan.

JUSTIN BOYD, SCULPTURE & INTEGRATED MEDIA DEPARTMENT CHAIR finished his MFA in integrated media at the California Institute of the Arts and graduated from the University of Texas in San Antonio with a BFA in ceramics. Boyd has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions, recently including the Visual Art Center, Austin; Art Palace, Houston; UTSA Satellite Space; and Blue Star Contemporary Art Center. In addition, Boyd hosts a radio show each week on KRTU.

JERRY CABRERA has an MFA in painting from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BFA in Painting from Texas State University. He has received grants from the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture, The Texas Cultural Collaborative and was nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Artist Grant in 2011. Cabrera’s work is included in the Neiman-Marcus Collections in eight cities and seven states and the AT&T Center Collection, San Antonio, TX.

NANCY CAVENDER-GARCIA earned her BFA and MFA degrees in photography at the University of New Mexico. She has extensive experience in non-silver processes, hand coloring photographs and pinhole photography. Cavender received the SSA 2005 Award for Teaching.

LIZA COLLINS, born in London, trained as a painter at Northeast London Polytechnic, and later in tapestry at the Royal College of Art. Her tapestries are in many public collections, including the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Contemporary Art Society of London.

MARGARET CRAIG, PRINTMAKING DEPARTMENT CHAIR received an MFA in printmaking from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She also holds a BS in biology, a BS in art, and an MA with an emphasis in painting from the University of Wisconsin. A respected leader in less harmful printmaking technology, she has demonstrated at national conferences. Her work is shown nationally and internationally. She is part of numerous collections, and has been part of the Sanbao International Printmaking project.

JEAN DAHLGREN creates art by layering dye and paint on fine cloth that allows light and shadow to add the “end” to each story. Her story cloths have been exhibited in galleries throughout Texas. The love of these processes has lead Dahlgren to teach both curious beginners and advanced fiber artists.

JEFF DECUIR received a BFA from The University of Texas in San Antonio. An award winning music producer, he is a member of the electronic art /music duo Hyperbubble, who have toured, exhibited, and released albums in the U.S. and in Europe. DeCuir has also participated in Texas art events such as Austin's SXSW, and San Antonio's Luminaria; and has spent seven years as an instructor at The International Academy of Design and Technology, where he taught classes in graphic design, video production, and communications.

JESSICA DECUIR has an MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BFA from Webster University, St. Louis. She has taught art courses at San Antonio College since 2000 and at Southwest School of Art since 1999. She is a professional artist and musician who has exhibited and performed music nationally and internationally.

RIC DENTINGER, watercolorist, is a contemporary realist who paints traditional subjects. He learned to draw and paint at an early age and is primarily self-taught. Dentinger’s career began as a professional illustrator and art director. He has exhibited in many states throughout the U.S. Dentinger has been the recipient of many national awards and featured on the cover of Watercolor Artist Magazine.

ED ESCOBEDO holds a BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a concentration in ceramics and sculpture. His studio practice includes working with ceramics, found objects and mixed media which he incorporates into sculptural and utilitarian vessels addressing themes of humor and absurdity. He has exhibited work in numerous group shows locally and nationally, including the National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA.

MIKE FISHER received his Master of Communication Arts degree from the University of the Incarnate Word and his BA degree at the University of South Carolina. Goofa Man Productions is Fisher’s one-man cartooning, illustration, and animation studio, and he has been a cartoonist for the former Starlog magazine, as well as Animation Magazine, Modeler's Resource, and other publications. His independent animation shorts have won several awards at film festivals.

TODD FICHTER earned his BFA in photography from Southwest Missouri State University. Fichter is a full-time graphic designer. He and his wife, Kellie, are the primary creative force behind Fishead Design Studio & Microgallery.

CASEY GALLOWAY, FIBERS DEPARTMENT PROGRAM COORDINATOR received a BFA in Fibers from the University of North Texas in Denton. A 2007 Kuhlman Foundation scholarship allowed her to travel and research Scandinavian weaving. She is an installation artist as well as a traditional weaver.

