Our Staff

Musicians, Artisans and Volunteers

Catherine Schrenker – Executive Director

Educated as a graphic designer, Catherine Schrenker, taught color theory and graphic design for more that fifteen years, including nine years at the University of Notre Dame. She received her Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the prestigious Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana. Her research while at Notre Dame led to her current work with color, emotions, and behavior.

Internationally, Catherine has lived and worked in Den Haag, Netherlands as a graphic designer. She lived in Warsaw, Poland and taught at Warsaw University in a faculty exchange program. In 2004, Catherine moved to Southwest Virginia and co-founded Integrated Health Concepts of Bristol, Tennessee with her brother, James H. Schrenker M.D. Primarily working with education, marketing, and community outreach, helping the public to understand the importance of an emotional connection in the healing process.

As an artist, Catherine began showing her unique bold style of watercolor painting, described as “more color than water”. She teaches watercolor on Saturday mornings during the school year.

Catherine is passionate about her return to an educational environment, combining her desire for preserving the culture and heritage of Appalachian Arts and Crafts with her love and respect for education and history. According to Catherine, “Being an integral part of the Wayne C. Henderson School of Appalachian Arts is a dream come true. I have been given the opportunity to participate in the preservation and nurturing of our rich heritage. Honoring craftsmanship in all its forms while inspiring a creative community helps Smyth County thrive, and I am thrilled to be part of this amazing community”.


Cheryl Bess-Pottery and Ceramics

 Cheryl recently moved back to her home in Crockett, VA from Somerset, KY. She is a member of the Sheltowee Artisans Guild. She recently had a pottery shop at the Carnegie Community Arts Center in Somerset with her partner Rhonda Wilford, aka Pottery Pals. Cheryl has demonstrated and worked in various art fairs.

Since moving back to Crockett she has taught pottery basics at The Rose Cottage in Wytheville. Cheryl likes to work in both stoneware clay and porcelain. She is excited to return home and begin working and teaching in the pottery studio at The Henderson.

Her passions include pottery and all things Horse. Cheryl and her husband Tim recently welcomed their first grandchild, Jack Vogel. Their daughter Emily and her husband Doug live in Oak Harbor, WA.

Michael Brewer – JAM Instructor: Guitar, Banjo



Chad Johnson – Pottery and Ceramics


Steve Kilby – JAM Instructor: Guitar, Bass

Steve Kilby is one of the pioneers of JAM model, beginning as an instructor with Helen White, who developed the JAM program in North Carolina. A 30-year veteran of many bands, recording and competitions, Kilby learned much of the music he plays from his grandfather, and is honored to be part of a living musical tradition. Over the years, his guitar wizardry has earned him many honors including being named seven-time Fiddler’s Grove guitar champion, two first-place ribbons and a best all-around performer trophy from Galax convention, and winner of the North Carolina State guitar champion. Find out more on his website…


Austin Tate – JAM Instructor: Mandolin, String Band

Austin Tate, from Marion, Virginia and plays the mandolin and sings with Carson Peters & Iron Mountain. He began playing music at 8 years old. His taste in music ranges from classic rock and old country to bluegrass and gospel. He has played for many local churches, nursing homes and restaurants. He has had some great opportunities to play music with some amazing bluegrass artists, including the Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent. Off the bluegrass scene, Austin enjoys watching dirt track racing. Austin says that the most important thing to him is his relationship with God and thanks Him for his ability to play music and blessing him with a wonderful, supportive family. Find out more about Austin


Tim Lewis – Banjo Instructor

Tim Lewis grew up in Ashe County, North Carolina, where he attended Northwest Ashe High School. Tim has always loved bluegrass music and acquired his first banjo as a Christmas present at the age of seventeen from his wonderful and supportive mother, Lorraine.

Tim and his wife, Alison, now live in Grayson County, Virginia, where he has won awards in music. He has played with several great bands such as Wayne Henderson and Friends, Big Country Bluegrass, Rocochet, The Andy Owens Project, Whitetop Mountain Band and Cabin Creek Bluegrass just to name a few. His current band, Cabin Creek Bluegrass, won first place in the Bluegrass Band Competition at the 2019 Ashe County Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddlers Convention.

Tim’s passion in life is carrying on the tradition of the music we cherish and loves to help others learn to play. Tim has taught young aspiring banjo players with much success for several years with the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program in Alleghany County. Tim has devoted his life to promoting the development of other young aspiring musicians and leaving a legacy for them to follow.

Tim’s motto is Music Is Love In Search Of A Word.