Creative and Visual Services Header Image

Visual Art Faculty


John Ashworth
Visual Arts Division Chair

John Ashworth is the Visual Arts Chairman for the Governor's School for the Arts. In past years, he has taught Graphic Design and Computer Art in the program and was the Visual Arts Production Coordinator before becoming the chairman. Currently the computer art instructor in Middle Tennessee State University's art department, he brings a unique fine arts studio perspective to the use of computer technology in the visual arts. Having taught gifted students on secondary and college levels offers Mr. Ashworth a wide perspective on expectations and approaches for working with the talented students in the Governor's School program. Mr. Ashworth's experiences as a producing artist include solo exhibitions, commissioned paintings, portraiture, graphic design and illustration.

Rodger Murray
Visual Art Production Coordinator

Rodger Murray retired in 2006 from teaching Visual Art in Tennessee public schools for 33 years. He taught at Franklin County High School for 12 years and at Tullahoma High School for 21 years. During his teaching career, Mr. Murray was chosen by his peers as Teacher of the Year five times. From 1994 until 2005 he was an adjunct Art Education teacher at Middle Tennessee State University. Ever since the Governor School curriculum added visual art in 1986, he has been part of the faculty, either as a teacher or on staff. Mr. Murray holds a B.S. degree from Middle Tennessee State University and a M.Ed. degree from Tennessee State University.


John Donovan

John Donovan is an artist and teacher living in Nashville, TN with his wife Lisa and two children, Joseph and Maggie. John earned a BFA from Loyola University, New Orleans in 1994 and MA and MFA degrees from Stephen F. Austin State University, Texas in 1996 & 1997. After graduate school John taught in the art department at the University of West Florida for 5 years. During that time he began to exhibit his work regularly in New Orleans and was featured as a visiting faculty member at the University of Costa Rica.

Clay has remained the medium of choice for most of his artistic career. John's work explores the contradictions he finds in his life and surroundings, often using childhood toys as metaphors for adult concerns. There is a sense of playfulness in his work which belies the often grim underlying notions being explored.

John's art has been exhibited nationally and internationally in juried and invitational shows, and is represented by Zeitgeist Art Gallery in Nashville and LeMieux Galleries in New Orleans. His work was included in the 3rd World Ceramic Biennale international competition, Icheon, South Korea in 2005. John currently teaches art at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro and for the Tennessee Governor's School for the Arts.

Sisavanh Phouthavong

Sisavanh Phouthavong was born in Vientiane Laos. At the age of four, her family emigrated from Thailand to Winfield, Kansas. She attended the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Painting in 1999. With a full tuition Scholarship from Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, IL, Phouthavong received her Master of Fine Arts Degree in 2003 in Painting and Drawing. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Studio Arts in Painting at Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN. Sisavanh has exhibited nationally in Maryland, Illinois, California, New York, Colorado, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and internationally in Canada and New Zealand.

Erin Anfinson

Erin Anfinson is an Assistant Professor of Art at Middle Tennessee State University in where she teaches Foundation courses. Originally from Northeast Iowa, Anfinson relocated to Tennessee in 2003 following the completion of her Master of Fine Arts at the University of Connecticut. Anfinson regularly exhibits her work in local, regional and national exhibitions. In the fall of 2006, a body of her paintings was exhibited in the James S. Murray Gallery at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, IL. Anfinson's work was also recently selected for publication in New American Paintings N. 64 and has been exhibited in Iowa, Kentucky, Connecticut and Georgia. Currently, she is looking forward to participating in several exhibitions at Western Kentucky University, TAG Art Gallery and the Tennessee Arts Commission in Nashville, TN.