ETHAN GONZALEZ graduated from Southwest School of Art with a BFA in studio art with a focus in ceramics. Through a research-based approach to ceramics, Gonzalez combines technical knowledge with concepts from material culture studies, to explore process and materiality. Gonzalez has exhibited locally in group shows at Cinnabar and Rubio Gallery South, and was granted the Edith McAllister Award in 2018 to develop a body of work with F&M Projects.

KAREN HARDY holds an MFA in book arts & printmaking from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She uses innovative hand papermaking techniques and a variety of non-traditional materials in her artist books, prints, and sculpture, and her practice is centered on an experimental approach to materials. Widely exhibited across the country and abroad, her artist books have received numerous awards and are held in national and international collections.

JOE HARJO, FACULTY & PHOTOGRAPHY STUDIO MANAGER received his MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BFA from the University of Central Oklahoma. He exhibits regionally and his work is in many private collections.

NANCY HENEGHAN holds a BFA in fibers from the University of Wisconsin–River Falls. She previously was the Studio Programs Coordinator at Southwest School of Art. Heneghan has taught art to adults and children in a variety of settings, including SSA’s Mobile Arts Program.

NINA “SAM” HIBLER holds a BS from Stephen F. Austin State University. She was introduced to flame working when creating glass laboratory tools. Her background in science adds a wealth of knowledge to the nuances of glass art. Hibler is owner of Dream Fire Glass and specializes in the creation of one-of-a kind beads.

MIRA HNATYSHYN received an MFA at the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BS at the University of Maryland. She has exhibited her work locally and nationally. Hnatyshyn’s work appears in New American Paintings, No. 96 West Issue and her work is included in the Saatchi collection in London and other private collections.

GREGORY ALAN JOHNSON, FACULTY & STUDIO MANAGER received his MFA in printmaking and drawing at Texas Tech University and his BFA with a concentration in printmaking at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. He also studied art at San Jacinto Junior College before earning a degree in business at Texas State University.

BLAKE KENNEDY, FACULTY & CERAMIC STUDIO TECHNICIAN holds a BFA in ceramics and sculpture from Appalachian State University. Recent exhibitions include Manifest Gallery, Cincinnati, OH; The Blowing Rock Museum of Art and History, Blowing Rock, NC; Rockport Center for the Arts, Rockport, TX; and the Butler Art Center, Butler, PA. In addition to an active studio practice, he enjoys spending time with his wife, their four dogs, two cats, and five chickens.

LÉO LEE, PAPERMAKING & BOOK ARTS PROGRAM COORDINATOR holds an MFA in printmaking from the University of Iowa. Starting out as a painter in the UK, she became a printmaker while an exchange student at the Art Institute of Chicago. Understanding that technical knowledge is an artist's best tool led her to train at the Tamarind Institute in NM and study Book Arts at the UICB. As well as making her own work, her multi-disciplinary practice includes collaborating with authors as well as other visual artists.

JEANNETTE MACDOUGALL is a studio artist in mixed media and encaustic painting. She has worked as an art educator for over 30 years. Currently she is the curator and gallery owner of studio | COMFORT TEXAS in Comfort, TX. MacDougall is a former Resident Director at Moulin a Nef, an arts residency program in Auvillar, France and lives in the Texas Hill Country.

CINDY MCBRIDE has a Masters in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma with graduate studies from Cal State Fullerton in painting and drawing. She has lectured and demonstrated pastels to small and large art organizations across the country. McBride has won numerous professional awards, including First Place in Figure/Portraits in Austin Pastel Society’s 2018 annual membership show and a Contributor Award at the San Antonio Art League’s 2018 annual juried show. She is the current president of Texas Pastel Society.

LACEY MILLS received her MFA in printmaking from the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia and her BFA in painting and drawing from The University of Texas at El Paso. Her work deals with social and gender roles, using printmaking as a basis for her large scale pieces. She has exhibited in Mexico, Italy, and throughout the United States.

