Art Department Faculty and Staff

Meet the Team

Administrative Faculty and Staff

Eric Griffis

Professor and Interim Chair
Campus Theatre #202

MFA, Costume Design & Technology, University of Southern Mississippi


Eric received his BA in Theatre from Southern Arkansas University (Magnolia, AR) and his MFA in Costume Design & Technology from the University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg, MS). 

At SAU, Eric designed costumes for a number of productions including Buried Child, How I Learned to Drive, and See How They Run. Following his undergraduate work, Eric was the Associate Youth Director for the Jefferson Davis Parrish Arts Council's (Jennings, LA) youth theatre program and designed costumes and other technical aspects for their productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and A Bad Year for Tomatoes. In his time at USM, Eric designed costumes for Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar & Grille,Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Much Ado About Nothing (women's costumes), Moon Over Buffalo, and Fefu & Her Friends. In 2006, Eric assisted Costume Designer Peggy Stamper and her Assistant/husband Fred Lloyd as an Extras Costumer on the ABC/ESPN film Ruffian. Following that, Eric worked in the Wardrobe Department at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for the 2007- 2008 season. For GC, Eric has designed costumes for Eurydice, Yours, Anne, The Rover, The Smiles, RENT, and The 1940's Radio Hour. Other recent designs include South Pacific at the New London Barn Playhouse and the Southeastern premiere of Good Boys and True at Actor's Express. 

Eric's areas of research include 20th century costumes, the symbolism of color, and computer rendering using Adobe Photoshop. 

Valerie Aranda

Professor of Art, Drawing and Painting, and Program Coordinator
218 Ennis Hall, CBX 094

MFA, Visual Arts, University of California, San Diego


Lori Watson

Office Coordinator
102 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • MAS, Archival Studies, Clayton State University
  • B.S., History, Georgia College & State University

Art History Faculty


Elissa Auerbach, PhD

Professor of Art History
301 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • Ph.D. in Art History, University of Kansas
  • M.A. in Art History, University of Kansas, (with honors)
  • B.S. in Visual Communications, Towson University

Elissa Auerbach received her Ph.D. in seventeenth-century Dutch and Flemish art from the University of Kansas in 2009 and began teaching at Georgia College in 2006. Her research examines the depiction of the Virgin Mary as a traditional Roman Catholic theme in early modern Dutch visual culture and related developments in devotional practices, science, and domestic conduct after the Reformation in the Netherlands. Her current research focuses on the phenomenon of spiritual pilgrimage to illegal places of Catholic worship in post-Reformation Dutch altarpieces, prints, illustrated books, and maps.

Recent publications have studied the domesticated Virgin Mary in scenes of the Holy Family in early modern Netherlandish visual culture; pilgrimage and the liminal landscape in the Dutch Republic; Marian Piety in post-iconoclasm Haarlem in Hendrick Goltzius’s print series, The Life of the Virgin; and Cartesianism in Rembrandt’s print, The Death of the Virgin.

Courses taught include Northern and Italian Renaissance art, Baroque art, Christian Art and Iconography, the History of Photography, Writing about Art, Art and Ideas, The Ancient and Medieval Worlds, and from the Renaissance to the Modern World. For GC, she has also directed and taught on faculty-led summer study abroad programs in Amsterdam, Paris, and Rome. 

Fadhili Mshana, PhD

Professor of Art History
309 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • Ph.D. Art History (African Art): Binghamton University, Binghamton, NY
  • M.A. Art History (The Arts of Africa, Oceania & the Americas): University of East Anglia, (UEA) Norwich, England
  • B.A. Hons., Fine Art, Theatre, & Education: University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM), Tanzania
  • Certificate in Fine Art & Education, Butimba Teachers’ College, Tanzania
  • Teachers’ Certificate, Korogwe Teachers’ College, Tanzania

Fadhili Mshana received his Ph.D. in African art from Binghamton University in 2000 and began teaching at Georgia College in 2002. Previously he had taught at Primary School and Teachers’ Training College levels, and at the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. His research interests lie in the arts of the African world: traditional and contemporary African art, and arts of the African Diaspora; art and identity, patronage and market forces on art, politics of art, and colonial and post-colonial processes on culture. Current research examines art patronage African artists received from European Christian missions in twentieth-century Africa and the significance of that patronage in mapping and defining twentieth-century African art.

