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Arts Educators-in-Residence

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Alison Kocur is an Art educator, who returned to her Columbus, Indiana roots at Columbus East High School, where she graduated in 2008. She graduated from Purdue University in 2012 with her Bachelor’s in Visual Arts Education and is graduating from the University of Indianapolis in 2021 with her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. She has been teaching in Indiana for 9 years and was excited to come back to Columbus East High School to teach 2D Art and serve as Art Department Coordinator. Alison is passionate in teaching students the foundations of art, and illustrating how to embrace their own creative story. 

This summer, she is excited to work with students, to teach how to embrace the full creative process within a maker’s space in Columbus; studio art, combined with collaborative art, students will experiment and develop their own artistic voice. Students will be able to explore the rich Columbus public art, learn how to see the world around us, and fuel their visual spirit.

Students will be actively working with Alison to develop their personal art, explore foundational skills, and allow them to embrace their own passions.


Maria Souza is a professional theatre artist who has recently returned to Indiana after 13 years performing and teaching professionally across the United States. In addition to her work on stage and in film, she collaborates groups of artist activists who create devised performance arts pieces to coincide with societal events in local communities and on global scales.  She currently serves on a leadership council of international artists based in Brooklyn, NY whose work is focused on the fluidity of art and humanity.  

Maria is thrilled to bring a taste of this work to her hometown of Columbus, IN.  This summer, Maria looks forward to spending time with young artists, creatives, and thinkers, to work together on creating performance arts based works centered on conversations students wish to have about their community, lives, equity, and whatever their artist soul wishes to speak.


Youth Arts Summer Program


Program Dates: June 7–July 30

(no meetings June 28–July 5)

Weekly Meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Weekends: Saturdays (to be agreed upon by the lead Arts Educators and participants)

As part of CAAC's Youth Arts Initiative, Alison and Maria will lead high school students in a 6-week summer program to encourage creative skills and provide inspiration in where we live. This pilot program will foster and develop young talent in a positive environment that encourages creative exploration, social justice and civic engagement. 

  • Participation is free and open to high school students (ages 15–17) enrolled in BCSC or  homeschooled in Bartholomew County. Project materials and any necessary supplies will be provided by CAAC.

  • Students enrolled in the pilot program will be exposed to interdisciplinary practices by trained professionals in visual art, design and the performing arts. 

  • The program will culminate in a community project that will be presented to the public, such as an exhibition, video, digital or printed publication, performance, podcast, etc. 

  • Meetings will be scheduled during the week and on the weekends in-person and virtually at 411 Gallery and Studio 207. 100% student participation and attendance is encouraged for the duration of the program.

  • To apply, please send a letter of interest or 3–5 minute video describing your interest to the Columbus Area Arts Council at by Friday, May 21. 
    Please indicate your preference of enrolling in the performing arts track or the visual arts track.

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