Bio and contact information for Art Academy of Cincinnati administration, faculty, and staff. For a full college directory, use the directory button.
Before assuming his role of president at the Academy of Art Cincinnati, Joe Girandola began his career in arts administration as the Artist Residency Director at the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, NE. From Omaha, Girandola was recruited to become the Assistant Director for the Santa Fe Art Institute. His time in Santa Fe opened the doors to teaching where he transitioned to Higher Education in the Art Department at Pomona College in Southern California. From his experience at Pomona College, Girandola assumed the role as Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Girandola relocated with his family to Cincinnati in 2012 as the Director of Graduate Studies at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP). Prior to accepting the role as President of the Art Academy of Cincinnati, Girandola served as Interim Associate Dean of Graduate Studies and Research at DAAP.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Joe Girandola is an internationally exhibited artist and is a classically trained stone carver from his studies in Florence, Italy. He has since continued his artistic practice working primarily on two and three-dimensional drawings, paintings, and sculptures using a variety of media ranging from duct tape to milk crates. Girandola is the recipient of numerous grants including the 2017 and 2019 BLINK Artist Grant, 21C Pitch Night ArtPrize Grant, 3rd Century University of Cincinnati Studio and materials Grant, Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant, and a Change Inc. Grant. Joe Girandola will maintain his studio practice while honorably serving the as the 18th leader and President of the Art Academy of Cincinnati.
Currently the Academic Dean at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, she exhibits locally, nationally and internationally including exhibitions in Germany, the Ukraine, Chicago, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and New York. She has been selected as an Artist in Residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts in New York, The University of Alaska in Anchorage, The Neu Rathaus Gallery in Munich, Germany and The Vermont Studio Center. Grants include an Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and a Summerfair Award to Individual Artists.
Mark is Professor and Associate Dean at AAC. Professor Thomas has developed courses in graphic design, illustration and design history. He is a published author of internationally distributed textbooks on design and design methodology. He has designed numerous exhibitions, catalogs, and posters. An award-winning designer of educational board game design, he also holds a U.S. Patent for a color demonstration device for teaching color theory. He is a past President and active board member of AIGA Cincinnati.
A native of South Texas, Denise Brennan Watson was a member of the Coastal Bend English Riding Association and King English Riding Association. Denise holds a Master of Arts in Philosophy, and she completed a double major in Philosophy and Journalism with a minor in English. She loves words and culinary arts.
Keith Benjamin is a sculptor and professor living and working in Cincinnati. His creative work involves repurposing, re-valuing, and rearranging items and materials from the home that he shares with his wife and two children. He has shown his work regionally and internationally. In 2011 he was awarded a grant from the Joan Mitchell Foundation.
Matt Hart is the author of Radiant Action, Radiant Companion, and six previous collections of poetry. His awards include a Pushcart Prize, a 2013 individual artist grant from The Shifting Foundation, and several fellowships. Additionally, he is a co-founder and the editor-in-chief of Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking & Light Industrial Safety. He plays guitar and shouts in the bands TRAVEL and THE LOUDEST SOUNDER.
Momohara has served as visiting artist in many residency programs including the Center for Photography at Woodstock, Headlands Center for the Arts, and Red Gate Gallery Beijing. She received a 2011 Ohio Arts Council Excellence Grant. Recently, she exhibited in the Chongqing Photography and Video Biennial, Japanese American National Museum and the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center.
Baker has taught in the Studio Department at the AAC since 2004. He has exhibited work in New York, Los Angeles, Paris, London, Basel, Miami, Chicago, Dallas, and other American cities. His work has been featured in many publications, private collections, as well as permanent collections at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Zabludowicz Art Trust, Taschen Foundation, Cincinnati Art Museum, Columbus Museum of Art, Progressive Insurance Collection, and JP Morgan Chase Collection.
Rebecca received her BA from NKU, and her MSM from IWU. She found her calling in the world of Financial Aid where she loves helping students find the funding to obtain their dreams. When not helping students she’s spending time with her family.
Amanda Parker-Wolery meshes her art background with her love of people as the Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Marketing Specialist. She holds a BFA in Illustration from the University of Dayton and an MFA in Fine Art from the University of Cincinnati. When she’s not on social media, you can usually find her on a bike in the mud.
Chelsey received a BFA from the Art Academy in 2010, with a focus on print media, and illustration. She co-owns and operates Pull Club Studio, a print shop located in Camp Washington.
Emily specializes in eighteenth and nineteenth-century European art. She has presented in national conferences and received grants and fellowships for research in the U.S. and abroad. A portion of her doctoral thesis will appear in a forthcoming publication by the Georgia Museum of Art. Her current research interest is in manifestations of eighteenth-century sociability in landscape architecture.
Matthew Dayler’s work has been exhibited at the Telfair Museum of Art in Savannah, Georgia, The Brooks Museum in Memphis Tennessee, and Galerie Edition Schedler in Zurich, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Australia, Miami, NYC and LA. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio and currently faculty at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and is one of the founders of Higher Level Art.
Lindsey M Whittle, a fashion/performance artist, with a BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati and an MDES from the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She taught English in Japan, was Artbin Director for Kiki Magazine and free-lanced as art director/costume director for Yellowhaus videos and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Whittle makes colorful, transformable/wearable objects and also co-runs PIQUE gallery/Airbnb.
