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Amalia Kouvalis is a Chicago based artist with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in oil painting and printmaking from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Amalia paints and illustrates representational realism with mysterious surrealist undertones. Her work is heavily influenced by dreams and silent films. Amalia has taught drawing, painting, and etching classes to students of all ages in various Chicagoland art centers. Amalia was the 2017-2018 Printmaking Artist-in-Resident at Lillstreet Art Center where she created etchings and screen prints. During her residency, she was working as the Assistant Director at Glenview School of Arts. Her passions outside of her studio practice include playing piano, studying filmmaking, playing games, reading mystery novels, and singing karaoke.


Sara Renae Holloway

Director of Education

Sara Renae Holloway is a visual artist and art instructor based in Chicago. Sara's work is profoundly figurative and inspired by metaphor, naturally occurring patterns, biology, classic literature and folklore. She enjoys pushing boundaries and combining as many mediums as possible. Her work is most often symbolic and intuitive while exploring a variety of personal narratives. She believes that there is no such thing as failure and that making "mistakes" in art is a good thing. Sara graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts with an emphasis in Art Education from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009. She also holds an Illinois State CPS certification with a Type 10 endorsement in Visual Arts and Special Education. Since 2005, Sara has taught, managed, and developed fine art curriculum for a handful of CPS/Chicago Charter schools as well as The School of the Art Institute Young Artist Studio program. 


Danielle Owensby

Assistant Director

Danielle “deo” Owensby is a photographic artist, a social activist, a writer, an educator, and a globe-trotter. Danielle holds a BA in English and a BFA in Studio Arts, awarded by Michigan State University, and a MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago. Her work is about using photography to dissect complicated emotions ranging from nostalgia and longing to trauma and death. She has won numerous awards for her photography, has given artist talks around the country about her practice, and has been in several publications and exhibitions around the globe. Danielle is a co-owner & member of Agitator Cooperative Gallery, where she curates and helps plan exhibitions centered around relevant social issues. She is also the founder and editor of The Jade Plant Project, a publication dedicated to giving sexual assault survivors a space to express themselves. She loves to travel the world with at least three cameras in hand and has a passion for learning languages (even though she is awful at it.)


Taylor Morgan

Art instructor

Taylor Morgan is an artist living and working in Lincoln Square. She is primarily a painter of narrative figuration. A recent graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her work has been featured in group shows including GIFC at Western Exhibitions 2019, SAIC Spring BFA show in 2019, Yale Norfolk’s Terrain show in 2018. Taylor is inspired by golden and silver age illustration in print media. She is passionate about gender equality, queer and working-class empowerment. She finds humor and significance in the ordinary, and is a long time explorer of costumes and temporal drag. Her work engages the possibilities of narrative art through depictions of social system deviants and the full range of emotions experienced as young people. Outside the studio Taylor loves watching movies, teaching, roller skating and going to the dog beach (even though she doesn't have a dog).


Christina Benham Dickens

Art Instructor

Christina Benham Dickens is a Chicago artist who has been living in and inspired by the Lincoln Square neighborhood for over a decade. For Christina, expression is visual. She has been filling sketchbooks since early childhood, and grew that love of visual expression into an academic study of fine art production at the Art Institute of Chicago and Columbia College, eventually earning her BFA in Art & Art History from DePaul University. Professionally, Christina has worked as a graphic designer, illustrator, and branding consultant for a wide range of clients, from local shops to Ford Motor Company. She has also directed art programming at the Boys and Girls Club of Valparaiso. Christina enjoys illustrating, mixed media, crocheting, baking, and just generally making things.


Julia Davis

Art Instructor

Julia Davis is an artist and filmmaker who grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is now based in the city. She attended Oberlin College where she studied Cinema Studies and Studio Art. She loves drawing, painting, and animation. Her work is varied, but can all be traced back to her fascination with nature, people, feminism, relationships, and storytelling. She really enjoys working with kids and is very excited to be teaching at One River School. Outside the classroom, she can be found working with her media collective on their first documentary, exploring Chicago’s coffee shops, and working at Music Box Films.


Gabriel Andres

Art instructor

Gabriel Andres is a Cuban, Miami-born illustrator, painter, draftsman and teacher who received Associates degrees in both Biology and Art before moving to Chicago to receive a BFA focusing on visual fine arts and community art. In Miami, he pursued making work for multiple galleries in the rapidly growing Wynwood district that focused on street art and painting. After Moving to Chicago, he became involved in multiple schools and studios teaching open visual art classes to all ages and developing community projects that connected young students with access to the arts and even created and published a bi-lingual comic book with some of Little Village's zaniest kindergarten students. In His own practice he uses narrative works in series to tell stories of conflict, compromise, and love through strange and often extreme or violent imagery to discuss the challenges and wonders of life. He is currently in the final stages of completing a comic book of his own and trying to push himself with extremely large scale landscapes while collaborating with other artist for other exhibitions.


Layla Bowling


Layla Bowling is a student at Harold Washington College, pursuing an associates degree in Liberal Arts. Growing up in Chicago she was influenced by the incredible art scene which inspired her to start painting. She is a painter who mostly works in watercolor and acrylic but is looking to work more with oils. Her pieces are representational of internal personal struggles shown through creatures and abstract designs. She she took AP art in high school where she submitted 24 pieces and started her first portfolio. She now is involved in her schools art community and spends much of her free time creating. Outside of art, she works in the coffee industry and has found a love for baking.


Christina Rycz

Art instructor

 Christina Rycz is an illustrator from Brooklyn, NY and recent, enthusiastic Chicago transplant. Christina studied Communications Design, Illustration (BFA) at Pratt Institute and is a graduate of the MFA Illustration as Visual Essay program at the School of Visual Arts. After a childhood spent chasing frogs and hoarding picture books her work reflects a love of scientific illustration and the fantasy of traditional story-telling. Christina’s creative home-base is really anywhere that nature and narrative collide. That usually takes the form of illustrated books or sequential art, often accompanied by elaborate world-building, character, and environment design. Whenever possible Christina incorporates sculpting and mask-making into her projects to support her illustrations. Christina has worked professionally as an illustrator, visual development artist and fabricator, and graphic designer. Throughout her education and professional practice Christina has earned multiple awards and participated in numerous group exhibitions. When she is not drawing her other occupations include: botany enthusiast, tea connoisseur, and petter-of-cats.

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