LINDSAY NAKASHIMA grew up in a creative environment with her father being the painter, Tom Nakashima and her great uncle the fine woodworker, George Nakashima. She has a background in paper making from the University of Iowa Center for the Book. Her research on Japanese Watermarking and their process was published in Hand Papermaking in the spring 1999. In 2013, she began her bookbinding studies at the North Bennet Street School. Nakashima has worked with Japanese bookbinders Yo Yamazaki (Tokyo, Japan) and Kaoru Harada (Nagoya, Japan).

JOHN NELSON received a BS degree in Industrial Arts Education from Brigham Young University and has taught in the Bureau of Indian Affairs education system. He is an active member of the San Antonio Potters Guild, having served several terms on the board of directors. His art, ceramics, and paper casting have been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

TOBIN NIETO has over 17 years experience and training in blacksmithing and has been teaching one-on-one bladesmithing privately. Nieto competed in and won Season Two, Episode Eight of the History Channel’s show Forged in Fire.

LISA NIGRO holds an MFA in sculpture from the University of Texas at Austin and a BFA in painting from University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Nigro is an interdisciplinary, multi-media artist working in painting, sculpture, and interactive installation art. She has produced large scale sculptures and installations for Burning Man and other festivals, including the Houston Art Car Parade.

VICTOR PAGONA, PHOTOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT CHAIR earned his MFA in photography and sculpture at the University of South Carolina and his MA in Art History at the University of Wisconsin. His most recent body of work was created using a combination of digital and silver-based media along with other materials.

KATIE PELL, SSA YOUNG ARTIST TEEN PROGRAM COORDINATOR is an avid educator and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. She was an artist-in-residence at Artpace. Pell’s works encompass many media, from painting and drawing to sculpture and photography.

LINDA PEREZ holds an MHS from Johns Hopkins University, a P.C.E. from the University of London, and a BA from The University of Texas in Austin. She has studied ceramics at SSA for the past 11 years and was the recipient of a fellowship to Haystack Mountain School of Craft. As a rancher and producer of grass-fed beef she initially learned ceramics to replicate traditional methods of cooking beef which led to designing and producing tableware for local chefs and restaurants who once had bought her beef. She now spends most of her time as a potter and keeps the ranch as a sideline.

SARAH T. ROBERTS, FACULTY & METALS STUDIO MANAGER received her MFA in jewelry design and metalsmithing from Texas Tech University with a secondary emphasis in digital photography. Her work explores the relationship between art and the human form through the creation of sculpture, photography, and video, and has been selected for many national exhibitions. She is co-director of Clamp Light Artist Studios and Gallery.

ALEX RUIZ is a bladesmith who began his journey as a blacksmith, making tools and decorative ironwork. He has competed on History Channel’s Forged in Fire and is a member of the American Bladesmith Society. He is a freemason, a musician, and singer.

KIMBERLY RUMFELT received her MFA in studio art from East Carolina University where she was an Instructor of Record, Studio Technician, and a Teaching Assistant of Design. She received her BFA from Texas Tech University. She is currently working with NEISD and teaches both beginning and Advanced Placement sculpture students at Claudia Taylor Johnson High School.

ALEJANDRA SALINAS is a metalsmith and emerging curator, born in the United States and raised in Mexico. Standing between two cultures, she combines her personal history with a contemporary perspective, translating her experiences into metal objects and jewelry. Her work explores boundaries, both physical and conceptual, as she attempts to materialize a sense of resilience and hope. Salinas will continue her studio practice at SSA as the metals artist-in- residence during the 2019-2020 year.

RAMIN SAMANDARI has been a fine art photographer for the past 20 years. He has owned and operated his studio, Magical Realism, since 1998. His work has been in numerous solo and group exhibitions and is in the permanent collection of the San Antonio Museum of Art and University of Texas at San Antonio.

REGINA SANDERS, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, YOUNG ARTIST PROGRAMS, holds Associate Degrees in Fine Arts and Illustration/Fashion from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. She is a former fine arts instructor at a magnet school in Houston and coordinates the Southwest School of Art’s SMD program.

