Judy Lowe-Schroder has made a career of breaking rules and doing the unthinkable. Born and raised in southern Oregon, she completed her BFA at Southern Oregon University with an emphasis on painting and photography. Immensely adventurous and curious, Judy has traveled extensively. She studied art and Ancient Egyptian Art History at the American University in Cairo, lived and worked abroad, and has created a large body of work. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally. She is a practicing artist and an art instructor. She teaches foundational courses, painting, drawing, alternative processes and advanced studio art.
Ben Wood has been teaching art since 2004 in the US and Asia and the experience has given him great insight into art as well as the human condition. He says, “I have had the great privilege of traveling the world, seeing a vast variety of countries and cultures and ultimately we all want the same things. Art gives us tools to communicate those things in the most direct manner. No matter the location or language, art brings us together in a way nothing else can. It enriches our experience by keeping us both inspired and humbled. By looking at the world through the lens of art we ask some of the most important questions, this might be its greatest value of all.”
Kristin Kaye is an author, ghostwriter and teacher whose work sits at the intersection of nature, narrative and spirituality. Her newest work, an eco-literary coming of age novel titled Tree Dreams is forthcoming from Spark Press.
Kristin’s previous work includes Iron Maidens: The Celebration of the Most Awesome Female Muscle in the World, which details her experience directing twenty-five of the world’s strongest and most muscular women in an off-Broadway show. The book was a finalist for the Oregon Book Awards, and described by Utne Reader as “one of 5 new titles for women who resist easy definition.” Kristin lives in the folds of Mt. Tam in Northern California with her husband, daughter and little dog Geo.
Joshua Boettiger’s poems and essays have appeared in Parabola, San Pedro River Review, and Zeek. He is a contributing author to the forthcoming, The Many Voices of Liminality anthology, and is completing an MFA in Poetry at Pacific University this June, 2018. He is also a rabbi, and a teacher of Mussar (Jewish Ethics), Meditation, and Hebrew Poetry. He has had original liturgy published in different settings.
Barret O’Brien is an actor, playwright, and educator from New Orleans, Louisiana. As an actor he has performed in over 75 plays and films in venues from New York to the Republic of Georgia. He has taught acting and creative writing workshops at schools across the country including most recently at The University of Montana, Yale, and the City University of New York. His plays have been performed at venues nationwide and garnered a Storer Boone Award for Best New Play, named a finalist at the William Faulkner Literary Competition, and published by the Yale Palimpsest, the Jefferson Journal, American Dog Books, and Smith and Kraus Books. He is a veteran company member of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and a graduate of the Yale School of Drama.
Erica Sullivan is a professional actress of both stage and screen, teacher and audiobook narrator. She holds her MFA from the Yale School Of Drama. She was a company member at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for five seasons, has performed on stage in New York and regionally with such companies as Lincoln Center, Studio Theatre, Longwharf Theatre and Yale Repertory Theatre. In television and film, her most recent credits include NBC's Grimm, TNT's The Librarians and PT Andersons' Inherent Vice. Awards include Best Actress: Helen Hayes Award, Best Actress: Connecticut Critics Circle Nomination, Jerome L. Greene Foundation Scholarship and the Herschel WIlliams Acting Award. She is thrilled to join the Young Artists Institute Team.
Jay Schroder (YAI Program Director) has taught poetry and creative writing for over 15 years, and now teaches at Central Medford High School. Along with his practice of poetry, he trains in karate, makes his own vests and shirts, and is learning how to play the guitar. He's a Fishtrap Fellow, an Emerging Voices Finalist, he's won several poetry awards and contests and has had his work published in a variety of literary journals including Whistling Fire Review, Jefferson Monthly, West Wind Review, and Watershed.
Betsy Bishop has graced the stage in dramas and musicals, but lately she's been immersed in her work as a producer, director and Thespian sponsor. She earned her B.A. in theatre from Catholic University in Washington, DC and her M.A. in teaching from Southern Oregon University. Since she began teaching at Ashland High School in 1988 she has maintained a rich connection with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which blossomed into a 22-year partnership. She is also a 19-year partner with Manhattan Theatre Club's Theatre link Program, working with playwrights and artists from schools in the US and beyond. AHS Theatre won the 2013 ETA national award as OUTSTANDING SCHOOL THEATRE. Her husband, Wesley, an equity actor and screenwriter, and their three children, Kelly, Travis and Micaela (along with her two grandsons) continue to be the joy of her life!
Kathi Bowen-Jones is a writer, curious traveler and longtime teacher of Creative Writing at Ashland High School. She has a B.S. in Education with an emphasis in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Geography from Southern Oregon University, and an M.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a thesis focus in poetry from Southern Oregon University. She is a former co-director of the Oregon Writing Project (1986 and 1987), a long serving board member of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English (1992-2007) and currently an active board member of The Chautauqua Poets and Writers (since 2006). Over the course of her teaching career, she taught AP Literature for twenty years, World Religion, and Classics and Modern World Literature.
Robert Arellano is a professor at Southern Oregon University, where, in 2010, he directed a group of faculty in creating the Center for Emerging Media and Digital Arts. He is the author of six novels, including the recent Edgar Award finalist Havana Lunar and the Internet's first hypertext novel, Sunshine 69. His essays have been published in Tin House, the Village Voice, and Oregon Humanities. He is a member of the Oregon Humanities Board of Directors.