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Meet our teaching artists

Since 2000, BMCA has been employing local artists to teach our classes and workshops. Supporting the artists in our community has always been, and will always be, one of our core values. Meet some of our incredible instructors below.

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Alison Adams

Alison Adams is a classically trained singer who loves teaching singers of all skill levels and genres. She earned her Bachelor of Music from Guilford College, her Master of Music from the Peabody Conservatory, and has studied with Eduardo Valdés (Metropolitan Opera), Jane Klaviter (Metropolitan Opera), and Susanne Mentzer (Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Conservatory). Alison has experience teaching both private lessons and Music Together® family classes and has taught at Abrons Arts Center in New York City, in the Bay Area of California, and now her hometown of Black Mountain. She has performed in operas, musicals, choral groups, and most recently with local composer, Annelinde Metzner. Alison lives in Black Mountain with her husband and three-year-old son.

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Geoff Bird


Laura Boswell

Laura Boswell is a classically trained pianist and guitarist with over 10 years of teaching experience in styles including pop, rock, folk, and jazz. She earned her Bachelor of Music at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC and studied with Scott Tennant and Bill Kanengiser of the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet at USC. Laura is also an active singer-songwriter, performer, and recording artist. To learn more about her and her music, visit


Joe Carroll

Joe Carroll began improvising at Appalachian State University in 2007 and taught workshops and classes at the Asheville Improv Collective. Joe has performed at the Dirty South Improv Festival, NC Comedy Arts Festival, Asheville Yes Fest, AIC Fest, Hell Yes Fest,  the Asheville Fringe Festival, and Chicago’s Annoyance Theater. He currently performs in his one man show "JOLO", the all-star ensemble "The No-See-Ums", and comedy duo "Mabel's Baby".

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Charles Freeland

Charles Freeland has been our clay studio manager since 2011.  Before coming to BMCA, Charles taught art, design, and ceramics courses at a number of colleges and universities.  Charles has been coming to Black Mountain since 2001, spending summers in Montreat as an Artist in Residence at the Sally Jones Pottery Studio.  Charles received his BA from Austin College and an MFA from the  University of North Texas.  Along with his managerial duties, Charles teaches classes and workshops.

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Cary Fridley

Cary holds a master’s degree in Music Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and currently resides in Asheville, NC. She continues to perform solo ballads and string band shows with The Cary Fridley Band. Cary teaches guitar, banjo and singing, and leads workshops in old-time music for schools and summer programs. Seven years ago she returned to our TAPS program in Buncombe County after three year teaching at Univ. of Eastern Tenn. Cary was one of our original string instructors for three years prior to that, making it a total of ten years with the Buncombe County TAPS at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts.


Eliza Kellberg

Eliza, the director of the Ballet and Contemporary dance programs at BMCA, has been dancing since the age of 10 when she was introduced to Jazz at The French Woods Performing Arts Camp in New York. In 2016, she received her degree in dance from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Over the past 24 years she has studied under such notable dancers as Joyce Stahl, Denis Hyland, Gregory King, Ann Dunn, Tricia Renshaw, Fleming Lomax, Allison Hertzberg and more. She has studied gymnastics, ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary ballet, modern, and character dance.

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Emily West Horn

Emily West Horn is a Certified Mindfulness Teacher via the International Mindfulness Teachers Association. She is also authorized to teach meditation, dharma, and long retreats by Spirit Rock Meditation Center, Insight Meditation Society, and InsightLA.


Emily has been called a “power player of the mindfulness movement" by Wired Magazine. Her work is featured in 10% Happier,  Boston Children's Hospital's Comfort Ability Project, Buddhist Geeks, and apps such as Brightmind and Buddhify.  She's also been mentoring mindfulness teachers in a certification program led by Jack Kornfield, Ph.D and Tara Brach Ph.D for over 6 years. 


For her, a mindful life is simply learning to dance with all of this human experience: from transcendence to dirty dishes, evolutionary edges to ancient roots, solitary practice to deepening relationships. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina with her husband, Vincent, and son, Zander.

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Maddy Mullany

Maddy Mullany has been playing and performing traditional fiddle tunes for over 15 years. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Maddy moved to Asheville to attend Warren Wilson College, where she graduated with a minor in traditional music in 2016. Since then, she has toured playing music for a clogging team in Colombia, and collaborated with ethnic Yi musicians in rural China. Maddy lives in West Asheville and has been teaching fiddle and band classes with JAM since 2018.

