Teaching Artists

Alexis Coleman

Creative Writing/Theater
Alexis Coleman is a trained vocalist and musician, and an emerging actor and poet in St. Louis’ artistic community. She is a St. Louis native and graduated from Soldan International Studies High School before relocating to Chicago to earn her music performance degree from Roosevelt University. She workshopped her theater training through The St. Louis Black Repertory Theater and Slightly Askew Theater Ensemble, and was an ensemble member with the latter company between 2009 and 2010. She performs poetry at open mics, background vocals for local bands, and is currently writing and preparing original music for an EP release. Alexis brings her artistic skills and passion for social justice to Freedom Arts as a mentor and multi-talented teaching artist.

Ashley Haynes

Ashley Haynes was born a dancer and remains a dancer. Though currently focused on hip-hop and contemporary, Ashley is trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, gymnastics, and poms. Ashley has attended and competed at dance competitions all around the United States such as The Pulse, Adrenaline, Jump, and Monsters. She was a competitive dancer and hip-hop instructor at DK Dance Productions in Florissant before accepting a position as the Varsity Cheerleading Coach at Trinity Catholic High School. Ashley is now training under Ashley Tate of ADC improving her skills in hip-hop and contemporary and is excited to be a part of the Freedom Arts team providing dance instruction to underserved children in the St. Louis area.

Chelsea Ritter-Soronen

Visual Art
Chelsea is Director and Co-Founder of Chalk Riot, with an insatiable craving to color the world's surfaces. She is inspired by big blank spaces and the potential that they hold to become a canvas for significant art pieces, and wanders the world searching for them. Her chalk art is influenced by traditional renaissance chalk art and modern anamorphic work. Chelsea graduated from the Conservatory of Fine Arts at Webster University in 2008, with a BFA in Theatrical Design, with majors in costume design and scene painting. While she has been painting murals since 2003, it was during her time at Webster that intensive study of theatrical scene painting provided a solid foundation of techniques and mediums. Her study of multi-faceted theatre offers a unique perspective of spatial design and art's role of interaction with the public. Chelsea has facilitated various visual art workshops through Freedom Arts’ Art & Academic Workshops program and at our summer Freedom Arts Camp. When she isn’t creating or teaching, you can find her at a wine tasting or exploring a new hiking trail.

Corey Wright

Creative Writing
Corey Wright is a St. Louis born emcee, lyricist, poet, and spoken word artist. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Corey came back to St. Louis and honed his skills at open mic nights as one of the city’s premier poets. He has shared the stage with many regional and major artists, including Lupe Fiasco, Common, and Talib Kweli. He is the creator and founder of Live Poets Society, a unified collective of poets and spoken word artists that seek to keep the art of poetry, literature, and music healthy in St. Louis. In March 2013, Corey organized Operation Bow Tie to help send high-achieving, underserved male high school students to their prom. He also successfully launched Black Supply Co clothing line in late 2013 and hosts Poetic Justice, one of the top open mic poetry nights in St. Louis. Corey draws on his rich experiences to create as well as teach others about the art of spoken word. His passion, performance background, and life experience make him an engaging and relevant teaching artist.

Damon Davis

Visual Art/Music
Damon Davis is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist and activist that works and resides in St. Louis. Damon graduated from St. Louis University in 2007 with a B.A. in Communication Technology with an emphasis on Visual Communication. He is a member of the accomplished experimental hip hop outfit Scripts N Screwz in which he is both producer and a vocalist. In 2010, Damon co-founded Civil Ape, a collaborative art collective that works in various visual mediums. In 2012, he founded Far Fetched, a wildly unique, independent music and art imprint based out of St. Louis. Damon has earned several awards and accolades, the most notable of which include grants for a special project from the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, the Missouri History Museum, and the Anti-Defamation League, and an Emmy for being the subject of a documentary entitled “Damon Davis: A Story to Tell.” He is also organizing several creative efforts in the cause for justice in the St. Louis area, through his All Hands on Deck project and by producing a documentary film called “Whose Streets?” He has been a driving force within St. Louis’ cultural and social domains. For the majority of the past decade, Damon has produced and curated significant multi-disciplinary art projects that transgress cultural boundaries with the express purpose of raising social awareness. He brings a passion for art, a natural excitement for education, and wealth of knowledge and experiences to the Freedom Arts team.

