RyanArts Instructors 

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Matthew Critchfield 

Matthew has lived in Pittsburgh most of his life, and is devoted to visual storytelling through design, animation and film. He has taught at the Father Ryan Arts Center for five years, sharing secrets and tried-and-true methods and processes of the visual storytelling medium. Matthew graduated from Edinboro University with a bachelor's degree in Cinema and Animation with a concentration in Traditional Animation. Matthew is constantly looking for new and exciting ways to express his stories and to learn from students, colleges and professionals alike! 


You can see more of Matthews work here: Deviant Art: Matthew Critchfield

And see videos of him instructing here: Cartooning with Matthew Critchfield


Terra Mayes

Terra Lee Mayes is a seasoned artist who works in a variety of mediums: clay is her most prominent choice. She graduated from Slippery Rock University with a BFA, emphasis in Ceramic Arts; but her education and history in the Arts is vast. She also attended Bucknell University for Art Study in high school (Governor’s School 1986 ), Grove City College for Electrical Engineering studies, The School of Fine Arts in Poznan, Poland for Study in Installation Art and Ceramics/ Sculpture, and Kangweon University in S. Korea for Ceramic and many other Asian Arts.  

Ms. Mayes has held positions in many fields and places including The Manchester Craftsmen's Guild, Mattress Factory Museum, New Hazlett Theater, Ellis School for Girls, Sweetwater Center for the Arts, and many others.  

Terra also has her own private studio and engages in community-minded salesmanship by selling her clay work, murals and paintings, food-services, and teaching services.  She is a well rounded Artist, Educator, and Coordinator who is willing to help others, while exploring her field.


Trevor Miles 

Trevor Miles is a powerhouse, self-taught choreographer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

In 2013 Trevor was awarded an NAACP Community Service Award for his efforts with youth in the City of Clairton. His stage performances helped raise thousands of dollars for charity, and in 2013, he met another career milestone-- over $10,000 raised for Friends of Denang, The Homeless Children's Education Fund, Uniqua's Love, the Clairton City Food Bank and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  

In 2014, Trevor decided to create his own hand-selected assimilation of dancers to take his storytelling to the next level. Trevor C. Dance Collective was born, and gained notoriety after multiple Kelly Strayhorn Theater appearances, as well as masterclasses the University of Pittsburgh and various school districts. 

In 2015, Trevor C. Dance Collective touched its largest stages yet, including the Benedum Center and Pittsburgh PrideFest. This year saw the collective grow artistically, as they created their first video project and began performing for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

Today, Trevor is working with a tight-knit collective of dancers for his Models Never Die Tour, and partners with Father Ryan Arts Center to create original programming for youth. With a Bachelor's from Point Park University in Advertising / Public Relations, Trevor also works as RyanArts' Marketing Assistant.  

Trevor Miles' work can be seen here: Trevor C. Dance Collective Vimeo 


Donald Fisher  

Early in his life, Don Fisher had shown an interest in making things by hand; painting, paper folding, wood carving, model airplanes, clay modelling and more.

In the middle sixties, Don dove into pottery.  "I was watching a potter demonstrating his skill at the wheel at the Three Rivers Art Festival.  It was as though a fire was sparked in me and I felt compelled to emulate him as soon as I could.  I did.  The joy of working in clay has not left me since," Don says. 

In his ministry as a priest he lived in many different places.  Over the years the basement of every new rectory soon became a make-shift pottery studio.  Don became accustomed to welcoming every opportunity to grow into this craft; his artistic pursuit.

Don eventually majored in ceramics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania at the age of 47 and finished with an M.A. in Art. He was occupied as Pastor of a parish in the East End of Pittsburgh. 

Don began teaching at the Father Ryan Arts Center in 2008. He's been a staple of the center on Tuesday nights for 8 years! 


Bernard Stankay

Bernard Stankay is a fourth generation student of Grandmaster Cheng Man-ch'ing and has been a Tai Chi practitioner for over 20 years. He's studied primarily under Stanley Swartz in Pittsburgh (3rd generation) and briefly under Grandmaster Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo (2nd generation), Grandmaster Cheng's first major disciple. 

He teaches Grandmaster Cheng's 37 Posture Yang Style Tai Chi Form and Chi Kung (Qigong).  

Bernard has been teaching Tai Chi at Ryan Arts for five years and has taught with Pittsburgh Psychotherapy Associates in Pittsburgh's North Hills.

He has a Masters Degree in Information Science and Bachelors Degree in Economics and Political Science both from the University of Pittsburgh. He currently lives in Wilkinsburg with his wife Sandra and two dogs Kobe and Chrissy!


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Ken Kaszak

Ken Kaszak is an ex-actor who turned his acting energy toward writing.  His writing gained him employment--now a business--and has enabled him to travel to many different countries, including Cuba nine times.  Ken has also seen all 37 painting attributed to the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer, including a private showing of a painting owned by the Queen of England in Buckingham Palace.  


Ken has written five books, has had various articles published in local newspapers and received two grants from the PA Council on the Arts for screenplays.  While Ken's class teaches the student how to think like a screenwriter, how to structure an outline, and how to survive the writing (and rewriting) process, he stresses the "ancillary benefits" of writing--improved memory, better research, time management and listening skills!

You can read some of Ken's work here: First Person: Ode to my Shoes