The Incarnate Word Academy Arts Department strives to provide an excellent education to students in the disciplines of art, music, dance and theatre and strives to instill self-confidence; provide opportunities for self-expression. Our goal is to nurture creativity and appreciation both in the classroom and performance. We seek to foster opportunities for self-expression, personal and artistic growth, the building of self-confidence and the excitement and fulfillment that comes when works are displayed or performed.
Mr. Aubuchon began studying music at an early age, taking up piano at age five and percussion at ten. His musical horizons broadened beyond classical music into jazz, rock, and musical theater while attending CBC High School. He holds a B.A. in Music Business from Fontbonne University. He is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and the National Association for Music Education.
Upon graduation, he became involved with the Department of Defense Professional Entertainment Organization, through which artists tour U.S Armed Forces bases and embassies overseas and perform for personnel stationed far away from home. Mr. Aubuchon has been fortunate to travel to 35 different countries multiple times and bring a "taste of home” to those serving abroad.
Mr. Aubuchon is also an experienced sound and lighting technician, running many concert series throughout the year, including the Whitaker Music Festival at the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Whitaker Urban Evening Series, and Blues on the Mississippi.
Mr. Aubuchon teaches: Beginning Piano, Beginning Guitar, Percussion Ensemble, Chamber Instrumental Ensemble, Knightingales (Freshmen Choir), Marian Choristers, Circle Honors Choir, and MyTunes ( A History of Modern Music)
Kathleen Grupe holds undergraduate degrees in Dance and Arts Management from Lindenwood University. She attended Webster University for her masters in Arts Management and Leadership. She has extensive training in ballet, jazz, tap and modern dance. Prior to IWA she taught dance at various studios in the St. Louis area directed the St. Louis ArtWorks summer dance education program for 4 years, providing artist job training for young people between the ages of 14-18. Mrs. Grupe performed with MADCO (Modern American Dance Company) for 6 years, where she served as a dancer and choreographer. She has had the opportunity to perform at such places as the Dance Now Festival in NYC, the Toronto Fringe Festival in Canada, Disney World in Orlando FL and at the Kennedy Center in DC. This year Mrs. Grupe teaches Beginning Tap, Beginning Broadway, Dance Aerobics, Mind and Body Conditioning, Advanced Dance Technique, Recreational Team Sports and PE II. Mrs. Grupe also choreographs the spring musicals each year.
Michele Stokes '80
Michele Stokes is in her sixth year teaching art at IWA. She is an alum of the class of 1980 and spent seven years as the Learning Consultant at IWA before she joined the Visual Arts department. Mrs. Stokes teaches Introduction to Art, Painting, Drawing, 3-Dimensional Art, Ceramics-Hand Building, and Ceramics-Wheel Throwing. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Clothing and Textiles/Fashion Merchandising from the University of Missouri-Columbia (Summa Cum Laude) and a second Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (Summa Cum Laude). She is certified to teach art in grades K-12.
Mrs. Stokes has always had a love of art. She took 10 art classes as a student at IWA and went on to take drawing and fashion illustration classes in college. She has also taken continuing education classes in ceramics, watercolors, acrylic painting, quilting, spinning and weaving. Mrs. Stokes facilitates the Senior Art Intern program, is a member of the Care Team, and often helps with the costumes for the musicals at IWA. She is married and has three sons, one daughter-in-law, and a baby granddaughter.
Julie Venegoni holds a Bachelor of Arts in Acting and Directing and Master of Arts in Theatre Education from Fontbonne University. She is MO Certified in Speech and Theatre (9-12). Julie is a St. Louis-based actor, a freelance choreographer and director, as well as a proud member of SAG-AFTRA and an Equity Membership Candidate. She has acted with such companies as HotCity Theatre,The Muny, Mustard Seed Theatre, The New Jewish Theater, OnSite Theatre Co. and St. Louis Shakespeare to name a few. Along with performing in St. Louis, she has performed in the Czech Republic during the Prague Fringe Festival. This year she is teaching Speech Communication and Drama Performance, along with directing the theater department shows.