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.

Spring 2018

Miguel Abugattas is a native of Peru who began working with ceramics when he returned to San Antonio. Taking classes at the Southwest School of Art, he earned a certi cate in ceramics in 2007. Abugattas’ work has been exhibited in numerous shows throughout the country, 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 Ho man Challenge.

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 wheel throwing 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 the Southwest School of Art. 

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.

Orlando Graves Bolaños graduated with an MFA from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Throughout his 26 years abroad in Spain, art education has played a fundamental part of his career. He presently is completing his PhD in Art Theory with a focus on the contribution of Latino and Chicano artists to the mainstream art movements and is the Art Education Manager at The DoSeum.

Brennan Bowman earned her BFA from the University of Texas in Austin. She does freelance logo design, graphic design, and photography which she ties into her ecommerce business. Focusing primarily on papermaking,bookbinding, and screen printing, she utilizes her commercial machines and implements their capability into her own ne art in unconventional ways creating new unique processes and materials.

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. 

Justin Boyd  Sculpture & Integrated Media Department Chair holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a BFA from The University of Texas at San Antonio. His work has been shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions throughout Texas, including Artpace, San Antonio; Art Palace, Houston; and Blue Star Contemporary, San Antonio. Justin also hosts a long-running radio show on a local jazz station (KRTU). 

Brad Braune received his BA in Architecture from Texas Tech University. He taught watercolor from 1975-1977 as part of the original faculty of the Southwest School of Art. He also teaches watercolor at other local arts institutions and shows locally and nationally.

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 in the San Antonio AT&T Center Collection.

Cecilia Castro-Hancock, a native of Mexico, graduated from t Our Lady of the Lake University with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology. She earned a certificate in Ceramics at the Southwest School of Art and has been a ceramic artist for over 25 years. Her work has been in multiple collective and individual exhibits in the U.S. and Mexico and has been the recipient of several awards. 

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 SSAC 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. 

Charles Cooper was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He has a long tradition of blacksmithing through his mother’s side of the family. Cooper studied blacksmithing at Dallas Heritage Village at Old City Park, learning from the resident masterblacksmith, Kelly Kring, as well as attended the School for Visual Arts in Manhattan to further his skills.

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.

Jennifer Ling Datchuk · Ceramics Faculty holds an MFA in Artisanry from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and a BFA in Crafts from Kent State University. Trained traditionally in ceramics, her current multidisciplinary work addresses conflict, as experienced through issues of identity, race, and gender. Datchuk has been awarded grants from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio and Artpace for travel and for research at the birthplace of porcelain in Jingdezhen, China. She exhibits work nationally and maintains Dim and Sum, a small design line of functional objects for the home.

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 at San Antonio College since 2000 and at the Southwest School of Art since 1999, and is also a professional 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.

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.

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 work on shorts have won several awards at film festivals. 

Sarah Fox earned her MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her BA from Southwestern University in Georgetown; she also studied painting at the Glasgow School in Houston. An artist and educator working, Fox has had solo shows in San Antonio and Houston, and participated in group exhibitions across the US, Austria, and Germany.

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.

Nicole Geary earned an MFA in Printmaking from the University of South Dakota and a BFA in Printmaking from the University of Florida. She has exhibited in juried shows nationally, including the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Spudnik Press Cooperative, and Washington Printmaker’s Gallery. Her prints are included in several collections, both national and international.

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.

Jennifer Hermann earned an MFA degree from SUNY New Paltz, and a BFA from Millersville University. She worked in the industry as a jeweler since graduating in 2007 and is currently pursuing her own work as a self-employed material artist and jeweler in San Antonio.

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

Kambri Hernandez received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a focus in ceramics from Texas State University and continued her education at Texas State with a post-baccalaureate teaching certi cation in EC-12 Art. She was a participating artist during Luminaria 2016 and has exhibited her work in juried exhibitions. Hernandez currently teaches art with NEISD and maintains a ceramics studio.

Nina “Sam” Hibler holds a BS from Stephen F. Austin State University. She was introduced to flame working when creating glass laboratories 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 graduated from Appalachian State University with a BFA in Ceramics and Sculpture. Prior to moving to San Antonio, he maintained his studio practice in Boone, NC area, was a member at the Collective Studio and Gallery, and was the clay area Studio Manager at Appalachian State University.

David Kraft holds a Masters in Architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He currently runs the Digital Fabrication lab for UTSA's architecture department, and owns and operates a custom fabrication shop producing wood and metal projects for contractors, architects, and developers in San Antonio. Kraft works with CNC equipment in his own shop and has taught students the basics of digital fabrication using a CNC router for more than five years.

Eleonore Lee · Interim Papermaking & Books 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, primarily because she was told not to. 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 has an art degree from Parson School of Design. She is a studio artist and arts consultant, and has worked as an art educator for over 20 years for the San Antonio Art Institute, San Antonio Children’s Museum, and the Southwest School of Art. MacDougall is a former Resident Director at Moulin a Nef, an arts residency program in Auvillar, France.

Benjamin McVey received his MFA in Studio Art from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a focus on painting, 3-D, and text-based work, and his BFA in Communication Design from Texas State University. He also studied painting and drawing in New York City at the Art Students League and National Academy School. He has exhibited in New York and Texas and has works in many collections.

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. 

Ray Morales received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from The University of Texas at Austin and is known for his thrown, manipulated, and intricately decorated porcelain forms that are both sculptural and functional.

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

Samantha Ostos is a local freelance art educator who works with students of all ages in a wide variety of mediums. Ostos has taught for the Southwest School of Art’s Mobile Arts Program and Summer Art Studios, The McNay, Communities in Schools of San Antonio, and the San Antonio Children’s Shelter, to name a few.

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 received her MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio and her BFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. She is a multifaceted artist based in San Antonio and currently teaches at in the Department of Fine Art at the University of Texas San Antonio and is the SSA Teen Intensive Studio Coordinator.

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.

Miki Rodriguez was born and raised in Laredo, Texas. She received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her BFA in Drawing and Painting from the University of Houston. Rodriguez has taught art for over 30 years at all levels including elementary, middle school, high school, and higher education, and is presently a full-time artist working in mixed media with an emphasis on fiber 

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.

Sandra Salaices, a native of Mexico, received her BFA in Metals and Ceramics from the University of Texas at El Paso. The desert landscape and border-plex region inspires her work; her jewelry often connects the wearer with their own inner spirituality and creative energy through the use of natural elements. Sandra is the 2017-2018 Metals Department Artist-in-Residence at the Southwest School of Art.

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 Saturday Morning Discovery program.

Chris Sauter —  Interim 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 was a 1999 Artpace Artist-in-Resident, and has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Sauter received the Southwest School of Art 2011 Award for Teaching.

Jillian Sortore Metals Department Chair earned her MFA from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville and received her BFA in Jewelry Design and Metals from Pittsburg State University. She allows a variety of materials such as metal, resin, paper-clay, wood, rubber, and paints to inform her creative process. 

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 recently participated in residencies at the European Ceramic Work Center in the Netherlands and The Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China—the birthplace of porcelain.

Justin Tejeda received his BA along with his BFA in Metals from Texas State University. He has worked for numerous artists in the Central Texas area as well as a gallery installer at the Texas State University Galleries.

Kate Terrell received her MFA from 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.

Jared Theis earned an MFA from the University of California-Davis, where he received a Joan Mitchell MFA grant and the Robert Arneson Award. He was also the recipient of a Statens Kunstner stipend from Kulturradet, Norway Arts Council. Theis’ art practice spans ceramics, video, animation, and performance.

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.

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