Instructors’ Biographies

Albert Yowshien Kuo

Albert Yowshien Kuo has a BFA and MA in Painting from Fontbonne University, and is currently working on a MFA in Painting at Fontbonne. He has worked as teaching assistant for several instructors at the college level. Kuo’s work has been exhibited in several exhibitions, including the St. Louis Artists’ Guild’s 2012 Ann Metzger Memorial National All-Media Exhibition, where juror Marla Prather awarded the Fred and Mildred Carpenter Annual Prize for Painting to his piece American Landscape.


Bryan Robertson

Bryan Robertson received a BFA from UMSL and an MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Washington in Seattle where he won the Parnassus Graduating with Excellence research award given to one student in the MFA program. His work has been published nationally in Studio Visit Magazine and some of his exhibitions in Saint Louis include shows at the Regional Arts Commission, Koken Art Factory, Soulard Art Gallery, and the St. Louis Artist’s Guild. Currently his work is represented by Tsuga Fine Arts in Bothell Washington and he is an adjunct professor of art at Jefferson College.

Deanna Nash

Deanna Nash was born and raised in St. Louis. She has been a practicing artist for more than 30 years. She describes herself as a draftsman, a painter, and a sculptor. Deanna specializes in portraits of people, pets, homes, and cherished objects. Her repertoire of media consists of pastels, charcoal, colored pencils, pen and ink, watercolor, scratchboard, clay, stone, drywall, black paper and  acrylic paint. She is a member of The St. Louis Artists’ Guild and The Gateway Pastel Artists. When Deanna is not in her studio she spends time as a private instructor, and participates in art related events, demonstration and workshops.

Elizabeth M. Willey

Elizabeth M. Willey was born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1973, but spent most of her formative years in Poplar Bluff, Missouri. She moved to St. Louis in 1993 for college and has made it her home ever since.

Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and graduated cum laude with departmental honors from Webster University in 1997. In May 2010, she attained her Master of Arts degree at Fontbonne University and her Master of Fine Arts degree with an emphasis in Painting in May 2015.

Firmly grounded in classical drawing and oil painting techniques under the instruction of Victor Wang and Tim Liddy at Fontbonne University, Elizabeth has also expanded the scope of her work to explore encaustic and mixed media techniques. While much of her early work explored figurative subject matter, her recent experimentation with mixed media process and pattern has lead to more graphically influenced abstract pieces. History, folk tales and complex textile patterns from around the world inspire her mixed media encaustics. She layers patterns and images with an eye to formal design, hinting at narratives that are both familiar and exotic, occasionally appropriating images from art history, antique prints, and other artifacts to add context. Sealing each stratum with luminous natural beeswax, she employs collage, transfer, print-making and painting techniques using ink, oil and spray paints.


Erica Popp

Erica Popp is currently the artist-in-residence at the Jacoby Art Center in Alton, Illinois and an MFA student at Fontbonne University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois; and an Associate of Fine Arts in Photography from St. Louis Community College at Meramec. Popp has taught photography and writing at the college level, and actively exhibits her work, including prints, photographs, ceramics, and ephemeral sculptures. Her work has been included in many juried exhibits, including Art Saint Louis XXIX: The Exhibition, The Cedarhurst Biennial, Women’s Caucus for Art Best of 2014; and a recent solo exhibit at Gallery Admin at St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley.

Gail Ford

Gail Bettis-Ford has been a resident of University City for the past 33 years. She acquired her BA in Applied Music from Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1975 and her MA and MFA from Fontbonne University in Studio Art and Painting in 2004 & 2005 respectively. The mediums that Gail has worked with are pencil, charcoal, watercolor, oil and some pastels. She has participated in the Lafayette Plein Air and August Plein Air events. Gail particularly appreciates the challenge of Plein Air painting in which you are subject to the changes with the weather and light during your painting time. In addition to her interest and passion with art, Gail also pursues interests in running, exercise, gardening, cooking and volunteering at the St. Louis Artist Guild.

Kacey Cowdery

An Interior Designer, having worked with architects, Kacey Cowdery produced interior architectural designs, furniture and carpet designs, as well as color and finish selections. Grids from architecture have crossed over into Kacey’s fiber art. Whole cloth with embroidery and applique are used, quilt batting provides loft and texture. “Echo” stitching in multiple colors “draw” elements. Traditional fancy stitches are used in her contemporary work. Freeform crochet wearables are a recent endeavor.
Kacey is Co-Chair of Exhibitions for Missouri Fiber Artists. She is also a Juror, and a Speaker with programs about her own work. Classes presented are Find Your Personal Muse, Basic Crochet and Embroidery, Advanced Embroidery and Freeform Crochet.
BFA from Maryville University, Graduated Suma Cum Laude, Major in Interior Design.

