DIAE’s Teaching Artist (TA’s) are working professional artists who have undergone extensive training in aesthetic education and possess a special ability to connect with students. They are the cornerstone of our program.
Yolanda Chetwynd is a practicing artist who has been living in Newark, Delaware since 1987. Yolanda studied painting in London and in 1982 received a Bachelor of Arts First Class Honors, from Camberwell School of Art. She continued graduate work at the Slade, part of London University, and in 1987 received her High Diploma, equivalent to a Masters of Fine Arts. While studying painting in England, she received scholarships and awards for her work, which included the prestigious Boise scholarship, enabling her to paint in India for a year, where she lived in a therapeutic L’arche community and developed an enduring interest in the power of art to heal. Subsequently, she came to USA for an additional degree attending the Art Institute of Chicago and Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY, with a focus on Art Therapy receiving her Masters of Professional Studies in Art Therapy in 1989. Since moving to Newark, DE she has continued to exhibit her work nationally and internationally. She has been juried into state wide competitions at the Delaware Art Museum and the Women’s Conference.
In addition to painting in her studio she is devoted to educational pursuits. She is a veteran teaching artist with the DIAE, works for the Delaware Division of the Arts, served on a integrated curriculum development team with Visual and Performing Arts division of the DE Department of Education. She has won a seat at the table from prestigious organizations including the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the National Association of Aesthetic Education Institutes AIAE, associated with Lincoln Center Education. Her role as an integration specialist and a mentor have served to hone those leadership skills which have led to board positions on Delcaps, Odyssey of the Mind and Newark Arts Alliance. While continuing work in school residencies, her recent focus on graphic novels has garnered considerable interest. Links to her web page is at
Laurie Phillips is a recently retired Elementary Art teacher from the Red Clay Consolidated School District and now resides at the Delaware beaches. In her thirty years in public schools she taught a variety of other subjects besides Visual Arts to K-5 classes including music appreciation literature and activities, creative movement, and library . She comes to DIAE with a Bachelor’s degree in K-12 Art Education from the University of Delaware and a Masters degree in Educational Leadership from Wilmington College. During her career Laurie has been a participating teacher in a variety of DIAE summer sessions which she gives credit to opening her mind and creativity to engaging students through a variety of strategies and Art forms.
Laurie has a deep personal commitment to her own creativity and her love of teaching others to gain self confidence through exploring the Arts. This lifelong journey that started with the support and encouragement of her high school art teachers has led her to explore wood junk assemblages, drumming, playing guitar, songwriting and participating in the Rehoboth Writers Guild for over a decade.
Presently she creates unique Folktale story performances for children as well as writing and performing her own monologues of famous artists such as Van Gogh, Matisse and O’Keeffe.
Deitrich “Dee” Faison
Deitrich P. Faison (Dee) a native of Camden, New Jersey resides in Bear, Delaware. After receiving a B.S. degree from Hampton University, VA in Health and Physical Education she earned a M. Ed. in Dance Ed. From Temple University, PA, Additional studies: PA Ballet, and University of the Arts, PA. She taught Health, Physical Ed., Biology and the Dance Arts to middle and high school students in Philadelphia, PA. She was awarded “Best Practices in PA Arts in Education” and “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, and has choreographed over 300 theatrical productions in conjunction with the School District of Philadelphia, Temple University, Philadelphia Dance Alliance, Talk Back Theatre of Smyrna Delaware, and Sankofa African Drummers and Dancers in Dover, Delaware.
Since that time she has been active as an educational consultant, choreographer and dance artist, working through the PA Council on the Arts, Delaware and Philadelphia Institute of the Arts in Ed., University of Delaware, and Delaware Wolf Trap (a program for Early Childhood STEM Learning Through the Arts) in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland and the Boys and Girls Club of Delaware after school program.
