Our Team

Ashley Cottrell, Studio Manager

Ashley has her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Kent State University and is currently attending Ursuline College earning her Masters in Counseling and Art Therapy. Ashley has always been interested in the connection between art and mental health because art has been a powerful tool for me personally in times of stress. The media I gravitate towards tends be acrylic painting, pencil drawing, and a little bit of digital art.

Mellissa Redman, MFA, Instructor

Mellissa earned her Masters in Painting from Kendall College of Art and Design of
Ferris State University and a Bachelors in Painting and Drawing from The
University of Akron. She is presently the Art Specialist at the Shaw JCC of Akron’s Camp JCC and the visual art coordinator for Akron’s 2017 High Arts Festival. During the 2015-16 school year Mellissa was a featured artist in the Midwest Artist Studios ProjectTM. Watercolor is her favorite medium to work with and her paintings tend to include drawing, serigraphy and collage.

Sara Vandygriff, MA, Instructor

Sara has her Bachelor's degree in Fine Art with a focus in painting and art history and has earned her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction for Art Education from the University of Akron. Sara is also a middle school art teacher.  Although she enjoys learning about, making, and teaching art of all kinds, she is especially passionate about oil painting, multicultural art, and figure drawing.  

Jen Yensel, PhD, Instructor

Owner of TY & Associates Counseling in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Jen's education includes Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Recreation Therapy, a Masters in Community Counseling and has her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision at Kent State University.  She enjoys working with individuals of all ages and is looking forward to running groups at Akron Artworks!

Jessica Soggs, BA Studio Art/Visual Teaching License, Instructor

Jessica achieved her B.A. in Studio Art with a concentration in Drawing at Ursuline College. Following this she earned my Visual Art Teaching License (P-12) at Norte Dame College of Ohio. Artistically Jessica enjoys exploring new avenues with different media, always making strides to repurpose materials.

Rachel Bryne, Studio Assistant

Rachel is from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, and is current enrolled at the University of Akron to study  Studio Art (BA) and French (BA). Her preferred medium to express herself through art making is printmaking.


Molly Stitt, Studio Assistant

Molly studied Art Therapy at Ursuline College, but plans to earn her BFA in Jewelry and Metals at Kent State in the coming academic year. She loves to do a little bit of everything when it comes to art, including watercolor paintings, abstract acrylic paintings, and crocheted pieces. Other hobbies include gardening, terrarium building, and taking my dog out for adventures.