Small School is an Art-Based, Alternative Education Platform

Initially, Small School seeks to serve Raleigh by providing opportunities to directly engage with prominent national and international visiting artists through:


  • Biweekly public lectures and performances that are individually designed as unique experiences for the presenting artist(s) and audience.
  • Small group workshops that both demonstrate and examine the creative process of diverse art practices.
  • Individual studio visits that provide local artists with constructive critique, and potential connections to other artists and residency or exhibition opportunities.
  • Seminars with high school art students that explore the creative voice as an expression of connection.
  • Collaborative public art projects that strengthen relationships within and across communities.
  • Corporate lunch and learns that provide a forum for the exchange of ideas in the workplace.

In Fall 2024, Small School will expand upon the initial visiting artist programming with mentor-based gap year, certificate and degree programs featuring:


  • Socratic seminars to cultivate critical thinking.
  • Hands-on learning to develop making-based skills.
  • Mentor-guided creative practice to provide consistent, in-depth dialogue.
  • Community-based projects to create a strong cohort and connection to a larger society.
  • Steady interaction with and observation of artists at work to facilitate social learning.
  • Collaboration with people with significantly different life experiences to establish viewpoint diversity.
  • Work Integrated Learning to develop a range of transferable skills, responsibilities, and agency.

Small School aspires to reinforce local art practices, involve more people more deeply in art making, and cultivate the value of art thinking in work and life.

Board of Directors

Alberto Ortega

Raleigh-based artist represented by Arcadia Contemporary Gallery in New York City.

Americo Rodriguez

Co-founder and CEO, MatchIT Talent Solutions. Formerly Director of Enterprise Data and Analytics, Red Hat, and Director of Enterprise Analytics Consulting Solutions, Blue Cross NC.

Barbara Herring

President / owner at Tannis Root, providing tour merchandise for bands such as Tame Impala, Avett Brothers, Tenacious D, Jack White, Pavement, Khruangbin, Sonic Youth, and more.

Chris Matton, Assistant Secretary,  ex officio

General Counsel at AgBiome. Formerly General Counsel at Passport and Bandwidth, and Advisor at Jurassic Capital and GROUNDFLOOR Finance.

JP Reuer, Founder/Executive Director

See below

Nyja Peterson

Principal Partner Program Manager, Red Hat. Formerly Global Program Marketing Manager and Marketing Resource Manager, Red Hat.

Richard Hicks, PhD

Psychologist/CEO at HRC Behavioral Health. Administrator of BarCARES for NC attorneys. Formerly, board of NC Psychological Association & NCSAPPB (licensing board).

Sally Van Gorder, Secretary/Treasurer, ex officio

Artist and Teaching Professor, NC State College of Design. Formerly Assistant Professor Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, and Adjunct Professor, Clark College.

Shaun Kurian

Product Experience Designer and UX Researcher, SAS Institute. Co-owner of Sage and Palm Comapny, LLC, a startup interior design consultancy in Cary.

Sophia Woo

Professional Consultant, Vaco. Formerly Director of Operations and Finance, A Place at the Table, and Managing Director, District C.

Founder/Executive Director

JP Reuer

JP is an art and design educator and LEED accredited architect, and has lived and worked on projects in New York, Montreal, Halifax, Berlin, Zurich, Vienna, and Doha, Qatar. As founding Chair of Oregon College of Art and Craft + Pacific Northwest College of Art’s collaborative MFA in Applied Craft and Design, he developed a program acknowledged by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design as one of the most innovative projects addressing institutional resource sustainability in the country. JP also co-authored the framework for Oregon College of Art and Craft’s MFA in Craft, and Pacific Northwest College of Art’s MFA in Collaborative Design – one of the first transdisciplinary design MFAs in the US. He has organized several Artist-Led Design-Build initiatives, through which artists and designers address issues such as the school to prison pipeline, positive behavior support for people with developmental disabilities, and consensus building with multiple, diverse stakeholders. He has spearheaded a variety of community-focused engagements with prominent visiting artists through conferences, symposia, workshops and annual lecture series. JP consulted on the planning and development of the Qatar Design Zone, the first global creative hub in the Persian Gulf. He received his Bachelor of Environmental Design in Architecture from North Carolina State University and Master of Architecture in Affordable Housing from McGill University.

Founding Advisory Board

Russel Allen

Former City Manager, City of Raleigh. currently the owner of Allen Ventures, LLC, an urban real estate development and investment company in Raleigh.

Pamela Blizzard

Founder, and former Managing Director Research Triangle High School. Former Executive Director, Contemporary Science Center. Led the founding team for Raleigh Charter High School.

Matt Bullard

Attorney, Wyrick-Robbins. Chairman of the Estate Planning Section, frequently involved in charitable gift planning, including the creation of charitable foundations and trusts.

Jean Davis

Former President & CEO of MCNC, technology non-profit that builds, owns, and operates a leading-edge broadband infrastructure. Former COO of Business, Industry and Trade, NC Department of Commerce.

Jaki Shelton Green

Past North Carolina Poet Laureate, Community Arts advocate, and North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee.

Pam Hartley

Director of School Partnerships at North Carolina Education Corps. Former President & CEO Communities In Schools of North Carolina. Former VP for Play Initiatives, Marbles Kids Museum.

Orage Quarles III

Former President and Publisher, News & Observer. Former Publisher of several newspapers nationally.

Melanie Sill

Organizational Consultant in Public Interest Journalism. Former Executive Editor and Senior VP, News & Observer, and Sacramento Bee, and Southern California Public Radio.

Charlotte Brown Wainwright

Former Director of Gregg Museum of Art and Design, NC State University.

Larry Wheeler

Former Director of the North Carolina Museum of Art. Former Director of Development, Cleveland Museum of Art. Former Deputy Secretary, NC Department of Cultural Resources.