When your art teacher comes to class after firing a kiln-full of bowls, you can tell she is deeply connected to her craft. The result is teaching that feels real, practical—and also inspiring. Williston arts faculty are practicing artists. Whether on the stage, at the barre, in the studio, or in the costume shop, they are pursuing their passions both as teachers and as creative professionals. What that means for you is an enriched environment where the arts are energetically alive.


Emily Ditkovski

THEATER

Being a teacher requires me to stay current with my craft so I get out on the boards as often as I can. Most recently I played Lady Macbeth in Hampshire Shakespeare Company’s 2016 production of Macbeth. I also keep my training up to date—whether that means studying with Upright Citizen’s Brigade, or Tectonic Theater Project, I am always practicing my craft so I can better understand the techniques I teach.

Natania Hume

CERAMICS

I am a ceramicist and produce a line of handmade functional pottery called “slow studio.” I think of myself as a designer as well as a maker and the designs of my pieces are intended to reflect my interest in simplicity and harmony. I am inspired by natural elements and interpret light, textures and forms of nature through clay. Both my personal practice and teaching feed each other to keep each endeavor fresh and vibrant.

Ed Hing '77

PHOTOGRAPHY

My original concept for the Ireland residency was to drive around documenting the landscape and then printing in the darkroom, to connect place with process. Three feet of snow two days prior to arrival changed that plan. Snow drifts, sheep blending into the background, mud. Sitting in the studio one morning I saw some incredible light streaming in through the windows and recognized the possibility of making a series of still life images.

Charles Raffetto

TECHNICAL THEATER

I’m primarily a set and light designer for live performances locally. Most of my stage designs incorporate light as an aesthetic element as well as a thematic component. In recent years, I’ve traveled to London to study video and projection mapping as well as to Makerspace workshops at MIT. These are being integrated it into my own work, and into my teaching at Williston, where I continue to explore ways to bring physical aspects of the stage to life.

Sarah Swersey

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

I’m a classically trained flutist but I play many styles of music. I used to perform full time in the Tenerife Symphony Orchestra in the Canary Islands, Spain. Now I play in a flute-and-guitar ensemble, Duo Fusion, which plays classical, jazz and Latin music. I studied free improvisation with Grammy award-winning cellist David Darling, and that’s when I started exploring various styles of music. I’ve also recorded many CDs. Music has taken me all over the world, and I say to my students that if you keep practicing, you never know where your music will take you!

Wendy Staples

DRAWING

Since I could hold a crayon, my first love has been portraiture. Over the years, I’ve worked in a variety of media including graphite, colored pencil, charcoal, gouache, and acrylic and oil paints. Recently, I have been creating colored pencil portraits in an abstracted grid format. This allows me to work methodically as I experiment with different color pairings to render shapes and subtleties of color and shadow in a face. Just as I have used art as a way to explore the world and capture people in my life, my objective is to teach students ways in which they can tell their stories through art.

Debra Vega

DANCE

Before teaching, I danced professionally on Broadway and as a Radio City Rockette in New York City. Outside of Williston, I teach upper level tap and jazz, and choreograph musicals at Mount Holyoke College. Much of the material I offer to my college-level students, I am able to share with my Williston students as well. In the summer, I teach at several dance intensive programs and attend the New York City Dance Teacher Summit for inspiration. I am also a certified yoga instructor; my husband and I run a mobile yoga studio called Vega Yoga Mobile. I’m so lucky to have made a living from what I love to do and I love to inspire my students to find their passion and go for it!

Colin Mann

CHORAL MUSIC

I am a conductor and a singer. I am a musician. Music is my hobby and my life’s work. I enjoy the intellectual and artistic aspects of music. My most recent engagements include conducting the East Ave Chorale, a semi-professional choir I created, in Rochester. We perform choral works from the Renaissance through the 21st century. My work as an artist and leader informs my teaching. My goal is to expose my students to a variety of music. Our response will be to create a unified community and to understand humanity.

Ashley Tyler

COSTUME DESIGN

When I am not designing shows at Williston, you will often find me in a costume shop at one of the local colleges or regional theaters working as a draper (pattern maker) or stitching. Currently, I am working on a reproduction of a Tudor era child’s dress with my 8 year old using historical patterns. I have found the greatest rewards of my craft come from teaching young people a new skill and I am in the process of developing a series of sewing workshops for elementary age children.