Freehand Arts Instructors are working artists who dedicate their time to teach Fiction, Poetry, Nonfiction, Creative Writing and Visual Arts to incarcerated students. We are proud to work with university professors, retired teachers, graduate students, published authors, and artists of all kinds to develop curriculum and lead classes.
Founder and Director || Kelsey Shipman
Kelsey Erin Shipman founded The Freehand Arts Project in 2014, after teaching poetry for over a year at the Travis County Correctional Facility through the PRISMS program. She teaches in the English Department at Texas State University where she earned her MFA in Creative Writing. An educator for close to ten years, Kelsey has taught in a variety of high-need environments including public libraries, low-income schools, and the county jail. She worked as a union organizer out of New York City for several years before moving on to West Africa where she taught writing in local schools. As an author, her work has been widely published in places such as The African American Review, The Austin Chronicle, Sagebrush Review, and Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review. Kelsey is also an accomplished spoken word artist having performed her work on four continents and recently released a full-length album of jazz/funk spoken word poetry. She also served as the Writer-In-Residence at the Katherine Anne Porter House, and was the recipient of the 2007 San Jacinto & Althean Literary Societies’ Grand Prize in Poetry.
Co-Director and Instructor, Creative Writing || Murphy Anne Carter
Murphy Anne Carter is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in Plan II Honors, English Honors, and History. She moved to New York as a member of New York City Teaching Fellows and taught AP Literature and Composition and creative writing classes at a Title 1 high school in Hell’s Kitchen. She is excited to begin graduate school this fall at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. Murphy swims in Barton Springs more days of the week than not, is a part of an all-female art collective in East Austin, and teaches ESL classes at La Casa Marianella to recently arrived immigrants and asylum-seekers. She loves bad jokes, writing, Latin American authors, and Bill Withers—separately and in various combinations.
Instructor, Visual Arts || Bronwyn Walls
Bronwyn Walls is a freelance illustrator and visual artist living in Austin, Texas. Bronwyn uses relief printmaking, ink illustration, and digital coloring in her personal work, which often explores topics such as feminism, intuition, and visual semiotics. Professionally, she enjoys working on a wide range of projects from poster art to logo design. When she's not at her drawing desk, Bronwyn can be found walking around the lake, practicing yoga, or enjoying a film at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Instructor, Poetry || Liz Moskowitz
Instructor, Nonfiction || Maurice Chammah
Maurice Chammah is a journalist and currently a staff writer at The Marshall Project, a non-partisan, non-profit news organization covering criminal justice in the U.S. His writing has been published by The Atlantic, The New York Times, Slate, and Texas Monthly. He plays the violin, and has been a member of the band Mother Falcon. His writing can be found at www.mauricechammah.com.
Instructor, Fiction || Shannon Perri
Shannon Perri is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction at Texas State University, where she also teaches in the English Department. Her work has been published in Joyland Magazine, Fiddleblack, Buffalo Almanack, and elsewhere. Prior to entering the MFA program, Shannon worked as a social worker in a variety of settings including schools, nonprofits, and medical centers. She earned her Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Texas in 2011. She lives in Austin with her husband and menagerie of pets.
Instructor, Fiction || Austin DeGroot
Austin DeGroot is a writer, editor, and student at the University of Texas at Austin. He has served as an editor for Texas Music Magazine and Authentic Texas Magazine, published short fiction in the Tincture Journal and Dark Eclipse, and is beginning his nonfiction writing career. His article on the La Belle and the Texas History Museum will appear in the Fall 2016 issue of Authentic Texas Magazine.
Instructor, Creative Writing || Heather Lefebre
Heather Lefebvre is currently pursuing her MFA in fiction at Texas State University, where she acts as the nonfiction editor of Front Porch. She has worked as an administrative coordinator, a freelance reporter, a library volunteer, and is also the founder and editor-in-chief of Broad!, an independent online literary journal. Her work has been published in select print publications, online journals, and blogs.
Instructor, Poetry || Wade Martin
Wade Martin is co-editor of the Texas Poetry Calendar and a 2014 Pushcart nominee. He is also a Teaching Artist with Badgerdog and archivist at Austin Community College, with recent publications in Perfume River Poetry Review, Freshwater, and Bird's Thumb.
Instructor, Nonfiction || Stephanie Noll
Stephanie Noll is a writer and teacher living in Austin, Texas. After graduating from Penn State University with a BS in secondary English education, she joined Teach for America, moving to Houston, Texas to teach 9th, 10th, and 12th grade English at a high-needs school. After four years in the classroom, she left to pursue her MFA in fiction writing from Texas State University. While a graduate student, Stephanie worked as the founding educational programs manager for Badgerdog Literary Publishing, Inc., a nonprofit that provided creative writing workshops in high-needs schools. She currently works as a senior lecturer at Texas State and is also the director of Old Books for New Teachers, an organization that helps first-year teachers build classroom libraries.