Fadhili Mshana’s work has received numerous fellowships and awards including a Fulbright Scholarship for his dissertation research among the coastal peoples of Tanzania. Publications include journal articles and book chapters on the arts in Tanzania. He is also a practicing artist and his work has featured in group shows in Tanzania, Cuba, Denmark, and the United States.

Courses taught include African Art and Islam, African Art History, Art Criticism: From Plato and Kant to Post-Modernism, The Ancient & Medieval Worlds, Art of the African Diaspora, Contemporary African Art, Fine and Applied Arts in Civilizations, and Teaching Multiculturalism thru Art: K-12. He has also taught on faculty-led summer study abroad program in Paris. 

Ruben Yepes

Ruben Yepes Muñoz, PhD

Assistant Professor of Art History
306 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • PhD in Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
  • M.A. in Visual and Cultural Studies, University of Rochester
  • M.A. in Cultural Studies, Javeriana University (Bogota, Colombia)
  • B.A. in Visual Art Education, University of Antioquia (Medellin, Colombia)

Ruben Yepes Muñoz received his PhD in Colombian contemporary art and film from the University of Rochester in 2017. His dissertation, which addresses the mediation of the Colombian armed conflict in visual art and film, was published in 2018. Between 2017 and 2021, he taught in the Cultural Studies Department at Javeriana University in Bogota, Colombia. He previously taught art and art history at the undergraduate and high school levels at the University of Rochester and in his home country of Colombia.

Ruben’s research addresses modern and contemporary art and visual culture in Colombia and Latin America. Current research focuses on the genealogies of Latin American Visual Studies and the discourse of visuality in Latin American critical theory and cultural criticism.

Ruben is the author of three books: Afectando el conflicto: Mediaciones de la guerra colombiana en el arte y el cine contemporáneo (2018), María José Arjona: Lo que puede un cuerpo (2015) and La política del arte: Cuatro casos de arte contemporáneo en Colombia (2012). He is also the author of a number of peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published in Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States.

Ruben has received several important fellowships, grants and awards, including the National Prize for Scholarly Essay in Art History (2017, Colombia), a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship (2016), a Grant for Research on Colombian Art from the Colombian Ministry of Culture (2015) and a Fulbright Scholarship (2012).

As an undergraduate and graduate instructor, Ruben has taught courses such as Understanding Visual Art, Gender and Visual Culture, Modern and Contemporary Theories of Art and Film, Visual Studies: Concepts, Issues and Debates; Research Methodologies in Cultural Studies, Latin American Visual Culture, Introduction to Cultural Studies, Research Projects in Cultural Studies and Introduction to Visual Studies.

Studio Art Faculty

William (Bill) Fisher

Professor of Art
103 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • MFA, Ohio University
  • BA, The College of William and Mary

William Fisher is Professor of Art in the Department of Art, Georgia College.  MFA, 1996, Ohio University; BA, 1985, the College of William and Mary; apprentice to woodblock Master Toshii Yoshida, 1989-93, Tokyo, Japan; Under Secretary of Southern Cultural Hegemony and Rural Visual Authority, US Department of Art & Technology. 
Whether print-based in the tradition of fine art printmaking, through digital or commercial print media or performative installations, these projects involve students, friends, strangers and colleagues, depend ultimately upon the efforts of community and often result in audience functioning as author.
Exhibitions/performances include District Fine Arts Gallery, Washington, DC; Phoebe Conley Gallery at California State University, Fresno, CA; Glass Gallery, University of Texas at El Paso, Texas; Jewett Arts Center Galleries, Wellesley College, Wellesley, MA; Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Central Missouri State University; Ohio University; University of Wisconsin at Madison; the Quinlan Visual Arts Center, Gainesville, GA (censored); the Athens Institute of Contemporary Art, GA; Macon Arts Alliance; Blue Tower Gallery, Atlanta; Eyedrum Gallery, Atlanta; 24K Gallery, San Diego, CA; Columbia College, Chicago.  Fisher's work is in private and public collections internationally.
Publications featuring work include Stone Lithography by Paul Croft, and The Indiana Review, 2005 Special Summer Issue. Interviews by Eye Candy Magazine, Bad Subjects, Vivir Latino,, Take Back the Media and Rolling Stone. Work has been solicited by the Nation, Cursor and Cabinet Magazine web sites and Rhizome Art Data Base, and was shown in Winnipeg and Vancouver in early 2007 as part of the traveling exhibition "Allegories of the Genome." Fisher was chosen to represent Georgia in the first 20-state fine art invitational "20/20," at Fire House Gallery, 2008.