Brett Price is a poet and editor. He’s been a curator for the Friday Late Night Series at The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York City and the general manager for Ugly Duckling Presse, for which he now serves on the advisory board.
Audrey earned her MFA from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at George Washington University. Audrey is professional theatre artist with over ten years of experience across the East Coast. Audrey is the Producing Artistic Director and founder of Walterhoope, a Cincinnati performing arts non-profit. Audrey is dedicated to setting AAC students up for success after school.
Casey Riordan, LPC, received an MA in Mental Health Counseling from University of Cincinnati and a BFA in Painting from Ohio University. In addition, she maintains a professional studio practice and exhibits her work in museums and galleries throughout the US.
Alex is a Cincinnati native who primarily uses music as his creative outlet, performing in a variety of ensembles. He has devoted his career to helping people to reach their full creative potential. He believes that the arts play an integral role in shaping peoples’ lives, and enjoys meeting the creative and unique people that inspire the rest of the world.
After neighborhood-hopping around the Miami Valley, Tommy found a home along the Ohio River in Cincinnati. In 2016 he joined the CE Faculty as an instructor of natural-dyeing, textile printing, and fiber work. Since then, he has coordinated outreach programs such as Artist & Writer in Residence and Portfolio Prep. He enjoys bodies of waters, nostalgia, and a bargain.
A native of Texas, Alexandria grew up in a military family and lived on the East Coast until moving to Cincinnati in 2000. Alexandria began studies in Business at Cincinnati State after graduating from Oak Hills High School. She began her work at AAC in summer of 2014 in Community Education’s award-winning Camp Art Academy program.
room:2nd Floor Front Desk
Sam graduated from the AAC in 2019 with a BFA in Illustration, minoring in Painting and Drawing. She started her Community Education career in 2016 as an assistant at Camp Art Academy, then excelled as CE’s student work study until her graduation. Sam has a passion to inspire creativity and fun in everyone she meets.
Matt is an artist who has worked in a wide variety of media, including drawing, sculpture, photography, and digital processes. He earned an MFA from the University of California, San Diego in 2009. He is also the co-founder of two former art galleries: Publico in Cincinnati and Double Break in San Diego.
Linda spent 25 years in northern Ohio before moving down to Cincinnati and raising her two kids here. She has worked in HR for 10 years and loves getting to interact with employees on a daily basis. Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her blended family, especially her granddaughter.
In addition to assisting Joe Girandola, President of the Art Academy, Lasey Haslam is the Director of the Archive of Creative Culture, co-founder of the campSITE Schulpture Park and is an adjunct professor at DAAP UC and Kennesaw State University. Haslam has her Masters Degree from San Francisco Art Institute and holds a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Room:Outside Joe's Office
I have an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and I have worked in many different aspects of the healthcare industry. This is my first position in higher education and I am looking forward to helping the students at AAC with their account needs.
When away from the AAC, I enjoy spending time with my family, friends, and my dog, Chloe and 2 cats, Danica and Rayne.
Stephen Kenny is a painter, illustrator and educator living and working in Cincinnati, OH
Lukas received a BFA from the Art Academy in 2019, with a focus on graphic design and printmaking. He is passionate about positivity, pranks and living a colorful life.
Room:Marketing - S266
Brevyn is a 2018 alum of the AAC. Having studied illustration and creative writing, she is working on several stories including a webcomic. She’s extremely passionate and will happily talk about whatever book, game or show she’s currently obsessing over.
Duck Tape Enthusiast, creative adventurist, and passionate chocolate milk devotee. Bachelors of Fine Arts at The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Minor in Marketing at The Lindner College of Business. Always keep Duck Tape in your car, love yourself, and enjoy the adventures of life.
Dani has been a Cincinnati native since 2000. She is an AAC Alum with a focus in Art History and Painting. When not in the office, she enjoys time with her husband going to concerts, cafes, museums and hanging out with their cats.
I am very excited to be working with the Art Academy of Cincinnati! I am originally from Youngstown, OH, and spent a lot of my life in Dayton as well. I graduated from UC in 2018 and have been working in higher education ever since. I enjoy being in creative spaces supporting artists, and in my free time I like to read, write, attend concerts and be with my family. I love meeting new people, so please come say hi!
Markus Charles Cook is an award-winning filmmaker born and raised in Cincinnati, receiving his degree in Media Communications from Asbury University 2017. He owns and leads creative direction for the video production house MonCharle. When he's not on the clock, you can still typically find him behind the camera, working on his own narrative film projects. Or gaming his brain cells away with his friends.
Born and raised in Eastern Kentucky, Rick earned his BFA from nearby Marshall University. Making his way to Cincinnati by the Ohio River, Wolhoy received an MFA at the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning. Prior to leading the facilities department at the AAC, Rick held the position of Assistant Director of Academic at the University of Cincinnati focusing on the instruction of sculpture, as well as managing the MFA graduate studio facility. While owning and operating Rick Wolhoy, LLC he specializes in a wide variety of design and fabrication throughout the greater Cincinnati region.
Business Analyst Specialist. I am a highly motivated, positive individual with great organizational leadership and communication skills achieving success in Fortune 500 corporate roles, business ownership and community leadership by combining broad business acumen and talent for bringing diverse people together around shared interests. Customer service master and efficient problem solver, and experience with project management work.