Artists in Schools Directory


Ann Alaia Woods

Artist's Narrative

Ann Alaia Woods Ann Alaia Woods has made Columbus her home since 1972. In 1981, events gave her an opportunity to follow a dream long-harbored but not dared, to begin life as a studio artist and a teacher. That journey continues still, and includes over 30 years serving as an Artist-in-Schools. Some of her custom hand-lettering, logo/branding design, calligraphic play, paper marbling, bookbinding, unique awards, inventions and major collaborations can be explored at

Ann's goal as an Artist-in-Schools is to share her joy in the creative process by blending her calligraphic and art training, her love of science in art and her academic grounding in ancient and medieval history to bring new perspectives to young minds in ways that complement a teacher's current curriculum. Ann says, "for all who teach, seeing that 'light' switch on when students get excited over discovering something new and then want to learn more-- well, that's absolutely IT!!"


Upon request. Please allow a minimum of 4 weeks' advance notice.
This artist is based in Columbus. Travel charges may apply for schools outside of the area.

Programs Available

I Love My Handwriting (Grade levels K-5)

That’s what we would like to say, but too many say they hate or are embarrassed by their handwriting. It doesn’t have to be that way. Whether you have just a few students or a whole class or an after-school group wishing assistance with handwriting technique, letter formation, or writing flow, I would like help them finally be proud of how they write.

Exciting new imaging research has shown how intensely the brain is stimulated by the very act of hand writing and learning to make speech visible. Further studies of high-school and college-age students suggest that taking notes by hand rather than using a keyboard improves academic performance generally by enhancing the ability to focus, to organize material, to think critically, and to perform well in those areas throughout life. For documentation on these independent research findings and others presented at the Summit on Handwriting, held in Washington, D.C., under the joint sponsorship of the American Association of School Administrators, in January, 2012, go to

Activity Options:
I Love My Handwriting
  • Duration: 60 min./session; minimum of six sessions
  • Fees: $10/student per session for minimum 6 sessions
  • Requirements: Quiet space; desk(s) and chair(s); pencils; ballpoint pens; program is best suited for a maximum of 20 students

Color: It's Alive! (Grade levels K-5)

Ever actually SEEN Newton’s proof that white light contains the entire spectrum? Not having to wait until one happens upon a rainbow to see light split into its full array of colors is thrilling! I begin the class with a demonstration of this major breakthrough in human understanding of the nature of daylight, color, and how our eyes see. My goal is to help students understand why we see what we see, how light plays with our eyes, and how they can make colors spring to life beneath their fingers in a logical and controlled way. It’s just eye-opening FUN!

Activity Options:
Color: It's Alive!
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Fees: $225/ $395 half day (2 groups)/$475 (3-4 groups)
  • Requirements: 4-5 large work tables. If journals or notebook covers are to be made, cover stock cut to size; a selection of acrylic paint colors (to be arranged), and a small room or closet that can serve as a “darkroom” for re-creating Newtonʼs experiment. All other materials and equipment provided by the artist. 28 students max.

The Medieval Decorated Letter (Grade levels 6-12)

Unlocking the mystery of how medieval scribes made and embellished these wonderful letter forms helps open new pathways of thinking and working creatively on a very individual level. When students begin discovering just how modern these letters are and how malleable, AND how personal they can make and use them, their excitement is palpable.

In the process, they also learn a lot about the history of writing, writing tools, and the making of books before and during the Middle Ages--before printing-- as they get this rare opportunity to handle actual medieval manuscripts, papyrus, reeds, vellum,, quills, and more.

NOTE TO TEACHERS: Since this activity lends itself to all sorts of projects you may have in mind, please feel free consult with me before choosing any particular option.

DECORATED LETTER WITH OPTION l: PERSONAL PROJECT--Students create an initial for their own names. Afterward, I will add the remaining letters of each name before returning the pages to them for further decorating, should they wish. Add $275 to basic fee.

DECORATED LETTER WITH OPTION II: CLASS PROJECT--Some options for class projects include making a book to be donated to the school library. This might be an Alphabet Book of medieval topics as subjects, but many variations are possible. After adding the remaining letters of each word, the artist would bind the book, adding a hand-lettered title page and information on the gift. Add $400 to the basic fee.

