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Blythe King (she/her),

Founder and Director

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Mike Zetlan (he/him), Deputy Director

Blythe has led a diversified life in the arts, including work as a teacher, professional practitioner, and successful entrepreneur.  Her unique perspective and abilities reflect this collectively rich experience.  Since 2013, she has taught adults, seniors, youth, students with special needs, and others through local organizations like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), The Visual Arts Center, and Reynolds Community College.  She has led VisArts’ ArtVenture and ENGAGE programs.  She has taught workshops throughout Virginia as VMFA Statewide Faculty, and has been invited by Henrico County Public Schools to speak to art teachers at the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  She has partnered with Capital One, Alzheimer’s Association, Collegiate, The Faison Center for Autism, The Martin Agency, and Richmond Public Schools.  She brings a talent for cultivating awakenings through creative programming.  In 2020, she launched Open Space Education to develop critical thinking, artistry, and communications in fourth through ninth graders.

Blythe’s mixed media art has achieved consistent critical acclaim and has exhibited regularly in Virginia through the Richmond Public Library, Quirk, Eric Schindler Gallery, and the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art.  She has also been showcased by the The Griffin Museum of Photography (MA) and the Hillyer Art Space (Washington DC).  Her use of gold leafing is particularly noteworthy for rekindling interest in a long-forgotten craft.  She was also an early adopter in the tablet accessory marketplace through her repurposing of vintage clothing into fashionable cases.  In 2016, she produced a series of handmade rag dolls for the Kickstarter-funded Tabula Raisa adventure series for children.

Blythe’s academic background combines an MA in Buddhism and Art from the University of Colorado, with undergraduate studies in Japanese religion and art at the University of Richmond.

 

Growing up outside of Boston, Michael Zetlan (he/him/his) spent his childhood immersed in the world of books, nature, comics and creativity. He was introduced to the world of art by his aunt and uncle, both employees at the National Gallery of Art who helped unleash his imagination. Michael began his college career in Maine at Bowdoin College and graduated from Georgetown University with a studio art major in oil painting, printmaking and film.
 
In the years following, Michael’s work was featured in projects including record albums, art journals and private shows. He collaborated with his brother in the organization and implementation of a breast cancer awareness music festival for five years in the New England area featuring bands such as Piebald, The Locust and Ted Leo. During his time in Washington, DC he led programs to teach kids how to fish with an emphasis on the ecology and biology of streams and water systems through Trout Unlimited.
 
After moving to Richmond, Michael joined ART 180 as a program leader, teaching at Fairfield Middle School and Northstar Academy. He eventually left the corporate world and joined the full-time staff as program manager for teen programs as well as gallery manager. During this time he worked in partnership with other organizations in the city to promote equity, mental health, LGBTQ+ rights, and healing with young people. This work included partnerships with The Conciliation Project, Drums not Guns, the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia, Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, and Performing Statistics. He also sat on the advisory board of RVA Alternative Pathways, an intervention program through VCU that worked with Richmond Police Department to reduce youth violence. In addition, he collaborated with the Department of Sculpture + Extended Media and the ICA to launch and implement Future Studio, a semester long program aimed at giving Richmond teens hands-on experience and access to creating art with the department. He was recently given the opportunity to illustrate a children’s book with a local teen as a part of the Richmond Young Writers Picture Book Project.
 
Michael recently served as Director of Operations at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. He lives in Richmond with his wife, son and dog who have great dance parties and love to explore the river and woods in the area.