#TKS Notable Students, Faculty, and Staff of the Season

Photos taken by Hope Morawa

As we begin to settle into a new year, we wanted to take the time for our #TKSFaculty to acknowledge and vote for the students that they feel exemplify the #TKStudio spirit. These students have been engaged in class with passion and a commitment to excellence and their recent work has stood above the rest.

So! Without further ado, we wanted to officially announce and congratulate our amazing #TKSActors: Kat Vielman, Jaylen Taylor, Liz June, Carrie Fleming, Tyler Chen, Jana Arcidiacono, Natalie Ahn, Ashlyn Hughes, and Layton Lamell on being selected as Notable Students of the Season – Spring 2023!

We’d also like to take this time to celebrate our Notable #TKFaculty and #TKStaff picks: Kana Sato and Ashley Hughes!
Without them, TK Studio would cease to function! We appreciate everything you do within and outside our walls.
Thank you for all your hard work, commitment, and energy you bring on a daily basis.

Upon alerting our notables of their nominations, we asked them to give some insight on their time here with the following prompts:

How has your training here at TKS supported your understanding and pursuit of artistic excellence?

Describe a moment in your training journey that you recall as having had a clear and lasting impact on you?

What does being a part of the TKS community mean to you?

Let it be known that those recognized continually bring the utmost courage, joy and authenticity to the room day in and day out.
We’re so grateful to honor their hard work and dedicated over their time with us!
Help us send them some much-deserved love and congratulations!

#TKS Notable Student: Liz June

“This training has invited me to completely change my relationship with failure. Before coming here to train, I was often afraid to take big risks in my work because I never wanted to make the ‘wrong choice.’ By paralyzing myself with perfectionism, I wasn’t making room for myself to grow as an artist. Now I understand that failure is a gift and that the permission and freedom that comes with embracing failure opens up so many opportunities to learn and grow. It allows me to be curious about myself and really enjoy the process of creating work.”

“Being a part of this community means being among fellow artists that are excited to see you in every part of the work; to be in the “brave space” that Terry talks about. There are times when this work can really challenge us to look into the shadow of ourselves, and it’s easy to want to hide those parts. It makes such an enormous difference to have the support of this community and to be able to challenge that with “Who does my hiding benefit?” Because it doesn’t benefit me or anyone else, really. I know the community I’m sharing my work with doesn’t want me to hide. There is a lot of love and trust in that.”

#TKS Notable Student: Layton Lamell

“My experience with TKS has enabled me to cultivate a style of embracing the unknown and to acknowledge being a bold and daring individual. This knowledge has endowed me with the capacity to sense how I’m feeling inside and how this may correspond with the world as a whole. Whatever tasks I accomplish as an artist, I will have portrayed a part of who I am, and this mindset allows me to extend into fresh domains, taking fresh ideas and using them to give birth to a work of art of exceptional quality, that’s what this studio is about. Being committed to excellence, nothing less. That’s who I choose to be.”

#TKS Notable Faculty: Kana Sato

“Being a part of the TKS community as a teacher means that I have the privilege of being constantly inspired by my students. Whether it’s a moment of breaking through their own resistance, a moment of their brilliant creativity, or a moment of pure joy and freedom, I’m always reminded of how remarkable and unique each human being is, and how powerful it is when they embody and share their true and whole selves despite how scary it is to do so. Those moments are absolutely priceless and they feed my soul- I truly have the best job in the world.

Their commitment says “I’m all in,” and it makes my job so easy (and so freaking fun!) and challenging at the same time because I have to constantly grow as a teacher to meet their level of excellence. That’s why I love teaching. My mother, who is also a teacher, said to me, in order to teach, you always need to be learning. How can I stop learning as a teacher, artist, and human being when I’m surrounded by these phenomenal teachers and staff members who inspire me to keep evolving in all aspects?

Another thing that is unique about being a TKS faculty is that I need to show up as my whole imperfect self because that’s what I/we demand from our students. I also try not to forget the sense of play. I take this work damn seriously, but I don’t take myself too seriously. It’s such a joy when the students get my wacky sense of humor. Well, even if they don’t, I still love them all the same.”

#TKS Notable Student: Jana Arcadiacono

“Community is everything. Community is a fabric, a web, that connects us all so we can have our individual journeys while supporting others and being supported. Community means accountability and companionship. I have found a deep friendship here.”