Activity Options:
Medieval Decorated Letter: BASIC CLASS
  • Duration: 80-90 min.
  • Fees: $190/ $265 for half day (2 groups)/ $395 for full day (3-4 groups)
  • Requirements: Bond paper (letter size); pencil; drawing paper (to be arranged with the teacher); markers (fine tip, as well as others); blackboard, dry erase board, or wall space for demonstration. All other materials provided, including models and historical materials discussed above. 30 students/session, max.
Decorated Letter with Option 1
  • Fees: $400
  • Requirements: Same as basic class. Please also allow 2 weeks for artist to complete adding student names.
Decorated Letter with Option 2
  • Fees: $595
  • Requirements: Same as basic class. Please allow reasonable extra time for artist to complete her portions of the project prior to any presentation ceremony.

Lettering as Design (Grade levels K-5)

My goal is to introduce a variety of playful, yet directed, lettering art exercises that are grade-level appropriate to help students explore the interplay of verbal and visual elements in our language. Other exercises combine graphic design techniques with both creative writing and storytelling to encourage students to use that visual/verbal conversation in more complex and personal ways.

Activity Options:
Lettering as Design
  • Duration: 80-90 min.
  • Fees: $190/ $265 for half day (2 groups)/ $400 for full day (3-4 groups)
  • Requirements: Large work tables; markers (all widths); watercolor or acrylic paints; pastels; drawing paper (12"x18" minimum) suitable for markers and wet media; construction paper (all colors); scissors; blackboard or wall space for demo sheets. 30 students max. per session.

Turkish MARBLING--A Modern Application of Traditional Art (Grade levels 5-12; lower, with consultation)

Marbling is just plain MAGICAL! But along with that excitement, marbling demonstrates important principles of aesthetics, pattern making, color use, creative decision-making, and even basics of water chemistry--principles that may seem “dry” information in science class but which come to life when applied in making Art.

For this reason, my preference, if applicable, is to involve any staff teaching basic science in a brief planning session to increase the opportunities for integrated learning. Some students may just want to frame their creations, but these papers may also be used as journal or notebook covers for creative writing units on poetry, storytelling, and so much more.

Activity Options:
Turkish Marbling
  • Duration: 70-90 min.
  • Fees: $295/ $395 for half day (2 groups)/ $550 for full day (4 groups); plus $2/student supply fee
  • Requirements: Art or other large room with sink and running water; 5-6 large, sturdy, tables; drying racks, if available, or other paper drying apparatus; newspapers to lay on rack shelves. All other materials are covered in the supply fee. 28 students per session, maximum.

Japanese Marbling (Grade levels 5-12)

Japanese marbling, or suminagashi, means “floating ink”--but that title is deceiving. In reality, it is a material expression of Japanese belief in the profound bond between human beings and Nature. Floating ink captures this bond like a “photograph” of the inner spirit in a given place at one moment in time. In this way it differs dramatically from Turkish marbling, which emphasizes an aesthetic of color and pattern as pure decorative art.

In the basic class, students work with both Asian and Western papers, taking advantage of differences in effect on each. And since even Western print papers of heavier stock can be decorated in this way, at least some sheets could be planned as covers for either Western pamphlet-style or Japanese-style journals, as a way of further integrating this activity into other aspects of the curriculum. Such journals are perfect for creative work of all sorts, such as poetry (haiku, perhaps?), story writing, or art. Details of a binding session to make these journals can be worked out with the instructor(s) and planning committee.

FLOATING INK WITH OPTION 1: Hand-sewn Journals using suminagashi covers. In the basic class, students experience working with both Asian and western papers as part of the class. This option takes advantage of the different effects on each by marbling papers suited to making journal covers, which are then bound either Asian or Western style--journals that can be used for creative units such as poetry (haiku, perhaps?), drawing, story writing, or ...?

Details, including materials and fees, would be worked out in consultation, before being submitted to AIS for approval.

Activity Options:
Japanese Marbling
  • Duration: 80-90 min.
  • Fees: $260/ $360 for half day/ $475 for full day; plus $2/student supply fee
  • Requirements: Room with adequate sink and running water; 5-6 large sturdy tables, large drying racks, if available, with newspaper to line the shelves. If drying racks are not available, other options should be worked out ahead of time. All marbling materials are included in the fee. 28 students max.
Japanese Hand-Sewn Journals
  • Requirements: Details, including fees, to be worked out in consultation with the teacherʼs needs.