Instructor Bios

Aimee Ballenger
Aimee Ballenger is a nationally certified teacher who has been working with elementary students for the past 20 years.  After teaching several grades, she was inspired to share her love of the arts with her students and became certified in art education. Ballenger has been teaching art to kindergarten through sixth-grade students at Earlywine Elementary School in Moore for the past 10 years. She considers herself a life-long learner and enjoys taking classes and expanding her knowledge of art techniques.

Autumn Brown
Autumn Brown has been a teaching artist for seven years, instructing around the Oklahoma City area in art camps, afterschool programs and home school co-ops. Brown loves introducing children to contemporary art ideas, but also incorporates art fundamentals. She has a background in nonprofit arts, galleries and advertising as well as television production. When not teaching, she balances her time between working on her own professional art and curating ventures.

Dayna Brown
Dayna Brown has been involved in the professional performing arts scene in Oklahoma City for the past 30 years. Beginning her work on the stage at Oklahoma Children’s Theatre, she has grown to collaborate with local arts organizations, dance companies and theaters, bringing art to life for Oklahoma audiences. Brown began crafting costumes at the age of 9. She has been the costume director for Oklahoma City Ballet since 2015. She currently costumes Lyric Academy, OCT and Northwest Optimist shows, as well as operating Costumed, a photo-centric costume consult and party business.

Annalisa Campbell
Annalisa Campbell is an Oklahoma artist and arts enthusiast. She supports fellow and future artists through leadership and teaching. As a teaching artist, Campbell uses media, process and play to encourage students to experiment and explore creative thinking. As a professional artist, Campbell uses a mixture of media to express unexpected moments of life. She believes life's moments worth capturing. She owns the Brayer&Brush studio in the historic Paseo Arts District.

Perla Contreras
Perla Contreras lives in Oklahoma City and is an Oklahoma City University graduate. Her favorite art style is mixed media sculpture. Contreras currently teachers Art 1 and Sculpture at Putnam City West High School. 

Kjelshus Collins
Kjelshus Collins is multidisciplinary artist from Oklahoma City working primarily with printmaking and sculpture. He has been a certified teaching artist in Oklahoma City for 10 years, teaching around the city and state. Collins attended Oklahoma State University earning a BFA and BA in Art History. He prefers traditional art techniques over digital, sees toys as a viable art form and believes the creative sector runs the show.

LaRissa Conn
LaRissa Conn has worked with students and the arts for 15 years across the state of Oklahoma. Finding her calling in music at a young age, she is always willing to rewrite a song or pick up an instrument. Conn is currently the director of arts programming and volunteers for the four Boys & Girls Clubs sites in Oklahoma County.

Debra Detamore
Debra Detamore is currently an art teacher at Moore High School. Acrylic paint is her favorite medium, but she has created work and taught classes in sculpture, pottery, jewelry and fiber art. Detamore is a member of the Oklahoma Art Education Association and served on the board for the Young Talent in Oklahoma statewide art competition. In 2012, she was honored with the Oklahoma State Arts Excellence Educator of the Year award.

Olivia Egan
Olivia Egan is a Tulsa native and has been practicing 3-D visual art for six years. Egan is a soon-to-be graduate of the Oklahoma University School of Visual Arts’ with a focus in ceramics and art therapy. Egan has experience as a studio technician for the OU John Frank Ceramic Facility and was the head curator for the OU Student Art Gallery for several years.

Debbie Elledge
Debbie Elledge is an Oklahoma native and art educator who comes from a family of artists. Elledge received her BS in Graphic Arts from the University of Central Oklahoma and has a certification to teach art. She has worked at several graphic art studios, but enjoys teaching art to children the most. Her passion is helping children appreciate art by guiding their art experience and encouraging self-expression.

Jenny Elton
Jenny Elton is currently a seventh-grade art teacher at Yukon Middle School. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Art Education from the University of Central Oklahoma. Elton has been an instructor at both Oklahoma Contemporary and Norman Firehouse Arts Center. Her professional artwork currently includes paintings, drawings and relief prints inspired by her love of nature and color.

Nicole Emmons-Willis
Nicole Emmons-Willis was born in Oklahoma City and received her BA in Film and Animation Art from Columbia College Chicago and her MFA from Calarts Experimental Animation Program as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow. She has worked professionally as a director, animator, digital layout artist, set lighting technician and teacher of animation and video production. Emmons-Willis created Kinotrick Productions. She currently is a professional artist and instructor at several art facilities around Oklahoma City.

Danny Gordon
Danny Gordon has been drawing since the age of 5 and continues to have a childlike passion for creating art. Gordon is known for his Danny’s Doggies, comical canines or fun caricatures. His dog art has grown to include more than 600 images and 90 dog breeds. Although mostly self-taught, Gordon attended several area universities and won the coveted Best of Show award at the Graphic Communication Society of Oklahoma Student Design Competition. Gordon worked as a fashion illustrator for C.R. Anthony for ten years. Since then, he has created art for a variety of applications, including greeting cards and children’s books.