#TKS Notable Student: Carrie Fleming

“Likemindedness comes to mind. I truly value being around artists who take their craft seriously enough to take risks and not hold back. Constantly working alongside people who are willing to be passionately vulnerable inspires me daily. The actors here are so willing to encourage each other in the journey.”

#TKS Notable Student: Ashlyn Hughes

“The TKS community is, in a word, dreamy: I never thought I’d find an acting home quite like it, and that is what it feels like to me, a home. As an actor (and as a human who is getting to know me more and more each day) the TKS community not only supports but encourages growth. There have been countless moments where I’ve sat in the acting space, completely in awe of my classmates, and our community of artists here at TKS: taking in meaningful, specific, and committed exploration and play. It inspires me to continue pushing my own edges further and further out, past the old narratives I have of myself and my past self-imposed limitations. I feel, or rather know, that I will finish my two years at TKS a much fuller version of myself.

TKS embodies a spirit of open-heart risk-taking and bravery that moves me to continue my personal journey toward consistent, truthful storytelling and ownership in my work. I feel so encouraged by this community to continue to dive deep and embrace curiosity in and out of the studio. TKS has fostered a welcoming space to be free in our acting and challenge not only how we see ourselves, but how the world does as well– and that is amplified through the guidance from our teachers and the deep intention that is laced through our training. Over the last (almost) two years, I’ve further defined myself as an actor, embraced possibilities, and have a deeper understanding of my values when it comes to making art. For this and more, I carry so much gratitude.”

#TKS Notable Staff: Ashley Hughes

“Working at TKStudio means that I am challenged every day to learn new things. I am grateful for my colleagues and the students who have welcomed me here and are always open for a good discussion. Every day is a reminder to practice curiosity and generosity – qualities that I see throughout the community.”

#TKS Notable Student: Jaylen Taylor

“I really enjoy the space that was held at the beginning of every class to chat about our rehearsal and any questions/concerns that had come up since our last class. It was during one of these pow-wows that the concept of allowing myself to feel what emotions my body is yearning to feel without putting a cap on it really began to make sense to me. I realized that I too often had been watching and monitoring myself as I acted; this conversation inspired me to get out of my own way.”

#TKS Notable Student: Natalie Ahn

“I have often believed that to be “accepted” I must make myself small. “I don’t want to take up space. I don’t want to be seen as difficult.” This meant denying parts of my humanity, specifically my emotions, in an effort to be accepted. That’s insane when you think about the job of an actor. The core of being an actor is being fully human. Terry recently said to me during our weekly acting class, “I want you to take up space.” I was feeling rich emotion and yet I wanted to hide what I was experiencing in my work. I am beyond grateful he saw that and empowered me to “take up space.” That moment was everything to me. I didn’t know those exact words would be what I needed to hear to let go and begin embracing the artist I aspire to be. It truly felt like I was being set free. Why not be fully human? That’s my goal as an artist-being open to the full human experience. Take up space, my friends!”

#TKS Notable Student: Tyler Chen

“To me, being a part of the TKS community is truly like having a second home. And I sometimes feel like I’m a kid again back in kindergarten. What I mean by that is, yes, we’re here to learn about acting and the necessary tools to do good acting. But much like kindergarten, we’re also here to play, have fun, experiment, and make friends and lasting memories. It’s not so much about grades, prestige, or results that come with your idea of the typical academic environment. Terry often tries to instill in us the idea that the studio is like a laboratory. And like young kids who like to pretend they’re scientists, we all really shine and show our best work when we are open to making mistakes and learning from them, being truthful, and enjoying the work we do. And I’ve been able to watch people do really amazing work. I’m impressed with how many times I’ve been touched by the people here.

Not only that, but I’ve felt like I’ve made some true friends and trustworthy confidants at TKS. They say it’s hard to meet people once you finish undergraduate schooling, but I’m glad to have been a part of this space and met all the people at the studio. There are so many people with whom I’ve shared conversations, and they were all so patient, kind, and understanding. I’ve never spoken to so many people before about such personal things. Not to mention all of the amazing social events, and showcases I get to witness. There’s never a moment that’s not interesting when interacting with either students or staff. And to everyone I’ve met at the studio, I’m grateful to have chatted with them, even if just on occasion.”

#TKS Notable Student: Kat Vielman

“Being a part of this community to me means being brave. Being surrounded by so many honest and supportive individuals here has allowed me to feel confident diving into the unknown headfirst. I’m constantly inspired by my classmates and in turn, want to give 100% to the work so I can find that level of excellence for myself. It’s made me curious about what else there is inside me and excited to constantly explore that.”