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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 soprano with over a decade of experience teaching students of all ages and musical abilities. She holds a Master of Music in Voice Performance from the Peabody Conservatory and a Bachelor of Music from Guilford College. Alison teaches Music Together® family classes as well as private voice lessons. She believes singing is a birthright and feels honored to help people deepen their connection to their voices and to connect to one another through playful music-making. Alison spent many years teaching and performing in New York City and the Bay Area before returning home to Black Mountain where she lives with her husband and two children. 

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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


Nat Copeland

Nat Copeland got his start playing the fiddle at age seven in the mountain of Julian, CA. He sought and has been fortunate to study under fiddle masters such as Matthew Hartz, Luke Price and Jesse Maw. At sixteen Nat took first place in the advanced-fiddle division of the annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest, and at seventeen he placed fifth in the Junior Division of the annual National Old Time Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, Idaho. Nat's passion for music remains, and he now studies music in Swannanoa, NC, with focus on bluegrass, old-time, and country styles. When not studying music, Nat teaches violin and loves kindling a passion for music in others.

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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.


Lacy GIll

Lacy Gill is a Michigan native who moved to Asheville in 2021. She began her performance training at the age of seven in musical theater. She quickly fell in love with dance and began training at the pre-professional level at the age of 13 with Hearts in Step Dance Academy. She trained in ballet, pointe, contemporary, modern, jazz, and hip-hop. She went on to get her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Wayne State University. At Wayne, she was able to study choreography, performance, pedagogy, Pilates, and African dance in addition to continuing her training in other dance styles. She was also a member of two student dance companies and performed in musical theater productions. After graduation, she moved to Asheville and has been dancing professionally with Asheville Ballet Company since the beginning of its 2022 season. 


Eliza Kellberg

Eliza 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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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

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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. 

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Aidan Saunders

Aidan Saunders is a multi-instrumentalist with backgrounds in various genres who now focuses on old-time music. Born in Ottawa, Ontario, he studied classical piano and composition in Montreal before relocating to Swannanoa to pursue fiddle and banjo at Warren Wilson College.


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.


Mikum Webster

Mikum’s studies as a dancer began at age 2 and have continued throughout her life. She graduated with a Diploma in Contemporary Dance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and continued her dance studies at Florida State University. During her studies she has had the opportunity to dance under the direction of ballet legends Suzanne Farrell and Melissa Hayden. She performed for two years with the Corazon Dancers and then with Waterside Theatre. Unfortunately, her career was cut short due to injuries which redirected her passion to teaching. This led Mikum to London where she completed her Masters in Dance Science from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, and inspired her to complete her Pilates teacher certifications. She teaches dancers of all ages in ballet, tap, jazz, and contemporary dance. Alongside her dance career Mikum has taught Pilates and bespoke fitness classes for the last 15 years. She believes in a passion for movement at any age and focuses on a fun, holistic, and integrative approach to movement. In her free time, you can find her chasing her little one around Asheville and loving all the wonderful outdoor activities in Western NC.

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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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