Alison Harris
Alison Harris has been an art educator for 15 years, teaching in Oklahoma City and Maryland. She currently teaches pre-K for Oklahoma City Public Schools. Harris is a fellow for the Oklahoma A+ Schools network, which allows her to teach arts integration and creative methods to educators across Oklahoma. This will be Harris’s sixth year instructing for Oklahoma Contemporary. 

Leslie Hensley
Leslie Hensley is a graduate of Oklahoma City University with a BA in Theatre Performance. Hensley has been a visual and performance artist in Oklahoma City for 10 years. She has been an after-school teacher for the Oklahoma City Arts Council and the head of the Visual Arts Department for the Boys and Girls Club and is the current After School Director for SixTwelve in the Paseo District. Hensley has been an instructor at Oklahoma Contemporary for more than six years and continues to work as a professional artist.

Gwendolyn Hooks
Gwendolyn Hooks is the author of more than 20 children’s books. Tiny Stitches – The Life of Medical Pioneer Vivien Thomas has won many awards: the 2017 NAACP Outstanding Literary Work for Children, SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and the OKC BLAC Literary Award. Her early reader, Block Party, is a 2017 Junior Library Guild Selection. Hooks leads a Monday morning memoir writing class for senior citizens, presents at reading festivals and library conferences and serves as a mentor for Highlights Workshop attendees and We Need Diverse Books. She also writes for the group blog The Brown Bookshelf. Hooks encourages people of all ages to explore the world through books.

Erin Latham
Erin Latham is a concept-driven installation artist living and working in Oklahoma. She received her Bachelors of Fine Art from the University of Oklahoma in 2008, Master of Fine Art from the Pratt Institute in 2012 and is currently working on a Doctorate of Philosophy in Art Theory, Aesthetics and Philosophy at the Institute of Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts. Latham is a member of the Factory Obscura team and is interested in understanding the impact her work has on the environment and how that affects populations.

Angel Little
Angel Little is a teaching artist and motivational leader who has been learning with youth more than 20 years. His passion is in the growth of the community, both locally and abroad. He started his path in Lawton at the young age of 15 as a co-facilitator of Art in the Park, a yearly outdoor art presentation and interactive learning engagement. Since then, Little has been actively involved in many different independent educational programs, which include basic hip hop, creative robotics, hacking for parents, and computer science programming.

Rebecca Lowber-Collins
Rebecca Lower-Collins, a native of Oklahoma City, is best known for her abstract expressionists paintings and mono-prints. Lowber-Collins has a distinct method of incorporating color, line and subtle variances within her artwork. As a professional artist and instructor, she has been included in international, national and regional corporate, private and museum collections. Lowber-Collins holds a BFA and Master’s from the University of Oklahoma. Her work can be viewed at Nault Fine Art Gallery in Oklahoma City as well as by private consultation.

Eric Lyons
Eric Lyons is a local artist, photographer and furniture builder. Lyon’s currently teaches art at Deer Creek High School. As an artist, he likes to focus on mixed media with the use of vintage photographs. Lyons has been a celebrated featured artist in many studios across Oklahoma.

Darra Maxwell-Eek
Darra Maxwell-Eek has 23 years of experience working for Moore Public Schools. She was the visual arts specialist at Briarwood Elementary for 10 years. During that time, she wrote art grants, bringing visiting artists to the school, fundraised annually for art supplies for all classrooms and administered an after school art club. She holds an Associate of Art degree and a BS in Education from the University of Oklahoma. She was associated with Oklahoma A+ Schools for many years and has facilitated workshops for A+ and several other organizations throughout her career. She currently teaches second grade at Briarwood Elementary and has taught at Oklahoma Contemporary for eight summers.

Jessica Petrus
Jessica Petrus is the set designer for the Northwest Optimist Performing Arts Center. Petrus specializes in large-scale mixed media; her artwork focuses on community theater in Oklahoma City. She also is the collage artist for Hideaway Pizza, having a dozen of large- scale works on permanent display around the state.

G. Patrick Riley
G. Patrick Riley is a nationally recognized artist and teacher and holds a Masters of Arts Education from the University of Oklahoma. Riley has exhibited his mixed media masks in New York City and Washington, D.C. His public sculptures are in many facilities in Oklahoma, including the Oklahoma Judicial Center and Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Riley is also a member of the Oklahoma Arts Council's Teaching Artist Roster. He teaches children to use their imagination and creativity while making works of art.

Kelly Smith
Kelly D. Smith is a teaching artist passionate about early childhood development in relation to art making. She has taught young children for more than 15 years in the Oklahoma City metro at Oklahoma Contemporary, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, private and public school systems, All Souls Episcopal Children’s Day Out, Crossings Community Church and the City of Edmond as well as private lessons. She is an encourager of creativity and imagination through all forms of visual art. 

BC Sommers
BC Sommers has more than 18 years of experience teaching puppetry, installation art, stop animation and game creation in New Orleans and Oklahoma City. Sommers has directed educational camps at Science Museum Oklahoma and the TradeShare. Sommers has a passion for sharing her love of art to all ages.