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Mathilda Potter


Elizabeth Prine

Elizabeth Prine has been been quilting for about 8 years, (she made her first quilt when she was 5)! She's new to Black Mountain and previously managed her local quilt shop and taught classes there. She also taught home-economics to junior high and high school students where she introduced them to the world of sewing.

Elizabeth has a BA in interior design and owned her own business as a wedding florist for 7 years. Her background in design has definitely helped define her quilting style. She am a traditional quilter, preferring to mostly work by hand in traditional techniques, but she love modern fabrics and mixing it up with fun patterns and colors and creating unexpected combinations. Elizabeth's passion is to teach these traditional techniques and help people learn that faster is not always better, that there's beauty in slow stitching.

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Sue Richards

Richards won the American National Scottish Harp Championship four times and sat in with the Chieftains Irish band. She currently teaches and directs the harp program at the Ohio Scottish Arts School at Oberlin and has many recordings and books of arrangements and original tunes to her credit. Richards also plays and tours with Ensemble Galilei, a group of five musicians performing multi-media concerts commissioned by the National Geographic Society and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 


Stephanie Sipp

Stephanie is a professional nature illustrator and educator who maintains a fulltime studio in the mountains of Western North Carolina.  Her joyful images of flowers, birds, animals, and places are celebrated by followers both regionally and online. 

She has created and taught art and design for more than 25 years. She recently retired from Florida State College of Jacksonville after 15 years of teaching in the Interior Design Department.  She relocated to Black Mountain, NC in 2016. She currently teaches flower drawing classes at the Black Mountain Center for the arts and live flower drawing lessons on Zoom.

Stephanie’s published illustrations include The Laurel of Asheville, with a monthly feature from 2018 -2021.  She was recently featured in The Carolina Home + Garden, Spring 2020 issue in an article titled “Stem Structure and Related Whimsy”. 


Sam Sole

Sam, a native to Tallahassee Florida, started dancing at three years old. She began to pursue her dance career more seriously at 15.  She attended and placed in prestigious competitions such as Youth American Grand Prix and had the opportunity to train under the direction of Susan Farrell, Raymond Lukens, Dierdre Miles Burger and other influential figures in the dance community.  While studying studio art and art history at Florida State University she also danced as a soloist with The Tallahassee Ballet. Post graduation Sam began her dance career with The Chattanooga Ballet and for 5 seasons acted as a principal dancer, choreographer, and instructor to ages 3- adult.  Sam moved to Asheville during the pandemic to explore new opportunities and currently teaches kindergarten and dances with The Asheville Ballet.  She is excited to join Black Mountain Center for the Arts as a dance instructor!


Travis Stuart

Travis Stuart began playing the banjo as a boy in Haywood County North Carolina. He is a respected banjo player and multi-instrumentalist known for his rich style and solid accompaniment. Travis has toured the US and internationally with The Stuart Brothers, Dirk Powell Band, Riley Baugus, the Reeltime Travelers, Martha Scanlan and step dancer Ira Bernstein. Travis learned from old-time masters such Red Wilson, the Smathers Family, and Byard Ray.

Besides being a renowned performer, Travis is also dedicated to teaching old-time music. He has taught the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program in Haywood County, NC since 2000.   Travis has taught at music camps around the country and abroad.  He currently teaches Old-Time music with East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies.

Travis has performed on many recordings and films and has recordings with The Stuart Brothers.

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Bob Travers

Bob Travers is a graduate of the Pratt Institute & an award-winning wildlife artist who teaches in oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor & more.

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Clarke Williams

Clarke Williams is a multi-instrumentalist based in Marshall, NC. While comfortable in a variety of styles, he has a strong focus on the musical traditions of Western NC. He has won awards and recognition for his fiddle, banjo and guitar playing at festivals and fiddlers conventions across the Southeast. Clarke has performed nationally and internationally, in bands such as Jenny and the Hog Drovers (with Phil Jamison), the Georgia Horseshoes and the French Broadcasters. Clarke graduated from Warren Wilson College, where he studied traditional music. In teaching, Clarke emphasizes developing musical intuition, active listening skills, and group 'jam' skills.

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