Emily J. Gómez

Professor of Art, Photography
023 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • MFA in Photography, University of Georgia
  • BA in Fine Arts, Photography, Loyola University Chicago

Emily J. Gómez is originally from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She earned a BA in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Photography from Loyola University Chicago in 1998 and went on to work as the staff photographer for a Metropolitan Detroit newspaper, The Spinal Column Newsweekly, for five years. In May 2006, she earned an MFA with Distinction in Photography from the University of Georgia and began teaching at Georgia College that August. Professor Gómez designed the photography area in Ennis Hall to encompass three types of photography: traditional black and white film and darkroom, alternative process, and digital so that Georgia College students have access to a wide range of working methods within the realm of fine art photography.

Professor Gómez is primarily a medium and large format film photographer, who has explored American Indian town sites of the Southeast and Midwest, North Georgia waterfalls, and, most recently, Cumberland Island, Georgia. She exhibits her photographs locally, nationally and internationally, has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a Distinguished Fellowship at the Hambidge Center for the Creative Arts and Sciences, and a commission and purchase award from the Zuckerman Museum of Art. She lives in Milledgeville, GA with her husband Ernesto R. Gómez and their dog Maya.

Ernesto Gómez

Lecturer of Art; Gallery and Woodshop Technician
207 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • MFA in Sculpture, the University of Georgia
  • BFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago 

Ernesto R. Gómez is originally from Highland, Michigan. He earned his BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his MFA in sculpture from The University of Georgia where he graduated with distinction. Many of his sculptural works and performances emphasize sound as a dominant element; he also works with traditional sculptural materials such as bronze, iron, wood and stone. He has exhibited both in the United States and Internationally, and as a musician, he has performed in many experimental and standard rock ensembles.

Ernesto was awarded the Friends of Cortona Scholarship that allowed him to study stone carving and bronze casting with the University of Georgia in Cortona, Italy. He was elected to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and is a recipient of the International Sculpture Center’s Outstanding Student Achievement in Contemporary Sculpture award. In 2015/16 he served as an Academic Director for the Montepulciano, Italy study abroad consortium led by Kennesaw State University.

Ernesto is a full-time Lecturer of Art at Georgia College where he teaches studio foundations and sculpture. He lives in Milledgeville, Georgia with his wife Emily J. Gómez, a Professor of Photography. 

Sandra Trujillo

Professor of Art, Ceramics
306 Ennis Hall, CBX 094
  • M.F.A. in Ceramics, University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Certificate: Ceramics, Escola de Ceramica y Artesianias de La Bisbal, Catalonia, Spain
  • Certificate: Ceramics, Escola de Ceramica y Artesianias de La Bisbal, Catalonia, Spain
  • B.A. in Religious Studies, University of California at Berkeley

I was born in Vallejo, California. I received my BA in religious studies from the University of California at Berkeley and received my MFA in ceramics from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

I am Professor in the Department of Art at Georgia College located in central Georgia, where I teach drawing and ceramic art. I am actively involved in annual summer teaching abroad with the European Council. I share a studio for drawing and ceramic arts with Curtis Stewardson in Milledgeville, Georgia.

I have had exhibitions in venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art in Atlanta, the Grimmerhus Museum, Denmark, the Ann Linneman Gallery in Copenhagen, and the Palacio de Dom Manuel in Evora, Portugal – a UNESCO Heritage site. I often exhibit ceramics within universities and art galleries. I have been a resident artist at national and international art centers such as the Archie Bray Foundation for the ceramic arts in Montana; the OBRAS center in HOLLAND, the OBRAS center in Portugal, the International Ceramic Research Center in Denmark, Quarry Tile Factory in Washington, Mendocino Art Center in California, and the Ceramic Center-Berlin in Germany. My art is included in journals such as Ceramic Arts and Perception, Drawing, and ArtWeek. I have also written and published art reviews in journals. I have lectured at public and private institutions and organizations such as the University of South Bohemia České Budějovice and many regional universities in the south.

matthew forest

Matthew Forrest

Associate Professor of Art, Printmaking
204 Ennis Hall, CBX 094, and Miller Annex
  • Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management & Leadership, University of Georgia 
  • MFA, West Virginia University
  • BFA, Slippery Rock University

Receiving his BFA from Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania in 2005, Forrest also studied at the Poznan Academy of Art in Poland, specializing in offset lithography.  In 2008, Forrest received his MFA from West Virginia University with specialized focus in lithography & serigraphy.  Forrest has exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently including shows at the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery (Ellensburg, WA) the Janet Turner Print Museum 11th National Print Competition at CSU, in Chico CA and the Wheaton Biennial: Printmaking Reimagined Wheaton College in Norton, MA.  Forrest’s research has also been published recently in both print and digital formats including studio visit magazine, and he has been the recipient of several grants to make printmaking more accessible to students with disabilities and to local community centers in Baldwin & Bibb counties.  Forrest lives in Gray, GA and works at Georgia College & State University.