Ashley SK Davis
Ashley SK Davis (formally Ashley L. Sullivan-Kirksey) is a native of Wilmington, Delaware. She began her stage career at the age of 3 and is formally trained in Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, African dance forms, and Irish Step dancing. A graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, Ashley was quite involved with the arts while on campus. As a member of the Spelman College Dance Theatre and Mahogany in Motion Dance Team, Ashley studied under Nathan Trice, a regular choreographer for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. In addition to the countless productions in which she performed, she also directed and choreographed for several shows including the Ms. Spelman Coronation for Spelman College and the Miss Black and Gold Pageant for Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Ashley’s dance credits also include serving as a dancer for Usher and an assistant choreographer for Six Flags Fright Fest. In 2007, Ashley’s choreography was presented as a part of the Spelman College Department of Drama and Dance 75th Anniversary Celebration, which included a new stage play by Pearl Cleage about the life of Coretta Scott King. In addition to serving as the Executive and Artistic Director of Pieces of a Dream, Inc., Ashley also teaches dance at several studios in the tri-state area, including Danceworks Dance Studio (New Castle, DE), Steppin’ Out Dance Center (Oxford, PA), and First State Ballet Theatre’s school outreach programs (Wilmington, DE). In addition to her studio work, Ashley has also choreographed for the City of Wilmington’s Clifford Brown Jazz Festival, the Links and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.’s annual “Achievers’ Affair of Honor”, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.’s “Blue Revue.” Ashley also works as a Teaching Artist in Theatre and Dance with the Delaware Institute for the Arts in Education and the Wolf Trap Institute. In this capacity, she travels to various preschool, elementary,middle, and high schools to teach the students basic principles of drama and dance.
George Tietze is a local Teacher, Teaching Artist, Actor and Playwright in Wilmington, Delaware. He has been a Teaching Artist and Wolftrap Artist with the DIAE since 2002 and in 2013 completed his Wolftrap STEM training. George has been teaching and directing students of all ages in public, private and Head Start schools since 1994 and has been an Adjunct Professor of Theater at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware since 2007. Most of his stage performances have been with City Theater Company of Wilmington, now in its 22nd season. At CTC, George has acted, directed and been showcased as a local playwright as well as working in all aspects of production including administrative responsibilities related to non-profit, arts organizations.
Chris Devany is a native of Wilmington, DE. He began studying drums, percussion, and martial arts at the age of 7. Chris’s love of culture led him to study the Spanish language as well as music throughout his schooling. In 2000, he graduated from the University of Delaware with a BAS in Spanish Foreign Language and Literature. He participated in the Study Abroad program to Granada, Spain.
In 2002, Chris began studying the Afro-Brazilian art of Capoeira in Philadelphia with Brazilian master Adenilson dos Santos aka Mestre Doutor of ASCAB Capoeira. Chris was drawn to the way capoeira blends dance, martial arts, and music, he soon realized he had found an art that combined his passions. He began to immerse himself in Brazil’s rich culture of movement and music. Through studying with Mestre Doutor, Chris studied with several masters and teachers throughout the US and in Brazil. In 2008, Chris earned the title of Instructor and began teaching capoeira to adults and youth, and in 2015 earned the rank of Professor. Chris has taught and performed capoeira at schools, colleges, universities and public events throughout the US and in Guatemala where he resided from 2012-2015. At the end of 2015, Chris decided bring the art of capoeira back to Delaware. He currently teaches capoeira at Quiet Storm Dojo, and runs the capoeira club at the University of Delaware. He became a Teaching Artist with the Delaware Institute for Arts in Education in 2016 where he happily offers residencies in both movement and music.
As a drummer, Chris has performed with a variety of groups in several genres from funk to punk, hip hop to Brazilian and many genres in between both throughout the US and internationally.
Composer and guitarist Kevin J. Cope is a graduate of the University of Delaware where he received a master’s degree in music composition and another in guitar performance. As a composer, he has received commissions for a wide range of solo instruments and ensembles ranging from solo guitar to choirs and concert bands. His composition “Origin Unknown: A Pole Was Journeying” for guitar and alto saxophone has been released by Duo Montagnard on their recent recording “Interspheres.” Kevin is also the recipient of the Delaware Division of the Arts 2015 Established Professional Fellowship for Music Composition as well as the 2011 Emerging Artist Fellowship in Music Composition.
As a guitar instructor Kevin has worked with the University of Delaware Community Music School, Darlington Arts Center, the Bloomsburg University Preparatory Program and is a trained Suzuki guitar instructor. In 2014 he founded the University of Delaware Community Music School summer Composition Camp where students compose a work in the span of a week and see the premiere on the last day of the camp.
Kevin is also an active member of two boards in the Philadelphia area and continues to help promote the guitar and contemporary music.