Morris Fletcher

Morris Fletcher is  a former architect who is embracing fascination with art that preceded his architectural education. After studying, practicing, and teaching architecture and design for more than 50 years he is now a painter. His paintings are oil on canvas depicting scenes of landscapes and landmarks including the St. Louis area and his travels. He uses hue and value to generate mood and interest. Lost edges and abstract imagery allows the viewer’s intellect to construct the scene. His paintings offer the observer an impression of a scene and are created to initiate a cognitive challenge and capture nuance of place.

Philip Perschbacher

Philip Perschbacher received a B.F.A in Drawing and Sculpture from Webster University in 2003. In 2002, he studied at Webster University in Vienna, Austria, and has made several trips to Germany and Italy since then. Philip received his M.F.A. in Sculpture from the New York Academy of Art in 2005. While at the Academy, he studied with Harvey Citron, Martha Mayer Erlebacher, and was a class monitor for Frank Porcu. In 2006, Philip was hired as an Assistant Professor of Art at the age of 24. His courses include: Sculpture, Portrait Drawing, Figure Drawing, 3D Design, Ceramics, Art History 1300–1900, Art Theory and Anatomical Drawing. He has received numerous commissions both public and private.

Ping Yan

Ping Yan currently lives and works in Saint Louis, MO. She started to learn drawing and painting at a very early age and working in a wide variety of mediums including Chinese brush painting, watercolor, oil, acrylic, oil pastel, colored pencil, pen sketch and stone art. Ping's artworks involve an extensive area of subject matters and styles from oriental to impressionism, light to dark values. The action of creating artworks enriched her life and provided her with both physical and mental relaxation. She believes that Qigong and the way of Chinese brush painting has something in common: breathe management, physical exercise and mental focus.

Russ Rosener

Russ Rosener has been fascinated by optics and light since receiving a Looking Glass at the age of 8. Shortly after that he began working in the black and white darkroom and developing his own prints and 8mm home movies. He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester New York. His college teaching career began at Washington University, where he taught photography, Video, and digital imaging. Currently he teaches at St. Louis College of Pharmacy and St. Louis Community College. Although he began working with Adobe Photoshop in 1991, his love for Film and Darkroom photography has never diminished. His work has been exhibited in St. Louis, Los Angeles and the Czech Republic.

Ruth Kolker

Ruth Kolker's mixed-media paintings on paper were inspired by her interest in landscape and natural forms. By combining printmaking and painting an exciting journey of discovery can be reached. How the two disciplines are layered is key to the composition. Pattern, texture, shape, line and color are woven together to create a visual texture. She invites the viewer to respond.
Abstracted cities offer a place of escape, a space for introspection. Ruth wants the viewer to be pulled in different directions, drawn into the real and imagined images of nature. The place where living naturally occurs can be interpreted in different ways. It is my focus to transpose the mood and spirit of each painting into a tactile fabric of paint. The viewer is welcome to determine his or her own narrative.

Vicki Friedman

Vicki Friedman has several degrees from Washington University: a BFA in Drawing, Illustration and Graphics; a minor in science and my MAT in Art and Education. Friedman has taught for many years at both at Washington University’s School of Medicine and School of Art and Design. She has also taught Arts as Healing classes for cancer patients and their loved ones, at ArtMart, and privately. She ran the art department for the Washington University School of Medicine for 40 years. She was also a medical illustrator for the Washington University School of Medicine.

She presently owns her own business, MedInk, doing anatomical drawings for the medical community, as well as a non-profit foundation for cancer patients.


William Neukomm

Born William H. Neukomm in 1972 in St. Louis, Missouri, Bill began his figurative studies at the St. Louis Artists' Guild while still in high school. At the Kansas City Art Institute, Bill continued to draw and paint the figure, drawing more than thirty self portraits. While ultimately receiving his B.F.A. in graphic design, drawing remained an important part of Bill's work. Back in St. Louis, Bill returned to the St. Louis Artists' Guild where he met Billyo O'Donnell and Jason Dowd, two artists who helped tremendously in the development of his painting.

Work took Bill to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where he spent more than 10 years as a designer creating award-winning posters and campaigns. All the while, Bill continued to paint portraits, self portraits, and still life paintings.

A summer course with Dana Levin and Jura Bedic at the Florence Academy of Art, and another with David Leffel at the Art Students League of New York, helped convince Bill that a return to school was necessary to achieve the skills he desired.

In 2010 Bill quit his job, sold most of his possessions, uprooted his wife and children, and enrolled in the Florence Academy of Art, where he spent two years pursuing his interest in realist painting.

A firm believer in the importance of craft in art, Bill has continually sought out artists, past and present, from whom he could learn and improve. It is his belief that the skills aquired through rigorous observation of nature are as essential to the painter as a firm command of language is to the writer.

By studying the masters and methods of the past, and seeking universal truths and beauty, Bill hopes to create timeless drawings and paintings which communicate with a contemporary audience.