Meet the Instructors: Spring 2023 - Cheekwood
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Throughout the year, Cheekwood holds a variety of adult workshops related to art and horticulture to provide exciting, unique. hands-on opportunities for participants over the age of 18. With the help of our wonderful instructors, we strive to provide participants with the skills and materials needed to learn something new in a relatively short period of time, whether it be painting, floral arrangement, working with organic dyes, calligraphy, etc.

All our instructors are local artists and teachers who are interested in adding teaching experiences to their repertoire as well as sharing their skillset with new audiences.

Here, we’d like to take an opportunity to highlight our instructors from the 2023 Cheekwood in Bloom season, and give a little more detail about their backgrounds as artists and experts in their fields.


Andy Lantz

Andy Lantz is a University of Tennessee Extension Agent in Nashville, specializing in 4-H Youth Development. He leads 4-H camps and clubs with a focus on STEM, nutrition, leadership and citizenship, which includes the Citizen Science: Birding program that he designed which has reached over a thousand potential young birders. Andy was previously a science teacher in middle and high school classrooms for nine years, and an additional four years in environmental education. In his years as an outdoor educator and naturalist, he has worked for Georgia 4-H, MassAudubon, and The Nature Conservancy. Andy has a BA in Environmental Sciences from UMass Boston, and a MS in Science Education from Florida State University. He has been an active birder since 2005.


Vanessa Hamm – esther & ellie florals

Sharing a love of flowers with her Grandma Ellie, Vanessa turned a lifelong enjoyment of florals into her full-time work in early 2022. Leaving behind a global corporate career, she now designs, grows and collaborates as a Nashville based Floral Designer and Owner of home-based studio, esther & ellie florals. With influences from her travels, Vanessa creates warm, distinctive and romantic encounters of beauty for Weddings & Events, Floral Subscriptions and Workshops – joyfully delivering a large-scale Wedding, Business Gala, in home designs for private homes / events, subscription florals and Workshops to over 300 people within months of starting the studio! Using alternative mechanics and highlighting seasonal / native florals are part of her unique and heartfelt ethos, and her designs, filled with the scent, texture and movement, are an immersion for the senses. She believes in the power of beauty to reach straight to the heart, and loves to share this joy with others!

To encounter beauty, Vanessa may be reached at: [email protected]
Instagram: esther_ellie_florals


Kelsey Smith

Kelsey Smith, owner of Hilo Studios, is a functional potter and artist native to Middle Tennessee. Kelsey is a lover of all art practices and helping people along their creative journeys. She graduated with her BFA in ceramics from Middle Tennessee State University in 2014. Since then, she has honed her passion for helping others create by teaching at several art education institutions including Cheekwood, the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, and her own studio. Her work has been in a number of honorable shows and publications including The Nashville Scene, Murfreesboro Magazine, and she recently won Best New Exhibitor at the 51st Annual Spring Tennessee Craft Fair. After years of working as an art educator, Kelsey is currently serving on the board at the Rutherford Art Alliance and creating functional ceramics full-time in her home studio. You can find her work at Church Street Gallery, Steadfast Flowers Urban Farm, and at


Susan Lyell Young

Susan Lyell Young is a native of Nashville and has been gardening for most of her life.
Her summer love is antique and heirloom roses but what to do during winter?
Susan field plants and indoor forces thousands of cut tulips and heirloom daffodils for florists in addition to her own personal stash.
She believes the beauty and fragrance of blooming winter flowers can brighten up even the gloomiest of Nashville winters. Spending the cold months nurturing plants indoors builds the anticipation for Spring!
Susan is a licensed attorney and in her spare time holds down a job and runs a skincare business focused on the healing properties of her roses. You may find her at and her specialty bulb shop at


Jammie Williams

I am a painter, sculptor and daydreamer. My works are inspired by my personal memories, feelings, and emotions. My subjects are people, animals and symbols used to create moods, the expression of dreams, wonder and renewal by forming personal myths and narratives.

Since 2014 I have sculpted the portrait reliefs for the annual Country Music Hall of Fame induction plaques. Currently 33 portraits for 26 plaques.

Serving for three years as in-house artist for contemporary arts center OZ Arts Nashville allowed me the wonderful opportunity to create over 100 personal paintings and collaborate on over 400 additional works including paintings and sculptures in various techniques, styles and materials including abstract and conceptual.

My exhibition history includes the Huntsville Museum of Art, the University of Southern Mississippi Museum of Art and the Nashville Airport Flying solo exhibition series.

I’ve taught classes and workshops through Watkins College of Art, The Renaissance Center, Tennessee Craft, Oz Arts Nashville and the Belmont /Watkins campus.


Dani Taylor

Dani is a self-taught watercolor artist. She began painting as a way to recover from a concussion after a serious car wreck in the summer of 2018. She loves being self-taught because she gets to learn outside of the traditional rules and paint what makes her happy, which is usually landscapes and trees as a throwback to family vacations spent in the Smokies and on the Blue Ridge Parkway. She loves teaching and seeing adult learners take a few hours for themselves in a busy world. Taking that time to shut out what needs to be done and just learn something new, is a gift. Her favorite classes to teach are plein air, and anything outside of the box where people get to be creative.

When not teaching, or working out of her studio in Germantown, she is probably planning her next travel adventure or getting coffee from a local shop.


Andrea Silva

I am a graphic designer, artist, and illustrator pursuing a love for art that I’ve had since childhood. As a native Kansan, I now currently reside in Nashville, Tennessee. I graduated in 2010 with a BA in Graphic Design and minors in Painting and Music from Tabor College in Hillsboro, KS.

I was able to work as their graphic designer in house for 8 years and I continue on in that role remotely.

In 2019 I left my full-time position in the radio world to focus on my career as a graphic artist. Much of what I learned in sound design over the past decade has also carried over to the graphic design world, particularly as I continue growing my skills in motion design.

When I’m not behind my computer or at my easel creating you might find me outdoors exploring with my dear husband of 5 years (and counting) and my toddler. Life with them is full and rewarding.


Jennifer Fleischer – Ibu Textiles

My name is Jennifer and I’m a weaver and fiber artist based in Nashville. Weaving is my first love and I’m often seen experimenting on my floor and frame looms.  A little over a decade ago, I learned to weave at a small textile studio in Connecticut and immediately fell in love. I saved up and bought myself a floor loom whom I named Patsy. Working on everything from wall hangings to scarves, all of my work is made with natural materials that I carefully source.  I like to incorporate natural dyes, dried flowers and other natural elements such as driftwood into my art as well. You can often see me popping up at markets around town and teaching workshops as well. Working with Cheekwood, The Forge, Nashville Art Studios and more, I teach everything from weaving, macramé, needle felting and Indigo dyeing.  Originally from New York, I have made Nashville my home and love the community here. Hope to see you around town!

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