Welcome to VAIC Studio, a place where children can get messy and explore the process of making art. Thank you for visiting! You might call me "the artist who pretends to teach." :) I have over twelve years of experience guiding the art process for students of all ages--from ages two to eighty-two.

When I was knee-high to a grasshopper, I spent days getting my hands dirty and making a mess with clay, mud, paint, costumes, paper, and textiles...often stealing my mom's Scotch tape or finding new uses for abandoned scraps of wood. As a young teenager, I taught simple art classes to local school kids, and at seventeen, I spent a half-year at an orphanage in India, teaching and learning from sixty-four children in a little village outside of Hyderabad called Yerragondapalem.

After returning from India, I attended the University of Virginia, and graduated with a B.A. in Studio Art, concentrating in photography and film, with painting, bookmaking, printmaking and drawing on the side. Since that time, I have worked odd jobs in photography and film, and taken commissions in drawing and painting. I taught in public and private schools, at camps and micro-schools, for Michael's Arts & Crafts, for the Girl Scouts, and for home-school students. In 2016, I completed the Texas Art Content Exam, and in 2017 I began tutoring privately and holding small classes in my home studio.


Soul Space

I believe in an age of screen-time and information overload, children benefit from slowing down, using their hands and engaging sensuous mediums. I hope to foster the  development of a child's (or inner child's) rich pattern language and inner culture. 


 

Testimonials

Art is an integral part of our curriculum at The Humanist Academy, where every individual who enters our doors will find a calling and change the world. We had the great fortune of having Ms. Melissa as our Art Teacher for the 2016-17 school year. She was very diligent with her planning, extremely dependable, and very consistent. Her passion and dedication not only for Art but for ensuring each child developed a love and appreciation for art was outstanding. Ms. Melissa is extremely creative and finds multiple ways to engage the inherent artistic abilities in all children.

Vijay Shah, Director
The Humanist Academy
Irving, TX

Melissa has amazed me time and time again with the quality of beautiful art she has been able to “pull out” of my children. The direction she gives them is just enough to be encouraging and supportive, but not so much as to stifle their creativity. She knows just the right words to challenge them to step out of their comfort zone and try techniques totally new to them.

Jenni Hotopp, Educator, Manager
Veritas Academy
Wylie, TX

 I'll be in my tree house if you need me. 

I'll be in my tree house if you need me. 

 I asked the orphanage children to sign my journal and draw a  small portraits so I wouldn't forget their names.

I asked the orphanage children to sign my journal and draw a  small portraits so I wouldn't forget their names.

 Back in the olden days.

Back in the olden days.

 An elderly man sleeps on a cot in rural India.

An elderly man sleeps on a cot in rural India.