Darian Wigfall

Academics/Creative Writing/Music
Darian Wigfall is an author, activist, mentor, and entrepreneur. A St. Louis native, he attended North Carolina A&T and University of Missouri, earning a BS in Biology from Missouri. He got a job running a research lab at Washington University for five years before leaving to start his own music management company. He focuses most of his efforts on his role as Director of Artist Management and Development at FarFetched, at St. Louis based artists collective. In 2012, Darian completed and published his first book, “A Dying Breed,” which currently has a sequel in the making. He also co-founded Artists As Tutors in 2014, a group founded to provide homework assistance and arts opportunities to students in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. Darian serves the youth of Freedom Arts by working as a teaching artist and mentor through the Art & Academic Workshops program, Super Scholardays and Scholar Sessions programs, and the Freedom Arts Expo. He is passionate about building uplifting community in St. Louis and using art as a platform for positive social change.

David Rogers

Visual Art/Music
David Rogers is a charismatic, multi-talented visual and musical artist that has the ability to connect with people of all ages and backgrounds. He spent much of his teenage years playing music in multiple local bands and working in the nursery at Manchester United Methodist Church where he was the supervisor for his last three years. Carrying his love for music into adulthood, David attended Greenville College in Greenville, Illinois to study music and philosophy. While at Greenville, David worked with underserved kids through the Big Brothers/Big Sisters Program and worked at several camps throughout the Midwest. David has natural artistic skills in music and visual arts and a sincere, generous heart for serving others.

Eric "Prospect" White

Creative Writing/Music
Eric “Prospect” White is a St. Louis based hip-hop artist, writer, educator, and organizer. Born and raised in St. Louis, Prospect was provided with an arsenal of experiences from which he creates his art. With a keen awareness of the importance of audience connection, his writings are a patchwork of diversity woven together by the commonalities in life that ties the individual listener to our collective consciousness. As an organizer, he has co-founded Cherokee Street Reach and Furious Styles, and recently started Out Hrr Events to promote artist collaboration. He is also involved in Reclamation Arts, an ongoing project to revitalize disenfranchised and abandoned neighborhoods in St. Louis by transforming forgotten objects and areas into high art. Prospect is a devoted teaching artist whose strengths come through in his ability to connect directly with kids of all ages and communicate cutting, concise truths.

Garrett Lacy

Garrett Lacy is a St. Louis native percussionist, composer, and educator. After graduating from Ritenour High School, Garrett went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Entrepreneurship from Webster University in 2013. Garrett joined Freedom Arts as teaching artist in 2017 and facilitates several Art & Academic Workshops, including African Percussion, Street Drumming, Musicology, and Literary Movement. He is currently earning his tutoring certification through the National Tutoring Association and plans to return to school to study Film Scoring. When Garrett isn’t creating his own works or teaching the next generation to do the same, he’s either reading, running, or drinking tea.

Grace Kenyon

Visual Art
Grace Kenyon is a St. Louis native and passionate teaching artist who strongly believes “art is about working with what you got.” As a child, she worked with her mom and learned how to transform and repurpose the recycled materials junk into art projects and jewelry. After spending time working in San Francisco and Brooklyn, Grace returned to St. Louis and began teaching art for people with disabilities through The Recreation Council of Greater St. Louis. In 2014, the events in Ferguson led her to focus on art for social justice and empowering youth as she began working with a group called Artivists. She is currently in the process of starting a nonprofit called Artmobile which will bring pop up art events to different communities. Grace started working with Freedom Arts in 2016 bringing her enthusiasm and talent to several programs and young people of all ages.

