Teacher Biographies

Eric Burress is an instructor at his alma mater, Sumter High School, teaching all four levels of ceramics. Eric has both a BFA and an MFA from Clemson University, in sculpture and an extensive ceramic course of study. Eric also teaches ceramics classes, at the Gallery, teaching both youth and adults an introduction to tools, techniques, skills, and culture developed throughout history in clay and ceramic technology. Through a series of projects students utilize vocabulary, materials and tools to visually explore and research art, culture, geography, history, methods and application in the visual arts curriculum.


Connie Brennan was born in Verdun, France in 1957 and devoted herself to art at a very young age. Air Force life in France, Japan and Africa broadened her artistic vision, and she studied art at the University of South Carolina and Illinois State U. Her dense, brightly-colored work explores the relationship between the spiritual and the natural and she is represented in many corporate and private collections.


Laura Cardello has taught pottery classes for youth and adults at the Gallery for 22 years and is a very popular instructor among her hundreds of happy students. She is an accomplished ceramics artist and is past president of the Sumter Artists Guild. She is also a Reach Teacher for the gifted and talented art students for the school district. Laura has exhibited her work in several solo and group shows in South Carolina and throughout the Southeast.


Kyle C. Coleman, the Director of Art Education, at SCGA, is an art instructor, graphic designer, illustrator, and art historian.  He studied at Howard University in Washington, DC and Alabama A&M University in Huntsville and is currently completing a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration, at Winthrop University.  Kyle currently teaches comic book illustration classes at the Gallery, and is excited to continue sharing his love of comics, this summer.


Morgan Edwards(RYT-200) began her yoga journey in 2011.  Morgan felt, and continues to feel, the transformation that yoga provided her. As a result, she became inspired to share the gift of yoga with others. Morgan’s goal is to support both first-time and experienced yogis in cultivating and piloting physical, mental and spiritual opportunities.  Moreover, she looks to bolster her knowledge and training with additional specializations as well as sojourns abroad to deepen her practice.  In addition to her yoga practice and teaching, Morgan is currently the Art Education Assistant with the Sumter Gallery of Art and serves as Marketing Director for Southern Bliss Yoga.  Furthermore, Morgan devotes her time volunteering with the Sumter Little Theater, the Sumter High Drama Club and the Cypress Gourd Patch.


Sarah J. Jones is a fashion designer, portrait artist and illustrator, and has been doodling and drawing all her life. She started painting portraits when she was a senior at Sumter High School in Sumter, SC, and has been doing so ever since.  After finishing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of South Carolina, she moved to New York to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she earned a degree in Fashion Design with a specialization in Fashion Art.  After some six years in New York, designing for several fashion companies, Sarah took a design position in Atlanta, Georgia.


Kelly Melton, drama teacher at Sumter High School, has over 20 years of experience as an educator in Sumter School District. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre/Secondary Education from Boise State University and a Master of Arts in Theatre/Directing from The Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Under Kelly’s leadership, the drama department has placed first at the International Thespian Society One- Act Play Festival and the South Carolina Theatre Association One Act Play State Competition, has earned numerous Superior ratings at competitions, and has won best director, actor and actress awards. Kelly has taught many workshops at these festivals ranging from ballroom dance for the actor, set design, and playwriting to name a few. The most rewarding aspect of Kelly’s career in education is to see students apply what they have learned.


G. Cole Miller received his Masters of Fine Art from Florida International University. Currently the curator at SCGA, he has taught summer camp through university-level graduate courses. As an exhibiting artist, Miller’s fiber and ceramics have shown nationally, and been featured in several publications including Luxe Magazine.  His work resides in various private and public collections including the Frost Art Museum in Miami, Florida and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom.


Alison Smith is an early childhood instructor, with years of experience in the classroom.  She is currently completing a Master’s degree in Childhood Education, from Buffalo State University.  Alison is joining us an instructor, for the first time, this summer, and is excited to join her educational curriculum with fun and engaging art projects!


Maya Smith is an illustrator, portraitist, and art instructor.  Since she was young, she has ha a passion of art, and creating it. So, it was no surprise that she wanted to pursue a professional career as an artist. In order to obtain the best education, possible, she decided to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design and major in Illustration. Since she received her Bachelors in Fine Art from SCAD, in 2006, she has been pursuing a career working as freelance portrait artist and illustrator.



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