CHRIS SAUTER, DRAWING & PAINTING DEPARTMENT CHAIR earned an MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and his BA from the University of the Incarnate Word. He has exhibited in galleries and institutions across the United States, Mexico and Europe. Sauter was an artist-in-residence at Artpace, San Antonio and Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin Germany. He has been commissioned by both the Dallas Museum of Art and the McNay Art Museum to realize large scale projects. He is also the Director of Foundations for the BFA Degree Program.

KERI MIKI–LANI SCHROEDER is a book artist and edition bookbinder. She holds an MFA in book art & creative writing from Mills College, and is the proprietor of Coyote Bones Press. She has worked at Flying Fish Press (Berkeley, CA) and BookLab II (San Marcos, TX) as a book artist and edition binder. Schroeder’s work can be found in special collections libraries such as UC Berkeley, Baylor University, Otis College of Art and Design, and Minneapolis College of Art and Design. She hosts a book arts podcast called Books in the Wild and is the 2019–2020 Salzberg Artist-in-Residence for the Jaffe Center for Book Arts at Florida Atlantic University.

ALÁN SERNA is a mixed media artist from Huanusco, Zacatecas, Mexico. Serna earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in printmaking from the University at Texas in San Antonio and a Masters of Fine Arts from The University of Kentucky. He is the co-founder of Feral Editions, a collaborative printing press and independent publisher.

MICHAEL SIMONS is a writer and letterpress printer. He earned an MFA in fiction from Cornell University and was a 2017-18 Resident of the National Humanities Center. He is a member of the Amalgamated Printers’ Association and the American Printing History Association.

JILLIAN SORTORE, METALS DEPARTMENT CHAIR holds an MFA with metalsmithing emphasis from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville and a BFA in jewelry design and metals from Pittsburg State University. A variety of materials inform her work, which ranges from lightweight and bright earrings to wearable sculptural adornment. Her work can be found in publications such as 500 Rings, The Art of Jewelry; Plastic and Resin, and Art Jewelry magazine.

RYAN TAKABA, CERAMICS DEPARTMENT CHAIR holds an MFA in ceramics from Kent State University and a BFA from University of Hawaii. Takaba has taught at Kent State University and University of Massachusetts–Dartmouth. He exhibits his work throughout the U.S. and has participated in residencies at the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen.

INGRID TEGNÉR is a visual artist working with handmade paper, photography and installations. She was born in California where she lives and works. She received her BFA with honors from the Southwest School of Art in San Antonio, Texas. Her work has been shown at the Riverside Art Museum in Riverside, California and at Southwest School of Art in San Antonio.

KATE TERRELL received her MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. She teaches a variety of art-related subjects including creative dance and lectures about art for adult education. For Terrell, drawing has been a mainstay while making sculptures and paintings throughout her life as an artist.

KATHY UTTS has a degree in home economics and is a former registered dietitian. After moving to a 40-acre wildlife paradise in Wimberley and raising alpaca, she was inspired to open her first business, a yarn shop. After selling the shop, she shifted focus exclusively on Saori weaving; Utts studied first in the U.S. before studying in Japan at Saori NoMori in Osaka. She now owns Wimberley Valley Saori, a registered Saori weaving studio and authorized distributor of Saori looms, yarn, and weaving supplies, as well as a showcase for Saori-inspired hand-woven garments and accessories she designs and creates.

SAM VELASQUEZ holds a BFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio; he attended Palo Alto College where he discovered his love for painting before transferring to UTSA. He has also been invited to participate in numerous group exhibitions including at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum and, most recently, at Texas A&M University-San Antonio’s Educational and Cultural Arts Center.

LARRY WEST owns and operates Dragonfire Hot Glass Studio. West has a BA in art education from Kent State University and has studied at the Pilchuck Glass School. He is an art teacher for the Northside Independent School District.

DONGYI WU was born and raised in China. She earned her MFA at Rochester Institute of Technology and completed her undergraduate study with a major of jewelry art design at Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology.

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