Isaiah Cox

Isaiah Cox
Isaiah Cox’s outstanding artistic talents are accompanied by his love of creating and his easygoing educational approach. After graduating from North Tech High School with a career emphasis on graphic design, Isaiah shifted his focus to studying music and audio production at Webster University to which he received multiple music and academic scholarships. In his young music career, he has already shared the stage and studio with notable performers such as Nikko Smith, Theresa Payne, J.R., Kenny DeShields, Tiffany Elle, and Aunyae Heart. With skills in music, writing, and visual art, Isaiah facilitates several Art & Academic Workshops and has taught guitar lessons to several Freedom Arts scholars. His peaceful temperament and generosity in sharing his gifts and experiences has been a welcome addition to the team since 2014.

John Lum

John Lum is a Ferguson, MO native who believes deeply in the significance of education and mentorship. After graduating from Webster University in 2011 with a BM in Music Performance, John utilized his strong network to pursue his passions of music and education. He performs and records with several musical artists in St. Louis, including River Kittens and the Richie Kihlken Band. He has taught at City Music & Education Center and currently works as the Percussion Instructor at Fox High School. John started teaching with Freedom Arts in 2016. He is thankful for all of the opportunities he has received and is dedicated to providing the same opportunities to young musicians now and being a light all around St. Louis.

Larry Morris

Music/Creative Writing/Academics
Larry Morris may be best known as the front-man for the award winning hip-hop fusion band iLLPHONiCS, but his skills far surpass his reputation as a highly proficient rapper. Larry attended Webster University and graduated in 2008 with a BA in Audio Communications. During his time at Webster, his landed himself on the Dean’s list multiple times and led the Multicultural Center and International Student Affairs program all while making a name for iLLPHONiCS throughout the Midwest. He gained valuable experience working with children at Glenride Children Center and in the Clayton School District. He currently works as a Program Assistant for UrbanFuture, Music Director for St. Louis World’s Fare, and continues to perform and record on a regular basis with iLLPHONiCS. Larry is a knowledgeable and dedicated artist who loves St. Louis and believes in empowering young people to find their path and write their own success stories.

Muhammad "Mastermind" Austin

Music/Creative Writing
Muhammad Austin has been working for years in St. Louis’ music scene as an independent musical artist and leader of the M.M.E. collective in St. Louis. Known on the music scene as “Mastermind,” Muhammad is a gifted engineer, producer, and rapper who has performed in dozens of cities including St. Louis, New York, Atlanta, and Detroit and opened for several major artists such as Chance the Rapper and Ab-Soul. He has earned acclaim from several publications, including The Riverfront Times award of “Best Musical Act of 2014.” During his time in Atlanta, Muhammad taught music production classes at Walbridge Elementary. He is excited to continue his teaching artist career with Freedom Arts within the music and creative writing disciplines.

Pacia Anderson

Creative Writing/Visual Arts
Pacia Anderson is a St. Louis-based poet, writer, visual, and teaching artist that uses the art of the narrative to both make sense of the world around her, as well as to tell a good story. Her work is a charismatic blend of rhyme, layered imagery, and fantasy, all of which are used to explore complex subject matter and co-create visceral, emotive experiences for readers and listeners alike. She is a 2014 graduate of Regional Arts Commission’s Community Arts Training Institute, a founding member of the art-based youth initiative Cherokee Street Reach, and serves as bookings and curation assistant to St. Louis Poet Laureate Dr. Michael Castro. Pacia also has taught poetry classes at Most Holy Trinity in North St. Louis and mural art at Roosevelt High in South City. She is a member of the Yeyo Arts Collective and is currently working to produce her first spoken-word album, tentatively titled Wormhole. Pacia brings her vibrancy and passion to Freedom Arts by serving as a teaching artist within several of our programs.