On Friday, May 7, alumnx panelists Elsa Robinson, Barbara Yontz, and Jim Rivera discuss the artist as educator, on how being an artist informs pedagogy, and the unique perspectives that they as artists bring to their classrooms. This event is free and open to the public. RSVP at the button above to receive Zoom details the day of the talk.


Elsa Robinson

Elsa Robinson is an Edmonton-based mixed media artist, sculptor, and painter whose decades-long devotion to artistic practice has imbued her work with vibrancy, versatility, and an intuitive spiritual poignancy. She began her art career as a self-taught artist, and she now holds a BA from the University of Alberta’s Art and Design program and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Through her years of study, Elsa has honed the ability to transmit her deep love and care for humanity using a range of visual modes. With careful attention to color, shape, texture, intuition, and the power of cultural symbols, Elsa is able to express the notions of love, friendship, inner strength, equality, and ancestral connection that most powerfully guide her own life. For her ability to distill, in the space of a single image, the wisdoms and experiences that are most important to the human condition, Elsa Robinson has become a celebrated and award-winning artist. Most notably, she was the recipient of the 2012 Fill Fraser Award for Outstanding Work in Visual Arts, as awarded by the National Black Coalition of Canada as well as a recipient of the Cultural Diversity in the Arts Grant from the Edmonton Arts Council in 2008, 2016, and 2018 and the Individual Artist Grant in 2020. Elsa Robinson is also a passionate and experienced arts educator who facilitates workshops for artists of all ages and experience levels. Her devotion, skill, craft, and spiritual fortitude have allowed her to forge a much-respected and versatile place within the artistic communities of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. She is a community builder who uses her remarkable artistry to create conversation, reflection, and moments of undeniable emotional connection, wherein the humanity of the viewer, and the artist herself, is held in mutual integrity and esteem.

Photo courtesy of E. Robinson


Barbara Yontz

Barbara Yontz is a former full-time Professor of Visual Art at St. Thomas Aquinas College, New York, with an MFA in Visual Art from Vermont College of Fine Arts, teaching primarily studio classes in painting, drawing, and photography. Additional master’s degrees in Art History from Vanderbilt University and Art Education from the University of South Florida expand interests and teaching to those disciplines, as well. Splitting time between Manhattan and Nashville, her art practice in sculpture, installation, performance, and video work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Since 2017, she teaches courses at Watkins College of Art in Nashville in both the undergraduate and graduate art programs. A project with a group of men living on Death Row at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in Nashville has shifted artistic interests in 2013 to art and social justice and also higher education in prisons. Previous exhibitions include: Vanderbilt University and the Frist Center for Visual Arts, Nashville; the Phoenix Gallery, New York; the Jose Marti National Library, Havana; the Boston Museum School; and the Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts and Sciences, NJ.

Photo courtesy of B. Yontz


Jim Rivera

Jim Rivera (Siikioso), is Yoeme, (Pascua Yaqui) from Tucson, Arizona. He is an alumnx of the Institute of American Indian Arts (AFA), San Francisco Art Institute (BFA), and Vermont College of Fine Arts (MFA). Jim has worked at IAIA for the many years in various positions. Currently he is an Assistant Professor in Studio Arts. Jim’s artwork consists of painting, ceramics, installations, found objects, and drawing.



Photo courtesy of J. Rivera