Abraham Abebe

Associate Professor of Art, Graphic Design
110 Ennis Hall, CBX 094,
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Typeface Design, The Cooper Union, New York
  • MFA in Studio Art, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • BFA, Concentration in Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing, University of Nevada Las Vegas
  • AA, Truckee Meadows Community College
  • Diploma of Vocational in Business Office Technology, Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center 

Abraham Abebe was born and grew up in Ethiopia. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Art, Graphic Design at the Georgia College & State University. He came to Georgia College with the opportunity to develop two new curricula for the BA in Art with Graphic Design Concentration and Graphic Design Minor, which included the development and approval of seven new courses. Both programs were designed to better prepare students with the skills, creativity and imagination. The curricula emphasize on design theory, history and research to provide students direct and applicable methods to redefine design problems, adopt emerging technologies, and embrace design thinking to advance diversity.

Abraham has previously taught Graphic Design, Design Fundamentals and Drawing courses at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. He also oversaw the Design Fundamentals III (Digital) class while teaching at UNLV. His ongoing research interest is centered in the area of library signage, wayfinding system, security printing design (specifically developing currency and passport), and Latin and non-Latin typeface development. Most of his Ge’ez (Ethiopic) typefaces are being used by number of Ethiopian television, online, and print medias such as ARTS TV, Nahoo TV, Andafta Media, Zehabesha Media, and Feteh Magazine (the leading Ethiopian Amharic weekly publication).  

Abraham is the author of an experimental typography book, “Professor Fuzo: Poems and Short Stories”, published in 2018, and a book of poetry, “Eggmel”, published in 2012. Both books were written in his native language Amharic.

Abraham holds Postgraduate Certificate in Typeface Design from the Cooper Union, New York, Master of Fine Arts in Studio Art and Bachelor of Fine Arts (Cum Laude) with concentration in Graphic Design, Painting and Drawing from the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Associate of Art Degree with Distinction from Truckee Meadows Community College as well as Diploma of Vocational in Business Office Technology from Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center. 

Curtis Stewardson

Ceramics Studio Technician
  • MFA, Pennsylvania State University
  • BFA, Kansas City Art Institute
  • BA, Earlham College

Curtis earned a BA in French from Earlham College in 1993, and met John Glick at a workshop while studying ceramics at the Worcester Center for Crafts in 1994.  He worked as Glick’s Studio Assistant at Plum Tree Pottery from 1995-1996. He earned his BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute in 1998 and his MFA from Penn State in 2000.  In 2003, he began a two-year residency at the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, Montana. Curtis has exhibited his work and given workshops nationally.  In 2017, he created an artwork for the Georgia Council for the Arts Governors Award. It was presented to National Infantry Museum in Columbus, GA. Curtis currently maintains his studio in Milledgeville.

Sajad Amini

Sajad Amini

Assistant Professor of Art, Graphic Design
107 Ennis Hall, CBX 094,
  • MFA Studio Practice
  • MFA Visual Studies
  • BA Cinematography, Photography

Sajad Amini is an Iranian artist based in Georgia, US. He got his BA in cinematography and photography from Sooreh Art University, Tehran. During his artistic career, he participated in several cinematic projects and directing animation while he was working as a graphic designer and art director with outstanding international brands and well-known advertising agencies. He got his MFA from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Visual Studies in Portland, Oregon and the MFA in Studio Art from the University of Oregon. His artworks depict his deep personal life experience back in his home country concentrating on politics, religion, and psychoanalysis. Text and language as communication mediums constitute the foundation theme for his artwork. His artwork has been exhibited in several local and international art shows and residencies.

His research concentrated on the meaning and interpretation of language in contemporary society. Language always is the most prominent means of communication. Thanks to the process of signification, the human can understand the meaning behind signs. The emergence of the literary theory and post-modern scholars raised the question about "real" and "truth." He is investigating the process of reproduction of the meaning, performed by society, which brings it into the realm of a new myth. Examining the sacred essence of language and association of signification with politics and religion is the core concept of his artworks and research.